I recently went on a month long, tent based, solo ski tour in the Arctic Circle and took the MSR Windburner with me. For my unpreparedness in the nutrition department it served me well, but it did lack in some things that would have prepared me for a trip of this magnitude.
Before I go into the details, I will say this stove is all around superb. It turned snow into water very quickly, and got things to boil very fast (most of my meals consisted of porridge and dehydrated soup) so that was really great for my culinary exploits. I liked that the whole system was inclusive of a cookpot which meant transport of it was easy.
Once I got it lit it didn’t let me down at all, unless the stove fell over (a thing to consider when cooking nowhere else but deep snow – I had to use it on the end of my ski most days to prevent this.) The windburner is pretty windproof wind cannot actually get to the flame, and that was really useful for me in the cold. However, using it in such cold and not having piezo lighter compatibility became an issue after a while. I gradually got weaker during this trip which made using a fire steel and making it light actually tiresome and problematic, so when I hit the wall of not wanting to eat, the thought of the effort needed to light the stove was welcomed. That little addition would have made all the difference during the latter part of the trip. Plus, to light it with a fire steel, I was wasting quite a bit of fuel in trying to get it to light and get that magical glow from grid of wires.
All though it’s size and weight are considerable factors that make it larger than other stoves suitable for this sort of use, I did not find it to be a problem. Its ruggedness is what made it work when I needed to in really windy and cold conditions as where I often was there where no natural wind breaks. However, what was annoying was how much fuel I had to carry for the length of this trip. Therefore I would recommend this stove for trips that were similar to mine, but of a much shorter duration.
All in all it’s a great stove, and the only thing that really let me down was the weight of the fuel I had to carry, the ignition design and the size of it being quite large in my pack. I think if you want to purchase this stove think carefully about what you’re going to be cooking and how long you want to take it out for, and that will decide whether the MSR Windburner is a winner for you.