MSR Whisperlite Stove

7:00 p.m. on December 1, 2002 (EST)
Paul

I need a new stove for under $90. Is the Whisperlite any good?

11:42 p.m. on December 1, 2002 (EST)
Rich M

The Whisperlite is a good stove in my opinion. It is much more reliable than my Dragonfly. You might also look at the Primus Himalaya Vari fuel stove. It has been on sale recently for around $50.00. I like the Himalaya better than the Whisperlite, myself. I don't know if you would be interested in a canister stove but that is another thought. Good luck in your search.

1:35 p.m. on December 2, 2002 (EST)
me

a.k.a. scott

get the MSR Pocketrocket. It's a canister stove... I sold my Primus multi-fuel stove to get this. It's the best stove I've ever used.

2:04 p.m. on December 2, 2002 (EST)
Bill S
REVIEW CORPS
4,537 reviewer rep
6,037 forum posts

Quote:

I need a new stove for under $90. Is the Whisperlite any good?

Short answer is yes. Used properly (and unfortunately most people do not use their stoves of any make and model properly), the Whisperlite is very dependable and works excellently for backpacking, climbing, etc.

As "me" and Rich M said, there are other choices. Compressed gas stoves are lighter (for a weekend, including the fuel and fuel container, but not for week or longer trips), cheaper, simmer well (there is an art to simmering with the Whisperlite that few master), are more compact (in many models, like the Pocket Rocket), and are much easier to light. But they have cold weather problems and are slower when the fuel cartridge gets nearly empty.

There are a number of other liquid fuel stoves which are very good, and fairly inexpensive. You should be able to get a Whisperlite (get the International rather than the standard - it is more rugged in practice) for much much less than $90. Look for sales and poke around on the Web.

2:17 p.m. on December 2, 2002 (EST)
LesM

Whisperlite kit
8:09 p.m. on December 2, 2002 (EST)
Mike Davis

a.k.a. Mike D, Mike D.

Yes its a good stove and its the one I use in Winter. But beware that there is a learning curve associated with this stove. Until you master it, treat it with respect. I've had more than a few flareups with my stove. Also don't give it too much gas when priming.

I think I read a review about this stove that said "It burns like a blow torch. Unfortunately, it also simmers like one".

For normal 3 season use I don't think you can beat the Primus Alpine micro.

11:03 p.m. on December 2, 2002 (EST)
Waldo

Re: MSR Whisperlite Stove - Its a wimp

The emphasis is on the word lite with this baby. Get a MSR XGK (or 747 as I call mine) and let er rip. Simmering is overrated. You want a blast furnace to get water boiling when its cold out. Last year in winter trip to Boundary Waters (minus 20 in morning) I was drinking coffee with tent mate before other tent even got water to boil.

12:06 p.m. on December 3, 2002 (EST)
Bill S
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Its a wimp - oh?

Waldo, The Whisperlite will boil water as fast as the XGK, assuming both are properly maintained. You can simmer with both, although it is easier with the Whisperlite. I own both stoves (XGK for something like 20 years, replaced with an XGK-II for the past 8 years, plus my own Whisperlite for 10 years and one I gave to my son about 6 years ago). I have used both during my various climbs in the Alaska Range, up to 17,000 feet in both cases. They work equally well, with a bit of an edge to the XGK because of easier maintainability. A simple test of whether your XGK or Whisperlite are in proper condition or need maintenance is the standard boil test (1 liter of water in an MSR stainless nominal 1 liter pot, covered, starting at 70F, and 70F ambient conditions, standard windscreen, no wind). In proper condition, both will boil the liter in 3 minutes or less. 3m30s is tolerable. 4 minutes or longer means you are in serious need of an overhaul. Aluminum pots, blackened pots, and the MSR heat exchanger will all speed the boil time.

1:43 p.m. on December 6, 2002 (EST)
MissionsMan

Primus&PocketRocket

Quote:

I need a new stove for under $90. Is the Whisperlite any good?

Sure, yea, OK. Had one for 2 yrs. 1st year, i broke the plastic pump housing so bought another plastic pump housing - no problem. Then bought a Dragonfly to simmer with - broke the plastic pump housing on this too (and bought another one).

OK, Uggo give up - Uggo not 2 smart - Uggo break MSR plastic stoves. So, Uggo sell both WhisperLite and Dragonfly and buy MSR Pocket Rocket (for 3 season) and Primus Vari-Fuel (for Winter).

Both excellent in their given context - haven't broken either and yes, the Primus does simmer with some TLC/coaxing (even in -10F temps). Oh, and the Primus has a METAL pump housing AND a longer fuel line (MSR's are too short IMHO). The Pocket Rocket is just what it says - tiny and lite, but it sure put out the btu's!!!

Primus ~ $59.00 and MSR Pocket Rocket ~ $40.00

Shalom,

MissionsMan

12:18 p.m. on December 7, 2002 (EST)
Bill S
REVIEW CORPS
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MSR plastic pumps - rationale from some MSR reps

I had a discussion recently with some of the tech people from MSR about the plastic pumps. Since I deal with a lot of Scout leaders in my courses, I hear about breaking pumps all the time (the youth are pretty hard on everything). I have never personally broken an MSR pump in almost 30 years of having various MSR stoves (had my first XGK for 20 years, current XGK-II about 10 years, Whisperlite for 6-8 yrs - can't remember exactly, son's Whisperlite about 5 years). But on an extended expedition, I watched a professional guide melt an MSR XGK pump, which released a bunch of fuel, with the fuel igniting, of course). One of the attractions of my Primus MFS was the metal pump for the liquid fuel setup.

