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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Canister Gas in Cold Weather – Summary

Winter is fast approaching (well, at least in the Northern Hemisphere).  It's time to think about stoves in the context of cold.  In colder weather, I typically reach for a stove with a petroleum based fuel, either liquid (e.g. white gasoline, kerosene) or gas (i.e. canister gas).  In cold weather, I want power, particularly if melting snow.  Nothing has more power (heat) than petroleum based fuels (well, maybe nuclear, but that's a bit hard to fit into my backpack).
Frozen lake, Sierra Nevada Mountains
Many people are under the impression that canister gas is no good for cold weather and that liquid fuel must be used.  But is that necessarily true?

I've been writing on this subject for some time.   I've just re-written my main article on gas and cold weather.  I won't reproduce the entire article here.  I'll just post a summary below.  I actually think the summary is fairly useful in and of itself.  I don't recommend that you rely on the summary alone.  Before you take a canister gas stove out in cold weather, I recommend that you read the full article. But the summary can be a useful refresher and reference once you've read the main article.

HJ

Summary:
1.  If you use a canister right side up, the best cold weather fuel, propane, boils off at a faster rate, so you must be able to rely on the other components of your fuel.  Therefore choose isobutane and avoid n-butane.
2.  If you use a canister upside down (inverted), the propane stays in the mix and your fuel has better cold weather performance.  Most stoves cannot handle inverted operation.  Do your homework before trying this.
3.  If used upright, canisters experience significant cooling from within.  Therefore, it is the fuel temperature which matters, not the ambient temperature.  Your fuel temperature will be usually be colder than the surroundings after operating the stove for a while.
4.  If you use a canister upside down, the canister will not experience cooling (well, at least not to the degree that it does in upright operation).
5.  In order to have enough pressure to properly operate a stove, your fuel temperature must be warmer than the vaporization point (boiling point) of the fuel.  Generally, about 20°F/11°C degrees above the vaporization point will give you good operating pressure, but the actual performance of the stove is the bottom line.  Poor performance probably means that your fuel needs more heat.  Therefore you must be able to heat the canister.  Water is typically a safe way to heat the canister.
6.  NEVER heat a canister to the degree that it is painfully hot to the touch of an (unfrozen) bare hand.
7.  The higher you go, the colder the weather your gas stove will operate in, but the colder it gets, the harder it is to keep the canister warm, irrespective of elevation.  As you climb, temperatures fall faster than the performance of your stove increases.  You cannot out climb cold.
8.  If you heat the canister, you are not as constrained by the ambient temperature.  However common sense still applies here.  Can you realistically keep the canister warm enough in the temperatures expected?  What happens if the weather is colder than expected? What happens if a storm moves in?
9.  You must know and use the basics of cold weather canister operation (select good fuel, start with a warm canister, keep the canister warm). You must also be prepared for emergencies and the unexpected.

Icebergs, Sierra Nevada Mountains

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review: The New MSR Windboiler

MSR (Mountain Safety Research, Seattle, WA, USA, a division of Cascade Designs) has come out with a new stove system:  The Windboiler.
The new Windboiler from MSR
The Windboiler is a high efficiency integrated canister gas stove which borrows the windproof burner concept from the MSR Reactor.  With the Windboiler, you're not just buying a stove, you're buying an entire system, with pot with lid, cup/bowl, burner, and canister stand.   It's very nearly a complete backcountry kitchen.  You need only bring a spoon and an ignition source.

Features That Actually Work
My overall impression is one of attention to detail.  The main player in the field is Jetboil, and in some ways, Jetboil has gotten a little sloppy.  For example, have you ever tried to use the handle on the Jetboil?  It just doesn't work.
The handle on the Jetboil.  Not so good.
By contrast, the Windboiler's handle is functional and rock steady – while still folding away when you pack it up.
The handle on a Windboiler can be used as, well, a handle.  Fancy that.
And that tiny thing on the bottom of a Jetboil that they call a cup?  I don't even know where my Jetboil cup is; I mean that thing is so useless that I just don't use it.  The cup on the Windboiler holds half a liter and the lid fits equally well on both the pot and the cup.

