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Svea 123 Review
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123 and 123R (11)
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Willis Power, 3/11/08
"I had a Svea stove as a teenager and used it often on backpacking trips. The stove never malfunctioned regardless of the weather. The stove was lost during one of my many moves. Over the years I forgot the name of the little stove but not how dependable it was. About a year ago I ran across a supplier on the internet and recognised the stove. After a 3 month wait and $95.00 later I received my new Svea. I have used other stoves but this is by far my favorite. "
"Like so many people in this forum, I've been using my trusty SVEA 124R for the past 30 years. I have the modified version with the self-cleaning needle, and I like the fact that it can be used with virtually any flammable liquid. Some backpackers complain that this version doesn't simmer as well as its predecessor, but I disagree. When I first bought the stove, I used the old fuel drop method to prime the stove, but wasn't entirely happy with that method (fiery uncontained fuel gives me the willies). I bought a pump, which increased efficiency. Finally, I switched to fire ribbon (available at most outfitting stores) to prime the SVEA. Recently I passed on my venerable stove to my son, a 12-year-old Boy Scout. I told him that if he takes care of the stove, it will take care of him. One day I expect he will pass this stove onto his son."
Peter Templeton, 0/0/00
"After 30 years of using a Svea 123, I got fancy and gave my son a MSR Whisperlite a while back. It recently exploded when the connection between the fuel bottle failed. Fortunately, we had the 123 workhorse along and our ability to cook was not compromised. I sent the burned-out hulk back to MSR (Mountain Safety Research??) for their study, and asked for a replacement. We'll see how they respond, since their product liability guys are probably going nuts right now!"
"The Seva is the Caddie of all stoves. That is all there is to say.
Sporting a shaker utility, the jet is easily unfilled with carbon. I love
my seva. Although it is slightly ( and i emphsize "slightly ) on the
heavy side, it does it's job fiarly well, boiling a quart of water in 7
min. I like it's brass construction, and i beleve that this stove will
last me a life time."
"I have had mine for 21 years, and it has never clogged.
I don't know if the person who wrote about the "Seva"
was talking about the same stove, but I can't imagine
anything lighter on the market. Aside from compactness
and longevity though it is a poor choice. The stove has
a very small base, and is quite unstable. Worse, it
must be "primed" to light, which requires squirting
fuel in a tiny moat around the top, and igniting it to
pressurize the gas in the tank. This operation rarely
works the first time. There is a pump available, but
it requires removal of the windscreen, WHICH IS ALSO
THE POT HOLDER."
"After 16 years I am very happy with this stove. Last year I purchased the pump and am even more happy. The pot holder must be removed anyway to check fuel level, I now pump (3-4 strokes) before replacing the pot holder and use the control to start. Without the pump, my priming method was to use a 2 inch by 1/4 strip of cloth dipped in fuel and placed in the ‘moat’ as a wick to light. This worked much better (than just fuel) in wind and ensured no flare-ups from spilt fuel. The pump is also a safety device which ensures the stove has been re-assembled correctly after removing the needle valve, ….if it is airtight there are no fuel leaks. No problem with weight and stability, and I love the compactness. The only improvement would be to hold the ‘L’ shaped pot holder legs in the housing more securely as they can fall out.
This stove functioned perfectly on a recent 5 day trip to the White Mountains (NH) where a MSR Whisperlight pump broke, and a Peak 1 Apex II pump failed (needed oiling). I use a Sigg 0.6 litre bottle (also 16 years old) and Fuel Faucet to carry enough fuel for a week+ trip for 2 people."
"I first used a Svea 123 more than 20 years ago, when I first backpacked, and have had occasion to use it again recently after taking the sport up again. For what it's worth, I think it's a good, reliable stove. Priming is a cinch using the old Colin Fletcher method -- just open the valve slightly, lift the stove by its handle, and hold the base over a small burning paper scrap (tea bag wrapper, TP, etc.) till gas wells up and fills the little priming depression. Close the valve, apply a match, wait a few seconds, reopen the valve, and voila -- either the dying gasoline fire or another match lights the stove. I have friends who use an MSR Whisperlight, and it's a good 'un, too, but I think the Svea is a little easier to use because I don't have to fuss with connecting the stove to a fuel bottle. To me, that's worth the few extra ounces the Svea weighs."
