MSR stoves have come with me on almost all of my adventures. Whether it was the effective, ubiquitous and slightly terrifying Whisperlite for group cooking, or my MSR WindBurner canister stove. The most recent edition is the MSR WindBurner Stove System Combo, which has everything you need for backcountry cooking.
MSR WindBurner Stove System Combo Features:
- Windproof radiant burner and pressure regulator for windy/cold conditions
- Ceramic-coated 2.5 L sauce pot and 8-inch skillet
- All components nest inside each other
- Anti-topple stove uses remote canister and self-centering pot
- Radiant burner with boil-to-simmer control
- Strainer lid with locking latch
- Nests an 8-oz MSR® IsoPro™ fuel canister (sold separately)
- Made in the USA
- MSRP: $259.99
Don’t let the wind slow you down
While wind has delayed cooking times for me on more occasions than I can count, the Windburner is designed to cook quickly no matter what. In the past, I have been extremely grateful for my canister-style WindBurner because it is so reliable. I was eager to have the chance to test the Combo stove system because, after awhile, you get sick of meals that only require boiled water. With that, the sauce pot and the skillet really open up the range of cooking possibilities.
The stove itself is quite unique in that it has an integrated wind foil, which maintains the tricky balance of blocking out wind while still permitting ample airflow for the burner. MSR constructed this out of a thin, perforated sheet of aluminum that wraps all the way around the base of the burner. The result is 360º protection from wind.
Rather than having a traditional open-flame burner, MSR designed something that they’re calling the Radiant burner, which is designed to disperse heat more evenly across the base of the pot, using a red-hot mesh frame rather than relying on exposed flames. This corresponds to an incredibly efficient heat exchanger at the bottom of the pot. And the included pots can handle the impressive temperatures generated by the burner.
The pots are designed to nestle right onto the burner and are self-centering. That adds a lot of stability. A downside of the Radiant burner, and the stove in general, is that there’s no built-in igniter. That’s largely because the Radiant burner requires a flame, and not just a spark, to get lit. Bring your lighter or matches if you want to use the WindBurner. Also, the pot is big enough to fit an 8oz canister nested inside the pot itself — thus maximizing empty space.
The pot and pan are really well designed. They’re coated with an incredibly effective non-stick which, delightfully, isn’t horrible to the environment like Teflon. It’s a durable ceramic coating that handles abuse, is safe at high temperatures, and is PTFE- and PFOA-free. They have done an incredible job, especially with really messy stuff like eggs. There is definitely some uneven heat distribution in the pans. This is mitigated somewhat by the structure of the ring that interfaces between the pan on the stove. Those eggs will definitely have some spots that are more done than others, so keep things moving while cooking.
The design of the pot and pan are simple but effective. The handle is the same on each one. And, while it does come off quite easily, as a feature that’s also somewhat pesky since it’s been lost in my pack a few times. When it locks into place, though, it locks on with confidence. The pot lid also secures into place very well thanks to a clip that holds it in place.
Boil times are super good overall, although not as good as a jet boil. It can boil a 1.7 liters of water in the sauce pan (what I’ve been calling the ‘pot’ in this review) with just an ounce of fuel. That’s a bit down from the 2.3L that their ultra-efficient single-liter WindBoil pot does, but it’s still really solid. It’s also worth noting the the stove is sensitive enough to simmer efficiently, too.
- The stove is so well designed – very stable and efficient
- Handles gusts and wind with ease
- Ceramic coating on the cookware is top-notch
- Folding handle design is simple and effective
- Nestling design is very secure
- Folding handles like to fall off in your pack
- Heating ring can’t quite eliminate hot spots
The Bottom Line: MSR WindBurner Stove System
I have no issue recommending this stove system to backcountry travelers who want to do more than single-liter stove cooking. Having a lightweight pan and pot opens up so many fun backcountry options, and my girlfriend and I have had a great time trying new recipes on our adventures.
Buy Now: Available from MSRgear.com