Not only does the lid fit, it's water tight.  I can even lift the entire stove by the lid, canister still attached.
The lid on a Windboiler is so good that it's actually water tight.
Do NOT try that with boiling water with a Jetboil!
The lid on a Jetboil always comes off in my pack, so I wind up fishing for the contents, contents that should all be together.

Yes, these are all minor annoyances, but in this regard, MSR hasn't missed a thing.  All of the features on the new Windboiler are well thought out, well executed, and, bottom line, they work.

Add to that "bombproof" wind resistance, and you've got one heck of a stove system.

I've been blogging the past month about this new stove, so I won't belabor all of what I've said previously.  For more detailed information, I'll refer you to what has already been posted.  Please see the below sections.

Wind Resistance and Consistent Fuel Efficiency
The most dramatic results (and the most impressive to me personally) relate to the name of the stove, the "Wind" boiler.  By the very name, MSR is laying claim to a stove that can stand up to the elements.  I did a variety of wind tests, and I have to say that the Windboiler is head and shoulders above the competition in this regard.  I couldn't even get the Windboiler to acknowledge that it was windy.  During heavy winds, it went on as though nothing unusual were happening.  The stove I was comparing it to could not even bring water to a boil, let alone have normal function.  The two videos I took of the Windboiler basically shutting the competition down are worth seeing in my opinion.  Please see:
Snow Creek in the windy San Gorgonio Pass area, site of some of the wind testing
Overview and Basic Features
For an overview of the system and the basic features of the stove, please see:
Mount Williamson (8248'/2514m),site of some of the on trail testing
Optional Extras
The Windboiler has a couple of optional items that you can add to the system if you so desire.  They include a coffee press and a hanging kit.  You can also buy a stand alone second pot so that you and a partner can each have a pot and share a single burner.  Given how fast the Windboiler is, this is a perfectly reasonable arrangement.

In terms of the optional extras, I was particularly impressed that the hanging kit did NOT need to be assembled each and every time and that one could just wrap it around the burner and store the entire assembly in the pot, ready to go.  For more on the individual items, please see:
The hanging kit can be stowed, fully assembled, by simply wrapping the cables around the burner.
Can This Thing Actually Cook?
It's a stove after all, so naturally you'll want to know what it's capabilities are in the cooking department.  The Windboiler has markedly better flame adjustability than it's predecessor, the Reactor.  However, I found that it couldn't simmer, at least not if you used a strict definition of the word "simmer", but that there were some good cooking options for typical trail fare.  Please see:
A hot lunch, courtesy of the MSR Windboiler.  Yum!  
Three Things to Note
Here are three things that you should note about the Windboiler.

1.  Loose Cozy:  With the Windboiler, the cozy may not always lock quite right to the pot.  This is a known issue with some of the first run cozies that has now been corrected.  It's a minor annoyance, but MSR will replace your cozy for free if you request it.  It's not hard to replace the cozy. Details at the link, below.
2.  Resetting the Burner:  If the burner gets too hot, it will automatically shut off so you don't fry your stove.  You will need to reset the burner if it overheats.  Details at the link, below.

3.  Underburn:  You could get "underburn" where the flame goes beneath the surface of the burner.  It's rare, but it could happen.  The corrective action is simple – if you know how to do it.  Details at the link, below.
Middle Fork, Lytle Creek, site of some of the on trail and wind testing.
Advantages of the Windboiler
You can read through all of the detailed posts, but I thought I'd put together a list of some of the advantages of the Windboiler.

