MSR - WhisperLite International Backpacking Stove

Category: Camp Kitchen


This stove lives up to its reputation. I've been using the pocket rocket system for close to ten years now. After my adventures got me into ultra peaks a couple years ago, I learned the hard way at Mt. Shasta base camp that pressurized canister systems just don't work well at high elevations. It took nearly a full canister to boil down a liter of water, with little options to cook my dinner. The stove's ability to use multiple fuels makes it super versatile. I recommend using white gas, but being able to use automobile gasoline is a great option if you're in a bind! This system is tried-and-true as other reviewers have commented! As for the the review stating that the system was too complicated, and the reviewer almost lit himself on fire, I just don't see how with this stove appearing to be nearly "idiot proof". As always, REI's free shipping got me my order delivered in two days. Bottom line, this stove is worth every penny!


I just tried out my WhisperLite International, which I bought about 24 years ago. I last used it about 12-15 years ago. I did not have high hopes, but I have the rebuild kit, so I was confident that I could get it working. I've been on a backpacking hiatus, due to life happening.


This stove is lightweight, has low-presence in the backpack, and is reliable. Great for boiling water for coffee, tea, or food. The stove is also good for two people who are cooking out of the same medium-sized cooking-ware. I imagine this stove would be fine for three people, but I probably would want another stove for four people. Overall, excellent stove for one-two people in the back-country. This stove, along with a full large MSR fuel container, and reasonable use, would last a couple days in the backcountry, maybe even a week, or more.


My O-ring needed to be replaced for this stove, but MSR/Cascade Designs did not keep O-rings in stock for it. (Mine is 5 years old.) They required me to buy a whole new pump assembly for $35 when I just need one O-ring.


NOT WORTH ALL THE FRUSTATION. We've had our stove for 3 years and for 2 of those years it has continually been a burden to use - the rubber gasket inside the pump pops off or breaks and prevents it from pressurizing, which means you can't cook with it. We've had to repair it an average of 2 or 3 times per use. We've also had the fuel leak out from the top of the pump before and during cooking! How dangergous. We purchased the repair kit, which worked a couple of times and now we're back to a broken pump and stove... On our last backpacking trip it wouldn't work at all, so we were down to eating everything cold and raw. We're picking another type of stove completely becuase we have never been able to depend on this stove working.


This stove is simply wonderful! I use it almost on a daily basis to make tea, hot chocolate, etc. it's just as good in the backyard as it is at 10,000 feet.


I bought this stove in 1999 before leaving on a 3 month 12,000 mile road trip on my motorcycle. I picked this stove because I did not want to have to look for a camping store when I needed stove fuel. I would just top off the fuel bottles at a gas station while filling up the bike. The stove worked flawlessly on the trip and I still use it today 17 years latter on my motorcycle trips. Never had a problem and seems to have a much hotter flame than any other stove I have used. Highly recommend this stove.


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!


I went into REI with the intention of getting fuel for an older stove that I have, only to find out that they didn't carry the type I needed. I knew it was an older stove and that the fuel was going to be tough to find, so I splurged and bought the WhisperLite International. I also purchase two of the 15 oz. fuel bottles. Everything packs up great. It was straightforward to set up, and the wind screen was really helpful. It not only keeps the flame steady, but it also keeps in a lot of the heat. My only complaint, and I assume this comes along with many backpacking stoves, is that I'm not generally doing very serious hikes, but will go out and post up for a few days in a place, and the stove doesn't really simmer. That's really only a small complaint. Otherwise, I'm definitely glad I made the purchase.


In 50 years of camping, I never had so much trouble with a stove. I managed to light it twice over a weekend. Pumped it 50+ times and could hear the gas hissing, but no light with matches, lighters and one of those trigger gas things. Returned it. Back to my 40 year old Svea. Sidenote: I hate that you sell stoves that are part of a system and won't take ordinary pans, but only their own stuff.


