Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bikepacking stoves

The minimalist's set up
I purchased my Optimus Svea 123 Hiker's stove more than 15 years ago.
As far as I can recall, this little pocket rocket has followed me on numerous trips that required cooking and the heating up of processed food.
So far, it has never been a let down.
The initial investment was high.
At a price of 110 Euros, the Svea can put a dent on your wallet.
Nevertheless, this stove had served me very well.
My recent outing in Kuala Kubu Baru saw the revival of the Svea stove.
I used it mainly to boil water and heat up my sachet food.
It takes about 3 minutes to bring a pot of water (400ml) to boil.
On larger volumes, it takes less than 10 minutes to do so.
To carry the Svea, I use a Camping Gaz Globetrotter pot which I had decommissioned to housed the stove.
This provided protection for the stove and can be used to bring water to a boil on my excursions.

Classic design: the Optimus Svea 123

I use this CampingGaz Globetrotter pot to house the stove
Operating cost
For an overnight trip, I pack an MSR fuel bottle (small 500ml) and a Nalgene (500ml) red bottle to carry petrol and denatured alcohol.
Petrol is the fuel to burn (about 92sen to fill up 500ml) and the alcohol is used mainly for priming the stove.
A litre containing both propellants would weigh less than 1kg.
It takes about 200ml to fill the Svea's fuel tank and after priming the stoves, it will burn for 30-minutes under moderate settings.
Since it takes about 3 minutes to boil a pot of water, you can use it for 10 times before a re-fuel is in order.

The Svea in use...
Given the weather conditions here, the Svea is one hardy stove.
You can leave it in the open and all you need to do, is to pour some denatured alcohol over the priming cup and its good to go.
The Svea requires very little maintenance and once it starts to clog, all you need to do, is to turn it up-side down and give it a couple of shakes.
This would clear the jet nozzle to allow fuel to flow freely.
As far as storage is concerned, the Svea takes very little space. 
But, when it comes to fuel, do make it a point to empty the bottles and let it air before you keep it.
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