  1. Nearly foolproof in wind.  Now, I realize that not everyone cooks in exposed, windy places, but even if you cook in relatively sheltered spots, you're always losing something to the wind in terms of time and fuel with conventional stoves.  Not so with the Windboiler.  And for those occasions where it really is windy, you'll be able to cook almost as if there were no wind at all while those around you will be eating uncooked food.  I would think windproofness would be of particular advantage to alpinists, mountaineers, "big wall" climbers, desert travellers, those who camp above tree line, travellers at high latitudes, and anyone who camps or cooks in areas where sheltered spots are difficult to come by.  Of course anyone who camps or cooks in areas prone to heavy winds would benefit most of all.
  2. Predictability.  The longer the trip, the harder it is to predict your fuel needs, particularly if wind and weather play hob with your fuel consumption.  The Windboiler takes very little notice of the vicissitudes of wind, making it's fuel consumption relatively consistent and therefore far easier to predict.
  3. Efficiency.  An efficient stove gets the maximum number of boils out of a canister of gas.  Use a less efficient stove, and you'll be giving up boils you might have otherwise had.  Efficiency is particularly important on longer trips, particularly in areas where you can't always count on the availability of resupply.
  4. Speed and Convenience.  The Windboiler is a consistently fast stove and an all in one solution.  Buy one and you're done with stove shopping for your trip.  You'll need to do very little else besides buying fuel.  Not only that, but you'll be eating while everyone else is still waiting.  After a long day on the trail, hot food in a hurry with minimum hassle is one of the chief arguing points in favor of an integrated canister stove.
  5. Features that actually work.  There's been a tremendous amount of thought and attention to detail that has gone into the Windboiler, and it shows.  The features are all eminently practical, and they work.
  6. Packability.  Everything packs together marvelously.  I was particularly impressed with how the coffee press takes up essentially no additional room in one's pack, but all of the other components are equally well thought out in terms of how things pack up and fit together.
An exposed, wind swept ridge, low elevation test site for the Windboiler

Disadvantages of the Windboiler
  1. Price.  Actually this is a two edged sword.  On the one hand at MSRP of $130, the Windboiler is well situated among other regulator valved integrated canister stoves like the Aluminum Jetboil Sol at $120, the Jetboil MiniMo at $130, and the titanium Jetboil Sol at $150.  Also, the Windboiler at $130 makes Reactor technology available for a good deal less – the least expensive Reactor is $190.  On the other hand, no one can argue that $130 is cheap even if the unit does include a pot and cup/bowl.  Moreover, there are lower end non-regulator valved stoves like the Jetboil Flash at $100 and the Jetboil Zip at $80.  It will be interesting to see if the Windboiler's features overcome the price advantage of the lower end integrated canister stoves.  See also the price and weight comparison chart in the appendix.
  2. Weight.  While a highly efficient stove will save on fuel weight, the MSR Windboiler is a bit heavy at 432 g/15.2 oz stated weight, which is a bit heavy.  See the weight of all components and my comments in the appendix.  However, when compared to other 1.0 L sized integrated canister stoves, the Windboiler is within about an ounce of their weights.  If one wants the advantages of an integrated canister stove like the Windboiler, then at this juncture it will be necessary to tolerate the weight.  See also the price and weight comparison chart in the appendix.  My recommendations to MSR are to a) keep a close eye on manufacturing to insure that Windboilers coming off the shop floor do not exceed their stated weight and b) for future generations of the system, to reduce the overall weight.  I've placed additional recommendations in Appendix IV.
  3. Only One Pot.  Yes, there's only one pot that can be used with a Windboiler.  I tried a Jetboil pot.  It didn't work (didn't fit).  I tried a Reactor pot.  It didn't work (ridiculously unstable).  Even if another pot did work, it wouldn't necessarily be safe.  The carbon monoxide output of the stove might climb to dangerous levels, the stove could overheat, or the stove set up might be unstable.  MSR says that they're working on additional pots, but for now the 1.0 L pot is all that there is.  There is no frying pan option or group sized option.  That said, the Windboiler is so fast that cooking for more than one person is completely within reason, particularly if a second 1.0 L pot is purchased.  The tall pot is a little hard to reach into with a standard length spoon, so make sure you get a long handled spoon.
The MSR Windboiler:  Highly Recommended.