I've used the MSR both in Hiking and in Camping near the vehicle etc. At first I used Kerosene, and it was very hard to get the stove started and used a lot of fuel. I switched out the head of the fuel jet to use Unleaded Fuel, and the change couldn't have been better. I would recommend that anyone using this stove simply use unleaded fuel whenever possible. MAKE SURE YOU LUBRICATE THE FUEL PUMP BEFORE USING, FAILURE TO DO SO MAY CAUSE,,,PROBLEMS:)


My son and I just used the stove for most of a week. Like pretty much all MSR stoves, it does a nice job of boiling water quickly and efficiently. It does NOT simmer very well... It went out on us on a couple of occasions when we tried. Also, lighting it can be a bit of an adventure... I opened the valve a little early once and suddenly had 3 foot high flames within inches of the fuel bottle and pump. In addition, it takes a few moments for changes in valve settings to translate into visible changes in fuel flow; you're supposed to make small adjustments and be patient.


Three of use used this stove at Glacier National for 7 days, and this stove didn't miss a beat. Lightweight, durable, and simple to use once you get use to it.


Understand the design of this stove is really meant for just boiling water for dehydrated foods. In order to "simmer" or use lower heat you'll have to hold the pot a few inches above the flame. I generally only make food like Mountain House. The stove is a little loud because of the inherit design. Pump the fuel bottle up and then slowly open the valve to allow maybe a tea spoon of fuel into the bottom disc that contains the wick. Light that and the flame heats the copper loop on the edge of the stove. This acts to heat the fuel and it sounds like a small jet engine. The good thing about that is it's extremely efficient on fuel. A full (large bottle) of white gas has lasted me for ever. Boils water in a flash for my coffee and breakfast.


Took the stove on a campout after trying in the backyard. Once the blue flame comes on, it's adjustable and can boil water really fast. Watch out when cooking pancakes as they will burn quickly. Also, don't pump too many times as the residual, pressured gas will take an hour to burn out after the valve is closed. Stove folds up and is relatively light but it does take some assembly (compared to other white gas campstoves) and the hook is somewhat difficult to store. This model is nice because it does burn kerosene and unleaded auto fuel.


Simple to light, which is a big PLUS when teach neophytes, like the adult Scout leaders we train. Operates flawlessly at full throttle. Supports very large pots when placed on a flat surface. If you only own one stove, this is the most versatile. Been using the regular Whisperlite since MSR gave us a beta version to test at altitude on a 1985 Denali climb. Used that model in mountain guide business ever since. Only bought 2 of the International model because REI doesn't carry the regular model. Sales price nullified the cost difference.


Great little stove. Fairly light-weight and packs down small. I have used it on three camping trips so far, and I am happy with the ease of setup and use. I still haven't managed to get the soot level down during priming, but perhaps that's just one thing about this type of stove that you can't avoid. The one thing that I wish is that the pot supports extended inward just a little bit more. I bought a small camping pot that is just barely too narrow to sit comfortably, so I end up having to hold it while waiting for the water to boil.


This edition of the WhisperLite Stove is a real winner. It is compact, light weight and easy to use. I recently used it on a camping trip in the Cohutta Wilderness of North Georgia. The temperature was below freezing the entire time and reached a low of 10 degrees. The stove performed flawlessly on every occasion. You have to prime the stove before using it, but this is easy to do. Simply turn the valve on the fuel bottle and allow the metal cup underneath the stove to fill with fuel. Then close the valve and ignite the fuel. When the flame burns down after about 30-45 seconds, open the valve to produce a hot, blue flame. I like this stove in cold weather because you don't have to keep the fuel warm in order to use it. Using liquid Coleman gas also has an added benefit. I can use the fuel from the bottle to start a campfire even when the wind is blowing. This is a great little stove that I will definitely be using for future trips.


The stove works great and as expected with a mostly full tank. It becomes problematic when your tank hits 3/4-1/2 full. It becomes harder to pressurize and difficult to keep going. If it's your morning coffee you're trying to heat up with it, you're going to have a rough time. I will do so digging to see how people cope with it, because I have found it hard to pressurize no matter how often you pump.