"After my Coleman Peak 1 developed a leak in the tank 18 years ago and started this huge fire between my legs, I purchased a Svea 123. I used it on monthly trips for about 7 years and did not have ONE problem with it. During my college and early career years, I had (temporarily) stopped backpacking and had unwisely stored my Svea with fuel in it. After being in storage for over 10 years, I rinsed out the tank and fired it up. It still works great! BTW, my favorite method of priming is to douse the stove with a small amount of fuel and throw a match into it. When the 'fire' is about out, I turn it on. If the weather is below freezing, I might have to do this twice. Svea 123 - my favorite!"
"I have used several of these stoves, owned by various family members, all of which are around 20 years old. It is not the most fuel effficient stove but it is simple, reliable and very sturdy. To answer the review that talks about its instability, we have a two piece aluminum windscreen and potholder that is big but still fits into a nesting pot set by sigg and probably MSR. This completly relieves this problem and makes it about as steady as your cooking range at home."
Michael Richardson, 0/0/00
"I got my first Svea 0ver 40 years ago. That one still works, but I retired it as a keepsake and have been using the new one for 15 years. Sometimes I use a canister stove now, but the Svea is a fine safe no-nonsense gas stove far superior in most respects to MSR products except under relatively severe weather or efficiency circumstances."
"After many years of admiring this stove, I asked for one for x-mas this year. After a trip to the garage to give it a test fire, I'm not disappointed. Filled it up, added a little fuel to the cup to prime and off it went. I tested it with a full fuel tank and it burned for a little over an hour.
I can't wait to try it out on a trip. I am interested in a pump but after reading a number of reviews, I'm not clear on how it works with the wind screen. I plan to check it out."
"I have been using my SVEA 123 for over 20 years and it has been a faithful companion and has never given me any problems. I have had the pump for about 10 years and while it does require the removal of the wind screen durring the pumping process it is very simple to replace it before lighting. My brother and friends have been through many stoves over the years while mine still keeps going."
"My dad gave me his svea to me and it is about 20 yrs old. Ive taken it on about 3 or 4 trips and always impressed my college frends who say its like a jet engine. They also like to see prime it by dousing it in gas and creating an inferno. I recently took in on a canoe trip and got it waterlogged and beat around and it fired up and dried out fine. sometimes i even use it in my dorm room. sometimes its a little unstable but i kiped a metal mosepad and it works great as a stand."
"I have had this stove since 1980 and it works great! Most of my friends who have MSR stove kind of freak out when I fire up the "jet engine". But it has been working strong and I see no need to use anything else. I bought it for $20 and it has been one of the best equipment investments I have ever made."
Rick Servatius email@example.com, 0/0/00
"Over many years I've used the Svea/Primus type stoves on many bicycle/canoe camping excursions, now I also collect 'em!! Never a problem with them, have bought them in pretty bad shape in flea markets and 95 percent of the time they work fine. Anyone have one they want to get rid of? Probably not, but if you do; contact me!!"
T. Rohn, 0/0/00
"I received mine as a gift from my older brother nearly 32 years ago. It has been around the world a half a dozen times, dropped, kicked, drop kicked, and generally abused. I have just recently started cleaning it up after 10 years of non-use and it still works as well as the first day. (I use a small eye-dropper to prime with) I also use the old MSR XGK which has the edge on the SVEA in that it burns nearly everything liquid or close to it. Lately I have been toting a home brewed alhcohol design that is much lighter and much cleaner(smells less)."
"I too have used this old work horse for more years than I would like to count.One word about using it with the Sigg Tourister for 2 people.In order to get it in the kit you must first remove the top!Be sure the needle is DOWN.I just broke the needle last night cutting an outing short.No fault of the stoves."
"This is a great stove. Our scout troop has several that are over 25 years old and have been used and abused, but they just keep on working. The older 123's are matched with the Sigg Tourist cook set. To bad they don't make it any more they are the perfect fit. Our new 123 stoves are used with the MSR cook set but the stove doesn't fit as well as the Sigg set."
