Review: MSR WindBurner Stove

If you've spent a lot of time traveling and camping, you probably have some specific equipment that you depend on. Over the years, I've used a variety of camp stoves—an old dented, green Coleman from high school; a hand-made Partner aluminum two-burner; and my original Mountain Safety Research (MSR) Reactor. The Reactor lives in my van, and I've boiled hundreds of pots of water for coffee, tea, and soups from coast to coast. MSR now makes the WindBurner Personal Stove System, a baby brother to the Reactor. 

The pot holds one liter (four cups) of water and took three minutes and 50 seconds to reach a rolling boil. Though this is slower than the volcanic Reactor, which boils a liter of water in one minute and 40 seconds at 4,100 feet altitude, who's in a big hurry? It's about half the size and weight of its predecessor, so it's much easier to carry. The fuel-adjustment valve lets you turn down the flame and cook soup without boiling over and creating a mess. Different pots are available, including a 1L or a 1.8L for heating water, a nonstick skillet, and a 2.5L or 4.5L stockpot, giving you versatility to cook for campmates. A foldable plastic tripod keeps it stable, and a heat exchanger allows the stove to work seamlessly in windy conditions. With its nestable plastic bowl, an insulated koozie attached to the pot, and a coffee press (available as an accessory), this stove has everything you need to quickly make a hot drink and soothing soup.

For mountain climbers, a stainless steel cable hanging kit (bought separately; $50) allows you to suspend and secure the base and cookpot when there's no flat ground to cook on. 

Available online; $190.