Owner Review: MSR Whisperlite Backpacking Stove
- Taking Roger's advice, I have selected another piece
of equipment for my second owner review. It follows
MSR Whisperlite Backpacking Stove
Owner Review October 4, 2005
Name: Ryan L. Christensen
Height: 6 2 (1.88 m)
Weight: 225 lb (102 kg)
Email address: bigdawgryan@...
City, State, Country: Idaho Falls, ID, U.S.A
I began hiking, camping, and backpacking when I was
twelve, and continued until 25. After a long hiatus
due in part to a bad back, I resumed hiking, camping,
fishing, and biking three years ago. Now, I have
early teen-age boys with whom I can share my love for
these sports. The past three years, we have hiked, or
camped, nearly every month, year-round. We vary our
experience: desert, forest, meadow, and mountain; in
the spring, summer, fall, and winter; be it sunshine,
rain, wind, or snow. Together we took up backpacking
this summer. I am not an ultra-light packer; I carry
a full array of gear.
Manufacturer: Mountain Safety Research (MSR)
Year of Manufacture 2005
Limited Lifetime Warranty should product fail during
its life, MSR will repair or replace, their
option, free of charge to the original
Packaged Weight 14.5 oz ( 410 g)
Minimum Weight 11 oz (305 g)
Dimensions 6" x 4" x 4" (15 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm)
Material of Construction stainless steel and brass
Fuel Type white gas
MSRP $69.95 US (requires a MSR fuel bottle which
is sold separately)
MSR Fuel Bottles designed to work with the threaded
pumps of the MSR stoves
Material of Construction a single-piece of
Available Sizes 11 oz (325 ml), 22 oz (650 ml),
33 oz (975 ml)
MSR Fuel Bottle MSRP $9.95 US, $10.95
US, $11.95 US
I was looking for a compact, easy to use stove that
would function at higher elevations and in all
seasons. After much consideration, and an article I
read online which recommended liquid fuel stoves, I
decided on the MSR Whisperlite backpacking stove.
The Whisperlite comes in a simple, triangular-shaped
cardboard box. The box contains the stove itself, a
fuel pump, a windscreen, a heat reflector, a small
parts kit, an instruction booklet in six languages,
and a nylon stuff sack.
The stove does not look like much. It is comprised of
stainless steel wire tripod legs that also serve as
pot supports. These three legs fold around the
bowl-shaped, stainless steel burner. Below the burner
are the brass mixer tube and the stainless steel
priming cup, into which fuel drips and is burned to
prime the stove. The fuel line connects the priming
cup to the fuel pump and the fuel bottle. Nearly half
of the fuel line is flexible brass hose, the balance
is rigid stainless steel tubing. The stainless steel
catch arm connected to the fuel line secures the line
to the fuel pump. The pump assembly, including a fuel
filter, fits inside and securely screws into the
threaded top of the MSR fuel bottle.
I have successfully used my MSR Whisperlite stove on
numerous backpacking and camping trips. I primarily
camp in southeastern Idaho. Occasionally, I venture
into Grand Teton National Park, which is located in
western Wyoming, or Yellowstone National Park, which
is located in eastern Idaho, western Montana, and
western Wyoming. The elevations of the areas I
usually camp range from 5,500 feet (2,000 m) to 8,500
feet (3,000 m) above sea level. The summers in these
areas are usually dry and warm (80 to the upper 90 F
(27-32 C). Winters are usually cold and snow depths
vary from the high-plains desert to the higher
elevations. Springs can be somewhat cold and wet. In
addition, the wind blows frequently, regardless of the
Assembling and operating this stove are quite simple.
First, uncap the MSR fuel bottle and fill with white
gas. Next, insert and snugly screw the pump assembly
into the MSR fuel bottle. Make sure the control valve
is closed. Then pressurize the fuel bottle via the
pump plunger until you feel firm resistance. Next,
lubricate the end of the fuel line and insert into the
pump assembly. Secure the fuel line to the pump via
the catch arm. Make sure the catch arm clicks into
the slot on the pump. Now rotate the three legs/pot
supports, making sure they click into their
designated slots on the burner. In dry areas, or in
snow, it is a good idea to place the stove on the foil
Now you are ready to prime the stove. First, you open
the control valve and allow about a teaspoon of fuel
to drip into the priming cup. Next, you close the
control valve, and check for fuel leaks. If there are
no leaks, you ignite the fuel in the priming cup.
When the priming fuel has burned down to a small
flame, you gradually open the control valve until you
get the desired flame. The stove design is such that
the fuel line passes near the flame to enable the fuel
to be preheated and vaporize. The vaporized fuel
passes through the balance of the fuel line and out
the fuel jet. The vaporized fuel then ignites as it
passes through the corrugated burner plates.
Unfortunately, it is quite easy to allow too much fuel
to fill the priming cup. Lighting the stove then
results in a massive yellow fireball. In addition, if
you have left the fuel valve open, things can get out
of control in a hurry. My teenage sons often over
fill the priming cup. I am not sure if this is
accidental or intentional, as they like the inferno.
The first time I used this stove, I was amazed at how
quickly it boiled water. I was eating my freeze-dried
chicken enchiladas quite a bit sooner than my friends
who were using different stoves. Such is the case
whether I am in the snow, rain, or sunshine. Because
of the frequent winds in southeastern Idaho, I find
that I use the foil windscreen quite a bit. It keeps
the flame from blowing out, and I believe it also
increases the efficiency of the stove. .
I boil a lot of water on the stove, as I eat a lot of
many freeze-dried food when I am backpacking and
camping. However, I have cooked omelets, fish, and
other foods quite well on the stove as well. MSR
claims that the Whisperlite will boil one liter of
water in about four minutes. From my experience,
especially when using the heat shield and the wind
screen, I am able to boil water in about 3.5 minutes
My MSR Whisperlite has a self-cleaning shaker jet.
For quick cleaning of the fuel jet, simply shake the
stove up and down. The rattle you here is the
shaker needle doing its thing. This seems to work
most of the time. Occasionally, a more extensive
cleaning is required. However, I have not had any
major problems with this stove.
I believe the MSR Whisperlite is a great backpacking
stove for the non-ultra light backpacker. It is
simple to use. The white gas fuel is easy to light in
all weather conditions, and burns efficiently. It is
quite durable, and maintenance, other than the quick
shaker cleaning, is seldom required.
My Likes: My Dislikes:
easy to use stove, fuel bottle & fuel heavier than
heats up quickly very easy to over prime and create a
fire ball for a few minutes durable
Ryan L. Christensen
"Excellence is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle
Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005
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