Gary Jean, 0/0/00
"My 123 is now more than 30 years old. I bought it new for $7.98 after reading Colin Fletcher's "The Complete Walker," which was a bible of backpackers in the old days. It continues to perform flawlessly, even with extended periods of burning pump gasoline when white gas was not available. The roar continues to impress the uninitiated. My only gripe is minor...the stove is unstable without support of some kind. All my other backpacking gear from the late 60's is long gone, but the Svea motors on."
mikhail k., 0/0/00
"my dad purchased a 123 during the early 70's and after years of flawless performance has passed it on to me. it sees alot of use from me, about 20-30 trips a year. nevertheless, it performs exceptionally well. my friend makes fun of the blackened, tarnished, jet engine 123 but i had my laughs out of his stove on a recent central cascade hike. it was a cold morning and while he was hunched over his canister stove, it flared up and burned off all of his eyebrows and some of his hair. my 123 fired right up and cooked me breakfast while he was still nursing his face. who has the last laugh now! the 123 has prevailed triumphantly for thirty years and will so for another thirty!"
"I first purchased the 123 in the early 70's. it never failed and never quit. I bought an upgraded 123R after about 15 years which has the auto-clean needle, but doesn't simmer as well. Still, both stoves work very well under any and all circumstances."
Kai Jorgensen, 0/0/00
"After returning from a 3-day trip and getting ribbed about my SVEA 123 the entire time, I decided to polish it up, put it in my office as a keepsake and buy something new. Well it was completely black but shined up perfectly. I have never cleaned it in 30yrs! Then I read these reviews and don't think I will retire it after all. It has NEVER failed me in its many years of service. It's been a trusty friend and I will continue to use it proudly (and now polished to a high shine)."
Bob V., 0/0/00
"I bought a Seva 123, used, at a garage sale, for 50 cents. (1974) In 76 it cooked for me on the A.T. I married in 78 and it severed me and my wife for 13 years of New England treks. Now in Minnesota it has facinated many cub and boy scouts. By far this is the best little stove going. It is a life time purchase."
Rod Edelman, 0/0/00
"I bought my SVEA at a JC Penny's in Provo, Utah in 1973. It has always worked like a charm. My four sons sometimes make fun of it, however they respect its performance and look back on our scout/mountain trips with a smile on their faces. It has become a family heirloom."
"I am a star scout and recently returned from a backpacking trip wher my father used his seva. It is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. He has had it for 30 years and it still runs. Now I am starting to get involved in backpacking and am looking to buy a seva."
"I bought 123 Svea in the early eighties and it still works great. The priming process is part of the charm of the stove. The stove is dead reliable and simple. The build quality is exceptional in a world of products that are designed for only short life span. You could pass this stove on to your grandkids if you wanted to."
Jeff Atnip, 0/0/00
"I love mine. I have had it for over 20 years. I don't know why all of the other reviews talk about squirting fuel onto it to prime it. You are supposed to simply open the valve and cradle the stove in your hands for 3 or 4 minutes and the fuel starts bubbling up and out into the depression at the base. Then you close the valve, light the fuel, and wait until the flames start to die down and then open the valve again and the stove takes off by itself."
Joseph Nichols, 0/0/00
"I bought my SVEA 123 in 1969. A few years later I purchased the SIGG Tourist nesting cookset that included a 2-part windscreen made for this stove that acts as a base for the pots and pans. The combined system is unbeatable. The cookset stores the stove and the windscreen provides the most stable base for pots/pans I've ever seen and is quick and easy to set up. I have looked for years for any improved system and have not seen one. Suunto once sold a small hand pump and vented replacement cap to prime the stove so as to avoid the time required to prime with matches or hand heat. In all the years of use I have never had any problems with this stove and recommend it highly."
"This stove reminds me of a 1976 toyota i had it looked bad but after 250,000 it still ran great.
I have had this stove for over 30 years and still keeps going most likely thay will out live all of us die hard campers. It's a weird thing that people collect them thay have this thing about them! I do i run acrost them in good wills and places like that for around $1.00 on up, i have seven of them and thay all work the same!! (A word of warning!!!stay away from the cheep look a likes very thin tanks, if you can move the stem with your thumb and the tank bends dont buy it thay look and work the same way as the 123 and most of them work well, but i dont trust them."
"I bought my SVEA 123 in 1975 and have never regretted it. A few times I have been swayed into thinking I really needed a lighter weight Whisperlight but the reliability of this stove and my history with it keep me loyal. I have cooked breakfast at -10F with the stove sitting on a piece of ensolite when my friend had problems with his stove. The beauty saved the day. I have rebuilt the stove twice and it is unlikely I will ever replace it."
