MSR WindBurner Stove System Review

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable MSR WindBurner Stove System Review

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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    Eric Vann


    Companion forum thread to: MSR WindBurner Stove System Review

    This MSR WindBurner Review determines if this canister stove is a good choice for backpacking trips as well as if it is “windproof.”

    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Good successor to the Reactor.

    Wonder about the CO emission though.



    Ken Thompson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Right there
    Danny Milks
    BPL Member


    Locale: SF Bay Area

    Eric & Ryan – Can you please explain your decision to compare the MSR stoves against the Jetboil Flash Light? It seems that the regular Flash or the MiniMo would have been more similar to the MSR stoves, in terms of volume, weight and cost.


    Richard Sullivan
    BPL Member


    Locale: Supernatural BC

    I have had this stove for over a year now and loving it except for the weight. However you have to trade this off against lower fuel consumption and canister weights (fewer/smaller), and especially against unexpected fuel usage.

    I haven’t been bothered by the hot bottom, its a pot, of course the bottom will get hot. Just deal with it. At some point needing good judgement, it’s safe to pop the bowl on the bottom and preserve some heat in your mug and also protect yourself from being burnt.

    Yes Roger, I would love to know the CO values! I remember you have done this testing in the past for other stoves, any chance for this one?

    Gary Dunckel
    BPL Member


    Locale: Boulder

    I too wonder why the Jetboil Flash was used for comparison. It won’t simmer, and it does not have a regulated burner like the Sol and MiniMo do. But then again, how well does the Windboiler actually simmer? Edit–I just realized that that JB stove was the new Flash Lite (not the Flash), which does in fact employ the regulated Sol burner. It simmers fairly well. My bad…

    I agree with the concern for CO output, both at the “simmer” setting and also at high output. Roger has told us about CO output from the Reactor, and I would like to know how (if) the Windboiler differs.

    In the fall of 2014, we were able to borrow a new Windboiler from a MSR rep to show at one of our Boulder Lightpackers group meetings (actually it was called the Windburner before they re-named it the Windboiler). The product hadn’t hit the shelves yet, and we weren’t allowed to fire it up or test its performance. I weighed all the included components (which included a small tag on the burner that we didn’t remove). The full setup came in at 482 grams (17.0 oz.). This turned me off immediately, as my 1.0 L. Reactor weighs 14.75 oz., which includes a 0.40 oz. home made cuben storage bag. So…that particular Windboiler was 2.65 oz. heavier than my Reactor minus the cuben bag. I didn’t like the Windboiler’s tall profile, which raises its center of gravity. In my mind that could be a problem when using a small canister without the fuel can stabilizer.

    I have a couple of questions relating to your field testing of the Windboiler:

    1. How many tests were done with each stove in your “head-to-head comparison in controlled wind?” A single test (N=1) wouldn’t be considered valid, and 3-5 tests would be recommended.

    2. How did each stove perform at the +10* F ambient temperature you indicated?

    To give us a more clear picture of the performance of the 3 stoves, we should know the following:

    1. What was the starting water temperature?
    2. What were the ambient temperatures for each test?
    3. What volume of water was boiled?
    4. How many grams of fuel was consumed for each boil?
    5. Amount of wind (if any) during each test?

    I myself have done some cold weather comparison tests with my Jetboil Sol and my Reactor. At +10* F they both performed about the same, using roughly 5-7 grams of fuel for a 2-cup boil of 45* F water from the fridge. However, the time-to-boil was increased from the usual 2:30 minutes to around 7:00 minutes. I’ve learned that the same amount of fuel is consumed to reach a boil, regardless of the ambient temperature (and the resultant time-to-boil). I also learned that none of my stoves would function at temperatures below +10*F unless some sort of canister warming trick was employed.

    Many of you know that Bob Moulder and I have collaborated to fine tune our separate versions of what I call the “Moulder Strip.” This technique works beautifully to allow a canister stove to properly function at temperatures of 0* F and even below. However, it requires access to the stove’s flame in order to heat the copper strip, which the Reactor and Windboiler don’t allow. I think that the only way to warm up the canisters for those stoves is to use a hand warmer, or perhaps a water bath, but neither approach can compare with the efficiency of a Moulder Strip.

    One thing that I am very convinced of though–there’s not a stove setup on the planet that can even remotely compete with the Reactor (and I assume the Windboiler also) in serious windy conditions. Outside of that, I think there are other stoves that are lighter, just as fuel-efficient, take up less space in your pack, more stable (lower center of gravity) and simmer better than the Windboiler.

    By the way, if you don’t like the flimsy nature of the pot cozy that comes with the Flash Lite cup, Jetboil sells a more burly one intended as a replacement cozy for the aluminum Sol cup.



    Patrick Podenski
    BPL Member


    Gary Dunkel: There have been some successes with a heating strip for the Reactor:

    Alpine Bomb for Reactor


    Bob Moulder
    BPL Member


    Locale: Westchester County, NY

    For we Stove-Heads who’ve done a fair amount of critical testing of stove set-ups, this review is indeed very light on metrics. Digital thermometers are pretty cheap and lightweight these days. :^)

    However, I was — at least at first — highly motivated to monitor temperatures out of concern that I might incinerate myself with a giant fireball. Now I do it because I know my fellow Stove-Heads will rap my knuckles if I don’t.


    Gary Dunckel
    BPL Member


    Locale: Boulder

    Patrick, The Alpine Bomb is very interesting, and it looks like it should work. Probably a copper strip, maybe .75″ to 1.0″ wide, would be more effective, if harder to fabricate. I won’t be able to try that technique myself, because I was the guy that tried to modify his first Reactor such that he could use a lighter pot with it. I promptly overheated the burner, it shut itself down, and there was no way the user could re-set it (that had to be done by MSR). I returned it to REI, and the MSR rep later mentioned to the staff that I needed to have “adult supervision” when I get into projects like this.

    I am curious as to how well the Alpine Bomb held up over a number of uses in the field. I am also curious as to what those other posts were, and why they were deleted. We better be polite so that we won’t be “Grossed out.”

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