That's my review of the MSR Windboiler.  If you want more details, there are plenty here on my blog.  I encourage you to browse to your heart's content.  If you have any questions or need clarification, please leave a comment in the comments section, below.

I thank you for joining me,

HJ

MSR Windboiler Posts
Heat exchanger detail, MSR Windboiler
Appendix I  – Technical Details

Manufacturer:     MSR, a division of Cascade Designs.
Date available:     Currently available.
Manufacturer’s Website:     http://www.cascadedesigns.com/MSR
MSRP:     $130.00 (USD)
Stated Weight:   432 g/15.2 ounces
Measured Weight:   457 g/16.1 ounces
Materials:   Aluminum (pot and heat exchanger)
Packed Dimensions:   171 mm/6.7" tall, 102 mm/4.0" wide.  See First Look for further info.
Size/Model tested:   Max capacity, 1000ml/34 fl. oz.  Practical capacity, 600ml/20 fl oz. (per MSR; I think you could get away with 750 ml/25 fl oz, if you were careful).
Requirements:   A standard threaded canister of gas (sold separately).
Warranty info:   Contact the MSR/Cascade Designs Customer Service Center (see website, above)
Colors Available:   Red or Gray

Appendix II – Component Weights

MSR Windboiler Weights
ComponentGramsOunces
Pot (bare)1475.19
Cozy & Handle491.73
Bowl321.13
Pack Cloth10.04
Canister Legs160.56
Lid130.46
Burner1997.02
Total45716.12

Stated vs. Measured Weights
GramsOunces
Measured45716.12
Stated43215.24
Difference250.88

Note:  "Stated" weights are the weights listed on the MSR website.  "Measured" weights are those weights I measured with my gram scale at home.  All measurements were made in grams.  Weights in ounces are a calculated figure.  Some rounding error may occur.  In the case of any apparent discrepancy, use the weight in grams.
The MSR Windboiler
Appendix III – Comparative Table of Weights and Prices
Integrated Canister Stove Capacity (liters)Weight (g)Weight (oz)Retail Price
Jetboil Sol (Ti)0.82799.8$150.00
Jetboil Sol (Al)0.831211.0$120.00
Jetboil Zip 0.834512.2$80.00
Jetboil Flash1.040014.1$100.00
Jetboil MiniMo1.041514.6$130.00
MSR Reactor 1.041714.7$190.00
MSR Windboiler1.043215.2$130.00

Weights are generally the manufacturer's stated weights in grams.  The notable exception is the weight of the titanium version of the Jetboil Sol.  The Jetboil website has "spin doctored" the numbers to make the titanium version appear lighter.  My number is based on an "apples to apples" comparison.   The weight of individual stoves will vary.  Ounces are a calculated figure based on a conversion factor of 28.3495.  Stoves are sorted in order of weight with the lightest stove first.  Note that all of the 1.0 L capacity stoves are within about an ounce of each other in terms of weight.  The spread is 32 grams from the lightest 1.0 L stove to the heaviest.

