Forum Index » GEAR » Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter?


Display Avatars Sort By:
Don Morris
(hikermor) - F
Svea123 and snow melting on 05/02/2013 20:05:35 MDT Print View

I always learn something when I drop in to this forum. Wish it had been in existence years ago when I met my first Svea/Primus gas stove to tell me that the stove is not good for melting snow. We were melting snow on a winter attempt (which didn't get very far) of Longs Peak. I continued to use it for that purpose for several more winters. If I had only known.......

I will admit that more recent stoves are superior. I remember when I met my first MKG (the first assault stove).

Edited by hikermor on 05/02/2013 20:06:56 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 22:34:09 MDT Print View

Oh, they really do have a following. And thye are so shiny.

Limitations: rather low in power compared to modern stoves. The Optimus 8R, another classic, is the same.

Cheers

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"TRUE" SVEA 123 users on 05/02/2013 23:41:27 MDT Print View

"True" 123 users own a SIGG TOURIST cook kit/windscreen. Most of us also own a pump & mating fill cap.

1. pump it up
2. crack the valve until the circular depression around the stem fills with white gas and TURN OFF THE GAS
3. light the white gas
4. when the flame is nearly done quickly turn the stove on and VOILA', a nice flame
5. wait until the flame turns blue and roars - now cook yer food

Hell yes it will work, noisily but very dependably.

P.S. -> I've read some other posts below and it seems they didn't bother to look at my STEP #2 and #3 or they would not have asked the priming questions.

Edited by Danepacker on 05/21/2013 15:55:18 MDT.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/03/2013 05:25:54 MDT Print View

For overall efficiency, you want to maximize heat transfered to the pot. The most efficent I could ever do was about 4quarts per ounce. But, this typically took more time and strong winds would interfere. Field conditons are MUCH different. I expect closer to 3quarts per ounce in the field at about 13 minutes per quart. On HIGH you can expect 2 liters per ounce. I will note here that these specs are under rated by at least 20% or are WORST case tests, indeed 90% of campers will do better out of the box. (I bought three of the newer verions for the kids, all did better.)

Heating Power vs Efficiency is a typical trade off. Higher powers, such as with the XGK, will boil quicker, but the efficiency suffers. (Liters and quarts are very similar in size.)
http://cascadedesigns.com/msr/stoves/rapid-cooking/xgk-ex/product
The boil time is WAY faster at 3.5 minutes per liter. BUT, you only get 1.5 liters per ounce! These are true ratings but are BEST case tests, typical for MSR products. I used this stove a couple times, but like the old Simmerlite, Nova, and Whisperlite, could not cook on it, it burns too hot and went through a LOT of fuel.

Note that these have similar burner styles. Again, for winter use, I would choose the SVEA for groups of two. For larger groups, up to four, I would choose the XGK or similar higher output stoves. Don't get tied up thinking I am married to a SVEA. I have been searching for a replacement since I got the bloody thing. It alwys struck me as being rather primitive. But, it is just the lightest stove for the cooking I do, the lenghth of trip I am usually on, and has a small volume including fuel. Even esbit does no better, and fares MUCH worse in colder conditions. Alcohol is just hugely inefficient with fuel. Canisters fare no better than alcohol, except for the on/off valve. Being carefull with fuel, I can make a 10oz weight of fuel last 2 weeks with the SVEA, boiling water twice per day and cooking. The STARTING weight is all I am interested in, because my weight invariably reduces as I go. It has low emmisions, does not soot up pots, and, has super reliability and durability.

Having high power outputs I see as a detriment. Others feel differently. I don't consider waiting an extra 4 minutes for coffee that important.

For winter use, yes. It is still a viable stove. It depends on your group size, though.

It does polish up very pretty, but I havent done mine in a few years. I'll have to do it before tommorrows trip... It makes a good reflector for the tea light candle when filling out my log.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/03/2013 08:58:12 MDT Print View

Good points. I'm not looking for efficiency when snow camping, burning a little extra fuel is no big deal as most trips are one night, out solo. Good point also about not being in a hurry for water to boil, that's why I make coffee now the last couple years, to slow myself down, I don't need to get home so fast. The 123 is pretty, even without being shined up. Winter is time for a roarer burner when solo at least. The old MSR's throw the heat out, and I love that noise.
Duane

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Heavy on 05/03/2013 09:07:25 MDT Print View

I don't use mine any more because of the weight. The fact that there are other stoves that are as heavy or heavier is moot to me since I consider them too heavy as well.

I may use it again sometime, but more for sentimental reasons.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: How to keep the brass from coroding? on 05/03/2013 09:08:59 MDT Print View

The Trangia burner is brass. I have one that is pretty badly corroded and I don't understand why exactly. Seems like I must've stowed up against something moist. Some pretty heavy, deep, green crud formed that pitted the metal pretty bad.

I was wondering if there was some special way folks kept their 123's pretty for 40+ years.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Svea123 and snow melting on 05/03/2013 09:38:16 MDT Print View

When I first started pondering a 123 it was more of a curiosity. I remember folks having them back in the 70's, but I'd never played with one myself. I'm starting to get interested in winter camping again and started thinking about picking up a white gas stove.

I'm really hooked on simplicity. I've had my fill of iced-over burner rings, frozen collapsed pump cups, fuel caps that cant be removed without a visegrips, broken plastic thingys, parts lost in the snow, etc. The 123 is appealing to me precisely because of the simplicity of the design.

If a guy doesn't mind carrying a truck-load of yellow HEET bottles, a suitably sized alcohol burner would work fine as a snow melter.

