MSR Whisperlite Stove Review


MSR Whisperlite Stove

When I first bought my MSR Whisperlite stove I couldn’t wait to take it on a backcountry trip.  The first use was on a weekend climbing trip into Hidden Lakes by Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies.  I was very happy with it right away: it is both light and versatile.  It boils water very quickly and is simple to set up and pack in.  This was a more luxurious trip since the hike it wasn’t long, and we fried up some eggs on this stove and were able to regulate heat better than with other stoves I’ve used. So, with this stove you can cook gourmet and not just ‘boil in bag.’

Here is what is included in the box:

  • Fuel pump
  • Windscreen
  • Small parts kit
  • Instructions
  • Storage sack
  • Stand for inverting propane canisters for better cold weather performance and more consistent output over the life of each canister

I own a Jetboil stove and am very happy with it, however I cannot use it everywhere because I find the Whisperlite stove is quite a bit more versatile.  In addition, it works much better in the cold and at higher attitudes.  However, you do have the option of using a canister with this stove (I’ve never used it though) and if using the canister, you will notice that the unit will not operate as efficiently in cold temperatures either (or high altitude) and warming it up prior to use is recommended.  I recommend putting it in your sleeping bag or jacket for a few minutes, this works for all fuel canisters.

Variety of bottle sizes available

Variety of bottle sizes available. Image courtesy of MSR (Cascade Designs) Website.

It is easy to adjust the flame and the fuel consumption, so it is good for cooking and not only boiling water.   It uses a surprisingly low amount of fuel.

Some people have mentioned that the burner blades are sharp and cut through the storage case, but I haven’t had that problem with mine. The storage sack it comes with is very durable and robust.  Something to consider and watch for though, and in case you see the blades cutting the bag, I would suggest being more careful or packing another robust piece of fabric over it so it doesn’t damage any items in your pack (such as a down air mattress!).

There are a lot of small parts and you want to be careful not to misplace or loose anything as it would be bad to find out you are missing pieces when you really need them.  You also want to make sure that you are cleaning this stove regularly or you can have problems with leaky fuel and the stove not igniting.  Though light, it is a bit bulky.

Overall, this stove is amazing and I highly recommend it. For versatility, and given the fact that you can use a variety of fuel sources, it is probably the only stove you will ever need.

Pros

  • Fuel versatile – you can use several different types of fuel, isobutane -propane, white gas, kerosene, unleaded gasoline.
  • Very fuel efficient
  • Burns all fuels equally well
  • Works great at high altitude and in cold mountain environments
  • Weighs only 13 ounces
  • Unlike canister stoves, ability to regulate heat (ie, to simmer) is excellent
  • Boils a liter of water in only 3 minutes 30 seconds (using white gas)
  • Includes what is called “Shaker Jet” technology that allows you to quickly clean the stove simply by shaking it.
  • Easy to set up
  • Light and stable, the windscreen is very effective.
  • Dependable

Cons

  • Need to prime the fuel before it will light (can be messy, especially if your fingers are cold)
  • Excellent simmer control when using isobutane-propane, but not great simmer control with white gas
  • Does not include fuel bottle or canister, these are sold separately
  • There are a lot of little parts, things you don’t want to loose when you are really depending on it
  • Bulky
  • Need to clean regularly – otherwise you may have a problem when you need the stove most. Regular checking and maintenance is a must

Where to buy

Which stove do you use?

Would love to see your comments below.

Alicja

Alicja

Alicja is an economist, enjoys climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, cycling and gets out into the backcountry as much as possible. See all of Alicja's Blog Posts
Alicja
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