Note:  My information is that Jetboil is discontinuing their Sol line of stoves (both types).
Size comparisons.
L to R:  MSR Reactor (1.0 L), MSR Windboiler (1.0 L), Original Jetboil PCS (1.0 L), Jetboil Al Sol (0.8 L).
Appendix IV – Recommendations for Improvement
1.  Canister Stand.  The gray canister stand is a little easy to lose, particularly in areas with gray granite, such as the Sierra Nevada Mountains (and many others).  A brighter color, one easily seen in low light conditions would be preferable.
2.  Coffee Press.  The lower section of the rod rolls away far too easily.  Making it cross sectionally elliptical or adding a small plastic piece just above the threaded end would better prevent rolling.  Yes, I did notice the spot where the lower section can be slid into the handle of the upper section.  I still believe the lower section would benefit from modification.
3.  Weight.  Obviously some reduction in weight would make the unit more more palatable.  The chief complaint I've heard from my readership concerns weight.
4.  Capacity.  Obviously, there will be people that want a larger capacity pot.  I know MSR is working on it.
5.  Auto ignition.  A lot of people are quite surprised to find that the Windboiler does not have an ignition of some kind.  It is nice with a locking pot to have an integrated ignition.  I realize that there may be constraints (like reliability), but piezoelectric ignitions have improved tremendously.  The Soto Microregulator and Soto Windmaster have particularly good ignition systems.  The design of the Windboiler's burner surface may make this quite challenging, but still I think it ought to be considered.
6.  Height.  Particularly as new pots are developed, I would think the height ought to be reduced and the width increased. I tested the current 1.0 L pot, and the stability is good with the canister stand, but a lot of people may not read that far in my review(s) and may write the Windboiler off as unstable based on appearances alone.  A wider pot is easier to reach into and would should be stable as well.
A Jetboil MiniMo (left) and an MSR Windboiler (right), both 1.0 L in capacity.
The Windboiler is a wonderful unit but might benefit from shorter, wider pots in the future.
Note also how the non-MSR canister stand on the left stands out better with its bright color.
Disclosures
The item reviewed here was provided to me at no charge for the purposes of this review.  I am under no obligation to review this or any other item.  I am not compensated for my reviews in any fashion other than in some cases I am permitted to keep the item reviewed.  Given that I have well over a 100 backpacking stoves, a free stove frankly isn't going to buy anyone a good review.  Stove companies must measure up if they want a decent review here.  I am an amatuer stove blogger; I make my living elsewhere, in the IT field.  I fit blogging in as time permits.  Inasmuch as my income is derived elsewhere, monetary issues do not influence the reviews on this blog.  Yes, I do have advertisements on the blog.  I typically derive about $1.00 USD per day from the advertisements (last I checked).  This is a mere pittance and does not influence my reviews in the slightest.  Revenue from the advertisements goes toward hosting fees, stove fuel, and the like.  The blog is self supporting in that sense, and my wife is quite happy that I'm not using the family's income to run the blog, particularly given how tough the economy is these days.

Field Testing on Mount San Antonio.  Jetboil Sol, left.  MSR Windboiler, right.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

MSR Windboiler – Cooking Ability

OK, so the new MSR Windboiler is uber windproof.  And we know it can boil water.  OK, great, but how's the flame control?  Can it do more than boil?  I talked a little about this in Trail Report #1, but let me expand on things here.

In my first report, I noted some problems on low flame.  I would turn it down, it would burn for a while, and then it would go out.  I thought that was kind of odd.  After talking with MSR, apparently there was something wrong with my burner.  They replaced my burner.

Flame Characteristics
Now, when I turn it down, it stays on.  Consistently.  That's a far more satisfying low flame to say the least.  Now, as with all burners, there's a certain point where if you turn it down too far, it's going to go off.  I mean that is the function of the valve right?  We do want to be able to turn off a stove, but still we need to know how low can the flame go.   Here's a quick video showing low flame, flame out, and high flame.  The video also discusses lighting a Windboiler with a fire steel and how to avoid the condition known as underburn.  I'm obviously not a professional videographer, but you should be able to understand what the Windboiler's flame characteristics are from the video.  If you want "pretty" videos, I'm sure you can find them out there, but if you want to dig into the details, I think you'll find them here at Adventures In Stoving.  If you're not finding what you need, leave a comment in the comments section, below, and I'll see what I can do.

Can it Simmer?
OK, great, you can turn it down, and it will stay on at whatever setting you put it on.  But can it simmer?  Well, if we use a strict definition of simmer, no.  Even the replacement burner I received, which is quite stable at low flame, cannot be turned down enough to get a true simmer.  By simmer, I mean that I should be able to turn the flame down such that I get a very low boil, one where the water is just barely bubbling.  I found that I could not turn the stove down that low without it going out.  Now, most people who buy an integrated canister stove (like the Windboiler) aren't looking to cook gourmet meals, the kind that need a lot of delicate simmering.  Most people buy integrated canister stoves because they want speed and convenience.  So, the lack of simmering ability isn't necessarily a real drawback to the Windboiler.  And besides there are other cooking options...

