MSR WindBurner Stove System Combo
Originally introduced as a small personal cooking system, MSR has recently transformed the WindBurner into an exceptional group-cooking platform that is light, fuel-efficient and excels in windy conditions.
MSR WindBurner Stove System Combo
Based on the scorchingly hot MSR Reactor stove system, the WindBurner runs a bit cooler, making it infinitely more suitable for simmering – something that is absolutely necessary when cooking anything that requires more than just boiling water. Seriously, this small trade-off in top-end heat will be much appreciated by anyone that has used the Reactor, a stove that’s optimized and unsurpassed for melting snow and boiling water (alpinists take note) and not much else.
MSR WindBurner Remote Canister Stove (click for larger image)
At the heart of the WindBurner Stove System Combo is a unique radiant burner that pumps out heat while remaining relatively unaffected by gusty winds. And unlike the visually similar Reactor stove burner, the WindBurner connects to the fuel canister via a flexible metal hose. This attachment system allows MSR to employ a foldable three-legged base that offers greater stability when using larger pots for preparing group meals.
MSR WindBurner 2.5 L Pot (click for larger image)
The WindBurner Stove System Combo also includes a 2.5 L pot and an 8” skillet. The pot and skillet both feature a durable ceramic-coated surface that minimizes sticking and simplifies cleaning. And while this coating is notable and much appreciated, I think what makes this and all other WindBurner cookware unique is their burner-mating metal ring. Attached to the bottom of the pots and pans, this ring traps heat, shields the burner in windy conditions and ensures the cookware remains centred and secure over the stove. The result is increased fuel efficiency and reduced cooking times – both wins in my book.
And the stove maintains its ability to hold a low-simmer – something few if any stoves with this heat output can claim.
Now that we’ve looked at the more obvious design details, let’s turn our attention to some more subtle elements. From a pure performance perspective, MSR has wisely chosen to add a pressure-regulating valve. This hidden feature ensures that the WindBurner stove delivers consistent heat in colder conditions that typically impact the performance of other canister stoves. On the pot, MSR has a highly functional lid that securely locks in place and acts as a built-in strainer for making pasta. The handle on the pot and skillet is similarly well-conceived; it easily locks in place during use and then folds away (on the pot) or is removed (on the skillet) for storage. Finally, the whole kit nests inside the main pot making this a surprisingly compact system.
MSR WindBurner Ceramic Coated Skillet (click for larger image)
In use, the overall system is so efficient and effective that I can see it supplanting traditional two-burner stoves for many group-cooking situations. The WindBurner can boil water for pasta or rice faster than traditional group-oriented stoves, and this difference in boil time becomes even more apparent in windy conditions. And the stove maintains its ability to hold a low-simmer – something few if any stoves with this heat output can claim.
MSR WindBurner Stove With 2.5 L Pot (click for larger image)
My typical cooking approach with this WindBurner system was to prepare the pasta/rice/quinoa in the large pot and then set it aside while I quickly cooked any meat and sautéed any vegetables. I then combined everything in the large pot, gave the ingredients a quick stir and started pouring the wine. Seriously, this cooking system is surprisingly versatile and efficient while remaining light and compact. As such, it’s an excellent cooking option for anyone that’s looking for an alternative to the heavier, bulkier and less efficient group-cooking stoves and pots currently on the market. Highly recommended.
You can find out more about the MSR WindBurner Stove System Combo and other great MSR products at www.msrgear.com
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Gus Alexandropoulos is a freelance writer who has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 25 years. During his career he has been the editor at Canada’s national climbing magazine, as well as the gear editor for a national cycling magazine, triathlon magazine and running magazine. His work has been published in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and he has been a guest on television and radio broadcasts. His passion for climbing began in Ontario in the mid 80s and he continues to travel extensively in search of crisp conditions and steep rock.