MSR backpacking stoves

9:05 a.m. on January 19, 2010 (EST)
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Looking for a msr liquid-fuel stove that will actually simmer. Have used a whisperlite in the past and it boils the mess out of everything. I was wondering if the Simmerlite actually does a good job simmering, or if I need to go with the heavier, more expensive Dragonfly with the extra valve to limit fuel flow for a simmer. So if anybody out there has a simmerlite, I'd appreciate knowing how well it works. Thanks.

11:31 a.m. on January 19, 2010 (EST)
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168 forum posts

I have a Simmerlite and it does an OK job. I have not used a Dragonfly but, given its construction, it should do a better job. With the Simmerlite, as with all MSR stoves, the simmer works better the lower the pressure in the "tank."

The best simmer on any backpacking stove I've ever used is the Coleman 508B. It will also run hotter than any backpacking stove I've tried -- best of both worlds. Heavy, though. On the positive side, there is enough fuel in the tank for a whole 3 days of solo use, so no need to pack spare fuel.

I don't know if the newer Colemans, like the Featherlight series, simmer as well because I haven't used them. The 508s show up on eBay all the time and, like all Coleman gear, either work fine or are easily restored.

But, getting back to your MSR question, I am pretty satisfied with the Simmerlite, esp. when I remember to keep the pressure lower.

2:11 p.m. on January 19, 2010 (EST)
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I have a MSR Whisperlite and normally it is not the greatest for simmering, however when paired with a surgical stainless steel mesh screen over the cooking surface, it does a much better job and actually does some simmering! (think bunson burners from high school chemistry class). Just an idea for you.

5:14 p.m. on January 19, 2010 (EST)
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used a pair of simmerlites last winter for a trip. I thought they worked very well, easy to use if you're familiar with MSR. the funny thing is, they don't "simmer" that well. i found it hard to adjust the flame.

if you like the separate bottle design & are willing to try a different brand, i have had great experience with the Optimus Nova. first and foremost, it works and has never failed. it's easy to modulate the flame, stable, and has a nice feature where flipping the burner purges gas from the fuel line - no spills when you detach it from the bottle. it will also burn pretty much any type of fuel you can find. only downsides are that it's slightly heavier, it's more expensive, and it's a little awkward to pack (not quite as bad as my old XGK with the hard metal fuel line).

7:09 p.m. on January 19, 2010 (EST)
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Welcome cdreaden,

As already noted there are two (really three) easy ways that I have used to regulate heat on a stove with no fine adjustment.

Reduce the pressure in the fuel bottle and pump only when needed maintaining low pressure.

Use a heat diffuser like a screen or steel plate under the pot.

Lift the pot higher above the stove burner by adding you own steel ring slightly smaller than your pot made from a tin can cut down to the desired height, place the ring on the stoves pot stand. There are several ways to do this actually.

1:18 a.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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553 forum posts

For winter (only) I use MSR's excellent Dragonfly multifuel stove exactly because it DOES simmer very low, low enough to use a Backpacker's Pantry fiberglass "oven" pot cover & steel heat deflector to make muffins and biscuits.

But, as reliable and easy to use as it is, the Dragonfly is MSR's heaviest stove and I can't recommend it for summer lightweight backpacking.


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