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Thread: MSR Windburner reviewed as a stove, a flask and a water purifier.

  1. #1
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    Default MSR Windburner reviewed as a stove, a flask and a water purifier.

    MSR brought out their Windburned stove last year. It was originally called the Windboiler. It is their entry into the market pretty much started by the Jetboil. The idea is simple, a stove that is self contained and will boil water / heat up food, with ruthless efficiency. What the Windburner does that it’s competitors don’t is complete this task even strong winds without the need for any wind break.

    However as well as discussing this stove I want to give my thoughts on how this class of stove can replace some existing items I carry. As you can guess from the title these are vacuum flasks and water filters but you can also add water to that, for me at least.

    So the Windburner Stove.

    The manufacturers page for the stove is here http://www.cascadedesigns.com/msr/st...burner/product All the specs are there and on the box so I won’t cover them in any detail. The stove arrives like this.









    In the hand the complete set up including a 100g gas canister look like this.



    The stove will also work with 220g gas cartridges, however, these will not fit inside the cup for storage. I keep the complete set up in a small bag which either holds the stove as above plus, sweetners, 2 in 1 coffee sachets, a spoon and some cup a soups. If I am using the 220g canister then the brew kit goes in the cup and the canister sits on top in the bag. Still a pretty compact set up.

    The stove proudly markets itself as the 1.0l system and this is the capacity of the mug when filled, however be aware you can only boil 0.6l at a time as you need space at the top for safety. However, MSR are bringing out a bigger 1.8l pot for the stove to make it more suitable for more than one person and will also fit the 220g gas canister inside it along with the burner etc. There also plans for a skillet for the stove (frying pan to you and me). These should be available next year (2016).

    Popping the lid off of the cup shows all the parts of the system crammed inside.



    There is a lot in there.



    Starting from the left we have a small towel, a stand that attaches to either size of gas canister, the 100g gas canister, the stove burner assembly, the cup / pot with built in heat exchanger on the bottom, the lid for the cup / pot, a plastic bowl that fits over the bottom of the cup / pot and in front of it all a firesteel and scraper.

    The firesteel does not come with the stove. you need to provide your own or matches. I do not know why the stove does not have a piezo ignition system. It seems a glaring omission from this “complete” system but I assume there is some technical reason behind it. Once you add a firesteel to the set you are pretty much covered for lighting the stove in any conditions for the foreseeable future so not a big issue but a strange omission in my eyes anyway.

    The underside of the cup shows the heat exchanger and the cowling that makes this stove so efficient even in the wind.



    The efficiency is the main selling points of these stoves so lets talk about that. There are two parts of this efficiency. Time and fuel. So put water in the cup and light the stove.



    And in an absurdly short time you are looking at this.



    Of course the actual time will depend on the quantity of water the air temperature, altitude, wind speed etc etc. The packaging quotes times of between 2 minutes 30 seconds to 2 minutes 45 seconds for 0.5 litre of water using between 7 and 8 grammes of fuel. I tested on a number of occasions boiling 0.6 litre of water and the boil was consistently under the 3 minute mark and used about 8 grammes of fuel. Due to some sort of magic on MSR’s side there does not seem to be any drop in efficiency as the canister nears empty. In my experience the stove seemed to maintain its full power pretty much right up till the canister ran out.

    Boiling enough water for a single brew was so quick as to be almost inconvenient. The water is boiling before you can sort out the coffee etc.

    Allowing for waste and poor conditions the above equates to at least 6 litres of boiled (purified) water from the 100g canister and over 13 litres for the 220 gramme cartridge. Either is enough for a couple of nights use. Annoyingly the 100g carried costs about £4.00 at the moment and the 220g cartridge can be got for £5.00. Clearly the 220g is far better value. That said for the extra couple of quid the 100g cartridge does make for a very compact set up. The 220g still makes a compact package just not quite as neat.



    So for boiling water the stove is really good. However this efficiency does come with some problems. I could not simmer with this stove. because the heat exchanger is so efficient and the cup well insulated the stove could not be turned down low enough to simmer without going out. There are three solutions to this that I came up with. Each has its own plus and minus points. First just get the food to the boil, turn the stove off, then relight it after 5 minutes, bring it back to the boil (will be seconds) then stir and turn the stove off again. Repeat until the food is cooked. Because the pot locks to the burner and you need to light using the firesteel or matches this is a bit of a pain.

    The next two solutions are really variations on a theme. The one that suits you will depend on how weight conscious you are. My preferred solution is the heavyweight solution although still a big weight saver as I will discuss later. This solution is a food flask. So get the food to boiling then put it in the flask. Leave till ready and eat. Or wait longer till it suits you. It was a SotP member who suggested this and it is luxury. At night I boil enough water for a night time cuppa and the rest goes in a flask with two packets of Oats to Simple. Give it a shake and leave. then whenever I wake up in the morning I just need to open the flask to have hot oats ready on tap. After breakfast I wash out the flask and fill it with supernoodles or pasta or a rice dish and fill with boiling water and seal it all up. Whenever I decide to stop for lunch I have a hot meal ready.

