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Re: Svea 123 or optimus 8r?

I have an old 1944 coleman military pack stove that I use on motorcycle trips but it is overbuilt and heavy. I don't want a butane stove (non-recycling canisters) so I am looking at older backpacking white gas (naptha) stoves but I have no experience with these. They each seem well designed but plan b is msr whisperlight (though the service life will be less as the plastic pumps seem to give out).

5 Replies

8r was my first stove. It worked forever. Someone gave me a second one because they didn't like it. I finally sold them both to a hiker who loves 8r. I switched to butane because I often use an oven. Butane seems to work very well at altitude also.

Thanks for memories. Those memories include some fireball moments.

The thing worked on unleaded fuel without any adjustments. How can you go wrong with that?

Thanks, I don't want butane due to the cans that cannot be refilled. The stoves available in butane/propane are very light and easy to use (fewer of those "fireball moments"). I have yet to set the stove on fire in 30 years and, since hiking about is an adventure, the ritual of the lighting of the stove adds to the tension, the drama, the potential for self-immolation. I did once see a drunk guy light up his pack, tent, sleeping bag by being foolish with a gas stove but the problem was mostly the flammable liquid in his stomach rather than that for the stove.

I used the 8R (and the 111B) for decades. The Svea 123 was basically the same type stove as the *R but in a different configuration.  I eventually switched to the MSR Whisperlight for liquid fuel and the MSR Pocket Rocket II for cannisters. I use the Whisperlight for longer trips and trips in the winter, especially if I will be heating water or cooking for more than myself.  I use the Pocket Rocket II for short solo trips spring through fall. I found the Pocket Rocket II on the REI page but not the Whispoerlight.

aka "Boonerelli"


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My fist REI purchase was a Primus 71L - it is still kicking around here somewhere   Very similar to the Svea.  I switched to the Pocket Rocket decades ago, and I am glad I did.  I recycle the canisters, so no great harm to the planet and considerably safer.  Still the Svea is a good item - as you know, just pay attention....

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
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