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REPOST: MSR SimmerLite Stove - Diana Wasielewski

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  • Diana
    Owner Review - MSR SimmerLite Stove Diana Wasielewski December 28, 2005 Personal Biographical Information Name: Diana Wasielewski Age: 23 Gender: Female
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2005
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      Owner Review - MSR SimmerLite Stove
      Diana Wasielewski
      December 28, 2005

      Personal Biographical Information

      Name: Diana Wasielewski
      Age: 23
      Gender: Female
      Height: 5' 7" (1.7 m)
      Weight: 135 lbs (61.2 kg)
      Email address: tabbycat1264@...
      Location: South Bend, IN USA
      Backpacking background: I started backpacking about two years ago, so
      my reviews will obviously be from a beginner's standpoint. I have
      been on about 10 backpacking trips so far, but I am an avid dayhiker
      as well. I have also spent a good deal of time playing with my gear,
      so I have used it well beyond what my trip's use would amount to.

      Product Information

      Manufacturer: Mountain Safety Research (MSR)
      Year of manufacture: 2004
      Manufacturer's web site: http://www.msrcorp.com
      Stated weight: 8.5 oz (241 g) minimum, 12.2 oz (346 g) as packaged
      (with storage bag, base, and windscreen)
      Actual measured weight: 9.5 oz (269 g) without storage bag, base, or
      windscreen, 14 oz (397 g) with storage bag, base, and windscreen
      Fuel: White Gas
      Necessary accessories: MSR fuel pump (included) and compatible
      aluminum fuel bottle
      Stated accessory weights:
      MSR fuel pump: 2.5 oz (70.94)
      MSR 11 oz fuel bottle (empty): 2.8 oz (79.45 g)
      Actual accessory weights:
      MSR fuel pump: 3 oz (85.12 g)
      MSR 11 oz fuel bottle (empty): 3.5 oz (99.31 g)
      MSRP: $99.95 USD for the stove and pump, and $9.95 USD for an 11 oz
      MSR fuel bottle

      Product Description

      The SimmerLite is basically a burner supported on a tripod. The legs
      are somewhat triangular in shape, and they double as pot supports.
      Two of the legs of the tripod are moveable and slide along the
      circumference of the burner to meet with the third leg, which allows
      the stove to be stored more compactly. Attached to the stationary
      leg is braided steel tubing that attaches to the fuel pump and bottle
      (necessary for operation). The stove is designed so that, as the
      fuel runs through the tubing, it travels around the outside of the
      burner. The heat from the flame vaporizes the fuel and acts as a
      constant priming mechanism. Underneath the burner is an overflow
      cup, which will catch extra fuel released into the burner during

      An MSR fuel pump and compatible aluminum bottle are necessary for the
      operation of the stove. The pump screws into the fuel bottle and
      includes a pressurizing pump and a thumb control valve. There is
      also a port to attach the gas line form the stove.

      Basic Stove Operation

      To initially prime to stove, the user lets a small amount of fuel wet
      the burner head and lights it. Ideally, the priming flame will last
      long enough to begin to vaporize the fuel in the tuning around the
      burner. When you hear the fuel begin to vaporize (a hissing sound),
      you slowly open up the control valve to allow the vaporized gas to
      continue burning. If the priming flame goes out and the fuel is
      already vaporizing, you must wait for the stove to cool down before
      attempting to prime it again.

      During cooking and before priming, the fuel bottle must be
      pressurized. This is done with the plunger attached to the fuel
      pump. When it becomes difficult to push the plunger in, the fuel
      bottle is properly pressurized.

