Are you searching for a small stove for your next backpacking trip that will stay lit in challenging weather conditions? We were satisfied with MSR’s WindBurner® Personal Stove System. It nests together compactly and is a great low-volume stove option for solo and minimalist trips.
Product: MSR WindBurner® Personal Stove System
Price: $189.95 CAD; $149.95 USD; £108.00
Pros: All-in-one, ultralight, windproof, quick boil
Cons: Only really suitable for boiling water
Worth it? Yes
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MSR WindBurner® Personal Stove System: The Verdict
Easy to assemble and disassemble, the MSR WindBurner® Personal Stove is a great choice for solo backpacking. With its windproof radiant burner and pressure regulator technology, you’ll get a faster boil than other compact stoves—it takes an average of 4.5 minutes. It’s packaged as a complete system (although you have to buy fuel separately), so you get out-of-the-box functionality.
Overview of the MSR WindBurner® Personal Stove System
We tested the MSR WindBurner® Personal Stove System, the soloist version of the MSR WindBurner Stove. We were impressed with its components, which include a 1.0 L hard-anodized aluminum pot with a handle, enclosed burner, straining lid, stove stand, and a 0.5 L bowl, and how they next together perfectly. Since the pot is meant for soloists, keep in mind that you will have to re-boil a few times if you need more than 1.0 L of water. If space and weight is less of an issue when you’re packing, consider the MSR WindBurner® Duo Stove System, which is designed for two backpackers and includes a 1.8 L pot.
When to use
The MSR WindBurner® Personal Stove System is best used on solo or minimalist backpacking trips. It’s mainly for boiling water—I didn’t (and wouldn’t) try cooking in the 1.0 L pot. Made for rougher weather conditions, you can take this stove with confidence when heading into mountainous terrain with unpredictable weather patterns.
This ultralight personal stove system will help you cut weight significantly, coming in at only 15.3 oz/430 grams. Keep in mind that if you purchase any add-ons such as the coffee filter or a pot with a higher volume, the weight will increase slightly. The compatible 1.8 L Accessory Pot weighs 369 grams, adding 125 grams to the total weight if you swap out the 1.0 L pot (244 grams).
All-in-one + ultralight. Each piece of the personal stove system nests together, so you don’t have to worry about losing any parts or bringing a stuff sack. The all-in-one system makes it easy to pack—small volume and lightweight.
Super quick boil. Once lit, the MSR WindBurner® Personal Stove brings water to a boil in an average of 4 minutes and 30 seconds.
Works in windy conditions. Once you light the stove, the radiant burner functions well in windy conditions. Great for backpacking in the wilderness when you have limited shelter and wind protection.
Great functionality. You can use this system for solo trips without needing to pack another bowl. The 1.0 L pot functions as an insulated mug with a handle for a nice big cup of coffee or tea. MSR offers the compatible 1.8 L Accessory Pot to use this stove system for two or more people.
Coffee filter add-on. We tried the MSR Coffee Press Kit, a great accessory for short trips or car camping. However, it’s not ideal for long-distance backcountry adventures since you’ll have to pack out the wet coffee grounds, adding weight to your pack and a mess if not contained properly.
Only for boiling water. This system is designed to efficiently and quickly boil water (which it does really well!). You could try cooking, but I wouldn’t risk it since it would likely boil over in such a small pot. This wasn’t a deal-breaker for us, but it’s a common complaint when buying a stove system like this for the first time.
Award-winning Reactor ® technology
The MSR WindBurner® Stove System uses Reactor® technology—a “100% primary air design.” With its enclosed design, there’s only one entrance for air. Wind can’t disrupt the flame, which makes this burner hyper-efficient. All the heat created is contained and transferred to the contents of the pot—there’s no heat loss. Compare this with a standard stove system, like the MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove, which uses an exposed flame subject to wind, which causes heat loss and has a serious impact on performance (and may even put the flame out completely!). For those of you who have been frustrated with lighting a stove in challenging mountain environments, the MSR WindBurner® Personal Stove would be a great investment. With this personal stove, you’ll have 1.0 L of boiled water in 4.5 minutes.
Aside from the fuel sold separately, the MSR WindBurner® Personal Stove System includes everything you need. The pot is designed with an insulated cozy and handle. At first, I thought it would be hard to manage and that it might be top-heavy, but I was impressed with the design and had no problems.
The attached 0.5 L was super useful. It has stamped measurements that come in handy for dry-food meals. It’s also helpful for multitasking as I could let my oatmeal stand while I boiled a second pot of water for tea. The lid maintains a tight seal, so do not try and remove it when your pot is full of boiling water.
Add-ons + attachments
The WindBurner® Personal Stove System is compatible with attachments like the Coffee Press Kit and 1.8 L Accessory Pot. As mentioned above, the coffee filter accessory was not our favourite way to make coffee. It leaves you with wet grounds that can cause a mess and added weight when you pack it out. The Duo Accessory Pot on its own weighs 13.05 oz/370 grams, adding a bit of weight overall, but you’ll have almost double the capacity with its 1.8 L volume. This pot also fits an 8 oz. fuel canister, so it’s a good option for longer backpacking trips—especially with two people.
Should you buy the MSR WindBurner® Personal Stove System?
In our opinion, the MSR WindBurner® Personal Stove System is a great little stove. It is slightly more expensive than similar stove systems, but the price difference reflects its value as an efficient and compact stove system for boiling water. We think the MSR WindBurner® Personal Stove System is a good investment for solo backpackers. This stove will perform well on backcountry trips in challenging weather conditions.