The majority of my camping/backpacking trips are in cold weather and my canister stove wasn't cutting it. The Whisperlite International is an excellent cold weather and high elevation stove! The 20 oz fuel bottle will last over two hours on full blast with white gas which gives you plenty of time to melt snow or boil water. It will also run off unleaded auto gas but I wouldn't recommend it. The additives in auto gas clog the fuel jet often. The stove is also field serviceable and easy to clean. The stove comes with the service tool, pump oil, and a spare o ring for the fuel line connection. It also comes with a lightweight aluminum wind screen and base. The stove is incredibly sturdy. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a durable white gas stove.


So many times I have tried to fly with empty fuel containers, both new and previously used. The airlines takes them away from me, even if the fuel containers are brand new, never used. Once, they took the entire stove pump assembly, which was brand new and in the box. They claimed it could have had fuel residue on it. It was brand new. Basically, this isn't a stove you can travel with internationally, as I have done many times with my primus stove. The fuel bottles, empty and washed or even brand new, are NOT acceptable to the American transportation authorities.


The stove has been used many times and works well. Simple and fast setup, easy to light, effective even when cold out and fuel is available everywhere. Currently in Sweden and using gasoline for lawn mowers which is cheap and burns clean. Tested in temperatures down to -4 F.


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.


I've been using older version of MSR stove (dragonfly,whisperlite) here in the Philippines, for me it's reliable, sturdy and fuel efficient. in the tropics this is my all-around stove, most of the old features are improved in this stove. easy to repair and works so well!


I still have my Whisperlite stove that I bought back around 1979-82 timeframe. I bought it from the store in Berkeley, Calif back then and it still runs as it did when new (Granted, it hasn't been used much in years but will fire up and run well). Now that the decades have brought me back to more time and freedom, I'm going to get to using that stove and some of my old gear I've kept on to. Boy, life was great back then! Oh, see I can add photos so will have to dig the stove out soon for a photo.


After testing this out at home, first "real" use was during a 5 day backpacking trip in the California Sierras, with camp elevations over 10,000 ft. This worked fine with white gas. It lights well with a BIC lighter but not as well with matches. However, my hike partners had an MSR "Reactor" that boiled water much faster. If you plan to make pancakes or need large/varied cooking utensils, this is a great stove. For my next hike, if the stove is only used to boil water, I'll get an MSR Reactor.


This is my second whisperlite after using the first one for more than 20 years. I like the new 'feet' on the more recent version as this adds stability. A very dependable stove and fits into my MSR cook pot which saves space in the pack.


I just used this stove for it's first trip at 9,000ft and it worked great. It puts out tons of heat, works well in wind, is super compact, easy to light, very stable, and easy to clean. I found it to have poor temperature control.


Used this a few times now. It boils water really fast. I used it to make an italian dinner (pasta and sauce) one night backpacking and it worked well. Not the easiest to turn the heat down to simmer but it can be done.


This MSR Stove is perfect if you want something that will last a long time, and can burn multiple fuels right out of the box. Because I do long treks in isolated areas. No matter where you go you can always find a gas station. I use a small bottle for the stove, and carry a MSR 20 mil Fuel bottle separately. That provides plenty of burn time, and then some. No nonsense, and easy operation after a few uses to get past the learning curve. Great stove that i will get many years of use out of.


Wow! The newer design of this stove is incredible. More durable and very compact. I love having the ability to use different types of fuel. I wouldn't use anything else.


I wanted to go through a couple uses before I reviewed. This thing is a pain to light. You pump the fuel and light the match/lighter and nothing. Pump again. Relight. I wanted to makes sure I used this multiple times in different conditions to ensure I was using it correctly. There is no doubt this is more difficult to use than my friends canister stoves. I was questioning why I paid $100 for this when a canister is $30. I finally discovered some benefits the last time out in the mountains.


Purchased stove in 1988. Use 2-3 times a year. Have purchased several refurb kits. Otherwise still going strong.


It's no surprise that the MSR Whisperlight has risen to the top of the heap of light weight stoves. I currently own my second MSR stove. The reason it is the second is because I lost the first one. I just used my stove today at a park to cook lunch. I cooked a large can of Chunky beef soup. After cooking the soup and filling the pot with water to clean my pot. I heated the water. All told I used less than an ounce of MSR fuel to do that. Hey-you can't argue with that.


