Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $75 on sale, from high priced retailer that's now out of business...
Simply the THE BEST compact camp stove I've ever used! I've had mine for 20+ years and still have not found anything better for canoe trips and winter camping. As long as you can light it you have dinner, a warm/hot beverage, or in a survival situation you will stay warm and alive!
- Cooks fast as you want
- Spare/extra fuel bottles can be used
- Liquid fuel weighs more than dry fuel
I first came across this camp stove back in 1988 while on a 21-day trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota while I was still in high school. Our guides used this stove and for the entire trip it performed flawlessly, even in the worst of weather.
After high school I was a guide myself. The outfitter I worked for supplied a handful of high tech, some more expensive, and some otherwise excellent stoves, but none of them worked as well as the MSR WhisperLite. That summer I ended up buying and using my own WhisperLite, an investment that’s been well worth it. I haven’t guided since college but I’m still a high adventure enthusiast, and a gear nut. I continue to look at new camp gadgets and gear but this stove remains a favorite.
What makes this stove so good? The stove sets up in two minutes or less. Mine came in a bag big enough to hold the stove, one fuel bottle, the pump, and a heat/wind shield. Everything stays together in the bag until needed.
Simply uncap the fuel bottle, screw on the pump, connect the supply line from the stove to the pump, and give it a few strokes and light. The fuel needs to heat up a minute or two to vaporize inside the tube, and soon you have blue flame jetting out the ports of the burner. The flame is adjusted at the fuel bottle, not at the burner, so there’s no need to remove your pot just to adjust the heat.
I’ve been able to boil a full pot of water in less than four minutes with mine (with the heat/wind shield in place). The heat/wind shield is made of a heavy duty foil that folds up nice and small but they do wear out, I’ve replaced mine twice in the last 20 years but they’re pretty inexpensive, I just chalk that up to maintenance cost. MSR does make a repair and maintenance kit but the one that came with my stove has hardly been used, I’m surprised I haven’t lost it by now.
The single 20 oz fuel bottle that came with the stove is usually enough to last me a full 7 days in the wilderness, but on canoe trips I usually bring a spare bottle just, when backpacking I just take the single 20 oz. bottle to conserve weight and have never had a problem.
When backpacking I pack the fuel bottle separately, inside the stove bag, and put the stove itself inside the cooking pots. The stove is easily cleaned and is very easy to maintain. Just a little soap and water on a rag and wipe clean, that’s it.
This stove is tough as well. It’s been dropped, knocked over, kicked, sat on, had things dropped on it, and generally banged around pretty good, but the stove still works and functions as good as the day I bought it. The fuel bottle has pretty thick walls and even though a couple of my fuel bottle have dents from accidental dropping, or other careless handling the bottles are all intact and have not punctured or cracked at all. The plastic caps have all stayed intact without even a slightest crack despite all the abuse.
Source: borrowed it
Not the easiest stove to use. You need to pre-heat for the better part of a minute and if you do it wrong the stove needs to cool down again before you try to light it. Quite finicky. Also seems to get clogged often. The cleaning and trouble shooting guide is good but when you are cold and hungry the last thing you want to do is take apart a stove and get fuel all over your hands for twenty minutes.
- Re-fillable bottle is great.
- Tends to clog
- Slow to start
I have used the stove twice on multi-day remote Vancouver Island winter camping trips. My buddy brought it and we didn't bring a backup as he had never before had problems with it. But after a long drive, hike and setting up camp we were ready to eat and the stove didn't light. A weak, sputtering flame that kept going out was all we got. Fortunately we got a nice little fire going and cooked a stew.
The next day my friend spent half an hour going over the instruction booklet, dismantling and cleaning the stove. It worked great for the rest of the trip. However, I borrowed the stove for another trip and it did the same thing after a few days.
Maybe we got something in the fuel tank but it just seems like too much trouble for what it's worth.
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $25
This stove is light and fairly easy to set up and use.
