Source: bought it new
Amazing stoves — sturdy, reliable, easy to fix problems in the field.
- field reparable
- burns multiple fuels
- easy to simmer
- a bit bulkier than some other stoves
- can be ridiculously loud
- priming can be annoying
Amazing stoves. Traveled through South America with my girlfriend with the DragonFly. Ran it with diesel fuel on a 5-day trip when we forgot to gas up and couldn't find anything else. Clogged up a few times but was easy to clean and worked fine.
Only negatives were this stove was a bit too big to fit in our travel pot, and seriously in a quiet setting it can sound like a jet taking off— when we were in some camp sites we got looks - worth the simple simmer function, However, as we like to cook gourmet in the backcountry (with the Whisperlights you need to decrease the cannister pressure to make it simmer which is tricky, and you have to pump the pressure back up if you want to crank it up which is dangerous unless you turn the stove off (annoying).
They're all amazing though, and you can pick them up used for like 30 bucks (I have found two in thrift stores with parts missing, which MSR either supplied free, or I paid a few bucks to bring up to functioning). I have also experienced amazing customer service with MSR. They have sent me free shaker jets multiple times, and you can buy parts separate for super cheap when they break or you lose them (they may seem slightly pricey up front, but their repair-ability and easily available parts will pay off quick).
I have owned the MSR Whisperlite International stove for 7 years without any problems at all. I bought the Dragonfly because I wanted finer control for simmer, the Whisperlite really doesn't do that well, it's pretty much either on or off. The only exception to this is if it's a completely still without any wind, then, you maybe able to reduce the flame to slightly above a simmer without it conking out.
Here is my review of the Dragonfly, within the past week I have owned it:
The Dragonfly is larger than the Whisperlite that's for sure, getting it and the fuel pump into my 2L MSR pot kit is pretty challenging.
Noise wise it's not really that bad! The Whisperlite runs on liquid fuel too and still makes a bit of a roar when going full pelt. The Dragonfly is nothing like some have described i.e. a jet warming up or being deafening. You certainly know it's on, but I can still have a conversation with others around me. Until they make a silent liquid stove there will always be people complaining; Children in campgrounds are much worse LOL.
- The Dragonfly is very good at getting hot!
- It seems very economical on fuel (I use white gas/shellite exclusively) on par with the Whisperlite I'd say
- Seems strong in construction
- Simmer function is very good and easy to control — Major bonus for anything other than boiling water!
- It is fast to get up to operating temperature i.e. quick from priming to full flame, in my experience it is quicker than the Whisperlite
- Wind doesn't seem to bother the flame too much (compared to the Whisperlite which really doesn't like any breeze at all) it kept going strong even with breezes going through it
- I actually like the sound of it! Scares those other pussies around me using canister stoves :P
- The underneath side of the stove is only warm to touch after 10 mins running at full pelt! this is great if you need to put it down somewhere that doesn't like too much heat
- It takes many fuel types. As I said earlier, I use Shellite exclusively, but to have other options is a good thing if I'm in an area that only had diesel, unleaded fuel or kerosene.
- Sure it's a little louder than the Whisperlite International but it's not that bad considering the whole package
- I really don't like how the fuel pump for the Dragonfly can not be interchanged with the other MSR fuel pumps... If this fuel pump breaks then I can't just use the Whisperlite International pump :(.
- There is a number of solder points on the fuel tap tube attached to the burner. I think this could be a point for metal fatigue, particularly over time. This wouldn't be good i.e. EXPLOSION!
So far in my week of owning this stove I am very happy with this purchase and have even bought one for my friend for xmas :)
Price Paid: I can no longer remember
I've been using this stove for about a decade since a Coleman Peak1 died on a trip. These stoves really do simmer (stunning, from MSR). They can also really crank up, although I rarely run it that way so as to conserve fuel. The small bottle will last me 5 dinners and 5 breakfasts (barely).
Other reviewers have mentioned the noise, but these stoves are not as loud as other MSRs I've experienced.
Only real durability problem was the burner popped off the base one time. Stove still worked for the trip, and MSR fixed for free. Other than that, in a decade I've had to replace only one O-ring (and the pump when TSA confiscated the entire fuel bottle/pump, which I now always pack separately).
A little awkward to pack, but not too bad. After a decade, my windscreen has finally bitten the dust (aluminum foil can only be bent and re-bent so many times), but I got years more use from it than I anticipated.
I should add, my wife does not like this stove because she does not like pumping it up--she wants a stove to just turn on. But if you prefer white gas (as I do), you will be very happy with this stove.