I bought this as a replacement of an old stove and for a boundary waters trip. I liked what I had seen and read on the web-site reviews. Overall the stove met my expectations. Good product for the price.


This stove is good for one thing: boiling water at maximum output using liquid fuel. Otherwise, it is not worth messing with. It is a fussy design with far too many parts. The burner output is either full on or off. The flame pattern is not even and will burn the coatings right off your expensive pan. And if all one wants to do is boil water, the Jetboil does it faster and easier with the only caveat that is is a butane-only stove.


We've literally cooked breakfast, sometimes lunch and every dinner on this stove running gasoline for 4 months now. Aside from the regular cleaning and soot that you get when burning gasoline, there have been absolutely no problems. Temp control is an art but can be done with little fuss. If you are looking for a stove you can beat up and not worry about too much, this is your ticket.


I’ve had my whisper light international for over 20 years and it still works. I’ve used it in Washington, California, Nepal, Alaska, Arizona, and Colorado in all climate conditions. Keep it clean and maintained and you should have no problems. Great for traveling because it can burn different fules. It’s not too fancy with bells and whistles but the only stove you will ever need.


After a couple decades of swearing by canister stoves, I have an entire bin of mostly-empty isopro canisters that I don't want to waste pack space on, can't refill, and won't throw out. To say my enthusiasm for them has waned would be an understatement.


My father bought this for me as parting gift when I entered the Peace Corps in Morocco. Still working as it did then. I fill up with unleaded fuel on the way into the woods every time! The lack of simmering abilites, I don't miss at all. Nothing boils water faster and works as well in the dead of Minnesota winters! A true classic piece of gear!


For any outdoor adventure this stove will do the trick. Sturdy and simple and works well in cold temperatures it's all around a great stove. And certainly one of the most wide spread and commonly used. Lets face it however they do have their flaws. First the gas line that attaches the fuel bottle to the stove doesn't like to lay flat and when the stove is sitting on the ground or a surface it is pushed up on one side by the gas line. When there's a pot sitting on the stove giving it weight this isn't a problem, but for lighting the stove it can become annoying. Second the legs don't like to stay in their set up position and if you're not careful they can collapse spilling your meal. And finally these stoves are all around finicky. The only thing that saves them is the fact that they are so simple and can be fixed fairly rapidly. The beauty of this stove is that if its broken in the back country it can be fixed unlike other backpacking stoves.


Depending on what type of camping and what type of cooking you want to do, this may not be the stove for you. For example, if you will be almost exclusively using your stove to just boil water, the JetBoil system is probably the faster option. If you want minimal fiddling with your stove (eg. priming stove or pressurizing fuel source), the JetBoil and others may be better options. If you intend to do long, alpine excursions and need something lightweight, almost any other stove will be lighter than this one. If you want your cooking experience to be like cooking on your home stove top with excellent heat control for simmering, there are numerous options that will fit better, including MSR's own simmerlite and dragonfly.


Fantastic stove... but when using commercial (USA) gasoline the stove WILL clog. And cleaning it requires time, patience and the right tools (hope you remembered to pack the repair kit!). Unknown if the issue exists when burning kerosene, JP4, or deisel. Use white gas and the stove will give dependable results for many years.


Reliable stove that will burn anything with a quick and easy jet change. Shaker jet clears out anything that jets into fuel to block the nozzle. Straightforward to light, melts snow and boils water fast. The only downside is that low simmering isn't really possible - but as the only down side that's easy to live with.


Probably a very good stove. However, after watching videos and reading the instructions; I thought lighting was too complicated for me. I want to light and go.