Surly Man, 0/0/00
"I've had my SVEA for a couple of years and it is a great little stove. I have a cannister stove (Snowpeak Gigapower) stove as well that I use on some trips, but for the winter trips I always take the SVEA. I'm surprised at all the reviews that mention the "hassle" of priming. I take along a small plastic squeeze bottle of "fire paste" and use that to prime the stove. Just a little bit of paste works like a charm and the stove always fires right up the first time.
P.S. If anyone knows where I can get my hands on a SIGG Tourist cookset email me at firstname.lastname@example.org"
"Used with the Sigg Tourist cookset, this unit is a wonder. It is stable, reliable (27 years and going strong), and simple. I use priming paste and have never had a problem."
Ken Squires, 0/0/00
"I have had my SVEA 123 around 25 years, and have taken it on numerous wilderness canoe trips. It has never had to be serviced and has worked flawlessly. It gives tremendous heat and cooks and boils very quickly. My only quibble is that the heat keeps building and one must keep turning the valve down."
Bill Porter, 0/0/00
"I think I bought mine in 1972 or 1973. In a Sears store, no less. Despite having and using more modern designs (eg Whisperlite, Dragonfly etc) and being on trips with many other stoves, I still continue to use this. Have cooked with it many hundreds of times and it is still totally reliable. The 1.5 oz mini pump is not essential but is worth the weight to me for convenience, leak testing and cold-weather, high-altitude use. It really isn't hard to prime under most conditions without the pump and you don't need paste or anything - if very cold, I'll pour a *little* fuel out of the bottle or the tank (via the tank cap) into the depression by the valve stem, then light that. It is lovely, either in its natural tarnished state or after a bath in Brasso. It simmers nicely, not quite as well as the Dragonfly but much better than the later Svea with a built-in cleaning needle. I have done very little maintenance in all that time - couple of dissassembly and cleaning sessions. Its negatives are (1) poor stability - you have to find a very level spot and pots tend to slide off anyway, (2) it doesn't boil water as quickly nor as efficiently as some newer stoves, and (3) it's shape doesn't pack in most wide (i.e. efficient) pots. So why do I still use it? For a short trip, fuel efficiency is no big deal and it's way less trouble to use than any other (except maybe a butane stove) - and yes, maybe a little sentimentality for a time when things were made to be beautiful and reliable."
So Cal Dave, 0/0/00
"Bought a new one of these in 2002 after becoming frustrated with an MSR Whisperlite. I accidentally ran over my 20 year old SVEA in 1995 and bought the MSR as a replacement; to put it mildly, the MSR is just too 'sophisticated' to use in the backcountry - it flares up, it operates inconsistantly, and constantly needs maintenance (no ownder the maintenance kits are so prominantly displayed in the stores!).
The new SVEA is a little lighter than the original (thinner gauge metal used in it?), but its still a simple, reliable, dependable stove thats easy to use. Doesn't burn quite as hot as an MSR (when the MSR works), but it lights quickly with no fuss and gets the job of cooking done. If you need more heat output you can buy an optional pump for it. Some folks find the integral fuel tank too small, but I've found its enough fuel for a two night summer weekend trip.
The only part of the MSR stove I'm saving are the 11 oz & 22oz fuel bottles - I'll need them to transport extra fuel in the winter or on long summer hikes due to the SVEA's small tank. A little heavier than the MSR stoves, but I consider that extra weight a small price to pay for the SVEA's dependability."
"I agree will all of the good things about this stove. Early on, I got the matching Sigg Tourister cookset and there is nothing that can beat that combo. You have the stability, the built-in windscreen (no crumpled up foil stuff here), it all stacks together into one small package including stove. What else could you want. Expect I haven't seen the cookset in years. Vendors note: If you made one, we would come!"
"I've had mine since about 1974 and it's worked wonderously once I learned all the tricks, which includes getting the Sigg cookset. Fill and prime the moat and always leave at least half inch of air in the tank so you get good compression since liquids don't compress. I'm glad I stumbled onto this gem back in college, else I'm sure I would have been through several lesser stoves by now."
