User Review: MSR WhisperLite
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!