- Light weight
- Packs small
- Fuel is easy to find
- Works in cold and high altitude
- Not the highest temperature
- Small parts to keep track of
The Whisperlite is another one of the many backpack stoves on the market. I think it is a good stove, not the hottest/highest temperature in this day and age, however still a good stove. There are several small parts to keep track of with this stove and you will want to carry a small repair kit with spare parts.
You will find that with stoves as many other backpack items there are devout followers and to even mention another brand/style is blasphemy. So try to borrow or rent several types and brands to find the one that is your best fit. You will find that this type of fuel stove is highly packable, burns hotter than most other types, and will heat more liters of water per liter of fuel than most other types of fuel used for cooking.
I have a collection over 20 backpack stoves including the Whisperlite. My first stove was a well used WWII surplus pack stove, it is dated 1945 and is still in good working condition. The Whisperlite I have is from the early 80's and it too still works like new. I mention this to say, try several and pick a good one. It will last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. If the high prices of new stoves are out of reach, you can find a quality used one at an affordable price If it has been taken care of it will serve as good as a new one.
One word of caution. Beware of stoves that can only be used with that manufacturer's type of fuel canister. If it is discontinued you will not be able to get fuel for it and it will become useless. If you decide on a canister stove get one that will fit the standard canister tap or that has adapters so it can be attached to standard thread canisters.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $90
Good little stove, but could benefit from being more compact.
- Fairly small
- Can purchase different size tanks
- Boils water in a couple minutes.
- Can only be run off Naptha.
- A bit bulky when packed and could be easy cruched in pack.
- Takes a while to set up, position, pump tank, set up heat sheild and use.
- Must wait for entire stove to be cool before putting it back in the nylon bag.
I owned this stove for five years before selling it. I took the stove on over 10 back country and canoe camping trips. The stove worked great once it was all set up and setup can take up to 10 minutes, which can be annoying after a day of hiking and all you want to do is eat or have a hot drink.
It requires a fairly flat piece of ground to set it up on and lined it up with the fuel tank. Just like any naphtha stove the tank must be pressurized and which is done by pumping it by hand. If you are using a large pot everything must be level and you will have to set up your heat shield to decrease boiling time.
Cooking is great on it, as it has a wide base and I never had an issue with my pot slipping off. Also, it was very good on fuel and one small tank of naphtha would last me the whole week when I used it to cook two meals a day.
My biggest pet peeve was the tear down and storage of the stove. Once it was all packed away it was fairly large and I was always worried that I would crush it in my pack or bend it. The fuel line is not that flexible and I was worried about it getting broken.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $70 USD
The most reliable, all weather backpacking stove on the market. Great in cold temperatures where most cannister stoves fail and field maintenance is a breeze.
- Reliable in almost any weather or temperature
- Easy cleaning and maintenance
- Includes windscreen and heat reflector
- Not the lightest stove on the market
- Can be difficult to get an even simmer
- Not multi-fuel (WhisperLite Int'l is multi-fuel).
The WhisperLite has been around forever and has seen very few changes, with good reason. No other stove on the market provides such reliable cold weather cooking, and a few shakes after use clears the fuel jet of any build up.
The saying that "practice makes perfect" applies to the WhisperLite and I can only assume that negative reviews are based on people who don't take the time to read instructions or practice before taking the stove into the field. With a couple of backyard practice runs, lighting and maintenance in the field are a breeze.
A tip for lighting... Don't over-fill the primer cup. Turn the valve off completely after you've filled the primer cup with a small amount of fuel. Overfilling wastes fuel and will make you wait longer than needed to start cooking (hey, every minute counts when you're hungry!).
Also, once you've lit the fuel in the primer cup, the instructions say to wait until the flame has almost gone out before turning the fuel valve back on. Instead, I watch carefully until the flame burns out completely and then immediately strike a lighter near the burner. Phoof, I've got a perfect flame without any spitting, flare up, or smoking.
Unless I'm through-hiking, I'm all about comfort in the backcountry and will carry substantially more weight than most backpackers would. For you ounce-counters out there, this isn't the lightest stove and you'll need to haul a fuel bottle.