I dunno, maybe I'm over-thinking this. Maybe I should just buy one and start posting YouTube videos :)

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim)

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Svea123 and snow melting on 05/03/2013 11:04:21 MDT Print View

Well, if simplicity is what you're after, the Svea's your stove. It has very few moving parts.

It doesn't have the best wind resistance, and as I say it works by thermal feedback and can therefore struggle in cold weather, but it's a great design and a fun little stove.

Here's a video I shot of me priming/operating mine:
Svea 123 Demo

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Svea123 and snow melting on 05/03/2013 11:32:08 MDT Print View

I have an old 123 and an 8R hunter (got the 8R real cheap at an attic sale.) I typically used the 123 with the pump for most of my multi-night backpacking trips back in the 80's/90's, but would use a kerosene flavored XGK for my winter trips. I also remember always using the little pump for the Svea and "Fire Ribbon" for the XGK. Pump was great because it not only pressurized the stove a bit, but nicely fed the white gas up into the lip for an easy prime.

Nowadays, I use Jetboil and/or Coleman Powermax (sigh) more often than not, but I a get a nostalgic feeling with these old stoves. There are clearly many other snazzier stoves out there, but I only get the "classic car association" from the Svea stoves. And they still work quite well. The one that I'd always wanted to try out was the Optimus 00. I remember the "00" always had incredible specs listed on the REI stove cutsheets when I worked there, but it had not been sold there for years. If you are looking for something simple for winter, that one might be of interest.

I think it's awesome performance specs were due in-part to the kerosene it liked to consume, if I recall.

Good luck!

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: How to keep the brass from coroding? on 05/03/2013 11:41:21 MDT Print View

Bras is not corrosion proof, like stainless, for example. The green is usually caused by oxidation of the copper. The tin goes, too. Brass is highly corrosion resistant, though. Aluminum is far worse with salt & water. Even stainless will corrode with the right chemicals. Hard to tell what it was exposed to. Generally fresh water has little effect on it. I usually leave it tarnished a bit and wipe it off with a little olive oil (usually spilled) once or twice a year.

As I said, the bottom makes a fair reflector, so, this is usually polished clean.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: How to keep the brass from corroding? on 05/03/2013 14:52:24 MDT Print View

Get a big can of Brasso (brass polish) and an old polishing cloth.

The more you polish the brass, the more resistant to corrosion it becomes.

--B.G.--

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
OO on 05/03/2013 21:55:52 MDT Print View

I have a few of the 00 in my arsenal of stoves. Another nice stove. I think there has been an upsurge in collecting the old stoves, I have to pay quite a bit now to get a few more to fill in small gaps in my collection. Some I'm still missing they are so expensive. Just picked up a different embossed 8R today that I did not have, makes about 6 of the 8/8R's I have now, from the Hunter down to two 8's from the 30's.
Duane

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Does automotive fuel clog it? on 05/04/2013 08:43:17 MDT Print View

Just one last question for 123 users - it is sensitive to the fuel used? Regular unleaded fuel will clog Coleman stoves - simply because of the generator (fuel vaporization method) design. It is just something you learn to fix when you get home. Coleman fuel runs about $13/gallon nowadays, so there is great temptation to use automotive fuel.

But the SVEA 123 vaporizes fuel differently (basically squirting it against a super-hot plate), so I'd think it would be fairly immune to all the funky additives in today's gasoline.

How about it 123 experts? Does the 123 digest unleaded gasoline?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Does automotive fuel clog it? on 05/04/2013 16:21:44 MDT Print View

Modern UNleaded fuel is not as bad as the old leaded fuel, but there are other quite toxic additives in IC engine fuel. You would want to use the stuff outdoors, and stay upwind.

Cheers

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim)

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Does automotive fuel clog it? on 05/05/2013 19:38:25 MDT Print View

But the SVEA 123 vaporizes fuel differently (basically squirting it against a super-hot plate), so I'd think it would be fairly immune to all the funky additives in today's gasoline.
Well, not really. The vaporization is occurring before it hits the jet, in the burner column. The unleaded gasoline will leave behind deposits in the burner column/generator and jet. With the "R" model of the 123 (with the built in pricker in the jet), you should be able to get away with it fairly well, but it's always cleaner to burn white gasoline, and the life of the components will be extended.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Fuel storage of Coleman fuel/white gas vs auto gas on 05/05/2013 20:04:33 MDT Print View

Another big concern is Coleman fuel will last for years if stored in a metal, sealed container due to the preservatives added to it. Stories are always being told about old gas appliances being fired up on old fuel after they had been put away for years. Auto gas will not last that long. Plus, as was mentioned, the noxious fumes auto gas would leave when burned.
HJ, I'm catching up to you on the # of stoves I have.
Duane

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: Does automotive fuel clog it? on 05/05/2013 22:16:10 MDT Print View

Um, that doesn't make sense. The SVEA vaporization has to take place after the jet - that's the reason you hear the pulsing. That is also the reason that people report being able to use auto fuel without problem - the fuel isn't being "cooked" in a generator tube (Coleman design flaw).

But I might be wrong..

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim)

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Does automotive fuel clog it? on 05/05/2013 22:41:41 MDT Print View

Well, try turning one down really low some time after it's fully warmed up. You might have to have the original version of the Svea 123 (without a cleaning needle -- the original version had much better flame control). You'll see the flame diminish to nearly nothing and that the fuel isn't even striking the flame spreader plate anymore. The vaporization is accomplished in the generator/burner column, before it ever reaches the jet.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Does automotive fuel clog it? on 05/06/2013 06:30:56 MDT Print View

My understanding for the pulsing is because the wick may be stuffed up in the end of the vaporizer too tightly, causing a lack of sufficient fuel being fed.
Duane