      Field Information

      While I ended up liking this stove a great deal, my first experience
      with it was very negative. I received the stove in the mail and
      immediately took it out to give it a try. I filled the (not
      included) MSR fuel bottle with Coleman fuel, attached it to the pump,
      plugged in the stove, and pressurized the tank. This was my first
      white gas stove, and the 6" of piping leading from the stove to the
      fuel tank didn't seem to me to be a safe distance away; I had fears
      of somehow blowing myself up. Because I didn't have any bare ground
      to test on, I set the stove on its included aluminum "base" on the
      grass. Following the included instructions, I turned opened the
      valve, let the fuel wet the burner head, closed the valve, and lit
      the stove with a match. After the priming fuel burned down a bit, I
      slowly opened the valve again. Voila! I had an operational stove.
      Inspired by my success, I let the stove burn out, and, after waiting
      about 10 minutes, tried again. I repeated all of the steps, again
      reading from the manual. This time, when I lit the priming fuel, the
      stove flared up and engulfed my hand and forearm in flame. Arm-
      hairless and terrified, I backed a safe distance away from the
      vicious stove and waited for it to burn out. After it had cooled, I
      packed it up and left it alone for a few days.

      Thankfully, the above has been my only bad experience with the
      stove. Ever since, I have used a long lighter or a stick to light
      the priming fuel. I've been told that the flare up was probably
      caused by gas fumes hanging in the air and from being downwind while
      priming it. I don't really know for sure, but nothing even close to
      that has happened since. I have had some flare-ups, but nothing

      When I purchased the stove, I bought the MSR SimmerLite Maintenance
      Kit ($9.95 USD), but never used it. I've never had to perform any
      repair or maintenance at all, and regular use of the Shaker Jet kept
      it from clogging.

      I have used the stove in everything from warm, sunny, breezeless
      mornings to chilly, rainy, and windy nights. I've even used it in
      the snow in temperatures hovering around 20°F. Every time, the stove
      has lit and cooked without incident or issue. The flame is stable in
      a breeze even without the windscreen, and the stove stays lit in a

      Out in the field, the stove performed almost exactly as specified by
      MSR. The 2 cups of water I'd boil for noodle dishes would come to a
      rolling boil in or under 3 minutes (MSR specifies 3.75 minutes for 1
      liter of water). The time didn't seem to vary with temperature, but
      priming took a few extra seconds and needed more fuel. I always used
      the included windscreen and reflective base, so this probably
      accounts for the lack of significant change in boiling times.

      I never actually measured fuel usage of this stove. I'd leave for a
      3 day trip (2 dinners and 2 breakfasts) trip with the 11 oz bottle
      full, and when I returned home, it would never be more than halfway
      empty. During the course of the trip, I'd probably cook for about 25
      minutes total, so my estimation is that the stove uses
      approximately .22 oz of fuel per minute.

      Even after much use and testing, the art of simmering still somewhat
      escapes me. I've tried turning the gas way down, which usually
      results in the flame going out after a short time; letting the
      pressure in the tank drop, which is a rather fussy maneuver and
      requires careful attention (it does work, however); and some
      combination of both. I can simmer, but usually not for long. The
      stove either goes out, or I over-pressurize the tank and have a small

      I also somewhat dislike the priming process in general. Other stoves
      have an actual priming cup, which you fill with fuel. The SimmerLite
      primes from the burner, with an overflow cup underneath. While
      having the burner and priming cup somewhat integrated is convenient,
      it is difficult to see exactly how much fuel you have let out for
      priming (especially in the dark). When the burner is overfilled and
      fuel is diverted into the overflow, the stove engulfs itself in flame
      and becomes sooty. After some practice, I learned how much fuel was
      too little or too much, but starting out, the process seemed overly

      For the 8 trips that I used this stove, I cooked approximately 16
      meals. I also boiled numerous liters of water at home to practice.
      For my needs, which usually include boiling water, cooking noodles
      and sauce, heating soup, and making oatmeal, this stove was overkill
      in weight and features, and I ended up switching to a homemade
      alcohol burner and adapting my meals to freezerbag cooking style.

      Things I like:

      Flame is HOT and has a nice spread
      Fuel efficient
      Reliable in all tested conditions
      Fully field-maintainable

      Things I dislike:

      Priming process is fussy until you get the hang of it
      Stove and fuel is heavy and bulky compared to an alcohol burner
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