Ode To The Swedish Mess Kit (56K look out!)

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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Ode To The Swedish Mess Kit (56K look out!)

Post by crypto » Fri Nov 23, 2007 5:58 pm

Some of you have probably still not seen the amazing Swedish Mess Kits that are all over the surplus market, so I thought I'd make this post showing them off.

They're typically $5 to $8 depending on where you get them from, and they're pretty fucking bombproof.

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They stand about 10" tall, 6" wide, and 4" deep. There is a stainless steel pot with a bale and pan with a handle (and loops on the handle to shove a stick into). The pan lid covers the pot, and they both nest into a aluminum windscreen.

Now, the jewel of the Swedish Mess Kit is the brass Trangia stove contained inside.

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The Trangia stove is a brass alcohol jet stove that has no moving parts, and is pretty much indestructible. I rolled mine down the mountain at Z-Con and it was no worse off. If you've ever seen a pepsi can stove then you know how these operate. you pour alcohol in the center, it flows to the sides, vaporizes, and comes out the jets. Easy peasy. It's heavier than a pepsi can stove but is also not made out of aluminum foil.

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To use the mess kit, you place the Trangia stove inside the windscreen, and flip the supports up, like so:
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Pour enough alcohol in the stove to cook your food. It takes about an ounce of fuel to boil a cup of water. Light the stove, and put either a pot or a pan on top:
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This stove generates quite a bit of heat, and boils a pot of water in 5-7 minutes depending on temp. The windscreen is totally effective, and the fact that it is custom made for the pot and pan means that very little heat escapes around the cookware.

When you're done cooking, you have two options. Either let the stove burn out, or place the cap back on it. The flame will extinguish, and once it cools you can thread it on tight. The rubber gasket inside the cap will prevent fuel leaks. I don't know whether heat will eventually degrade the gasket, so I usually just let it burn down and cool off before putting it away. If you do it like that you could even throw out the cap and save a few ounces.

Speaking of ounces, thats the only complaint about the Swedish Mess Kit. It has too many of them, being designed to be GI-proof.
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2 pounds, 14.25 ounces. Almost 3 pounds. However, if you consider that's a stove, a windscreen, a pot and pan, and enough fuel for 3-4 days, thats not too bad.


Anyway, go get one. They're dirt cheap, and indestructible. You'll be ready to invade Finland and Norway on a full stomach, or at least bug out without worrying about a broken stove.
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Post by CommonHighrise » Fri Nov 23, 2007 6:55 pm

Not much for large capacity pots and whatnot, but a local surplus shop has those triangia brass stoves for like $3 with lid. If youre signin' off on them, I might have to pick up one for a backup, and keep a small container of fuel stored inside.

Course, if youre the type who breaks ball bearings with rubber mallets, thats definatley a kit that'll last you.
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Post by Osiris Risen » Fri Nov 23, 2007 7:22 pm

That looks pretty nice, too bad there's no decent surplus stores near me. All the ones I've found online end up being $20ish because of the shipping.

If anyone has an extra they're willing to sell, let me know.
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Post by TheFreakinBear » Fri Nov 23, 2007 7:36 pm

I want one of those but alas there are none in my area of military surplus as well. It hurts me in my heart. Well...it is a great freakin find though!!
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Post by Grace » Fri Nov 23, 2007 9:07 pm

TheFreakinBear wrote:I want one of those but alas there are none in my area of military surplus as well. It hurts me in my heart. Well...it is a great freakin find though!!
This looks pretty close. Might be worth a try for only $8, when they eventually get back in stock.
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Post by ironraven » Fri Nov 23, 2007 11:13 pm

$20 bucks for the Swedish kits? Try Sportsmans Guide- they usually have them about $5, plus shipping. Order stuff with it to spread out the shipping cost.

Also, try eBay- pain in the ass, but if you are smart you aren't as likely to get fucked. And the UPS guy won't lose it- it's just cook pot.

They are a great kit in terms of robustness and function (bury them in coals, shovel more over the top, and they make a great dutch oven), although I'm not sure I like the weight and bulk for the pack. I use them for vehicle kits, however.
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Post by waterborne » Sat Nov 24, 2007 7:39 am

I just ordered 2 from sportmans guide for 19.95$ shipped. I really want them for the stove, but I'm sure I can use the rest. Thanks for the info Crypto.
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Post by JIM » Sat Nov 24, 2007 11:43 am

I've also got that Swedish Mess-Kit in my BOB. Workes pretty good, but it's heavy :o
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Post by Dr. Quickdraw McGraw » Sat Nov 24, 2007 1:17 pm

waterborne wrote:I just ordered 2 from sportmans guide for 19.95$ shipped. I really want them for the stove, but I'm sure I can use the rest. Thanks for the info Crypto.
if you are only getting it for the stove would the vargo not be a better bet?

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Post by A.C.E. » Sat Nov 24, 2007 5:34 pm

I thought I might have a couple of things to add about the swedish mess kit, or "snuskburken" (the "disgusting-can") as it's usually called.
1. It's a bitch to light if its cold. We usually carry the fuel and burner in our pockets to keep them warm.
2. The plastic bottles sometimes leak. Make sure it doesn't before you carry it in your pockets.
3. If you screw the lid on while it's still hot the rubber gasket will melt and clog the holes. It's pretty easy to clean it, finding a replacement gasket could be worse though, as the standard Trangia ones won't fit.


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Post by CommonHighrise » Sat Nov 24, 2007 8:12 pm

Ultra lightweight for $30, or a couple ounces heavier for $3...

Considering its for a backup, not a primary, Im gonna spend that $27 towards better things. Yeah, ounces add up, but so do dollars.
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Post by Woods Walker » Sat Nov 24, 2007 9:09 pm

I have two of those mess kits. One in SS and the other Al. The burners work fine but are maybe 1-2 oz more than the newer Trangia. I have never had the bottle leak. I don't think the fuel would screw anything up if it leaked like white gas etc.

I did have an explosion once. A total fluke thing. Used my strike force to ignite the pool of alcohol inside the stove and somehow vapors in the inner wall went up. The little explosion forced threads from the wicking material though the bottom of the double wall. Fuel sprayed me. Fortunately the fire was put out by the little explosion before it reached me. But I don't stick my head above the burner anymore when first lighting. I think these stoves are some of the safest around even with my small mishap.

Nice review crypto... :D
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Post by HurricaneDad » Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:20 am

TheFreakinBear wrote:I want one of those but alas there are none in my area of military surplus as well. It hurts me in my heart. Well...it is a great freakin find though!!
Seriously, try Cheaper than dirt and Sportsman's Guide. I got my 4-pack from CTD for like 20 for 8 windscreens, 8 burners, 8 fuel bottles, 4 pot/pan sets.

The burner is a 2-ton, bridle-coated bitch to light when it's cold. I had a HELL of a time getting it lit a couple of weekends ago when the morning temp was 18 degrees F. Tried lighter and sparker, and it took several minutes.

I'm planning on getting my hands on the Trangia "Winter Attachment" and a Trangia kit.

Heavy, yes. Bomb-proof? HELL yes!

Well worth my money. I need to get a couple of more, so that I can have one for everyone in the family/Bug Out Team.
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Post by ironraven » Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:17 am

medic wrote:
TheFreakinBear wrote:The burner is a 2-ton, bridle-coated bitch to light when it's cold.
Alcohol stoves have issues much below freezing, due to the relatively high vaporization temperatures of the various fuel options. The only thing you can do about it is carry the stove and the fuel in your jacket with you to keep them warm.

One thing that will give you an edge- take an empty tuna fish or similiar can. It should fit nicely over the bottom of the Trangia. Burn a couple of cotton balls or similiar in there, slide in the burner before it has completely gone out, and wait a minute before fueling. I've had luck with this technique in testing (about 40 degrees air temp, while sitting on a block of ice) but I haven't had a chance to do a serious testing program yet.
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Post by Towanda » Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:55 am

Thanks for posting this, Crypto. I just ordered a pair of stainless steel ones from Sportsman's Guide.

I'd been having a debate with myself about whether to get a Swedish mess kit, a civilian Trangia set (beyond my budget), or a Brasslite. Then I ran across this page about making a pot stand and base for a Trangia burner, should I ever want to go camping with my round pots and kettle.

Anybody got a pattern for a good simmer ring? The military Trangia burners don't come with one.
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Post by sheddi » Sun Nov 25, 2007 4:47 am

Towanda wrote:I'd been having a debate with myself about whether to get a Swedish mess kit, a civilian Trangia set (beyond my budget), or a Brasslite.
I've got a Swedish kit, but a couple of friends of mine who do some (dare I say it) lightweight backpacking have Mini Trangias.

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They're smaller and lighter than either the Swedish kit or the Trangia 27 you link to, and have a genuine civvy Trangia burner with the simmering cap.

Swedish kit: 2 lb 14.5 oz.
Trangia 27: at least 720 grams (1 lb 9 oz) depending on version, plus fuel.
Mini Trangia: 330 grams (11.5 oz), plus fuel.

Price in the UK is about £18 ($40-ish).
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Post by cougar » Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:31 am

I thought about getting one of these, but I dont like the idea of carrying liquid fuel. I do like how everything packs together though.
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Post by Osiris Risen » Sun Nov 25, 2007 11:04 am

Towanda wrote:Thanks for posting this, Crypto. I just ordered a pair of stainless steel ones from Sportsman's Guide.
Every time I go to sportsmans guide they tell me they're out of stock. Did you backorder them, or did they get some in after I went to bed last night?
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Post by airballrad » Sun Nov 25, 2007 11:34 am

They say that they are backordered until Dec 11th. I will need to find some other things I want from SG so I can sneak these into the order :twisted:

They have some cheap Merrell hikers... hmm...

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Post by Towanda » Sun Nov 25, 2007 4:41 pm

Osiris Risen wrote:
Towanda wrote:Thanks for posting this, Crypto. I just ordered a pair of stainless steel ones from Sportsman's Guide.
Every time I go to sportsmans guide they tell me they're out of stock. Did you backorder them, or did they get some in after I went to bed last night?
They're on backorder. I can wait three weeks or so, since I already have a Sierra Zip Stove if I decide to go camping for a weekend between now and then.

Cougar, these Trangia stoves burn denatured alcohol, not petroleum products. Denatured alcohol evaporates without leaving a residue if it's spilled, and its fumes don't have nearly the same explosive characteristics as petroleum-based stove fuels.
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Post by jamoni » Sun Nov 25, 2007 5:01 pm

A.C.E. wrote: 1. It's a bitch to light if its cold. We usually carry the fuel and burner in our pockets to keep them warm.
I can verify this. I tried to use mine this weekend (probably about 25 degrees) and couldn't get it to light to save my ass. I ended up cooking over the fire, which was okay, but kind of disappointing.
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Post by waterborne » Sun Nov 25, 2007 5:38 pm

I had a VARGO stove and I never could get it to work right. It never did want to fill right. As far as ETOH bottles, I'm looking at the plastic GI flask. I will test one to see if it leaks.
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Post by Armed Hippie » Sun Nov 25, 2007 5:38 pm

Wonderfull that the snuskburk (filthjar) has traveled so far. :lol:
I had one when I was a youth volonteer back in highschool. During my conscription we had the jägarkök (rangerkitchen) instead, quite regular stoves like the one below. http://www.soldf.com/images/s_jagarkok_1.jpg

I prefer the later and cheap but functional ripoffs are sold in Sweden. :)
Nice to see that the military surplus from the slaughter of the swedish armed forces comes to some use. :wink:
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Hey!

Post by Williams » Mon Nov 26, 2007 3:16 am

Hey! I don't suppose you'd have any way of getting ahold of the military manual for the Mess Kit? I'd sure love to read over that.

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