    Words really cannot describe the joy of waking in your bedroll at the side of the loch just as the sun is starting to come up. It’s been a clear night with a nip in the air. The stars fade as the sun brightens the sky. Without even getting out of your sleeping bag you open the flask and tuck into hot sweat porridge as you watch the world come to life. Works in hammocks too . In fairness the stove is so compact and easy to use you could cook porridge in it without getting out your sleeping bag but that’s still like work when you first wake

    The lightweight solution is to make a pot cosy for the windburner pot. This works much like the flask but is not transportable. The pot just sits in the cosy until the food is ready to eat. You might get the breakfast plan to work but you are not going to have the pot and cosy in your pack while you carry it from breakfast till lunch.

    I promised to discuss how this stove could replace a flask but have just recommended a food flask to go with the stove. The vacuum flask this stove replaces is the one with hot water. In winter I almost always take a flask with hot water in it with me. This is to give me access to a hot drink quickly should I get chilled either just from the cold or from taking a swim. A full 1 litre flask is way heavier than the Windburner. Also the stove gives me at least 6 times as much boiling water on tap. The stove would provide some heat while boiling the water as well as hot water to drink.

    Similarly anywhere I go, especially when paddling, there is a lot of water about. All it needs to be drinkable water is a quick boil. And as we have discussed the windburner excels at a quick boil. Because it will boil even when in a strong wind there is really very few circumstances where I could imagine it not working. And in none of these situations would any of my current options work for me either.

    I have actually stopped carrying a water filter with me on paddling trips anyway, however I make a point of always having at least one litre of drinkable water, usually two. These are topped up from boiled water at every meal or brew stop. With the windburner I don’t feel the need to have as much or even any water with me. I can quickly boil water even while still in the canoe and on the water, although i feel sure MSR would tell me this is not recommended or condoned

    So in summary I really like this stove. It ticks so many boxes for me I am actually annoyed that I have not had this type of stove before now. That said if you are a chef type this stove may not suit you due to the lack of easy simmering. If you want a stove for a bigger group then you may want to wait for the 1.8 litre pot or you can dive in now and buy the bigger pot when it becomes available.

    So in a sentence. I highly recommend this stove.

    Last edited by MagiKelly; 22nd-January-2018 at 07:00 PM.

  2. #2
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    Looks like a great product for day trips, it looks like the burner is the catalytic type that glows rather than burns?
    Re the canisters
    You could use a gas saver to refill the smaller canisters from the more economic large canisters. I been using such a device below for a couple of years now and it works fine

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  3. #3
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    I like the idea of the gas saver. Not sure if I would use it enough to cover the cost but well worth looking into. When the bigger pot arrives I am not sure if I will switch to always using the bigger canister or stick with the smaller more compact set up.

    Actually now now that I think about it the thing that would really make the gas saver worth it is being able to make sure it is always a full canister you take with you. So it would work even with the big canister to make sure you take a full one rather than needing to take two as one is running low.

  4. #4
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    I've ordered one of the Gas Savers from here, http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item...obalID=EBAY-GB The one I have ordered has a release valve so you can vent spare gas if you overfill. It will also let me make sure canisters are empty before I puncture them to make them safe for recycling.

  5. #5
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    John, I can vouch for the gas saver too. Cracking little piece of equipment and when combined with a 'Crunch-it' tool makes disposal of old canisters a breeze.
    I was anti canisters before these arrived but now I don't feel so bad as the canisters get recycled.
    Bootstrap
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  6. #6

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    I always used meths to make porridge in the morning as the roar of the gas burner interrupts me watching dawn. I have never ever considered using a flask to keep it warm until morning. Thanks for that suggestion, I can't wait to give it a try.
    Great review too.

    Chicken

  7. #7
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    I'd love to claim credit but it was GrahamC the idea of cooking in a food flask, http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...995#post571995

    I've read a lot before about pot cosys but never seen the point till now. Flasks seem so much easier a solution though.

  8. #8
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    Looking to replace my Jetboil Sol one day soon, so a great review. I think the lack of ignitor puts me off a bit. My Jetboil Sol ignitor died a while ago and I miss it.

    Not sure I would give the 'hot sweat porridge' a go though .

    Cheers

    Paul

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bin_man View Post
    My Jetboil Sol ignitor died a while ago and I miss it.
    You know you can buy replacement ignitors for not very much?
    http://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/jetbo...?id_colour=180


    As a separate observation I have just bought some more medium size gas cartridges for my Jetboil and I notice that Coleman have now redesigned the canister a bit which allows them to slip inside the Jetboil pot. The lip at the bottom has reduced in diameter and they've dropped 10g from 250g but it's a small price to pay for the convenience. Of course this could be just the performance gas canisters, Go Outdoors didn't have a normal one to compare against.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

  10. #10
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    Hi, thanks but those are for the original Jetboil (I did replace one when I had an original), but the Sol has a different arrangement. I have been searching for a replacement for a while but had no luck.

    I have been using a firesteel, but had an 'underburn' incident recently, so am a bit wary.

    Regards

    Paul

  11. #11
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    If you are looking for a Jetboil alternative, I can thoroughly recommend the Alpkit Brukit - it's remarkably similar in design and almost as efficient but costs a lot less. They don't have the original at the minute but do have the smaller Brukit Jackal on sale. No affiliations etc, just a happy Brukit user.
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