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Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Stoves from MSR

It looks like MSR is putting out three, count 'em, three new stoves.


UPDATED 9/6/2011 See also this related post which contains videos of the new MSR Whisperlite Universal.

UPDATED 10/4/2011I have written a review of the MSR Whisperlite Universal.


The first is the MicroRocket.


Basically, the MicroRocket looks like it's just a lighter version of the PocketRocket, but with some minor improvements. In particular, the pot supports are shorter and supposedly (per MSR) stronger, which would go a long way toward correcting the PocketRocket's Achilles heel.  Reportedly, the MicroRocket will be 15% lighter than the PocketRocket which would mean that the MicroRocket would weigh about 2.5 oz.  A German press release I saw lists the weight at 75g which would be 2.6 oz.  Either way, it's a very nice, light stove.
An MSR PocketRocket (left) and an MSR MicroRocket (right)


MSR MicroRocket (left) and MSR PocketRocket (Right)

A second "improvement" is the addition of a separate piezoelectric starter (see first photo). The starter is a stand alone unit not built into the stove. I'm not quite sure about the utility of this. Why not just bring matches, a lighter, or a firesteel?  Matches, a lighter, or a firesteel seem like they'd be a lot more versatile. With matches, a lighter, or a firesteel, one can light a variety of fires, not just a stove.  I haven't seen MSR's piezoelectric starter, but I think a piezoelectric starter would only work on a stove.  It'll be interesting to see if their separate piezoelectric starter catches on.

The pot supports on the new MicroRocket fold up a bit differently and the valve control folds over the body of the stove.  It all collapses down into what looks to be a very compact package indeed.
An MSR MicroRocket folded (left) and piezoelectric ignition (right)

The new case for the MicroRocket looks more compact overall when compared to the case for the PocketRocket.
Left to right:  Folded MSR MicroRocket, piezoelectric ignigtion, a MicroRocket case, and a PocketRocket case

Here's Steve Grimes of MSR discussing the new MicroRocket:



The second new stove is the Whisperlite Universal which is a "hybrid" stove (MSR's words) that will burn both liquid fuel and gas.






Apparently the Universal is a Whisperlite Internationale with significant revisions. Gone are the wire legs, and the generator has been significantly revised. Note also the black plastic canister stand which holds the canister upside down. It appears that MSR is finally conceding that their remote canister stoves work with the canister inverted (i.e. liquid feed), a fact that they have mysteriously downplayed for years. It's a wonder that MSR wouldn't market the heck out of the fact that their remote canister stoves can operate with the canister inverted since an inverted canister stove can operate in temperatures at least 20 degrees Fahrenheit (about 10 degrees Celsius) colder than conventional upright canister stoves. The Whisperlite Universal supposedly has multiple connectors that can be swapped out for use with gas or liquid fuel. The Whisperlite Universal comes with three jets (much like a Primus Omnifuel) for use with differing fuels.

A closer look at the burner of the MSR Whisperlite Universal

From what I can see so far, this new Whisperlite should be a very interesting stove capable of a wide variety of modes: upright (vapor feed) gas, inverted (liquid feed) gas, and liquid fuel (white gasoline or kerosene). Let's hope that they have not only added a new fuel to the old Internationale's repertoire but also increased the Internationale's reliability with kerosene.  If in fact the Whisperlite Universal does have increased reliability with kerosene, the Universal might indeed be a really good choice for the world traveler, particularly if the Universal were more accessible from a price perspective.  Stoves currently on the market that burn gas, white gasoline, and kerosene tend to be pretty expensive.

The new Whisperlite Universal seems to have an upgraded fuel line.  The fuel line on newer MSR stoves like the Simmerlite and Windpro is thinner and more flexible, making the stove easier to pack.  It looks like the Whisperlite has now also been upgraded to the new more flexible fuel line.  Assuming the new fuel line is just as reliable as the old one, the more flexible fuel line is a change I heartily applaud.

It's possible, but I don't know this for a fact, that the new Whisperlite Universal will be a lighter stove than either the regular Whisperlite or the Whisperlite Internationale.  I say this just based on the legs and the overall look of the stove.  Of course, any weight shed on the legs may be regained depending on how they do the connectors.  Assuming that the new Whisperlite Universal uses the standard MSR duraseal pump (look at the photo below; notice the duraseal pump in her hand), there will have to be some kind adapter that the fuel hose will plug into so that a either a standard pump or gas canister can be attached.
MSR is smart, they have made the Whisperlite Universal so one doesn't have to carry the canister stand in warm weather, when you really don't need to invert the canister.
 The canister stand of an MSR Whisperlite Universal

Here's a video on the Whisperlite Universal:




Lastly, the third "new" stove:  The Windpro II.  MSR has improved the Windpro by adding a rotating coupler and including a canister stand that holds the canister in inverted position.  Again, it looks as though MSR is finally publicly acknowledging that their remote canister stoves can be used in inverted canister mode (liquid feed).  It's interesting to me that it took them this long to acknowledge what has been there all along.  They spent a lot of money on the Reactor, which they push as a high end mountaineering stove, when they had a gas stove that would work in much colder conditions way before anyone even thought of the Reactor.

Here are a couple of photos of the new, improved Windpro II.  In the first photo, note the MSR Whisperlite Universal in the background which appears to use the same canister stand.


Here's a video on the Windpro II



I don't have any photos, but per a press release dated July 18 from Cascade Designs, apparently MSR has also upgraded the Whisperlite Internationale if I'm reading things correctly, so it looks as though there will be three versions of the Whisperlite sold:
The regular Whisperlite
The Whisperlite Internationale (Improved Version)
The Whisperlite Universal
Perhaps no changes are being made to the regular Whisperlite?

All of the new stoves should be available in January 2012.

HJ

5 comments:

  1. Damn MSR, I was just self building a similar piezoelectric starter (looks like a flashlight, with a wide area near the button so that you can hold it between 2 fingers and press with your thumb).

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  2. They'll do it to you every time. ;)

    It remains to be seen if MSR's will be any good.

    HJ

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  3. And I just bought and old-model WindPro...:(

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  4. Not to worry, Daniel. The old model and the new model are hardly different. The new model just has a little plastic stand that makes things more convenient, but not that much more. You can do everything with the old model that you can do with the new. Check out my blog post on the old model: http://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2011/02/stove-of-week-msr-windpro.html

    HJ

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