MSR Whisperlite Stove Review

The MSR WhisperLite has been in production since 1982, and to this day stacks up as one of the best backpacking stoves on the market. It’s known for being reliable, dependable, and lightweight – three things I look for in a portable backpacking stove.

I have reviewed a number of MSR backpacking stoves already, including the XGK EX Multi Fuel Stove, and the Reactor Stove System. MSR WhisperliteThese are both excellent stoves, especially with the versatility of more fuel burning options and the stove system respectively.

However, the WhisperLite comes in at a much lower price point and has impressive features of its own.

Setup and Design Features

With a quality backpacking stove you wouldn’t expect anything less than a quick setup. The WhisperLite is a breeze, it has a three-legged stand with a larger burner. The burner is easily controlled with a valve on the fuel pump – placed around 8” away from the burner for added safety.

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The beauty is that the WhisperLite only weighs 11.5 oz, making it effortless for anyone to add into their backpack. It’s easy to overload your backpack with a bunch of extra items, but is important to minimize weight wherever possible.  I know this as well as anyone which is why I have a camping tips section. So having your stove only weigh in at 11.5 oz, with dimensions of 6” x 4” x 4”, and taking up 96 cubic inches, is about as convenient as it gets.

This stove also comes with a windscreen, and heat shield on the bottom to increase stove efficiency. You can pick up replacement parts easy enough, and there is a maintenance manual available if you want to know how to disassemble the stove for cleaning.  Although, I can honestly say that in the 10 plus years I have had this stove, I have done very little cleaning.  One of the best features.

Comparison Information

The WhisperLite will boil a liter of water in 3 minutes 50 seconds. This makes it slightly slower than the XGK EX, but not by long enough to make much of a difference. A few users report that they are let down a little bit by its inability to hold a constant simmer, but I think you’ll agree this isn’t a main concern when choosing a backpacking stove.  If the simmer decreases, just give the fuel bottle a few pumps and you are good to go.

MSR Fuel BottleMSR does a great job of designing their stove to be easy to clean, use, and cook with. As well as being effective at high altitudes and performing well in bad conditions.

It meets most of the main backpacking requirements, and as a result rightfully rates highly within the outdoors community.

Check out our camping recipes section if you’re in need of some meal ideas. If you are a seasoned camper you will be able to prepare a wide range of meals on the single burner. Managing the liquid fuel is safe and easy by connecting the tank and controlling it with a valve, so it’s a good beginners stove too for cooking basic meals.

The Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Manufactured by a trusted brand
  • Works well at high altitude and under different weather conditions
  • Very affordable

The Cons

Insider Tips

The WhisperLite has a shaker jet cleaning system as found on other MSR models. All you have to do is shake the unit to clear out any loose debris that may be building up in the fuel line.

It’s also worth emphasising that this stove is easy to repair or carry out maintenance on wherever you are. You can disassemble and reassemble the stove easily, replacement parts and tanks are available from MSR direct when needed.

MSR Whisperlite Stove Summary

MSR are long established as market leaders when it comes to manufacturing backpacking stoves. The WhisperLite is probably their best stove when you look at how much bang for your buck you’re getting.

It has been updated with the times over the years and the latest edition is the lightest, easiest to use, and has almost flawless feedback and reviews. It’s designed to perform well in bad weather conditions, is constructed from stainless steel and brass, and comes with a lifetime warranty.


At the affordable price point it doesn’t get much better than this for a reliable, lightweight backpacking stove. There is something incredibly satisfying about hiking to a remote location and setting up a stove to cook some well deserved food. Having the MSR WhisperLite as your backpacking companion may just be the best choice you make this year.

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