So I read all the great reviews and ordered this for a backpacking stove, along with the MSR fuel canister. Followed all directions to a T and the stove wouldn't work... After the initial burst of flame, it would not sustain a blaze after I'd opened the fuel valve back up. Called REI and they allowed me to exchange it. Got the new stove quick and my refund much later. I'd honesty thought maybe I was just doing something wrong with the first stove since no one else seemed to have an issue with it, but I did everything the same with the replacement and it worked just fine. Great. So I take the stove on a four day trek on the Laugavegur in Iceland. We fill up the fuel canister of the way to the trailhead... It's a push and twist type cap, and I put it on perfectly straight without using any excessive force or turning, just like I had when using it multiple time in test runs of the stove without issue. First night on the trail, the canister will not open (we tried for literally hours), which meant we couldn't screw on the stove's attachment. Which meant we spent 4 days eating cold food. When we got back to town, I was able to purchase a compatible canister made by a different company and we used the stove the next week while camping - and it worked great. Stove is small and fits well in a pack, and it cooks/boils quickly. Performs well it weather. But I will not be buying anything else from MSR due to the hassle of getting this pricey little stove to finally work for me.


I purchased this to use on a 50 mile canoeing trip in the Adirondacks in July. It worked perfectly, flame was hot and blue in just a few seconds. After a day I was a pro operating the stove. You do need to follow the directions but if you do it works great. Highly recommend to others


This stoves reputation speaks for itself. It is an amazing purchase, and you will not regret it. The product is well built and time tested. When it comes down to it, the reliability of the whisperlite just can't be beaten by any other stove. I don't think much more needs to be said.


I had worked with these guys while working as a wilderness guide. They have primarily two modes - High and Off. If you're a gourmet cook, I would go for another model, but for stews and generally heating up water, this thing is my go to! Small enough to fit in some of the MSR pots.


You buy the stove for cook pots, expedition trips and multi-fuel wilderness option. It's DIY assembly, connections and liquid fuel canisters are a requirement you signup for when you buy one. I own three. You also can service the stove easily. Mine are 30yrs old. Still going!


Had this thing for a while now and love it. Starts even quicker than they say it does, and is really easy to use. I use the 'super fuel' or MSR whitegas but haven't tried propane. Either way you will love using this 2nd gen stove that works even better than the first!


I have had this stove for about 10 years and never had a problem with it. Burns great and in an pinch the gas can be used for fire starting too. Unlike Propane you always know how much fuel you have and it doesn't shrink in half when its cold. Highly recommend


This stove is a must have for any backpacking or camping trip. It’s dead simple to use and always lights right up. It doesn’t burn excessive amounts of fuel and can boil water very quickly. These last for years if maintained correctly and are a great value!


Its been working great since 1981. I changed a couple gaskets a few years ago. Simple design... simple maintenace. Been all around the world with me making great coffee and meals. I've gotten my money's worth I'd say.


Bought as a replacement for the one that disappeared the MSR Whisperlite International is still the best. They've actually improved it substantially, making it fold up even more compact and the base is steadier.


I replaced my no longer working Whisperjet stove with this model. REI apparently no longer carries the original Whisperjet in the stores. Have not yet had an opportunity to use the new stove.


I recently replaced my 15 year old model with the new model. The old model was crushed by my size 12 960's. I highly recommend MSR products. This stove is a great value.


This is a time tested stove design, the Whisper Lite delivers, fast burning & lite as in not loud & light weight! A great little stove that can feed the entire team!


This stove is amazing and able to operate for a long time in heating water, soups and dinners. It use fuel very effectively without the worry of running out of fuel.


I've been using a varity of back pack stoves since the mid 70s, this is about the best I've ever tried.


This stove remains the best lightweight option. It lghts easily, boils quickly, and is finely adjustable; packs away small and light.


Setup is easy, lightweight and compact, great for backpacking, I used a Bic lighter to start it, the flame is very controllable.


Bought a MSR Whisperlite International in 1988 from REI. Got some spare parts somewhere along the way. Still using it. All good.


After 16 years of using my old WhisperLite, I bought a new one and I love the upgraded changes that make it much easier to use!


Purchased to replace a model no longer supported. This will be great for the small crew I lead every summer.


Great stove for snow melting efficiency. Reliable and will be a part of my bag for good.