Also, unless you are only planning on boiling water (about 4 minutes), you can burn through quite a bit of fuel. A little practice cooking a few trail meals at home (account for elevation and temp in the field) and you'll know exactly what you're in for.
Simmering can be a bit tricky but can be achieved with a little practice. You can trying giving the pump about 10 to 12 strokes and then opening the valve as little as possible. I personally find it easier to adjust the distance between the burner and pot with a few well placed rocks.
I've used the WhisperLite in temperatures as low as 15 F at altitudes of well over 10,000 feet and never had it fail me. Reliable? So far beyond my expectations that I doubt I'll ever need or buy another stove!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: can't remember had since 1998
- lights all the time
- have had for 14 years
- hate the smell of fuel
- get some black soot
Easy to set up, easy to prime and light. Flame control is good, cooks well at all heat. Packs small.
Never really used in real windy conditions but in light wind the wind block works well.
Have had since 1998 and even I haven't broken yet. I am rough on gear.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: can't remember
I have three MSR ultra-light stoves from current to dating back over 25 years. They all work flawlessly and powerfully like the first day I bought them. The simple weight-saving design is genius. It's nice to have something that you can depend on in any weather or circumstance.
- still thinking...can't come up with any
When you first see an MSR lightweight stove, you'll be confused at how it folds up so compactly. But once you click all the legs into place and attach the fuel bottle that contributes to the stove's stability, you'll be impressed by the genius by which it has been designed.
If you backpack or adventure, saving weight is paramount. I know of no other stove that comes close. And the power of the flame and its efficiency is legendary among mountaineers and serious backpackers. I have never had a problem with mine.
I still have and use the first MSR stove design on the market, along with two newer MSR's. They all work dependably and flawlessly. You can't say that about anything these days it seems, except for an MSR stove.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Retail price
I would definitely recommend this reliable, durable stove that boils water quickly and uses fuel fairly efficiently. Long-lasting and easy to use, but look elsewhere for fine temperature control.
- Good value
- Quick boiling
- Can't really adjust temperature finely
I purchased a new MSR Whisperlite a number of years ago, and I've been very happy with its performance. It's slightly more complicated to set up and prime than the simpler propane stoves, but the instruction manual is thorough and clear. Once you get the hang of it it's simple and easy to set up, prime, and ignite.
This stove is built to boil; if you're looking to do a lot of cooking that involves simmering, you may want to look elsewhere (or get a riser bar for your pots). With that said, it boils quickly, it's efficient with fuel, and it's great when you're making food for larger groups. The 3-legged design also helps with stability.
I've had this stove for a number of years now and it's been extremely reliable in adverse conditions. Rain, snow, wind — it's always good to go. It packs away neatly and is decently lightweight. I've taken this stove on casual weekend canoe trips and multi-week backpacking trips, and it's never let me down.
Price Paid: $60 @ Campmor
I spent the last two weeks camping in Great Smoky Mtns. N.P., my twenty-five year old WhisperLite fed me every day. As others here have noted, it's simple, reliable and the thing lasts. I've used it in all seasons, put it away for years, it always performs.
I'll buy it some new gaskets, but other than that, I have more than gotten my $60 back through the years of use. It's an excellent stove.
Price Paid: gift
Just received the stove for Xmas and took it out on an 18-degree day last campout to boil water for tea and cocoa. Very easy set up, logical, lights right up and did the job.
Love the aluminum base and windshield too. We used it all day to keep hot water going for drinks and not at all an issue.
Can't wait to try it out on a solo trip for retort or even cook a main dish or two. To me, it's a no brainer.
Have used this stove for 25+ years. It never fails and all the parts come apart if you need to fix it in the back country. I've pulled mine out of the attic after 4 years and it works first time on the trail.
You ALWAYS knows how much fuel you have in your bottle, unlike the pressurized cans. At high altitudes above 8-9000 ft, I never trust anything else. It's tough, hard to break and easy serviceable, if you drop your bag off a cliff and your Whisperlite gets bashed! Wind, rain, snow, nothing stops it!
Price Paid: $70 per
Like all of the posters below, when something just seems to be a good thing... don't change it.
I have been involved with an outdoor non-profit summer camp in the Trinity Alps for 15 years and this has always been the go-to stove. True there have been the occasional issues with needing to take it apart to maintain, but generally as long as you clean it once every 10 years you are OK. Yes, you sometimes do need to replace parts, but that happens to almost every man-made product out there.
What impresses me the most about this stove is the ease in which you use it. Given that any particular stove will be passed between several groups of counselors and kids, these things take a beating. However, with one in-service, you can train a group of happy-go-lucky 18-21 year olds how to use it like a pro that have never handled a stove before.
We have gone through several of these over the years and while we are not name brand junkies or elite gear snobs, this particular stove is the only thing that we will use with our group of kids.
Buy it, use it, love it!
used stove for several years without any complaints until a couple of weeks ago. first time used in colder than -25 (below) weather and had problems with getting enough fuel to keep the stove running. very cold with a moose down i needed to melt snow to hydrate and was quite a fight keeping it lit.
best stove i have ever had.
Price Paid: unknown
The Whisperlite is the same stove as the MSR WhisperLite Internationale, without the option of burning alternative fuels like diesel. It is mechanically identical to the Internationale except for an alternate fuel nozzle and the absence of a wicking cup around the bottom for lighting less-flammable fuels. As a result, it only burns white gas. But I've taken mine around the world and NEVER had a problem finding white gas, so I really don't think the Internationale modification is at all necessary.
I've used my WhisperLite as my only camping stove for about fifteen years, and have never once had to do maintenance on it. It comes with a "shakerjet," which is a little pin inside the fuel line that cleans out the nozzle when the stove is shaken. Mine has never clogged.
It doesn't light as fast as some other stoves, because you have to let some fuel into the fuel cup, light it, let it burn down to heat the fuel line enough to vaporize the fuel, then relight it. This process takes about two minutes and takes a little practice to know just when to relight it, but is easy to learn and you can't really hurt your stove if you do it wrong. But once lit, the WhisperLite roars like a jet engine. It'll boil a liter of water in like two minutes. It's not as efficient as the new Jetboil stoves, but the fuel is cheaper and easier to come by.
The stove comes with two pieces of tin to use as windscreens, one to go around the outside of the stove and one to go around the middle of the stove to keep it from scorching the ground it sits on. You don't really need either one, though they do make it more fuel efficient.
The main drawback from a cook's perspective is that these stoves don't simmer very well. They're either on high, or off. If you need to simmer your dinner over low heat, you have to depressurize the fuel bottle a little bit, which isn't hard to do with the pump.
The stove uses the standard MSR red pump fuel canisters, which are a brilliant design that I don't expect will ever change. I replaced my original small can with a .75L one because I do a lot of extended mountain trips, cooking for four people for a week or more. The pump on the fuel canister has never required maintenance, either, despite the prevalence of those little MSR stove repair kits that you see everywhere. With that kit, the WhisperLite can be completely disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled in the field, no other tools required.
One primary advantage of liquid fuel stoves is that they always work, even in cold weather when compressed cannister fuels peter out. The WhisperLite Internationale is the stove used by the US Antarctic Research Program in all of their emergency snow survival kits, because you can fire it up even at 40 below, no problems whatsoever, and then run it on the fuel from your crashed airplane or whatever.
The stove does have one apparent flaw, which it took me all these years to discover. If you let it rust long enough, as mine did in a flooded basement for a few months, the solid metal part of the fuel line can crack. This is not a piece that can be replaced, since it's central to the stove mechanism, and it can't be easily repaired since it gets red hot when the stove is in use. I know, you shouldn't let your stove rust, I realize that. But if this one part hadn't rusted through, the rest of the stove would still be in perfect working order, though it looks pretty ugly. As a side note, the fuel line and the shakerjet mechanism were still perfectly fine after the flooding incident.
I'd recommend this stove to people looking for a lightweight camping stove. I've not used the newer Dragonfly or the Simmerlite, but they supposedly solve the problem of not being able to simmer, which has never bothered me much. They also cost more, and are more complicated. The WhisperLite is the classic, most simple, brilliantly designed camp stove. It works well, you'll never have it break on you, and you can rest easy knowing that the backpacking community has lived and died by it for years.
Price Paid: my dad's for 20-some years.
Yo, to the dude who was using petrol, this is a white gas stove. Of course it's gonna clog up with anything else!!! Just be glad you still have your eyebrows.
OK, my dad got this stove out to show me a little while back. After we replaced the 20-odd year old gasket, the stove lit right up, no problem. 1st time in years it had even been handled.
In conclusion, it lives up to 5 stars.
Price Paid: I don't remember
I've used this stove for about 20 years for backpacking and campsite camping. I use it only a few times a year and had it put away without using it for seven years (see below). MSR might have changed the stove slightly in all that time, but my stove looks exactly like the current photos. The only other backpacking stove I've used was a Coleman Peak 1 -- also a white gas stove.
The WhisperLite is very light and compact. I carry it in a 2 quart pot. Since it folds, it is able to have a wide stance and good span to support larger pots and pans and is extremely stable. The windscreen and reflector are flexible pieces of aluminum that you just fold up when not in use. Mine have many creases, but work fine and you can buy replacements of just those pieces.
The folding aspect also causes the only real disadvantage I can think of: Since you have to fold it up to put it away, your hands can get dirty when cleaning off the soot that comes from the flames that occur during priming. I just use some TP to wipe it off carefully before putting it away.
The detachable fuel bottle gives you the ability to use just the right sized bottle for your trip. I use a 1-liter Sig bottle and just vary the amount of white gas I carry since I don't worry about a couple extra ounces if it's a short trip. I think I only used about 2/3 of the liter on a 7-day trip for two people. In contrast, for the Peak 1, you'd have to carry an extra bottle in addition to the built-in tank for a long trip, which is almost certainly heavier and requires pouring fuel from the spare bottle into the tank.
The WhisperLite boils a liter of water in less than the four minutes it claimed to. It is tricky to get a decent simmer, but with careful adjustment we can cook pancakes without burning them.
My stove got clogged up only once, but that was after a 7-year gap in use (because I waited for my younger child to be out of diapers to return to camping). I bought the maintenance kit, but found that I only needed to poke the little wire jet cleaner into the jet hole to get the stove to work again (I could have done that without the kit) Even the original pump seal still works after 20 years, so I have a spare from the kit.
The stove has worked fine for me in below-freezing temperatures during mornings in the high Sierras where puddles would be frozen over when we woke up. Just to be safe, I kept the fuel bottle warm overnight by putting it in the foot of my sleeping bag (I'm short and use a full-sized bag since I also like to keep my clothes for the next day warm that way). But for all I know, it probably isn't necessary. I just didn't want to risk facing a chilly morning without a hot drink.
Price Paid: £50
erm, yes well what can i say about this stove,
if you can get it going then it's an ok stove, though the fuel jet seems to block up almost immediately when using unleaded petrol which means you have to take the whole stove apart to clean it, Put it back together, relight the stove which will then block in a few moments, take the stove apart again, clear the .... i think you get the drift
quite possibly the worst stove i have in my vast collection.
if you want a better petrol / multifuel msr - save an extra £50 and buy the MSR Dragonfly, what an amazing stove, light, easy to use, economical to use, and needs little priming with a bit of practice
i have (so far and touching lots of wood) NEVER had to take the Dragonfly apart for any reason
An alternate would be the new Primus Omnifuel, even more expensive than the Dragonfly, but lets you also use butane gas canisters from the same connection,
Just hope that the price comes down a bit from £125.00 GBP.
Price Paid: $60
This is the second MSR stove I have owned; I purchased it to replace my old MSR-XGK which at over 25 years old is showing its age.
