Saved my butt.
I love the Whisperlite International. The only reason it doesn't get 5 stars is I'm hesitant to give anything 5 stars (something could always be better). As some have said it is super easy to use. I too have seen people with no camping experience master it's use and maintenance in no time. It is extremely field repairable. It can be completely field stripped in seconds. There are almost no moving parts and almost nothing on it that can break. If it's not working right then most likely the solution is to tap it on the ground and letter the shaker clean out the jet. People's big complaint seems to always be temperature control. I have no problem with it. With a little practice and ingenuity you can cook anything you want on it at low and high temps. It is possible to simply turn it almost all the way off for low heat (you'll want to watch it to insure it doesn't go out). You can also bend the windscreen in a way that lets you rest a pot a few inches above the stove further lowering the temperature (great for baking). And if you really want then you can always let out a little of the pressure from the fuel bottle and get a low flame that way. The fact that it can burn any fuel is great and has really saved me in the past. Run out of fuel winter camping in the -10F weather of the Wyoming Range? No problem, flag down a snowmobiler and their hi-octane gas will work just fine. Having said that it is truly meant to burn white gas. It will burn any fuel but it will be noticeably dirtier because of it and the jet will get clogged more often. If you spend a very small amount of time learning how to fix it, do your proper maintenance before a big trip, and learn a few tricks on how to get the most out of it then it will last you years and you can cook/bake anything you could ever want while in the middle of nowhere.
Built to last
I purchased the predecesor to this model and have had it for about a year and a half. Over this period, the whisperlite has been on every trip into the backcountry and performs amazingly. While I am not a backcountry gourmet, I have used the stove for more than simply boiling water. Over the last couple of trips, I have finally learned how to simmer with the stove and this has opened up my meal options considerably. (there was a learning curve). The major selling point for me was the ability to burn several types of fuel. I have not had the opportunity to use alt. fuels, but I like that I have the option when the occasion arises. This little stove is easy to light with some at -home practice and is very intuitive to use in the field. I currently use the 22oz. canister but will soon purchase the 11oz as I have come to realize it will suit my needs better. All of my trips to date have been 2-3 nighters and the larger bottle is too large for these adventures and would be better for longer trips. I got a great deal on this stove I guess because the newer model was being rolled out and couldn't be happier. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because of the simmering issue. It does take a bit of attention to accomplish, but for me, totally worth the "trouble". I know there are lighter options on the market and this is a pretty serious stove for backpacking trips but me and the Mrs. like to eat good on our trips and the Whisperlite International has been our culinary savior! If you have been on the fence about this stove, and are a "foodie" at heart, just go ahead and buy this stove, and don't look back! I didn't. Happy trails!
To me, this stove is the gold standard, especially for the price and the size/weight. Durable, powerful, and reliable. My dad has had the same one since the 80s and it is still going strong, and I will soon be buying one of my own. Can't recommend it enough. Couple of things:
-The priming/lighting process is not at all difficult if you take the time to learn it right. I volunteer as a guide for a backpacking program for college freshmen and I see kids who have never been in the woods before pick up the process in no time.
-As others have said, this stove can roar once it gets going. Great for boiling a pot of water fast. Not always the easiest for simmering, but if you get a good pot gripper and hold the pot a couple inches above the flames you can moderate the temperature fairly well.
-Sometimes you do have to maneuver it a little bit to get it to sit flat on the ground with the fuel bottle attached. This being said, I've heard the new leg design has fixed this issue (remember the one I've been using is around 30 years old).
-Design is simple and easy to understand, making field repair a breeze. Keep up with the recommended maintenance between trips and it will love you forever.
This stove is just a champ. My dad and I have made dinner in the rain with it, dropped it, and otherwise thoroughly abused it, and it still works great. Couldn't give higher praise to a product.
Terrific for long, cool-weather trips
This is, in my opinion, still one of the best all-around backpacking stoves. After using an ultralight butane-canister stove almost exclusively for a few years, I've gone back to my whisperlite for trips where I can expect cooler weather or that's longer than a few days.
Yes, this stove is heavier than a small butane stove, but you more than make up for the weight difference once you're out more than 4 or 5 days, since you're not also lugging multiple, heavy butane canisters (for a given volume, the whisperlite's fuel bottle is much lighter than a canister). Also, after having butane stoves fail to bring water to a boil several times on chilly, breezy days, I appreciate the bomb-proof reliability of the whisperlite in cool weather and the ability to use a windscreen.