The MSR comment was that the plastic pump was a safety feature. If you arrange the windshield wrong and/or put multiple stoves under a single pot (the combination often used by guide services on high altitude expeditions to heat things up fast for a large group, and the case for the guide I saw melt the pump), you can get excessive heat to the fuel bottle. This type of overheating is less common than when people put a windscreen around an integral-tank stove (most cartridge stoves, Peak 1 white gas stoves, and some others), but in either case, the overheating of the fuel tank can result in the tank exploding, with lots of shrapnel flying around. I have witnessed the aftermath of this with a compressed gas stove, and it ain't pretty. It used to be that stoves (the Svea 123, for example) had safety valves. But separate bottle stoves generally do not have relief valves. So, according to the MSR guys, they chose to use the plastic fuel pump to act as the overpressure relief valve.

Ooooohhhh kay, if you say so. It does make some sense, since there are lots of idiots out there who do dumb things, and maybe such an approach would reduce a few injuries. But I do have the question of - aren't there modern plastics, carbon fiber reinforced maybe, that would melt or otherwise provide a relief valve without breaking at an awkward point in the trip? There might not be a material that would stand up to adolescent males bashing the stove around and stomping on the pump (I have seen that, believe it or not), but surely something would be more durable for most adults.

Anyway, the quasi-official MSR line seems to be - the plastic pump acts as overpressure (due to overheating the fuel bottle) safety relief valve.

7:56 p.m. on December 7, 2002 (EST)
Rich M

Re: MSR plastic pumps - rationale from some MSR reps

Thank you very much for the information. I am a gearhead and have 8 or 9 stoves including an MSR DragonFly and Whisperlite International. But when I go out on a trip, and don't take a canister stove, I either take my Primus Himalaya Vari fuel or Optimus Nova. Thanks again for the information. Very Interesting!!

12:06 a.m. on December 8, 2002 (EST)
Gillespie
3 reviewer rep
60 forum posts
I love mine- works great for multi--week trips, easy to maintain, reliable.

Quote:

I need a new stove for under $90. Is the Whisperlite any good?

7:59 p.m. on December 9, 2002 (EST)
MissionsMan

Re: MSR plastic pumps - rationale from some MSR reps

Quote:

I had a discussion recently with some of the tech people from MSR about the plastic pumps. Since I deal with a lot of Scout leaders in my courses, I hear about breaking pumps all the time (the youth are pretty hard on everything). I have never personally broken an MSR pump in almost 30 years of having various MSR stoves (had my first XGK for 20 years, current XGK-II about 10 years, Whisperlite for 6-8 yrs - can't remember exactly, son's Whisperlite about 5 years). But on an extended expedition, I watched a professional guide melt an MSR XGK pump, which released a bunch of fuel, with the fuel igniting, of course). One of the attractions of my Primus MFS was the metal pump for the liquid fuel setup.

The MSR comment was that the plastic pump was a safety feature. If you arrange the windshield wrong and/or put multiple stoves under a single pot (the combination often used by guide services on high altitude expeditions to heat things up fast for a large group, and the case for the guide I saw melt the pump), you can get excessive heat to the fuel bottle. This type of overheating is less common than when people put a windscreen around an integral-tank stove (most cartridge stoves, Peak 1 white gas stoves, and some others), but in either case, the overheating of the fuel tank can result in the tank exploding, with lots of shrapnel flying around. I have witnessed the aftermath of this with a compressed gas stove, and it ain't pretty. It used to be that stoves (the Svea 123, for example) had safety valves. But separate bottle stoves generally do not have relief valves. So, according to the MSR guys, they chose to use the plastic fuel pump to act as the overpressure relief valve.

Nice to have some contact with the engineer/techy folks. What do they say RE: melting plastic blow torches? As noted above, when the plastic melts fuel squirts out of the recently pressurized fuel container and becomes an out of control blow torch. AND what if you happen to be in a bivy using a hanging stove setup? Oopsy Daisy - there goes the whole tent!!!
Why does MSR not use a longer fuel line - this would keep the fuel source further from the heat source if that is really their concern (and be a little more convenient for the user on many situations)? Seems like a mfg. cost issue to me...

Quote:

It does make some sense, since there are lots of idiots out there who do dumb things, and maybe such an approach would reduce a few injuries. But I do have the question of -aren't there modern plastics, carbon fiber reinforced maybe, that would melt or otherwise provide a relief valve without breaking at an awkward point in the trip? There might not be a material that would stand up to adolescent males bashing the stove around and stomping on the pump (I have seen that, believe it or not), but surely something would be more durable for most adults.

Or, because those of us (me?) knuckle-draggers who are always in a rush to start the stove just to watch the fire (and also to possibly enjoy some hot cocoa!!!)need something more "abuse-proof"

Quote:

Anyway, the quasi-official MSR line seems to be - the plastic pump acts as overpressure (due to overheating the fuel bottle) safety relief valve.

Sounds a little PC to me...

May 29, 2020
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