A camping stove from yesteryear
Updated: Feb 14
Choosing the right camping stove is a big thing when planning a big trip. It's something that will be part of your life every day and it has to work reliably both in the heat of the desert and the freezing heights of a mountain range. A hot meal or a cuppa is a significant moral booster and it goes without saying that the biggest challenge on a solitary adventure is in one's own mind.
So, there are a few things that need to be considered when selecting a stove:
Is it sturdy? It's going to be in and out of your luggage every day. It is going to be dropped, it is going to get wet. It is going to be stepped on and get crushed into the mud or snow.
How big is it? There is a very limited amount of space within the luggage of an adventure motorcyclist. One also has to consider the amount of space that spare fuel will take up.
Can it be easily serviced? It doesn't matter how well they are built, mechanical things go wrong. Anything that has even one moving part is going to wear out eventually, especially something that has to deal with pressurized fuel and being used every day over an extended period under all conditions and environments. Does the stove have specialist parts? Is there anything that is likely to break should it be dropped or run over(this is more likely than you think!). Can it be dismantled with basic tools?
The Svea 123 is my choice of stove for touring. It's a white gas(Petrol) stove that has changed little since it was first brought to market by it's Swedish inventor in 1955. It's built like a tank and performs very well at all altitudes.
The stove is compact, fairly light and can be maintained on the road by cutting washers out of an old inner tube. The only other service item is the wick, which is basically string.
Despite what is written in the instructions you CAN run this stove on regular petrol, and I have been doing so for years now.
The stove is capable of a low simmer, but on full power it is extremely powerful at any altitude. Another great feature is the built-in wind shield.
Unlike more modern white gas stoves, the Svea has no mechanical primer to go wrong, you prime it with a flame. I generally use a windproof lighter direct, but you can just put a small amount of fuel in the priming bowl, or use gel. It's really easy.
It's worth mentioning that I keep my Svea inside this cheap Optimus Terra Weekend Cookset:
Here is a short video of it's usage.
A more in depth review: