Svea 123 'Swedish Safety Stove' portable hiking, camping and mountain climbing stove, $10.

The unassuming little Svea 123 is nothing short of a legend among hikers, campers and mountain climbers worldwide. It's been in production for the better part of 100 years, and its superior construction quality and design make it light, dependable and rugged. Because the Svea is a pressure stove, you can burn anything in it - from kerosene to coleman stove fuel to gasoline.

I sound like a mountain stove expert, don't I? Well, the truth is that I'm in Florida, where both mountains and mountain climbing stoves are pretty scarce! I'd actually never even seen one of these things before I got hold of this one! So, although this little stove isn't a goldmine of eBay profit potential, it certainly is a fine opportunity for us to go into some detail about how you should think when you find something you're not familiar with. Let's face it - it's a big world out there, and much of the time your decidion to buy will be based solely on how you're able to process the information that is available to you at the moment. So, let's take a look at what I was thinking about when I saw this stove, and why I decided to buy it. Remember, there are millions of different ways to look at anything - these are just my personal thoughts.

When I encounter something I'm unfamiliar with, I always try to determine where the item was made, because this fact alone will often determine whether I'll pursue a particular item.

So much of the stuff we see here in the U.S. nowadays has been imported from countries like China, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Pakistan, India, Vietnam and other less-developed countries. Goods can be manufactured in these places dirt cheap, because the average worker is paid a few cents a day. You didn't think all that junk was over here because we Americans crave the inferior quality of those Chinese ratchet tool sets, Pakistani cutlery or Malaysian dress shirts, did you? Of course not. The stuff is here, and people buy it, because it's cheap.

Now, let's consider those more developed countries, with high standards of living, whose workers enjoy wages on a par with the United States: Germany, France, Japan and Italy, as well as the Scandanavian countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Would an American company, for example, import a load of Danish furniture into this country because it was cheaper than making it here in the U.S.? Of course not, because Danish furniture costs plenty to manufacture and sells for a lot of money right in its own country. Products like these end up on store shelves in foreign countries because of the demand for their quality. The longer you're in this business, the more you'll notice this.

So with this information, I'm convinced that this stove was a relatively costly little item to purchase new. But cost isn't everything, because what if, in spite of the above, this particular stove is a piece of garbage that nobody ever really liked?

If I were to take a guess, I'd say that Sweden is loaded with both mountains and mountain climbers. And who'd be better than a Swedish company to design a stove for mountain climbers and hikers? Wouldn't they know what mountain climbers need and want in such a stove? Wouldn't they have plenty of chances to test it out sufficiently? And wouldn't they also be able to get feedback from other people who used his stove, so that they could make any necessary improvements and modifications?

I'd say yes on all counts, and I'd have to say that if you were to pick one place to design, manufacture and field test a camping stove that embodied all the requirements anyone could want in a compact, rugged and dependable mountaineering unit, you couldn't do better than one of the Scandinavian countries like Sweden. So, I decided to buy it.

Another factor that influenced my decision to buy this stove was that it's in great shape. Paradoxically, this stove is still in its box, which is really unusual, considering the harsh environment it's designed to be used in. And as we've seen countless times, stuff is worth more with the box than without the box!

Although it may seem like I did lots of thinking to justify this small purchase, it all happens in just a few seconds, because after you teach yourself to think like this, it becomes second nature. And this is how you must be able to think in this business, if you plan to learn how to see things and take advantage of opportunities that other people miss!

This little Svea 123 stove sold on eBay for $67.

Photo of Svea 123 Swedish camping and hiking safety stove