Classic Camp Stoves: Svea 123

Indestructible: if I dropped it off a 50-foot cliff, the Svea would light right up.

AP4V5149

Also known later as "the Hiker," I have already waxed rhapsodic about its aesthetics. But how does it actually work as a stove? My judgement is clouded by my affection, but I'll do my best.

Objectively, the 123 is the least efficient stove tested. It makes a lot of noise (literally) but doesn't really put out the BTUs. It is a primed, self-pressurizing stove, which means it takes a while to get up a head of steam. After the tank is warm/hot to the touch, it should be running at maximum.

So, given its considerable faults, why would you want one of these beauties? For one thing, if a Boy Scout can't kill it, nothing can. If I were to accidentally leave all these stoves on the tailgate of my truck and drive off, scattering them along the roadside, the Svea would light right up, after beating the wind screen back into shape with a rock.

Do I use it for my go-to stove? Usually I don't, but it might be the best back-up stove out there. And she's purdy.

Decibels: 59
Fuel: White gas
Time to Boil: 4:08
Oatmeal Index: Cajun again.

—Return to home page: 6 Classic Campstoves Reviewed

MSR Reactor

It has the fastest boil time in the bunch, saving fuel on an extended trip.


Kelly Kettle

Fueled by twigs, grasses, and driftwood, the Kelly Kettle made something out of nothing.


Emberlit Original Stove

It slides together easily, and the workmanship is excellent.


MSR XGK

One of the best stoves out there for frosty temps.


Coleman 502

They last forever with proper care.


MSR WindPro

The Windpro is a go-to for backcountry chefs because because of its exceptional flame control and pot stability.


Optimus Crux with Elektra Cookset

Simplicity and extremely effective, this is a very nice stove and an exceptional value.