The MSR Windpro 2 looks like a liquid fuel stove and has some of the same benefits, like stability, compatibility with a wide variety of cookware, and a windscreen. While it has some of the convenience of a stove that uses canister gas, we found it generally didn't perform as well as its small canister brethren and wasn't as fuel efficient as the integrated canister models.
The included canister stand is especially helpful when 16oz fuel cans run low.
The Windpro scored fairly low in the fuel efficiency department. It used 0.9 oz of fuel to bring a liter of water to a rolling boil in windless conditions, and 1.3 oz of fuel to do the same in our 8 - 10mph wind test.
This stove throws a lot of heat.
We think one of the reasons that our tested fuel efficiency was so low is because the burner head is pretty large, almost a large as that of the Primus Trail Classic. Our tester pot measures 7 inches across and part of the flame invariably shoots up the side and heat is lost. For backpackers with fuel efficiency as a priority, make sure that the flame does not go beyond the bottom of the pot.
Our listed weight does not include the windscreen (2.1 oz), heat reflector (0.5 oz), canister stand (0.5 oz), or stuff sack (0.7 oz). The windscreen and heat reflector boost the performance of the stove and protect anything beneath from its nuclear heat, so our testers find these two items to be worth their weight. The canister stand is handy on cold mornings or when a 16 oz fuel can is running low, but we don't always bring it. We generally avoid carrying the stuff sack, preferring to pack the stove inside our pot instead.
The Windpro 2 performs better in the wind than any small canister stove, just make sure the windscreen is wrapped snugly around your cookware.
The Windpro is better than most stoves in our test at simmering, but about average for a canister stove. We think the wide burner head, which is almost as big as the one on the Classic Trail helps with avoiding hot spots on the pot. Using the included canister stand to invert the canister has the practical effect of increasing the pressure, so our testers seemed to get better simmering when the canister was in its upright orientation.
With a solid boil time of 4 minutes 22 seconds the MSR Windpro clocks in just behind the Jetboil MiniMo and just ahead of the Classic Trail. During our boil tests, this stove seemed to throw out more ambient heat than any other. Indeed, it melted part of the windscreen during the fan test, something we've never seem from any other stove under any conditions!
The glowing red area of the windscreen was melted/burned during our testing! Nobody on our testing team has ever seen a stove melt an MSR windscreen.
In front of the fan the boil time almost doubled, to 9 minutes and 35 seconds. However this was still much better than every other small canister stove, and comparable to the MSR Whisperlite Universal when used with canister fuel.
Ease Of Use
The remote canister design of this stove gives it a low slung, very stable feel. This is the most stable of all of the small canister stoves and integrated canister stoves in our test. This, combined with the solid and wide pot supports, make it as stable as the liquid fuel stoves we reviewed.
Having the canister and valve away from the stove also means there's pretty much zero chance of burnt fingertips when adjusting the stove, even if the pot is boiling over. However, the lack of a piezo igniter means that users still have to get up in there when lighting the stove.
The wide burner head and intense flame punish backpackers using cookware with a smaller base. This isn't a great stove to use with pots smaller than 1 liter, especially tall and skinny ones, unless you like carrying an oven mitt on the trail.
Being able to invert the canister improves this stove's cold weather performance.
Our testers observed that the valve control on the Windpro seems to have a bit of a delay time. That is, it takes a few seconds for the stove's output to respond to how you've just turned the valve, reminiscent of a liquid fuel stove. We noticed that the Whisperlite Universal also has this attribute when it's burning canister gas and we wonder if it's a characteristic of the hose that connects fuel can to burner, something not found on the other canister stoves. Backpackers should be aware that this stove doesn't have the instant response of other canister models.
This stove is a great choice for backpackers who want to use a variety of cookware on their canister stove, but are also concerned about performance in the wind. It could be a good option for the no-frills car camper who does some occasional backpacking.
We think that at $100 this stove is a bit on the pricey side for what you get. Many stoves in our review that are less expensive offer better performance in most ways. The MSR PocketRocket 2 and Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0 both perform better overall and cost about half as much.
Our testing team feels like this stove serves a very small niche of backpackers: those who want to use larger cookware, make more complicated meals, and want the conveniences of canister fuel, but aren't too concerned with weight or fuel efficiency. If that describes your backcountry cooking style this could be the stove for you. We suspect most backpackers would be better served by a lighter, higher performing, and less expensive option, like the Editors' Choice award-winning PocketRocket 2.
The included heat reflector is a necessity in snowy conditions.