MSR WhisperLite International Multifuel Backpacking Stove Review
MSR rates this stove as one of their top models and with so many years in the business of producing stoves, it is a good bet that this model is excellent. This backpacking stove has been available for years and now, it has been upgraded. Backpackers and campers are always interested in a lightweight styles of stoves that can perform above their weight in terms of cooking. Feedback from users is highly positive.
This is a multi-fuel stove and can burn on kerosene, white gas or unleaded gasoline. So, wherever your vacation or outdoor hobby takes you, fuel for the stove will be easy to get. It takes a while to reach full heat but when it does, this will even work in windy weather. Built from tough durable stainless steel, the stove is a one-piece unit with an impressive leg support system for stability and safety while cooking.
For those avid outdoor campers, hikers and backpackers, this moderately priced stove with reliable consistent performance is certainly worth looking at more closely to see if this is what you need for outdoor cooking.
Upgraded stove model
Very stable supportive leg stands
Lightweight but sturdy
Small parts kit
Easy to maintain
Some users say the stove could be quicker to get to full heat
Users advise to practice setting up and using the stove at home before using it outside
Not simple to turn on and burn
Our first consideration when checking out this stove is that it takes a while to reach full stable heat, not too long, but long enough and that's because this is not a standard stove design; it is not a simple turn on and burn.
Campers like this stove but the feedback is that using it is all about developing your technique to get the best cooking performance.
Practice setting it up and practice some cooking. It is effective, once heated up; it cooks quick enough once the burner gets hot. This stove will continue to work even when the wind is blowing.
As a multi-fuel burner, this stove hits a high gold-standard for capability. Many campers prefer butane canister cookers; they work but have limitations. The updated WhisperLite International can burn using white gas, unleaded car fuels, kerosene, Jet-A; some users claim this stove even works with diesel.
Canister fuels such as butane/propane gas work just fine with this model. It's not surprising this stove is called international, you can use it anywhere in the world; finding fuel will be easy.
When you get this stove, buy an MSR canister or perhaps a few canisters; they work with any MSR stove. They are sturdy and made from aluminum which has been impact-extruded so you won't get any leaks when you carry fuel in these. The top seal keeps out air which is known to degrade the quality of fuel.
Design and Weight
The overall design dimensions are 6 x 8 x 8 inches; the weight is a lightweight 10.9 ounces. Stainless steel is light but seriously strong, and the stove legs are easy to position into place for safe stability during cooking.
The backpacking stove is designed to fold down to a small size that fits snugly into most MSR cooking pots.
The jet system is effective and allows a strong heat to build-up but remember to use your care-kit to regularly and clean the jet to keep it at a good level of efficiency.
Features and Performance
Trying out this stove is the best way to appreciate how well it performs; it features a fuel pump to ensure a consistent flow of fuel. For upping the level of heat, the stove comes with a heat reflector and for windy weather a useful windscreen.
This is a product for which you should do regular maintenance, and so we see a useful small-parts kit. Full instructions for setting up the stove, how to use it effectively and how to care for it, are provided and well worth reading.
Fuel jets are included and these need to be cleaned after use to keep them effective. This stove comes with a Shacker-Jet design which claims to be self-cleaning.
You get a canister of white gas holding 20 ounces which means 110 ten minutes of cooking time; that's a lot of burn time when you consider it only takes 3 1/2 minutes to boil a liter of water. That works out as an ounce of fuel for every 1.3 liters of water heated-up. Your burn time will vary according to your choice of fuel; for example, a 20-ounce canister of kerosene will give 155 minutes.
The upgrades for this model have taken a popular stove to a new level of performance and the updated features are attracting a lot of positive feedback from users.
In Comparison to Other Lightweight Stoves
The jet fuel/pump system may well be slower to reach a high strong burn than a butane gas but the time it takes is not long enough to be a drawback for performance.
Butane-powered stoves may well require carrying a large canister or a number of standard-sized canisters; this means you need more storage space in your backpack. A multi-fuel stove just requires a standard 20-ounce container in which you can store and carry any type of fuel. This flexibility for fuel places multi-burn stoves higher when thinking about performance.
The MSR WhisperLite International can be folded down to a very small size and can easily be stowed inside a cooking pot, but, the same applies to butane gas stoves; they are also easy to pack into a bag or backpack. In terms of carrying, both types of stoves are equally convenient.
Turn and burn stoves are popular because they are so easy to use; multi-fuel stoves take longer to hit a heat peak but once they do, they perform really well.
For the same result achieved by a butane stove such as boiling water, cooking food, a multi-fuel cooker is quick enough.
It is all about choice; if you prefer a butane stove, you must plan your trips or travels to take in shops where you can buy the canisters. The MSR WhisperLite International stove allows you to be flexible about what type of fuel you use; this is very useful.
Our verdict: a multi-fuel stove offers more advantages for ease of use.