The MSR WindPro is a backpacking canister stove that’s capable of much more than just boiling water. I’ve owned the WindPro since 2010, these are my thoughts about it. (This stove was recently updated by MSR, this article is about the original version. Both versions are very similar, notes on differences are at the bottom).
All specs as claimed unless *noted otherwise…
- Minimum Weight: 6.8 ounces
- Packaged Weight: 10.5 ounces
- Burn time (MSR IsoPro) per 8 ounce canister: Approximately 90 minutes
- Boil time (MSR IsoPro), 1 liter: 4.25 minutes
- Water boiled (MSR IsoPro) per 1 ounce of fuel: 1.8 liters
- MSRP: $99
The WindPro is a little larger and heavier than a typical backpacking canister stove. It’s got a remote canister, so the fuel line adds some weight. The burner is also larger and more substantial (it looks very much like a Simmerlite burner) adding yet more weight, and the large windscreen contributes to the weight gain as well. This stove isn’t really meant to compete with stoves like the MSR Pocket Rocket or Snow Peak Gigapower though, it’s bears more resemblance to liquid fuel stoves such as the Simmerlite/Whisperlite in form and function, sans the fuel pump. Versus those stoves it makes for a lighter, more compact, and less fiddly package.
I’ve used the WindPro for everything from cooking to melting snow, to simply boiling water. It excels at the first two, in fact with a backpacking oven you can even bake with this bad boy! The flame can be adjusted all the way down to a low simmer; coupled with the wide flame spread it’s like cooking on the stove at home. I’m horrid at baking so I haven’t checked that box off yet, but I have made a few pancakes with it, sorta counts. When it comes to boiling water it does a fine job, but the issue is a large diameter pot is necessary due to the wide spread flame pattern. So unless you’re packing a 2L, or possibly a wide 1L pot, a lot of heat/fuel is going to be wasted.
For melting snow in the winter, this is a great stove, despite what you may have heard about canister stoves in cold weather. The remote canister allows the fuel canister to be inverted, thus “liquid feeding” the stove, which helps it burn hot and strong in the coldest temps. The newer version of the stove actually has a base that facilitates inverted canister operation – a very nice addition, although with a small weight penalty. This version doesn’t allow for much twist in the fuel line, so the canister can only be inverted while some weight is on the burner otherwise it will tend to topple over. This sounds more sketchy than it actually is, and again, it’s been fixed in the current version WindPro II. The other tip for successful winter use is simple: keep the fuel warm. “Warm” is not even essential, just keep it from getting excessively cold. I’ve found this to be true of any fuel type. Last year I did some experimentation with an alcohol stove in temperatures around 0º F and it worked just great due to me keeping the fuel in my pocket for a few minutes in the morning. I have a dozen or so witnesses and all of them were amazed. It’s no different with canisters. A 2L pot (such as the MSR Titan) is perfectly suited to carrying the stove, fuel, and windscreen and makes a great size for melting snow.
Differences between the WindPro and WindPro II
With the WindPro II MSR has acknowledged that the WindPro is a full fledged liquid feed stove with the changes to the fuel line coupling and canister cradle allowing for safe and hassle free operation. These changes increase the total weight by 1 ounce (claimed).
- Ability to cook and melt snow with a canister stove
- A very lightweight stove for all its capabilities
- Straightforward operation
Not So Much…
- The only thing I can grumble about is the issue with stability when inverting the fuel canister, and that’s been fixed in the WindPro II
Famous Last Words
The WindPro is clearly a stove that can cut some pack weight in the winter, prep food for a group, and even please the gourmet trail chef. The new version improves handling and safety. What’s not to like? Hike It. Like It.
Since writing the original article I ended up having an issue with low flow and a weak flame. After checking the valve for obstruction I decided I probably had a kinked hose and sent it to MSR for inspection. They confirmed that I kinked the fuel line somehow. In several years of use this was the only issue, $20 later I have a fixed stove with a new fuel line and they even lubed and cleaned the legs so they collapse and open much more easily (I guess I neglected keeping them clean over the years). MSR turned it all around in about a week for me so I had practically no downtime. I’m very satisfied with the level of service. Thanks MSR!