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James Gardner: Home > Blog > 2009 > MSR WhisperLite Internationale...

MSR WhisperLite Internationale Stove (2005 model)

Posted:2009-07-16 19:13

Ever since I was at school another "must have" piece of kit for me was the MSR DragonFly stove. I'd admired it partly because it was so expensive, partly because it used a bright red fuel bottle with hazard icons all over it, partly because I had no idea that the plastic bit sticking out the end was just a pump (it looked so complicated) but mainly because I loved the idea of just being able to take it anywhere and burn any fuel.

I'm off to Iceland next week and not all of the huts I'll be staying at have cooking facilities so after reading a lot of reviews I thought I'd pop down to The Outdoor Shop and buy one.

When I got there I was rather disappointed to pick up the combo box with the MSR DragonFLy and 20 Oz fuel bottle and realise it is actually rather heavy. At that point I understood why it is listed as a base camp stove rather than a backpacking stove on the MSR site navigation menu.

After chatting to the sales staff I decided that MSR WhisperLite Internationale would be more appropriate for me, it is over 50g lighter and still burns pretty much any fuel you can give it. It also seemed a bit more stable because the three legs are made from thicker metal. The only downside is that it doesn't have a secondary flame control like the DragonFly so you can only control the flame by adjusting the valve on the fuel bottle pump itself. In all honesty I'm not a fancy cooker and all I need to be able to do is heat water for boil-in-the-bag meals, tea and pasta so I decided the WhisperLite was a good comprimise between weight and features.

The chaps in the shop managed to do a 3 day walk with two people and two meals a day each on the smallest bottle of petrol, and that included metling snow so I'm fairly confident that's all I'll need for my 4 day trip with two of us but plenty of running water.

In Action

In the box you get all the following (as well as translations of the manual in every concievable langauge - which is partly why the box feels so heavy):

The bottle has to be bought separately, the one pictured here is the smallest one.

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The fuel hose has a hook on it which keeps the legs together when the stove is packed away but which clips over the top of the fuel pump when connected up.

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The whole lot including bottle but excluding fuel and the maintence kit weighs just under 550g.

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The bottle, fuel pump and stove weigh just under 420g. This is the minimum you could get away with and still have a functional stove.

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You light the stove by presurising the fuel bottle with the pump and opening it up to let some petrol drip onto the wick. You close the valve and then light the fuel to heat up the pre-ignition.

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Once the flame dies down after a minute or two you can open up the valve again and you get a roaring blue flame. (Notice how black the stove has got already from the unleaded petrol I'm using).

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Here's the stove with some water boiling on it and a frying pan as a lid:

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Here it is with the windshield (which should probably be wrapped more tightly around):

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As you can see it gets very hot and glows orange. You can also see the soot building up underneath into light sheets hanging from the top of the stove:

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I added two tea bags and in no time at all it was boiling away (this is seriously powerful, could only have been on for a minute or two):

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Looking very pleased with myself:

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After it had cooled down there was still a lot of soot underneath so I'd recommend flicking it off and keeping the stove in a thin plastic bag to avoid getting soot everywhere.

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The stove is seriously powerful but you still have some control over the flame. One thing I did add though was a piece of cotton to tie the fuel bottle lid to the fuel bottle otherwise I can definitely see myself loosing it, particularly since you can leave the pump in place after using it.

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So far this seems a lovely little stove. Tomorrow I'll have a go at cooking three portions of pasta on it so we'll see how I get one.

Further Info

Here are some photos of the English manual (click for larger versions) in case you are interested in how it works.

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And the box:

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(view source)

James Gardner: Home > Blog > 2009 > MSR WhisperLite Internationale...