Update, 19 January 2012: The MSR Whisperlite Universal has been awarded the Backpacking Magazine Editor's Choice award.
QUESTION: Can the gas adapter from the Whisperlite Universal be used on a Simmerlite?
ANSWER: The end of the Whisperlite Universal's fuel line is threaded, and it is onto these threads that the gas and liquid fuel adapters attach. The end of the Simmerlite's fuel line is smooth. So, no, unfortunately, the gas adapter from the Whisperlite Universal can not be used on a Simmerlite.
|The end of a Whisperlite Universal fuel line|
ANSWER: Generally, the only tool you will need is the wrench/tool that comes with the stove. However, a safety pin or needle can be really handy for replacing "O" rings. For heavier duty maintenance, you may need additional tools. For example, the burner head now requires a hex tool (Allen wrench) for disassembly. However, this type of maintenance is almost never needed in the field, and you should be fine when out on the trail with just the MSR wrench/tool.
|The wrench/tool that comes with the Whisperlite Universal|
ANSWER: MSRP is $139.95.
Update 11 Nov 2011: MEC, the Canadian Outdoors retailer, has the MSR Whisperlite Universal listed for $131.00 (CAD -- about $128 USD). Let's hope that MSR has relented a little bit on the price. $140 is a bit much for a Whisperlite, even a wonderfully improved Whisperlite like the Whisperlite Universal
DETAILED PHOTOS NOT USED IN THE REVIEW:
|The MSR Whisperlite Universal rigged for canister gas|
|Flame shot, running on white gasoline (Coleman fuel). Note how hot it gets under the generator (pre heat loop). This apparent heat entrapment allows the stove to simmer far better than current Whisperlite stoves.|
Running on kerosene
Soot build up after running on kerosene
Stove testing at First Water on the Mount Wilson Trail
Simmer test on kerosene. Note that the burner is NOT glowing red. I was able to get a nice low flame.