Cooking Options
In order to understand the Windboiler better, I compared it to other integrated canister stoves, chiefly my Jetboil PCS and Jetboil Sol.  As I ran side by side tests, I noticed something:  The Reactor retained heat far better than the Jetboils did.  Here's a video demonstrating just what I found out.

Did you see what happened in the video?  After I turned off the two stoves, the Windboiler kept boiling, far longer than the Jetboil.  This ability to retain heat gives the Windboiler the ability to cook very efficiently using a technique called cozy cooking.  With cozy cooking, you bring the water to a boil, quickly put in your food, put the lid back on, and then cover the pot with something to insulate it (typically a fleece hat or something similar).  The food is sitting in relatively high heat while the stove is off.  I guarantee that no stove uses less fuel than a stove that is off.
Cozy cooking with an MSR Windboiler and a fleece hat.
You want your food cooked thoroughly.  If you've ever eaten freeze dried food that's still a little "crunchy", you'll know exactly what I mean.  The problem of under cooked food grows worse as we climb higher.  Cozy cooking is sort of the "secret" way to get better food without having to eat through a lot of fuel.  The Windboiler's ability to retain heat makes it ideal for cozy cooking.  Note:  At higher elevations and on cold days, if you need to, you can let everything sit under the "cozy" for a few minutes, turn the stove back on, add some heat, re-cover with the cozy, and let it sit for a few more minutes.

The Jetboil, with its open burner loses heat far more quickly.  It's just not as good of a choice for cozy cooking.
The open burner of a Jetboil, so open that I can put my fingers through it, does not retain heat well.
So, while the Windboiler isn't exactly a gourmet cook's stove, it's not a "one trick pony" that can only boil water.  You can turn the heat down significantly, and with cozy cooking, you've got nearly the equivalent of simmering, but with far less fuel consumption.

That's my report on the cooking ability of the MSR Windboiler.  I thank you for joining me,

HJ

MSR Windboiler Posts
Disclosures
The item reviewed here was provided to me at no charge for the purposes of this review.  I am under no obligation to review this or any other item.  I am not compensated for my reviews in any fashion other than in some cases I am permitted to keep the item reviewed.  Given that I have well over a 100 backpacking stoves, a free stove frankly isn't going to buy anyone a good review.  Stove companies must measure up if they want a decent review here.  I am an amatuer stove blogger; I make my living elsewhere, in the IT field.  I fit blogging in as time permits.  Inasmuch as my income is derived elsewhere, monetary issues do not influence the reviews on this blog.  Yes, I do have advertisements on the blog.  I typically derive about $1.00 USD per day from the advertisements (last I checked).  This is a mere pittance and does not influence my reviews in the slightest.  Revenue from the advertisements goes toward hosting fees, stove fuel, and the like.  The blog is self supporting in that sense, and my wife is quite happy that I'm not using the family's income to run the blog, particularly given how tough the economy is these days.

MSR Windboiler – Three Things to Note

Here are three things that you should know about with the Windboiler.

1.  Thermal Trip Mechanism.  This is a safety feature – and an improved one at that.

If your stove overheats, a very dangerous situation could ensue.  Recall that there is a canister of highly flammable gas directly attached to the stove.  To prevent overheating, there is a Thermal Trip Mechanism that shuts down the stove if it gets too hot.  Once the stove cools down, the Thermal Trip Mechanism can be reset in the field, and the stove returned to operation.  Overheating is not a common occurrence, but you should familiarize yourself with the reset procedure just in case. The ability to reset the burner in the field (instead of sending it back to the manufacturer) is a major improvement in this type of mechanism.

