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REVIEW: MSR WindBoiler Stove

The MSR WindBoiler is a small, lightweight cooking system. I've had it for several months and tested it in the Alps in winter, as well as general cragging/camping trips. Overall I really liked the stove but I did find a few issues, mainly with the plastic parts.

Using the Wind Boiler to melt snow in a winter room in the Alps, 104 kb
Using the Wind Boiler to melt snow in a winter room in the Alps
© Jack Geldard

Exactly what is it?

It's a very compact stove, with a 1 litre metal pot that fastens to a very, very efficient burner unit, that screws on to a gas can. It looks a lot like other similar stoves on the market in overall concept.

  • Size: 1 litre
  • Weight: 432g
  • Boil Time: 2.5 mins

 

See it in action in this MSR Video:

 

Does it work?

I've had plenty of other similar stoves and I can say that yes, this one works, and yes it boils very fast - faster than other similar stoves I have used. The burner is absolutely brilliant, and melts snow and boils water really, really fast.

An Alpine winter bivvy - hot drinks required as much as possible!, 126 kb
An Alpine winter bivvy - hot drinks required as much as possible!
© Nick Bullock

Any downsides?

Yes, really cold weather. The stove actually still works brilliantly in sub zero Alpine winter (tested down to -15c), with the super efficient burner still doing its job well.

However the plastic parts didn't fare so well. Part of the 'cooking system' is a plastic lid that is quite tight fitting. When the temperatures got really low I guess the plastic lost some of its flexibility and basically I couldn't clip the lid on. No major issue, but a bit annoying.

The other plastic part is the cup/bowl that sits over the base of the unit, acting like a protector when storing or carrying the stove. This was a great size, meaning you don't have to take an extra cup up your routes, however when it became really cold (I left the stove in a drybag on a glacier for 14 hours whilst climbing) then the same happened as with the lid - the cup wouldn't flex and I couldn't actually get it off the stove. Not ideal after an Alpine North Face. Desperate to make some food I levered it off with my ice axe, and it cracked unfortunately. But I could then make some food and melt some snow - both things the WindBoiler did extremely quickly and well.

Prior to these Alpine winter excursions I took the WindBoiler car camping and everything worked just fine, so for that usage it is great.

Not a bad view from the bedroom.... , 93 kb
Not a bad view from the bedroom....
© Nick Bullock

Conclusion:

For Alpine winter use or Expeditions I think I would stick with the MSR Reactor - but for anything where you aren't expecting -15c temperatures, I'd say the WindBoiler is a brilliant little cooking system that is super efficient and cooks really fast. Go for it.

 

MSR Wildboiler Stove Contents, 105 kb
What MSR Say:

Combining award-winning Reactor® technology with the features solo travelers need most, the WindBoiler Stove System is ideal for backcountry adventures and weekend camping alike. Its radiant burner and enclosed, windproof design allow the stove to boil water fast and operate in weather that leaves conventional burners in the cold. The integrated cookware with built-in heat exchanger efficiently transfers heat to the lock-on pot so you can enjoy a quick meal or hot drink after a hike, ride or paddle. The all-in-one system nests inside its pot for easy packing and assembly—leaving more time for you to enjoy your adventure.

  • More Information: MSR Website
  • Price: £110
  • Weight: 432 grams

 

 

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