Overall I can find no fault with this stove. It lights easily and burns hot yet is fuel efficient for longer trips. Field maintenance is easy. I have often taken this stove on extended trips for over 6 months using it every day to cook meals in the winter and like the XGK has never let me down.
I highly recommend this item. In my opinion it's one of the truly fine items on the market today.
Price Paid: $48.97
I've only used this stove once in the backcountry but it was enough to know something about it. The stove works great in that it boils water very fast. I had water boiling and in our "hot water needed" meals in no time.
The stove is not loud by any means, but it sure looks like a jet engine when it gets going. The assembly is pretty easy to clean, clogs are easy to get rid of. The instructions say to wait like 5 minutes for the pre-heating before turning on the throttle. At around 40 degrees in the morning I waited 1 minute before turning on the throttle, it worked just fine...
Great stove, highly recommended.
Price Paid: gift
Rock-solid performance over the past 12+ years. After all these years, it ain't the prettiest thing, but it works well and passes the "Huebs test" for durability. This may not mean much to you... but all that know me will state this is no small accomplishment!
It cooks well, though lengthy simmering requires constant attention to avoid scorching or flame-out. Fuel efficiency appears excellent, with an 11 oz. bottle good fer most weekend trips.
In addition to countless "small" trips, I've used it on four, week-long excursions with a group of four. Two of these at elev. 9,000 to 10,000 feet. Used between 23 and 33 oz. of fuel (1, 22 oz. and 1, 11 oz. bottle) on each trip to cook fer 4 hungry hikers (several gallons boiled).
Before my last trip (August 2008), hadda replace a gasket and rubber check-ball in the pump. No other maintenance in the past 12 years! Word to MSR - DON'T MESS WITH A GOOD THING;)
Price Paid: $69
I've had my WhisperLite stove for a two years, but I didn't use it very much, maybe four or five times. If you look closely at the pictures here or on other sites, you will see that the part that connects with the fuel bottle is plastic. This plastic part cracked at the end of a long day of hiking. Fuel spilled everywhere and all over my other gear.
This plastic component is VERY weak, and I wouldn't recommend this stove to anyone. I had hardly anything to eat. I promised myself I'd write reviews telling people to go with stoves that have more durable parts. There's no point in getting a replacement from MSR, since I wouldn't trust this device again. Make your own choice.
Price Paid: Don't remember
One of the best white gas stoves, if not the best, on the current market. Have used this stove since it first came out and the only part I have ever replaced is the o-ring on the fuel bottle. Many years and many miles this stove has gone. The only other stoves I use are the MSR GK, for mountaineering trips, and the MSR PocketRocket, for solos and light trips. May sound like a MSR fanboy but in 35 years of outdoor adventures these stoves have proven to be the best.
Price Paid: $60
Great little stove. Excellent for camp cooking, very light weight, easy to use. Perfect for cooking small portions and simmering. Love it! Perfect backpacking or lightweight camping stove.
This is my old stand-by for nearly 10 years. Not a problem with it. Lights up first time every time no matter what the weather. Quiet too.
Only drawback is it doesn't simmer really well, but the newer pump/valve control gets pretty close!
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $40
I purchased my Whisperlite used. After several high altitude backpacking trips I've found this stove to be one of my best backpacking investments. Wind had little effect at getting the stove lit and running.
This lightweight stove gets the job done!
Price Paid: $100
Great stove for any outdoors person. A must have. Not good for simmering food though. Better used for just boiling!
Price Paid: $60
Very reliable, I have had no problems with this stove ever. It's a must-have. It beats the paints off of JetBoil which I also use.
Price Paid: ~US $75
Used more then four years. Very reliable.
Only con is no fire output adjustment.
I do a lot of camping with the scouts and there is always a Whisperlite in the stove line up by some Dad that wants to cook.
My experience is that this stove is troublesome and a pain to keep clean and operate. I am constantly cooking for others as a result of their w=Whisperlite breaking.
If you have an interest in buying a stove, buy a svea 123 or a brunton optimus nova and you will never regret it.