The MSR Windpro 2 is a good stove to own if you've already got a quiver of stoves. Like a liquid fuel stove, it can be used with a windscreen, and it's very stable and compatible with a variety of cookware. Like a canister stove, it's quick to set up and light, and easy to break down. However, it's not as light or as fuel-efficient as any of the canister stoves in our review. We came to think of it as a liquid fuel stove that only runs on canister fuel.
MSR Windpro 2 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Stable, quick to boil, simmers
Cons: Inefficient, not as windproof as other stoves
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The 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 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 1.2 oz of fuel to do the same in our 2 - 4 mph wind test.
We think one of the reasons that our tested fuel efficiency was so low is because the burner head is pretty large. 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 is better than most stoves in our test at simmering, but about average for a canister stove. We think the wide burner head 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.
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.
Our testers observed that the valve control on the Windpro 2 seems to have a bit of 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 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.
With a boil time of 5 minutes 10 seconds, the Windpro 2 clocks in the middle of the small canister stoves and behind most of the integrated canister models. 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 seen from any other stove under any conditions!
In front of the fan the boil time grew a minute, to 6 minutes and 5 seconds. However this was still much better than every other small canister stove, and most of the liquid fuel stoves.
We think that 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.
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.
— Ian McEleney