The MSR Whisperlite International is a good, basic liquid fuel stove for groups of backpackers. For this reason, it is a very popular stove with Boy Scout Troops. Go to Philmont where they practice "crew cooking" and this is hands down the most popular stove. Very simple to operate and sturdy. It lights easily and just works without being complicated. That being said, all liquid fuel stoves have a learning curve. It is important that you practice with this stove and be familiar with priming it before you go on the trail. Are there lighter personal stoves? Yes but this stove can handle larger,heavier pots with ease and boil lots of water quickly. There are several slightly negative things to point out about this stove. First is that it doesn't simmer all that well. To many people that doesn't really matter much because they are simply boiling water for dehydrated meals. Second negative is the pump is made of plastic. It is light weight but feels flimsy. This is probably OK for the solo user but not great for a stove used amongst a group of people. The light construction of the pump is the only reason I didn't give this stove 5 stars. This is still a very good stove for what it was intended for.


Easy to use. Almost lit myself on fire but that was user error.


Easy to use. Reliable. Serviceable. Just great all around.


Great stove works just like I expected but a little heavy.


Champion snow melted, easy to use and field service.


Happy with the results for what I paid. Recommend!!!


I bought my Whisperlite back in about 1983 so it is around 31+ years old. I have never had a single problem with it, I bought a maintenance kit probably around 1985 and still have most of those parts in a little bag. have only replaced a couple of things on it just because I felt like it was time to do so none of the parts have ever failed. I have had the little jet clog I think twice in 31 years and just took the little cleaning tool and poked it and good to go. In fact I just clean it once in awhile just out of spite to keep it working like new.


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:

COMMENTS

Bomber Biner

I've heard that the XGK EX stove is best for high altitude and cold temps, but would this stove still be reliable in these conditions? Would this stove be a good choice for, say, use on Rainier for melting snow and boiling water?

​This stove is very reliable in alpine conditions and will still boil water and snow in freezing temperatures.

CuriousGeorge

Coleman makes a screw-on filter to attach to 1-gallon cans of White Gas (I used one for my Whisperlite) but does MSR have a Filter option or can they suggest something to use for filling their bottles with Un-leaded automotive gasoline?

As of June 2017, we do not carry an accessory from MSR that can attach to the bottle for filling of their bottles.

Polyhymnia

Can this stove and (empty) fuel bottle be brought on a plane? Planning to fly into LA and road trip up Highway 1 to Seattle/Olympic Natl Park. Flying back out after 3 weeks.

Camping stoves and fuel bottles can be taken on planes as long as the fuel bottle is completely cleaned out prior to your flight. We recommend checking with your airline prior to flying just to be sure of any other restrictions.

DarylDIndy

Are these compatible with all MSR fuel bottles? Mine is from 1990 and does not appear to hold pressure. Do I need a newer bottle as well?

This stove is compatible with all MSR fuel bottles. It does not sound like the bottle is the reason why your stove is not holding pressure. We recommend checking the fuel pump and all of the o-rings on the stove/pump prior to replacing the bottle. We do sell replacement pumps and maintenance kits for the WhisperLite stove.

Marcy1

Is it ok to use a butane/propane mix fuel for this stove? OR even isobutane/propane?

No, the WhisperLite International only takes liquid fuels such as white gas, kerosene and unleaded gasoline.

J Robert

I use a small pot to boil my water, which has a base of 3.5 inches (the pot, of course). Will it fit on top of this stove?

The diameter of the base of your pot is a little too small to fit on top of this stove. The pot will not be stable and flame will make direct contact with the bottom.

Mikeabq

Can this stove simmer?

From MSR:

the bunk

Just to clarify, can this stove run on fuel from a gas pump, for a car? Some reviews seem to state that this is true, but I've never heard that before? Is there any difference in burn time or effectiveness between white gas and unleaded gasoline?

Yes, the WhisperLite International can run off unleaded gasoline directly from the gas pump. While MSR does not put a specific boil time for unleaded, the boil time will fall between white gas and kerosene.

Zorro

It's been years since I have used my MSR WhisperLite backpacking stove and I have forgotten the lighting instructions.  It is not the new international one and uses white gas only.  Can you please tell me where I can get lighting instructions 

Please contact MSR customer service for a copy of the instructions for your stove.

YooperAnnie

What is the smallest circumference of a pot that will safely sit on the International? I don't want it to be real tippy.

The smallest pot that we would recommend for the WhisperLite International would be 3.5 inches in circumference.

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