Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lighting the Windburner

The new Windburner stove from MSR does not come with a built-in piezoelectric ignition.  It works fine to light the stove with a match or butane lighter, but it's always nice to know what your options are.  So, I thought I'd try a couple of quick lighting experiments.

UPDATE 27 November 2014:  I've added two videos that demonstrate lighting the Windburner with a firesteel in windy conditions.  See my Wind Testing post.

1.  Firesteel
First, I tried a firesteel.
A firesteel from Light My Fire
If you're not familiar with a firesteel, they're a fairly simple means of lighting things.  You take the steel striker, which is the silvery object on the left in my hand in the above photo, and scrape it rapidly and with force along the firesteel which is the object with the red base in my hand.  A shower of sparks results.  Now, sparks will light some things but not others.  For example, good luck lighting just a stick alone with a firesteel.  But try a firesteel on something fluffy and airy like a spread out cotton ball or dryer lint, and it will work just fine.

OK, so what about lighting stoves?  Well, it works well on some, but it's a bit harder on others.  The trick usually is to strike from directly above.  I tried it on the new Windburner, and...
The rim around the Windburner's burner and the wide head are ideal for lighting with a firesteel.
And it's perfect.  I mean it works really, really well.  It can be a trick to light some stoves with a firesteel, but the Windburner makes it look easy.  The rim around the Windburner appears to contain and concentrate the heavier-than-air fuel gasses.  The burner head of the Windburner is nice and wide and catches all the sparks.  I tried lighting the Windburner several times with a couple of different firesteels, and I got the stove to light on the first try every time.   That's pretty good; many stoves take multiple tries before they'll light with a firesteel.  Basically, a firesteel is eminently practical with a Windburner.

The MSR Windburner in operation
2.  Hand held Piezoelectric
Next, I thought I'd try a handheld piezoelectric ignition.
Hand held piezoelectric ignitions from Kovea (top) and MSR (bottom)
I tried varying the gas flow and placing the igniters in different places on the burner head, all to no avail.  Bottom line:  It just didn't work.

So, nothing earth shattering here, but it's nice to know what your options are.  I know many people like having a firesteel along, so it's nice to know that a fire steel works really, really well on a Windburner.

There you have it.  All in a day's work here at Adventures in Stoving.

Thank you for joining me,


MSR Windburner Posts

The item reviewed here was provided to me at no charge for the purposes of this review.  I am under no obligation to review this or any other item.  I am not compensated for my reviews in any fashion other than in some cases I am permitted to keep the item reviewed.  Given that I have well over a 100 backpacking stoves, a free stove frankly isn't going to buy anyone a good review.  Stove companies must measure up if they want a decent review here.  I am an amatuer stove blogger; I make my living elsewhere, in the IT field.  I fit blogging in as time permits.  Inasmuch as my income is derived elsewhere, monetary issues do not influence the reviews on this blog.  Yes, I do have advertisements on the blog.  I typically derive about $1.00 USD per day from the advertisements (last I checked).  This is a mere pittance and does not influence my reviews in the slightest.  Revenue from the advertisements goes toward hosting fees, stove fuel, and the like.  The blog is self supporting in that sense, and my wife is quite happy that I'm not using the family's income to run the blog, particularly given how tough the economy is these days.


  1. Will the firesteel fit inside the windboiler when all packed up?

    1. Hi, Andy,

      Yes it will. I had no problem getting mine inside.


  2. I too wanted to light my WindBurner with a handheld piezoelectric. If a piezoelectric is all you have there is a trick. Open the valve and turn the stove upside down. Click sparks near the burner surface keeping your hand to the side of the stove. A large volume of gas will mix with air and make a poof once ignited. Immediately turn the stove upright.

    Well, now the stove is lit. Any nearby hair or clothing will also be singed. But, the stove is lit :)

    1. Lol. Well, that ought to do it. I'm not sure that would be recommended by the manufacturer or the Health and Safety Administration!

      I found a fire steel, matches, or a butane lighter to be the best methods, but it's good to know that a piezoelectric ignition can be used in a pinch.



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