The MSR Windburner (formerly known as the MSR «Windboiler»), is not only a stove, it’s a (personal) stove system. It comes with a 1L / 32 oz or 1,8L / 60 oz pot. The package includes more: a collapsible fuel stand, a measuring bowl in plastic, a cleaning cloth and of course the stove itself.
The name Windburner derives from its wind resistant burning capabilities (thanks to the burning being shielded from the surroundings).
This is a truly mobile system built on the premisce of efficient packing. Everything just fit so well. If you get a 110g fuel canister (the one in the photo is twice as big and won’t nest inside the pot), you’ll actually be able to fit it inside the pot together with the stove, cleaning cloth, fuel stand and even the optional coffee press (which I had to get J). The measuring bowl will then fit outside the pot.
The hard facts
I have to admit that I assosciate MSR with high quality gear. This stove didn’t change that impression. I spend a lot of time outside. And I often boil water, either in relation to making coffee, or to cook a meal. When I’m going camping or bushcrafting, I tend to bring a kettle and make a campfire.
But, when I am in the mountains (not a lot of trees!) or am backpacking, this is the type of stove I prefer. There are also heavy restrictions on open fires depending on which country you are in. In Norway, for example, you’re prohibited from making a fire near productive forests from the 15th of April, until the 15th of September. You can still make campfires in the mountains though, but there aren’t that many trees in these areas J
Actually, a lot of people will face difficulties lighting a fire in wet conditions as well, even if it’s allowed. That’s why stoves like this one is the preferred option of serious hikers and backpackers. Not to mention how much quicker they usually are in boiling water.
All of these things apply to the MSR Windburner. It’s just so simple to use. It really feels like a luxurious stove. I have other gas stoves, alcohol stoves and wood burning stoves. But this one is the best I’ve tried. It boils water in no time, it doesn’t take up much space, the parts all fit inside the pot, the pot’s easy to use, etc. It also simmers quite well! I haven’t used it in really high winds, but other, reliable people have, and it has performed better than other stoves in these conditions (more on that below).
I love coffee. I have at least 10 gadgets / items for making coffee outside (insant coffee is a big no-noJ). Even more for making coffee inside the house! This is why I had to get the Coffee press. It will cost you $20, but is so worth it. Your pot is now a coffee pot J I got no grounds in the coffee, and the lid of the Windburner makes pouring coffee a real breeze. The Coffee press will dissemble and fit inside the pot after being used, along with the other parts of the system. This is a reaaaaaally easy way of making good (minimalist) coffee.
I would say that this stove’s main competitor is Jetboil Minimo. I haven’t tried that one out. But Outside Online compared it to the MSR Windburner and noted that it struggled in windy conditions, while the MSR Windburner excelled in the same conditions. They also looked at the Primus ETA Lite, which also didn’t perform as well as the Windburner in windy conditions.
You also have the MSR Reactor, made for tougher climates apparently. Reputable Outdoor Gearlab ranks the MSR Windburner as the best stove on the market, with MSR reactor finishing in second (MSR actually has the top 5 spots in that ranking, but only MSR, Jetboil and Optimus are tested).
I learned that MSR themselves had put out an excellent comparison of the Windburner and the Reactor. Check it out here.
Source for photo: http://www.cascadedesigns.com/msr/blog/windboiler-vs-reactor-whats-difference/
Summed up, they have the same technology; both have enclosed combustion (wind resistance!!). But the Windburner’s targets single backpackers and couples while the Reactor, again, targets the serious alpine conditions. They both are complete systems, with pot’s, but the Windburner’s pot is insulated and comes with a handle, making it perfect to cook a meal in.
I would also advise readers to read the comparison of different stoves made by the Gear Institute. Once again, the Windburner comes out on top. And this time, more stoves are included in the test.
It really surprised me that there was no ignition on the stove. To me that means one more thing to pack. I’ll get used to it, but my other stoves have had piezo ignition, which is quite handy.
This is actually the only downside I can find on this stove. It can’t play music though J
This is a great stove, no question. And as I said, it’s the best stove that I have ever tried. The price is no too bad either, because this is a complete system, and a stove and pot are essential gear to be carrying if you like spending time outside. Totally recommended.
A review from Adventures in Stoving
A review from TreeLineBackpacker
A review from Hike Lighter.com
The stove reviews from Gear Institute
Review of backpacking stoves from Outdoor Gearlab
Review of the windburner and some if its closest competitors from Outsideonline
The comparison from Cascadedesigns (owner of the MSR brand) between the Windburner and the Reactor.
MSR (Cascade Designs) supplied me with the stove (not the Coffee press) used in this review. The review is based on my honest and sincere experience from dealing with the product.