Recently, I pulled into camp late, exhausted. I didn't want to screw around with building a rock wall or crawling behind some boulders to cook. With the Windburner, it basically doesn't matter. There's no screwing around with trying to get your stove to work in wind. It just works. Boy, was I glad I had brought a Windburner that trip.
UPDATE 12 May 2017: I have now created a Comparison of the 1.8 L MSR Windburner with the 1.8 L Jetboil Sumo.
For a more comprehensive look at Integrated canister stoves, please see:
|The MSR Windburner with 1.8 L pot.|
When I wrote my initial review of the MSR Windburner, that's all that was available, a "personal" system with a one liter pot. Yes, the Windburner is fast enough that you could just take turns, but if you had a meal that required a bit more capacity or you wanted to eat together, the Windburner, back then, really wasn't your set up. Then MSR introduced their new 1.8 liter pot for the Windburner.
NOTE: The burner is the same size for all versions of the Windburner. All Windburner pots and pans fit with all Windburner burners. The 1.8 L pot will, for example, work with the burner from a 1.0 L set. Likewise the pan will fit the burner from either a 1.8 L set or a 1.0 L set.
|The 1.8 L pot for the MSR Windburner|
The bulk of the system is in fact the same, so by all means you should read my original review: The New MSR Windburner.
Let me just say here that since the publication of my original review just over three years ago, the Windburner has become my absolute favorite desert backpacking stove. Why? Because it's always freaking windy in the desert. Really windy. And, no, sticking it behind a rock just doesn't cut it in high gusty winds.
|The Whitewater River flowing into the California desert from the San Bernardino Mountains|
The Road to Hell is Paved with... Weather Balloons?
One of the things that's different here are the new, and I think improved, canister stand (sometimes also called a "canister legs" or "canister feet").
|The new 1.8 L version of the Windburner comes with improved canister legs.|
|The new Windburner canister stand folds|
|There's plenty of room inside the 1.8 L pot for a spoon, lighter, and the canister stand.|
What Fits Inside?
First, I wrap everything in a bandana, see above, so that I don't scratch up the pot. With that in mind, the following will fit:
- A 110 g sized canister fits easily with room to spare the burner, the 110 g canister, a spoon, the canister stand, and a large windproof torch type lighter.
- A 227 g sized canister fits the burner, the 227 g canister, the canister stand, and a small lighter. The canister stand is a bit of a trick, but if you fiddle with it a bit, it all fits. I couldn't fit my particular spoon into the pot with the 227 g canister, but different spoons may fit.
- A 450 g sized canister will fit, but not much else will fit. You cannot fit in the burner if you put a 450 g sized canister inside. The canister stand and a lighter will fit even with a 450 g size canister. NOTE: MSR does not recommend the 450 g size for use with the Windburner since the resultant assembly would be so tall.
|The pot is fairly deep, so a 8.5"/21 cm spoon is a good fit.|
The 1.8 L pot is about 7 inches/17.5 cm deep. I think a spoon (or other untensil) of about 8.5 inches/21.5 cm is about right. In order to fit your spoon in the pot, you'll want a collapsing or folding spoon. I recommend plastic so that you don't scratch up the nice anodized pot.
|The 1.8 L Windburner's bowl is a very functional 850 ml size.|
The pot lid snaps to the bowl in addition to the pot.
The bowl has a nice improvement over the original: It doesn't get jammed onto the pot. On the original, sometimes the bowl would ride up too far on the pot, and it was all you could do to get it off again. MSR, thankfully, has corrected the problem, and the bowl pops on and off the pot easily.
As with the original, the pot lid fits the bowl equally well as it fits the pot. The bowl is a full 850 ml (about 29 fluid ounces) in size, which is great for mixing things in – or eating out of. The bowl is well marked with volume increments.
|The bowl has English units up through 24 oz/3 cups or metric units to 600 ml|
Functional Pot Size
|The pot has volume markings up to 44 oz and 1.4 L. |
Maximum recommended fill is 1.0 L.
|The vents on the Windburner are on three sides of the pot.|
Turn the side without the vents into the wind.
I haven't seen this documented anywhere on MSR's site, but I always turn the portion of the pot without vents into the wind. This gives the best results in my experience.
Sometimes getting the stove lit can be a bit of a trick in high winds. Regular matches and regular lighters don't work very well. Personally, I like using a torch style lighter like the Soto Pocket Torch. Note however any lighter with a piezoelectric ignition will become unreliable somewhere around elevations of 8000'/2400m or higher. Fire steels also work well in windy conditions and are not affected by elevation.
|In addition to the new 1.8 L pot (seen at left in blue), MSR has also introduced a Windburner skillet.|
MSR has also introduced a hard anodized frying pan/skillet for use with the Windburner. In my testing, I found the skillet to be a very capable cooking implement.
|A very nice, moist omelette prepared in a Windburner skillet.|
There is one minor problem with the 1.8 L MSR Windburner pot, and I'm a little disappointed here. This same problem existed in the original version of the Windburner, and I really would have expected MSR to have corrected this by now. The problem is simply this: MSR hasn't really figured out a good way to secure the pot cozy in place. Why does that matter? Well, if the pot cozy slides up, as it sometimes does, then the lid will not seal fully. You'll get a little dribble under the pour spot which will go down inside the cozy.
|Using the pour spout on the the lid of the MSR Windburner.|
Nice feature, but you have to make sure the pot cozy is moved down a few mm or it won't seal.
|You don't want food spills to go down inside the plastic honeycomb of the pot cozy.|
|Slide the pot cozy down a couple of mm in order to get the lid to seal properly.|
Summary – The MSR Windburner, 1.8 L Size
What's Good About It?
- Utterly bombproof in wind
- Good fuel efficiency and good speed
- Nice bowl (with volume markings)
- Nice pot capacity for two (and can accommodate spoon, lighter, etc.)
- Robust and durable
- Good heat control (It can do a lot more than just boil water)
- Twelve attachment openings (so that it doesn't matter which way you turn the pot)
- A handle that actually works
What's Not So Good About It?
- If the pot cozy slides up, the lid may not seal properly for pouring.
- It would be nice if they could make it an ounce or two lighter. Note that the Windburner is about the same as other stoves in this class; this is just a "wish list" kind of a thing.
Please see also all weights and technical data in Appendices I and II, below.
Thanks for joining me on another Adventure In Stoving,
Appendix I – Component Weights
Windburner stove system with 1.8 L pot
Appendix II – Manufacturer and Technical Data
Date Available: January 2016. Currently available as of this writing
Manufacturer: Mountain Safety Research (MSR), a subsidiary of Cascade Designs.
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.cascadedesigns.com/MSR
MSRP: $160 for the Windburner system with 1.8 L pot. $140 for the Windburner system with 1.0 L pot. $90 for just the 1.8 L pot. $70 for just the skillet.
Weight (measured): See Appendix I
Materials: Aluminum pot. Plastic and nylon cozy. Polypropylene bowl and lid. Burner is primarily steel with brass threads. The regulator valve assembly is brass. The burner grip is plastic.
Packed dimensions: 8" x 5" (20.5 cm x 12.5 cm).
Size/Model tested: 1.8 L pot.
Colors available: Blue or black.
Requirements: A standard threaded canister of gas, sold separately.
Warranty Information: Contact Cascade Designs through their website (see above).
|The author, climbing a wind-swept desert ridge near Desert Hot Springs, California.|
The MSR Windburner is the ultimate desert cooking machine.