I absolutely love this stove. I had been looking for a good backpacking stove for quite a while, but I didn't want to spend a fortune to get one. I had been using an old, reliable Coleman stove that uses a small propane tank, but it was large and heavy for backpacking.
Then, I came across this stove being sold in a box of other miscellaneous camping gear at a police auction. I bought it on name alone, knowing MSR to be a great brand for backpacking equipment, especially stoves.
When I won the whole lot of equipment for only about $25, I was stoked, and just hoping that this stove worked. (It turned out that some of the other equipment in the box of gear was also pretty good, but I was bidding solely based on this stove).
I got it home, opened it up, and was dissappointed to realize I need to get a canister and fuel, so I drove immediately to the store and purchased it, and got it all ready. I spent a few minutes looking online to find this model and looking for instructions to make sure I used it properly. I set it up, lit it, and was amazed at the quality of this product. It blew my old Coleman stove out of the water.
Like others have said, it is a bit loud, but I love that. It means I know it is working. Plus, the sound really is like a jet engine, which is a pretty sweet sound. It is very easy to adjust the flame height to get that perfect simmer, although I mostly just turn it up full blast to boil water, which is amazingly fast.
With the amount of heat and sound coming from this small unit, I always expect the canister to be emptied quickly, but I am always amazed at how much extra fuel I am lugging home from the backcountry.
This unit is not the smallest or lightest on the market, but it is very sturdy, and small enough for me. Plus, it is powerful and reliable enough to be the only stove taken on a four day trip for four men. We still ended up only using about 1/2 a tank of fuel.
Price Paid: $98 at EMS, 1994
The Dragonfly is THE best simmering multi-fuel stove I've ever used. You can simmer so low that you can actually bake with it, which is one of the big reasons I got it. Baked Bisquick biscuits W/ jelly inside is great on a cold winter evening.
Howsomever... nice as it is I had to file notches on the top of the pot rests/legs to keep my pot from slipping. And in all the years since its introduction MSR has not seen fit to put no-slip notches on the wire pot supports. Strange.
Also, since I bought my Dragonfly MSR has upgraded the pump assembly so I bought the new version. Hate to have a pump failure at -10 F!
Now this sucker is the heaviest stove MSR makes, so it only goes with me in winter. But it is dead reliable, as a winter stove should be. I bought the Lexan plastic base for it to keep in from sinking into the snow of my stomped out kitchen.
Had my DragonFly for almost eight years now and it's simply amazing. It's very easy to use, stores very nicely in my MSR Alpine cookset and it simmers very well. Easy to maintain and disassemble and although I've never used anything but white gas, it's never clogged or has failed to start.
The reason I give it 4 stars is because of the plastic pump. Not only does it feel fragile but I've already broken one of them during routine use.
With that being said, MSR was very quick to replace my pump with a new unit with no hassles at all. They did mention that their earlier models experienced this problem. I've been using my new pump for over three years and to their credit, it hasn't failed since.
With that being said, I do have another stove which I use for cold weather use just in case. And that's the Optimus Nova... which is made of aluminum throughout.
Price Paid: $110
I had my DragonFly since the month it was released. Have had good luck with stove in the cooking department. Do not like the fact that the stove MUST use the windscreen in any area where there is any kind of wind. Also the pumps are poor.
On my third and if this one doesn't hold up the stove goes back to MSR. The newer pump looks better, but still doesn't look like it will last. I use my stove 10-15 days a year. You would think the pumps would hold up better. This is the third design for the pump that I know of. What does that tell you about the pumps.
Again nice simmering stove. Hot when on full. Loud, but good. Just realize that the bad points are the pumps, can't run without windscreen when the wind blows, and is really loud.
A great, reliable, powerful stove. Sure, it is a little loud, and not the lightest, but for me it is worth carrying on a long trip just because of the convenience.
I also found that is uses very little fuel compared to what I would expect. I went on a trip with 2 full bottles, wanting to be safe, and came back with 1 and a half after 6 days or so just boiling water.
One remarkable thing about the Dragonfly is that the design has been almost the same for over 15 years, so for my old Dragonfly I can still go to the store and buy another fuel pump the day before I am supposed to leave because my old one breaks in a test. MSR is great.
Price Paid: $80
I am a novice camper; I wanted a small stove for boiling water and similar basic campground cooking activities. My wife has an ancient Optimus that looks too tiny for even a small cooking pot, so I was attracted to the wide, wire pot supports of the Dragonfly.