On short solo trips, I still use a butane-canister stove, since it is so light and I can use techniques to keep the canister warm for a short amount of time while cooking. But when I hike with a partner and expect cooler wether, the Whisperlite is simply unbeatable for reliability, fuel economy, and (even!) weight.
Excellent!! Never went hungry
I bought this stove for multi purpose use while hiking/back backing around South America for a year. It has turned out to be a brilliant choice.
It is very light and packs up small, which is perfect for travelling around light, with just a small 40L back pack.
It cooks brilliantly and rapidly, although the only down-side is the temperature is difficult to control! Once you get accustomed to starting the stove it starts with ease time after time and cooked meal after meal on a small amount of fuel. The multi-fuel option is great too when travelling around places where the only options are gasoline and you don't end up creating unnecessary rubbish with gas cannisters.
The only down-sides were the slight pain in starting the stove (but this is more due to the problem of using liquid fuel) and the lack of adequate temperature control: I could not get anything other than full bore, which was not really a problem if you only require a quick meal.
I highly recommend this stove and would happily buy another one.
Just the right touch
I was born and raised in the mountains of Alaska, literally. Staying inside the house is just not an option for me. As I am getting older and my parents are getting sick of me bumming their gear I have started acquiring my own. The Whisperlite has been a great piece of gear, keeping my coffee hot and my freeze dried meals not so frozen. Its compact enough to fit in my pack and also tough enough I don't need to worry about it getting damaged. The burner is a little finicky, but with just the right touch she will burn for hours. I have found that when using cheaper white gas the fuel line tends to clog, but there is a needle tool in the end of the fuel line just for that purpose! If you are looking for a no-nonsense straightforward stove to cook and boil water with, there's not much more you could ask for.
This little thing will use any liquid fuel (maybe not alcohol) so you can find fuel almost anywhere. Best thing is you can always bum some fuel if you run out; you can't do that with canisters. And the fuel tanks are re-useable!
The only downfall is this stove cannot use the canister fuels. (NB- that is why I got the Universal of this model. Then there seems to be no fuel you cannot use now.)
This was my first stove and it served me well. Easy to maintain. With the revised legs, it is also pretty darn stable too. Better than the old version.
Others may say this stove has poor temp controls. True, but you can fiddle with it and simmer almost as well as the canister stoves. The trick is in how you pressurize the fuel tank.
Highly recommended if you want an "all in one" stove for fuels.
Good Gear That Lasts
I have an older version of the MSR WhisperLite International. I was given this stove as a gift 15 years ago and this stove is still just as reliable as the day I bought it. It goes in my pack every time I camp whether it is on my own for 2 days or with a group for 6 days. I have used it with white gas, kerosine, diesel fuel, and just for kicks I even used Jet A fuel from the airport. Kerosine and the other heavier fuels will have a lot of carbon build up, and will require cleaning more, but this stove still runs great. This stove is easy to clean, and the shaker jet helps clear carbon from the nozzle.
I have replaced the fuel pump once, about 5 years ago (after 10 years of use) because the plastics and rubber seals started to degrade.
Great Little Stove
I live in MN and enjoy winter survival camping. Often times I snowshoe into remote areas to go ice fishing and camping. I needed a stove that was portable, light weight, and would work even in the coldest environments. This stove fits the bill. I own two of these stoves and they have never failed me on my winter camping adventures. unlike other backpacking stoves that use pressurized fuel canisters(that must be disposed of after use), this stove utilizes a fuel canister that is reusable and is pressurized via a hand pump. In cold weather, -20F to 10F. the pressurized fuel canisters of other stoves lose pressure and are unusable while this stove burns strong because you create your own pressure in the fuel canister. If you are into winter camping/backpacking this is the stove for you.
Worth every penny and then some
After researchin different backpacking stoves i bought this one and could not be happier. This stove continues to prove itself. The 11oz fuel bottle is the perfect match and fits nicley in the provided carry sak and lasts a while. Lighting stove is easy(even if your new to this style stove) and doesnt take long even in wind. Boiling water and heating soups and stews only takes a few mins. ALSO great for home when the power goes out if you own an electric stove(which i do). A snow storm knocked the power out and we didnt even have heat in the house. This time we will be ready thanks to MSR. Also BUY THE MAINTENANCE KIT, I havent needed it yet but why take a chance in the woods.