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The wind rattles your tent as dark clouds hide the morning sun and rain fills your fire pit, when your buddies start groaning about no pancakes or, even worse, no morning coffee! Put their minds at ease with a simple phrase: "it's OK, I brought my stove."
That stove, buried in your kitchen pack, is about to earn its keep 10-times over. There's a huge variety of camping stoves on the market, and the one you bring often depends on the trip itself. A nice two-burner stove is great for car camping.
For locations unknown, and conditions unknown enter the MSR WindPro Stove - a cleverly designed, 3-season backpacking stove that gets the job done in even the most challenging conditions.
Canister stoves, which use butane, propane, iso-propane or some mix of those, can be tippy with the stove mounted atop the canister, and they're not recommended for use with windscreens – two major drawbacks when you're camped on a windy, rocky peninsula jutting into the river.
The MSR WindPro's fuel-line design allows the canister to be placed away from the stove, letting you use both a windscreen and a heat reflector underneath, both included with the stove.
It folds to the size of a fist and weighs next to nothing (193 grams). Even when paired with a fuel canister, the package still comes in less than 500 grams and fits inside a one-liter pot.
Unfold the tripod-stand and you've got a sturdy base on almost any surface, and big enough (8.8 cm) for a 3.5 liter pot.
Lighting the MSR WindPro Stove is easy, though caution should be used, with the windscreen on. I bring a barbecue lighter with me, as I've lost some knuckle hairs to this stove in the past.
Since the flame from many canister stoves is exposed to the wind, loads of heat energy is wasted before it even gets to your pot. The MSR WindPro eliminates that loss with its windscreen, boosting the heat transfer and bringing a liter of water to boil in less than 4½ minutes.
A nice side effect of this increased efficiency is that canisters last longer: one small, 115g canister often lasts me an entire two-day trip, with two or three major uses each day.
One of my favorite features of the MSR WindPro is the fine flame control you have – allowing you precision control for simmering and slow-cooking when you need it, or blasting a white-hot flame when you want raw BTUs.
The MSR WindPro Stove does have its kryptonite – namely: cold weather. LPG stoves in general don't work well below freezing, and the MSR WindPro is no exception – I waited 45 minutes for boiling water on a chilly trip to Yellowstone last year.
I've also read and heard stories of debris getting into the fuel line and preventing a full flame, so take care to keep the line clear of dirt and other forest floor goodies.
The MSR WindPro Stove has become an indispensable piece of my tripping gear. After more than a dozen trips, it's proven to be a sturdy, reliable, and efficient stove that matches whatever conditions I find myself in and has never failed to deliver that all-important first cup of coffee!
Dave Woodbridge is the Editor of OutdoorOttawa, the Ottawa Valley's online community for outdoor enthusiasts. Camping, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing... if you do it outdoors, share it on OutdoorOttawa!
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