Learning to start the Dragonfly requires one or two "test runs" in your backyard, before venturing off to camp; but once you get the hang of it, it's a snap. As other reviewers have said, the almost infinite flame adjustment is terrific, and it can really heat a pot of water or coffeepot fast. It IS noisy at high flame but just hisses at lower settings. My only trepidation with this stove is the small "fireball" to prime the flame cup. If you are trying to make coffee in a tent vestibule, this could represent a risk. I haven't had the problem yet, but I am extra watchful. I wish this stove had an instant-on, to avoid that "fireball". So as not to freak anyone out, the "fireball" is usually the size of a golfball and never larger than the size of, say, a baseball, so it's not too big of a risk.
Otherwise, I love the stove and can fit it into a 1.5 qt farberware pot I use for everything from coffee in the AM to MREs in the evening. Get one!
Price Paid: $129.99
I have been mountaineering/backpacking since I was 6 years old. I am now 15. I had been using the MSR Whisperlite for two years. I bought the Dragonfly on the recommendation of a friend.
I love the simmering capability. The flame can be adjusted so low I actually baked a pizza on it on Pikes Peak. Only drawbacks are the noise and size.
Overall I am very pleased with this stove. Thanks MSR.
Price Paid: $120
A luxury stove. I revel in its glory whenever I use it. The adjustable flame is awesome.
Price Paid: $89
I have had this stove since 1998. It has loads of heating power and it sounds like a loud jet taking off at close range. It also has the capacity to simmer, which is a wonderful feature if you are cooking foods rather than heating water.
Care and feeding: the DragonFly likes white gas/ naptha best. It will also burn unleaded gasoline, unleaded gasoline with 2 stroke mix, diesel fuel, kerosene, mineral spirits/ stoddard solvent, av gas, jet fuel and variants of all of these. However, if you will be using fuels other than white gas be forewarned that you must be very careful with the amount of pressure that you pump into the fuel bottle (not included).
Also be forewarned that you will clog the fuel system if you use kerosene and diesel. A clogged fuel system leads to flameouts, sooty buildup on the bottom of your pots and other problems. If you must use other fuels bring along some starter paste and some alcohol to clean the fuel filter with.
Price Paid: CDN $135
This is a reliable stove that will burn more like an afterburner or casting furnace. It is a well made stove. My only two complaints are minor.
This stove is not exactly quiet. It's hard to converse when it's cooking for you; however, that being said it does cook fast. The other problem is the o-ring that seals the fit for the brass to bottle insert wears fairly quickly, so make sure you have a few in your repair kit--one should always have an equipment repair kit. It will last a little longer if you spit on the brass or lubricate it will petroleum jelly.
But as stated earlier, this is a reliable, get started anywhere, cook what ever you want it to stove. I can tolerate noise for hot food. The o-ring issue is no big deal unless you run out of them in the field.
Price Paid: $125
I have run this stove all over for more than 6 years without significant issue. With proper maint it has run just about every flammable liquid I could get my grubby little mitts on. I use it in concert with a PocketRocket to teach Boy Scouts and have really only run into one issue. The fuel filter at the end of the intake line popped off into the bottom of the fuel container (it doesn't float). I had to dump the fuel into another container (read several paper cups) and fish it out then dump the fuel back in. Not too bad for all the abuse I've put it through.
As with some others, serrations on the pot rests would have been nice, but are easily manufactured after-market with a handy dandy Leatherman file.
Price Paid: $80 New on ebay
I like this stove mostly because of the wide stand to hold pots and its simmer capability. I have noticed with the simmer capability, that I tend to save fuel when compared to my Whisperlite International.
For example, after you are done heating water, to save fuel you can turn the Dragonfly way down to just a teeny weeny flame until you need it again. With the Whisperlite you have to turn the stove off or the stove continues to burn fuel at max output.
That being said, the amount of fuel consumed by the Whisperlite compared to the Dragonfly is probably miniscule for most people. Also, I wouldn't give up my Whisperlite because of its ruggedness and ability to tear down.
On max output, the Dragonfly is a bit noisy, but heats water quickly.,.then you turn the flame waaaay down and it is quiet again... but... when you need heat...crank it back up!
A number of people knock MSR's plastic pumps but I have never had a problem.
I give this stove 5 stars!
Price Paid: US $110
this is the best multi-fuel stove, period. i have had mine for 6 years and did many hiking trips with it, as well as using it with car camping and day trips.
using unleaded gasoline has finally caught up with the fuel line and the filter needs replacement. but other than that (and one o-ring replacement) this beauty is bomber. if you use it a lot it pays for itself in fuel savings and it gives you the option of going just about anywhere in the world knowing that you will have fuel. for a party of 3 the 600ml fuel bottle should last about 4 or 5 days.
noise is a given if you go full blast to boil water, but imho it's not con; just a given. small price to pay for the overall performance of the stove. and when it simmers the noise level is fairly low.
