Ill preface this review with my cut and paste statement that I work as a backcountry backpacking guide in Yosemite National Park. Nearly all of the products I take the time to review have seen at least a half a season, if not more, of use... and Im committed to not bothering to write a review until I feel like Ive really gotten to know a product. I never thought Id bother to write reviews, but Ive recently decided that since Ive spent so much time over these last many years reading reviews, and finding a tremendous amount of value in articulate and well-informed opinions, that I wanted to give back to the community. So, with that being said, here we go...
Once, and just once last summer, I was on a trip where we had one of the old pumps, before they were redesigned. It threw up its inner workings, along with some fuel, all over my feet and hands. This happened far too early in the morning for me to understand what had happened until about 30 seconds later. However, this particular pump is one of about ten of these pumps that we use. I've never had a problem with any of the others. And, once we returned home, we ultimately verified that it was one of the older pumps, and that it had decided to sneak out on one of our trips to commit its final act of hari kari during an attempted breakfast.
Aside from this older, less reliable anomaly... these pumps are bombproof. We beat the hell out of them every morning and evening all summer long, and they faithfully tolerate our use and abuse. Occasionally we will have to clean one a bit, usually because it has developed a thick patina of granite flour, and further pumping begins to strip the pump shaft of its beautiful red plastic due to abrasion.
These really are the unsung heroes of our trips. We never praise them. We just beat them up, and they happily help us cook our pancakes, bacon, breakfast burritos, spaghetti, and chicken fettuccine. Its about time they get a few strokes... no pun intended.
I've been using the MSR Whisperlite primarily to melt snow for the past 6 years. In that time I replaced the pump O-rings with the maintenance kit once - but I'm not sure it was necessary. However, after at least 60-80 mountaineering trips the pump starting leaking fuel on a pre-trip check. It turns out the plastic body cracked at the threads underneath the brass cap where the control valve is installed. If I had to guess, this could have resulted from over tightening the brass cap, hitting the control valve on something really hard, or from using it as the leverage spot to unscrew the pump from the bottle about a gillion times. Who cares - gear doesn't last forever. I can't believe how much use I got out of mine before it died. Plus, it has always been an excellent (liquid gas) stove. So, moral of the story - good pump, great stove, check your gear before you go - especially if you abuse it like me.
In 1801, Eli Whitney started producing firearms with interchangeable and replaceable parts. In modern times, MSR produces stoves with interchangeable and replaceable parts, utilize this feature. Parts will go bad (eventually). Replacing a pump with a bad seal or cracked component for $35 is a steal in my opinion. I make sure to have a replacement in my gear stash for those "oh sh!t" moments that are unfortunately inevitable in the lifetime of any backcountry explorer.
I have an old whisperlite that I purchased from Saint Michael's College wilderness program when they were upgrading equipment. It survived years of abuse from college kids no problem. Then I let my friend borrow it, bad choice. He returned it with a shattered fuel pump. Bought one of these guys and she works like new, even better than it did before.
pretty simple to use with your MSR stove, for pressurizing we normally give 30 pumps. I haven't had to replace any part yet but I like how if something breaks in the future it's easy to take apart (and put back together)
My old fuel pump broke after I accidentally stepped on it. It worked flawlessly all its life, but I had to replace it.
This pump works just as well and the fit was perfect.
This has worked well for me and I have no problems with it, but I havn't used it much so we will see how it holds up.
I would agree that the Whisperlite Int. is possibly the best stove ever made. I have had mine since 1997. I have never had a problem with my stove. It has never clogged on me, and if one doesn't over pressurize their fuel tank, this stove can sort of simmer.
However, this is my third pump for said stove. My original pump lasted many years before it developed two cracks in the body, near the control valve. So I bought the "new" design as a replacement. I was able to use it a few times, like twice, before the o-ring on the control valve went bad. So I bought a $30 maintenance kit to replace all the o-rings, etc. While putting the pump back together, I overtightened the control valve, and sheared off the plastic fitting. My Bad. So, this is my third pump in 14 years.
Advice: Be gentle when maintaining the pump, they are not 'bombproof.'
These new pumps seem to be more safe than the older ones (ie. Less flare ups). However, they do not simmer as well as the old grey pumps with the round metal regulator. These seem to be durable enough, but I just can't seem to get used to them. I recently sent in my Whisperlite for service and they kept my old grey pump and sent me one of these. Not sure how I feel about it yet....