"Ha! I stumbled on this forum while looking for info on the sigg tourist cookset. Mine's @ 25years old and is my second set. I've been getting anxious about the availability of another set. It's been suggested that I leave my set behind in favor of of my partners MSR( also an excellent stove) but for preparing a freeze-dried meal at altitude , there's no way to beat the nesting setup. That extra soaking that's needed to fully re-hydrate is no sweat. The meal stays hot in the covered pot on top (even in a pouch!) while water for a hot beverage is heating below. And I'm gettin' misty over what the pulsing jet sound of the old Svea has meant over the years. No longer available? Say it ain't so!"
Wes Babula, 0/0/00
"I have owned the SVEA 123 and the Hunter 8R for over 20 years now. I am just now replacing some parts in both and cleaning them up! I think these stoves are the greatest! The sound of the jet engine really makes everyone take notice on cold winter nights! I wouldn't trade for any of the newer stoves on the market."
"I still use the SVEA 123 that my Dad bought in 1969. I've purchased two more since, for parts, and although I've purchased and used three different MSR models over the past 25 years, they've been sold at garage sales while one of my 123's is on the trail about 80 days out of the year. I have two Sigg Tourist cooksets - neither very pretty - that are the perfect companions for the 123. Yeah, when it's -20 degrees F, they can be a bit difficult to get started and, no, they won't (safely) burn crude oil or lemonade, but it's the most dependable and easily maintained stove that is on the market. Parts became difficult to find for a couple of year but - thanks to the Internet - it's becoming much easier. It's simply the best backpacking stove made."
Ken Couche, 0/0/00
"Just thought I'd add my praises for this fine friend of a stove. Got mine in 1969--paid three buck equivl. in Swedish k's, bought four in fact and gave three to friends. The thing is still the best stove I've tried, including the MSR's and new Nova, all of which are too complicated, likely to break, and so forth. Besides, working with a Seva is kind of an adventure...between the preheating, the overheating--thank God so far the pressure relief valve has worked, but that second jet of flame coming from the fuel tank can get exciting in a tent--and the thundering rythmic roar, which alerts any other campers you're in the valley tonight, you're pretty satisfied after a hot meat. This puppy has never let me down. Here are the two preheating tricks I use. First, always open the valve after last use and its cooled to equalize pressure. If looking to light it off in the morning, I open the valve to equalize pressure just before racking out (and after the stove has cooled), and then then either put it in the bag with me that night, or when I first wake in the morning. In a couple minutes, it will warm up enough that when you open the valve again, liquid fuel will squirt right out. If that doesn't work, or its the evening, and you don't want to hold it between your legs or under your arm--more effective than in hands--for too long, hold it in one of those places for a minute or two, then open the valve, turn the stove upside down and shake some fuel out. You'll only get a drop, light it and hold it upside down till the third drop comes out. Then smartly right the stove. Don't wait on this last part, or your hand will be on fire. Good luck and God bless."
Allen Webb, 0/0/00
"I bought mine in 1973 and after 30+ years of climbing, backpacking, canoeing, car camping, it runs great. Don't fill the fuel tank or else it will surge yellow flames rather than the blue you want. I like the little pump: a few pumps and the fuel will spurt from the top to prime. After pumping the priming goes faster. Why aren't more things made with the durability, thoughtfulness, and elegant efficiency of the Svea 123 stove?"
Victor W., 0/0/00
"I've had my SVEA 123 since Boy Scout days in the early 1970s. It runs fine on 87 octane unleaded gas, so it can be refueled from the carburetor drain when motorcycle camping; no extra fuel bottle is needed. It works very well with my 3-cup stovetop espresso maker. It nests perfectly inside a "GSI Hard Anodized Boiler with Lid" or any other pot of 4" inside diameter and 5" height. It sat in my basement for 10 years, then worked flawlessly the first time I filled it up. I heat it with a match to prime. It can be stopped and restarted; just remember to take the key off the valve to avoid burned fingers. My stove is an older model with a separate folding cleaning needle that separates for de-gunking. The rest of the stove is likewise easy to maintain and keep clean, though it works fine even when it is filthy.
The designer of this stove was a genius."
BGO star*gazer, 0/0/00
"I bought my first Svea 123 with the sigg tourist cookset in 1973 and it has performed flawlessly in the cascades in wash. The trick is in getting it started but once it gets going it the best.I've picked up two more sets on e-bay.