Price Paid: $124.99 CND
I have owned this stove for one year. It has been used about ten times mostly in winter conditions.
Durability - Not Rated
There has been no problems with the stove to date. I will use it for another year before giving a durability rating.
Size and Weight - 5 Stars
No problem packing this stove.
Ease of Setup - 5 Stars
Ready to go in a few minutes
Uses Different Fuels - 5 Stars
I stick with white gas because it is cleaner burning.
Pot Base - 5 Stars
It has a large stable base for your cooking pleasure.
Heat Output - 5 Stars
Good heat output even in extreme winter conditions.
I enjoy using this stove on my backcountry snowshoeing trips.
Price Paid: $119.95
I have used my stove once in the past month. I have been busy, but I used it at about 9000 ft. and I was very impressed with the heat that it put out and how fast it boiled water. The best feature about the Dragonfly is that it has an adjustable flame!! You can keep your water warm for dishes or you can adjust it it and boil very quickly, four minutes. I love my DragonFly!
Only downfall is that at full flame it is fairly noisy!! It burns pretty much any fuel you can get a hold of, so that is also another a bonus!
Price Paid: 136 CND
This is an awesome stove. My buddy and I both have one; he has one of the older ones with the old pump he has had his for five years and it is still going strong. We find that the stove is very good on fuel and is very hot. I have never had it go out in wind or snow, or rain. The stove is light and still has one of the best pot bases that I have come by. The simmer feature is really nice, helps not to burn food..
I would tell anyone any day of the week to get this stove
Price Paid: USD 99
Best allround multi-fuel stove around if space and weight isn't your primary concerns. Flame control is unparalled for this type of stove, fairly easy to get going (once you have the hang of it) and technically very robust. Burns with a fair amount of noise, but not nearly as much of an issue as what some make it out to be. Fuel costs kept low if you are a frequent camper and will operate on nearly anything liquid that's flammable - go India, Nepal, South America, Africa... Anywhere. Anytime. Proper cooking.
Price Paid: $85
Great stove! Have used it dozens of times and it has performed well every time. The only drawbacks are the size and noise. This thing sounds like a jet engine taking off. You can wake up an entire campsite cooking hot chocolate late at night.
It's relatively small and folds up well, but the fuel line protrudes a little. Would be great if it folded also, and I could fit it in my cooking pot.
Price Paid: $100
I have used this stove over fifty times in the last couple of years. It boils water extremely fast and turns down as low as a match flame for simmering. It has been nothing but rock solid. Does not ever clog up like other stoves I have had in the past. Only downside is it is a little loud at full blast, but I wouldn't trade it for any other stove.
Price Paid: $120
I enjoy this stove over the MSR Simmerlight because of the easy flame control and large base. It is easy to balance 4 and 6 qt. pots. One complaint is that the flame would occasionally go out if the wind picked up. Other than that I had no problems on my last 12 days in the Boundary Waters.
My new DragonFly had lots of problems with blockages and poor performance from the outset on the AT. After using an XGK for 15 years I found this poor quality really annoying. I sent it back to MSR who serviced it and replaced seals before sending it back.
It's still the best stove for long term walking as any fuel will do if you can't get white gas. Nothing funnier than filling your fuel bottle at a gas station and paying your 65c.
We generally use a liter of white gas for two people for 8-10 days. Boiling water for breakfast and dinner every day, that's 8 cups of water per day.
Price Paid: $109
My primary stove for five years. I leave the windscreen at home and use the canoe instead. Has never failed or ever clogged despite never having cleaned it. It's loud at full burn, but if you're being conservative, you don't need that much heat anyway. Its stability with larger pots is unsurpassed. In my opinion, the best stove available.
Price Paid: £80
A very good piece of kit. It is easily adjustable from a gentle simmer to a blow torch that sounds like a jet taking off! It burns almost anything and it is easy to use. The pot support is big and stable which is why I chose this rather than the MSR XGK.
Price Paid: $150
Very good stove that simmers well, although it is extremely loud. The plastic pump is somewhat fragile so it would be best to not be to rough with it. It's also a rather cumbersome stove.
Price Paid: $139
Hard to find any problems with this stove.
We took this to Philmont over a 70 mile backpacking trip at about 8000 ft. not any real complants. worked fine for a crew of 9, I usually use the MSR Pocket Rocket at lower altitude for solo cooking.
I'm not sure if I would use this for solo cooking, just because of the extra weight & space.
Price Paid: $89.99
Very nice stove, only complaint is you must use the wind blocker when there is only a little breeze.
Price Paid: $89
Great stove. Works at the top of the mountain as well as the bottom. Cold weather has no effect on it.
A little loud but I like the ability to simmer and not just boil water.