You really can't go wrong with any MSR stove, and the WindBurner is no exception. The WindBurner is billed as a stove system, which basically means that it comes in a dizzying array of combinations and configurations. The stove itself is the same in all but the Personal Stove System; that one is a hybrid of the Reactor and Windburner feature sets and technologies. We took a look at the WindBurner Stove System Combo, designed for small groups and perfect for our little flogger family of three, and came away quite impressed.
The Stove System Combo configuration includes two versatile pieces of cookware, a 2.5L pot and an 8 inch skillet. Both are ceramic-coated for excellent nonstick performance and easy cleaning, and both come with the excellent Talon folding handle – not just one, which would have been fine, but two of them. The Talon can be separated from the cookware for cleaning, storage and transport, and it also locks into the open position for extra security while handling. The slot in the handle folds over the rubber nipple handle on the included strainer lid for the pot.
Both the pot and the skillet have a protruding ring on the bottom that helps capture heat and transfer it efficiently to the bottom of the cookware. Both pieces are self-centering, meaning they have a little bit of play as you place them on the stove, just enough to allow them to find their own center without tipping over. It works very well in practice and after using it a few times you'll appreciate the ability to just set it and forget it, no worrying about perfect placement here. The pot also has two clips to secure the strainer lid in place for easy one-handed operation; no more burning your fingers while you try to hold the lid in place while you strain your noodles!
The stove itself is the usual clever and practical MSR design. The practical is the remote canister configuration gives you stability and flexibility in where you place the stove. The clever is the design of the arms, which hide in the vertical supports and spring into place as you raise them. Also clever is the encapsulated burner design, which really does make it easy to use in windy conditions. And speaking of performance, you backcountry chefs out there will really enjoy the adjustable flame. Everything from delicate simmering to raging snow-melting boil can be done quickly and confidently. The regulator will ensure a consistent flame output even as your fuel level drops while you cook.
The whole system nests together, with room even for a small fuel canister, and weighs under two pounds, a real weight saver for a system that will work for a small group. With the availability of even more accessories – even a hanging kit – the WindBurner Stove System Combo is quiver of one when it comes to stoves. Whether it's just you and the dog or you, the dog, the dog's friends and some people who let you hang out with them, you'll be able to do it all with the WindBurner.