Optimus also makes a cookset similar to Siggs."
"I acquired my Svea 123 in 1969 from my older brother. He was very much into climbing and backpacking with as light a weight as possible. So he went on to a lighter stove for those purposes. My Svea 123 also came with the Sigg Tourist Cookset. A wonderful companion for the 123. If you don’t have one for your 123 consider getting one. They don’t make them anymore so an online auction may be a good place to find the Sigg Tourist Cookset. I’m currently in the process of replacing my Sigg Tourist Cookset as I’m writing this review. My 123 is still working very well and my Sigg Tourist Cookset has served me for over 35 years. That’s right…I said 35 years. There’s not too much equipment out there that I can say that about.
I backpacked for a few years and also got interested in motorcycles. Today I still go motorcycling and motorcycle camping. I would not leave home without it. My biker buddies are just amazed when I fire it up for my morning coffee. They gather around and wait for their coffee too. The Svea 123 has NEVER let me down. There have been a few hard starts or quirks but if you own one you know that it takes a little bit of an art to start. I love the purrrrr sound of the stove. If you own one then you know what I’m talking about. It kind of reminds me of my Harley. When I go vehicle camping I take my two burner Coleman and always take my Svea 123 as a backup or just for coffee.
If you are reading this review and looking for a very sturdy, dependable and all weather compact stove, then consider the Svea 123.
"Svea 123 is like a lot of things in life- you either love it for its positives or hate it for its negatives. Nothing is perfect. On the plus side, you will never have a rusty eyesore to look at, unlike most pieces of rust-prone junk on the market. When they're long in the junk yard, a 100-year-old brass Svea 123 will still be a piece of art. It is the original and quintessential backpacker and if they ever stop making them, (and that day is close at hand)they will be worth a lot of cash. On the minus side, having to remove the windshield and the hands-on contact of priming this thing gets you a little too close for actual comfort. I have found the easiest way to prime it in cold weather is to lay one-half a trioxane pellet right on top of the burner plate and light it. Wind has no effect on the pellet which keeps right on burning as you open the valve to check if its properly pre-heated. If not, just close it and wait a while lomger before opening the valve again. Sometimes, the pellet is still burning after the stove has reached operating temperature and is whirring away with its miniature helicopter sound-no problem, the pellet burns fully and the ash blows away in the wind."
Jim Smith, 0/0/00
"I never even heard of Svea stoves until I just picked up this Svea 123 at a yard sale. I figured for 50 cents I would take a chance on it. I have never been so impressed in my life. It took a little while to figure out how it worked since I had no instructions and did not find this site until later, but I got it going and it works fantastic. I cant wait to get it into the woods to see just how well it performs. From all the reviews I have read it will surpass all my expectations."
Dan J, 0/0/00
"I bought a Svea in 1975 and about the same time bought a "Pak-cook" Taiwanese knock off of the same thing. I also eventually bought the pump accessory and used it on both. They have both worked quite well, though I am ditching the Pak-Cook clone because the seals have not stood up to the vagaries of gasoline (white gas, i mean) particularly well. But as far as, size, weight, reliability and heat output, I love the design.
I have also ditched the pump, it's just problematic. The best thing I have found is to carry a couple of butane lighters and use one to heat the bottom of the stove to prime for pressure - at least enough to get the liquid to squirt and weep into the pre-warming depression. Then it's business as usual. My only complaints are with stability of the stoive and anything placed on top. But experience and care do go a longways here......
This is a beautiful piece of design."
Brian, WA state, 0/0/00
"Been using the Primus version since a Boy Scout in early 70's, and had my own 123R since the early 80's. I'm now a Scoutmaster and have 4 with Sigg cooksets (Thanks, eBay). The kids think they aren't as cool as a Whisperlite, etc., but they always get their food cooked while the people with Whisperlites are fussing away. It still outperforms all the newer stoves as far as reliability in cold and at high altitudes. I prime with Cochlan's Fire Paste squeezed into the well at the burner bottom, light it, and by the time it burns off, the stove is going full tilt. Worked great for 2 Cascade snow weekends last winter @ 14F. Try butane/propane with that! Brunton no longer imports them, and the last USA export batch (possibly) went to A&H (http://packstoves.com/) in CA this past summer. They may have sold out, but as of today they still have them on their site. A&H also sells rebuild kits for the 123 and the 123R, and are great people to deal with."
