|Rating:||8.1 / 10|
|Value for Money||1.5 / 2|
|Weight||1.4 / 2|
|Ease of Use||1.6 / 2|
|Fuel Efficiency||1.7 / 2|
|Boiling Speed||1.9 / 2|
I currently own six stove systems including two integrated Jetboil stoves and after hearing great things about the MSR Windburner Personal integrated Stove I was keen to try it out for comparison. Integrated stoves have been my go-to option for my hiking trips over the past 6 years. While not the lightest option on the market, they are without a doubt the easiest systems to use coming as complete kits and not requiring too much thought to do what they do best, boil water in no time at all. They also are extremely conservative on gas use.
The MSR Windburner Personal stove shares all the advantages of this stove type. It comes as a complete all-in-one set that includes the burner, stabilising stand and integrated pot which includes an insulated pot and handle. All pieces of the basic kit, including a 100 gram gas canister that fits inside a nice neat self contained unit. All you need to purchase is the fuel and if you really feel like it the optional accessories that include a hanging kit (unique to MSR), coffee press for the coffee lovers out there and/or the optional 1.8 Duo Pot for those cooking for larger meals.
As usual lets start with the negatives and for me there were three main ones. The first, and for most people, the biggest negative on this unit is the price. The MSR Windburner Personal Stove is the dearest stove in this market segment with a RRP of $369.95 AUD. Unless you are in desperate need of a new stove immediately, wait for them to come on sale which they do on a regular basis and the price will often drop sharply. The second downside is that this is by no means the lightest stove in this segment but is within 20 grams of the comparable Jetboil Minimo cook system. This surprised me as the Windburner feels more robust containing more metal in its construction. Last but not least, the Windburner doesn’t have an integrated starter which many people like and as a result this is a slightly more fiddly unit to start than other integrated stoves. In fact you really need to start it with the pot unit off. In windy conditions this rules out the use of matches pushing you to use a fire steel or a cigarette lighter instead. In all fairness, if the wind is blowing with any force matches are pretty much useless anyway but not an option I have used for a number of years.
Given these these negatives why then would you choose the Windburner over the much cheaper (by around $70 at the time of this review) equivalent Jetboil integrated stove? If you just compare the Windburner based purely on price and pot size you wouldn’t pick it but when you look at all the features you soon realise that the MSR unit does what it is designed to do, work well in windy conditions, and is good value for money.
To start one thing I have noticed with MSR is that while they don’t necessarily build the lightest weight equipment, they do build relatively lightweight, robust and reliable gear that will last for many years. This stove is no different; the Windburner just feels robust and well made. While I have criticised this stove for not having an electric starter it does however increase reliability. Electric starters while reliable, are potentially a weak point on any stove and if something is going to go wrong a number of years down the track then this is likely to be where a problem will occur. I will always carry a Fire Steel just in case!
The biggest feature on this stove is the ability to cope with significant wind conditions and this is where paying that extra price pays off. For most hikers having a stove that copes with windy conditions probably isn’t a major consideration however if you hike in the Australian Alps or in other areas above the tree line where there isn’t much wind protection, then this is one of the few stoves on the market that not only copes with windy conditions but thrives.
The burner head on the Windburner is a large recessed unit that lights easily and is contained and protected with a metal cone that minimises wind interference which gives it its well deserved name. It is not unusual for me to use my body as a windshield in the open hills in the Australian Alps when the wind is blowing but the MSR Windburner negates this need.
In addition the time required to boil water is excellent and on the timer test for a 500 ml boil took just under 2.5 minutes, coming out ahead of all its rivals. The large size of the burner head spreads the heat over a larger area of the pot which makes this a good option for cooking as well as boiling water given it doesn’t create a narrow hotspot on the base of the pot that can potentially result in burnt food. While I haven’t used this stove on an extended multi week trip it has a very good reputation for fuel efficiency as well.
One last key feature on this stove is the good sized cup/bowl that screws on the base of this unit and at 0.47 litres it negates the need to carry a separate bowl.
Overall this stove does what it claims and performs well in reasonably high wind conditions which is where you reap the benefits of the extra financial outlay. For many hikers the premium price of this unit will be a deterrent but if you want an integrated stove that will last for years and perform in extreme weather conditions then the MSR Windburner Personal Cooking System is definitely the way to go.
This stove suits hikers who want an integrated stove that copes with windy conditions and performs reliably day in, day out
You can purchase the MSR Windburner Personal Cooking System from Snowys
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AUD $369.95 RRP (often on sale)
MSR produce a range of stove including canister stoves, integrated stoves and multi fuel stoves
MSR Windburner unit assembled
The MSR Windburner stove packed
MSR Windburner Kit unpacked. This stove also has space for a 100gram stove canister
MSR Windburner stabiliser
MSR Windburner assembled and ready to go
MSR Windburner close up. The burner head is well protected from windy conditions
MSR Windburner Head. Note the broad head that spreads the heat across a wide area making this an ideal unit for coking as well as boiling water
This review was done by product provided by the Australian distributor of MSR Stoves