The procedure is outlined in the instructions that come with the stove.  I will summarize the instructions here.  If you need to reset your stove, follow the instructions that came with the stove exactly; do not follow my instructions over those that came with the stove.
  • Wait five minutes for the stove to cool (with the valve closed of course).  
  • Detach the canister
  • Open the valve two full turns
  • Insert the tip of one leg of the canister stand into the air inlet in the burner column until it stops.  The little plastic flange on the leg will stop the leg at the proper place (see photo below).
  • Rotate the leg clockwise until you hear a click.  Rotating the leg will depress the brass jet inside the burner column.  
  • Close the valve.
  • Reattach the canister
  • Restart the stove
The little flange on the tip of the leg is sticking up above the rest of the canister stand in the photo above.
If you have to reset your stove repeatedly, there's something wrong, something potentially quite serious.  You'd best contact MSR as soon as possible.  NEVER use any stove if you hear the hiss of gas and the valve is closed.

2.  "Loose" pot cozy.  Now, by loose, I don't mean it's going to fall of and dash you dinner to the ground.  Nothing like that.
The pot cozy of an MSR Windboiler, shown on the pot.
But if the pot cozy doesn't firmly affix to the bracket, it can slide up too far.
The pot cozy affixes to this bracket on the side of the pot.
If the cozy slides up too far, then the cup/bowl also slides up too far and becomes a royal pain in the neck to get off again.  I mean it is really a nuisance.  If your cozy has a problem, contact the MSR/Cascade Designs Customer Service Center for a free replacement.
If your cozy doesn't secure properly to the pot, MSR will replace it for free.
To replace, simply lift up the tab as shown, slide off the old cozy, and slide on the new one.
3.  Underburn. This is not an issue with the MSR Windboiler per se but rather a situation that has long existed with any stove with a cavity beneath the burner surface.  Underburn occurs when there is burning underneath the surface of the burner.

Underburn is rare, and you may never encounter it, but you need to know how to correct it:  Turn off the stove.  That's it.  That's the corrective action.  Turn off the stove, let it cool a bit, and then restart the stove.

How can I identify underburn?  The below video shows you what under burn looks and sounds like.  Underburn occurs at 0:35 in the video.  Note that I shut off the stove immediately.  Underburn does NOT mean your stove is defective.  It just happens sometimes, and it's nothing to get worried about.

If you do experience under burn, simply shut the stove off and wait a minute or so.  After a minute has transpired, restart the stove.  The stove should now burn normally.  I can't imagine that it would, but if the stove for some reason goes into underburn again, shut it off, but this time wait longer before restarting.  Underburn most frequently occurs when restarting a hot stove.  Generally, you can prevent underburn if you wait a minute or so before relighting the stove.  You should NOT allow the stove to continue to burn if it goes into underburn.  The stove is not designed to operate with the flame inside the burner.

I hope you found this post useful.

HJ

MSR Windboiler Posts
Disclosures
The item reviewed here was provided to me at no charge for the purposes of this review.  I am under no obligation to review this or any other item.  I am not compensated for my reviews in any fashion other than in some cases I am permitted to keep the item reviewed.  Given that I have well over a 100 backpacking stoves, a free stove frankly isn't going to buy anyone a good review.  Stove companies must measure up if they want a decent review here.  I am an amatuer stove blogger; I make my living elsewhere, in the IT field.  I fit blogging in as time permits.  Inasmuch as my income is derived elsewhere, monetary issues do not influence the reviews on this blog.  Yes, I do have advertisements on the blog.  I typically derive about $1.00 USD per day from the advertisements (last I checked).  This is a mere pittance and does not influence my reviews in the slightest.  Revenue from the advertisements goes toward hosting fees, stove fuel, and the like.  The blog is self supporting in that sense, and my wife is quite happy that I'm not using the family's income to run the blog, particularly given how tough the economy is these days.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

MSR Windboiler – Hanging Kit II

Finally, I've been able to procure the hanging kit for my Windboiler.  Apparently they're in short supply.  If you will remember my previous post, MSR Windboiler – Hanging Kit I, I pressed the Reactor's hanging kit into service.  It worked, but MSR doesn't recommend this inasmuch as the Windboiler may invert due to its higher center of gravity.