"There are clever bits of camping gear and there are attractive bits of camping gear, but this is both. Beautiful in brass and throws out all the heat you could ever want. They prefer white gas/Coleman fuel but will accept unleaded auto gas with few problems except a tendency to smoke and soot stain the under sides of pans. The stove may also clog it's jet resulting in hard starting and uneven performance. A stab with a jet pricker will cure this. You should always have a pricker in your kit on the off chance you need it, it's one of those things that when you need it, nothing else will do. There are a number of ways to make home made prickers. The 123R comes with a self cleaning valve but purists agree that the R model does not simmer as well as the regular model.
This is not a stove for the unintelligent, if you still carry a diagram for lacing your boots in your pocket, get a butane powered pizo start cartridge stove.
Starting is the thing that puts most people off, it does take a small amount of practice and there are several possible methods. My favorite is to turn the whole stove upside down and pour a spoonful of gas into the depression then cook off. Now turn the stove back over and gas will fairly gush at a tweak of the valve. Useful in very cold conditions. Some people use a mini pump to pressurize the tank. This works well and does away with having to prime at all but is one more thing to carry/loose and you have to remove the pot stand/wind screen to get at the fuel cap. Most people, myself included, don't bother.
A good modification is to wrap the valve stem in fiberglass wicking and secure with a couple of turns of copper wire. Make sure the wicking goes down as far as possible to get heat onto the tank itself. Now you can just add gas/alcohol to the wicking and light with no fear of flaming liquid spilling. Leave the alcohol at home and either pour a very small amount of gas from the bottle or use the stove gas cap and very carefully pour out gas from the stove itself and splash on the wicking. Some folks use fire paste to prime, this works just fine, but it's one more thing to carry. Ditto alcohol. How ever you choose to start it, there is one cardinal rule to always remember: NEVER let it run out of fuel. The fuel is picked up from the tank by a cotton wick, if the tank runs dry while the stove is blasting away there is a good chance the wick will char where it enters the valve stem. Then either performance will be noticeably reduced or the stove will quit altogether until the wick is replaced. This is doable in the field if you know how and have the right sized spanner handy as well as a piece of cotton based string, but is just as easily avoided by making sure there is always enough fuel in the tank. As the stove gets hotter, the pressure in the tank increases and the stove noticeably runs faster and faster. This is not in itself harmful for the stove but is a waste of gas and does sound a little frantic. I turn my down by degrees, remembering to remove the valve key between time since leaving it in place will result in a burnt thumb the next time you touch it, a rookie boob you only make once. A full tank will last around 40 minutes at full blast, weekend trips can be done without refueling.
The sound. Oh that sound, purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, the sound of dinner in the works, breakfast on a cold morning, coffee or tea as you contemplate your next move. Comforting and reassuring.
Clever: Hot, very reliable, sexy in hard wearing brass, altitude proof, light, compact, sounds like nothing else. Pot stands can be turned out for heating larger pots or fry pans. Good if enthusiastic simmer.
Not So Clever. Can be a tad fiddly to start. Petrol smelling fingers. No longer produced. Small pot.
This last can be neatly beaten by getting a set of Gaz GlobeTrotter pots. The 123 will fit perfectly inside for a solo cooking set that is hard to beat. A cut off sock or purpose made bag will stop the stove from rattling inside. Include the excellent Trangia non stick fry pan and you are good to go for as long as you have gas and something to cook. The above rig is my preferred solo set. Still not convinced? Count the 5 star ratings on the other reviews."
"For me there are no negative sides,it works always!"
"Liked the novelty of these stoves, and finally picked up an old one off of Ebay. Took a bit of time and experimentation to get it figured out (especially in the wind), but I like it a lot. It is not as fast in heating water as is my MSR Simmerlite, but it is reliable and infinitely cooler. It seems to build up pressure gradually and takes a little time to get really roaring. I did pick up a pump which does make it easier to light and faster to get up to full heat. I know there are other strategies for this. If this was a newly designed stove, I wouldn't rate it so high. Certainly my newer MSR out performs it in most ways. I just get a kick out of using this old stove and know I can rely on it, even if it takes a bit more fiddling to get going."
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