MSR Windboiler Posts

Now, I've got the proper kit.

To me, the outstanding feature of this kit is that does NOT have to be disassembled each time you put away the stove.  Now, that's nice.  When you pack up the stove, you simply wind the cables around the burner...
The hanging kit, wound around the Windboiler's burner.
...and put the whole of it into the pot.
The Windboiler's burner and hanging kit, stored in the pot.
And yes the canister stand fits in there too if you'll be doing a "mixed" trip where sometimes you'll be using the hanging kit and sometimes you'll be doing the more standard arrangement of cooking on the ground.
The MSR Windboiler's burner, hanging kit, and canister stand all fit into the pot along with a 110g canister.
The hanging kit attaches to the burner by means of spring clips that are inserted into the large air inlets on the windscreen.
The spring clip attachment of the Windboiler's hanging kit.
Simply squeeze and insert.  Best to do it at home or base camp I think.  Fiddling with it while wearing mittens isn't going to be fun.  But remember that you can simply leave the hanging kit attached at all times, so you shouldn't have to be assembling it with mittens on in the field.
Squeeze the spring clip and insert it into the air inlet on the windscreen
Now, it's important to position the clip properly otherwise the pot and stove might shift suddenly.  With boiling water, sudden shifts are just not what you want.  The clip should lie flat against the windscreen when properly positioned.  Take a look at the below photo.  The clip on the left is incorrectly positioned.  Note how it does NOT lie flat against the windscreen.  It must be rotated 180° so that it will properly align.  The clip on the right is properly positioned.  Note that it lies flat.
The Windboiler hanging kit's clips should lie flat against the windscreen.
The clip on the left is incorrectly aligned.  Rotate it 180°.
The clip on the right is properly aligned.  Note that it lies flat.
Once you've got the clips properly inserted and aligned, hang it, put on the pot, and move the slider down the cables until it is snug.
The slider on an MSR Windboiler hanging kit.
The slider is the double angled metal tube that you see the cables going through in the above photo.
When everything is properly set up, it should look about like the the photo below.  Note that the slider has been moved down towards the pot until it is reasonably snug.  The kit is very well designed, and I don't think you'll have any trouble with things suddenly inverting.
The Windboiler all set up in its hanging kit
The entire kit weighs about an ounce (29 g), including the case although why you'd bring the case is beyond me.  I'd just leave it assembled and not have to hassle with it each and every time I set up the stove.  As usual, I'll list the individual component weights in the appendix.

That's it.  The MSR Windboiler's hanging kit.  Very nice.

HJ

Appendix – Component Weights

Hanging Kit
Component Grams Ounces
Case 16 0.6
Cables 13 0.5
Total 29 1.0
The above weights are the weights I measured in grams on my scale.  The ounces column is a derived figure.  Some rounding error may occur.

Disclosures
The item reviewed here was provided to me at no charge for the purposes of this review.  I am under no obligation to review this or any other item.  I am not compensated for my reviews in any fashion other than in some cases I am permitted to keep the item reviewed.  Given that I have well over a 100 backpacking stoves, a free stove frankly isn't going to buy anyone a good review.  Stove companies must measure up if they want a decent review here.  I am an amatuer stove blogger; I make my living elsewhere, in the IT field.  I fit blogging in as time permits.  Inasmuch as my income is derived elsewhere, monetary issues do not influence the reviews on this blog.  Yes, I do have advertisements on the blog.  I typically derive about $1.00 USD per day from the advertisements (last I checked).  This is a mere pittance and does not influence my reviews in the slightest.  Revenue from the advertisements goes toward hosting fees, stove fuel, and the like.  The blog is self supporting in that sense, and my wife is quite happy that I'm not using the family's income to run the blog, particularly given how tough the economy is these days.