Backpacker Editor-In-Chief Jonathan Dorn and his staff of editors and testers presented MSR with the award for the WhisperLite Universal stove at the annual Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday, January 19th.
The Backpacker Editors’ Choice Awards, bestowed annually since 1993, honor the products thatBackpacker editors have chosen as the best of the year based on months of trail testing by teams of highly experienced hikers and climbers. With no set categories for the awards and no set number of recipients, the products and the testing process drive the award categories.
The MSR WhisperLite Universal Stove was one of only 13 innovative products that have been honored with a 2012 Backpacker Editors’ Choice Award. The new stove is MSR’s first hybrid-fuel stove and combines canister and liquid fuel capabilities into one comprehensive package. Fuel-specific jets and fuel source couplers let it burn just about anything, from white gas and kerosene to unleaded gasoline, while an inverted canister improves performance.
"BACKPACKER gear reviews have many imitators, a few competitors, and no equals," said Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Dorn. "That's because no other magazine or website conducts in-depth field-testing as vigorously or impartially as the crew led by Gear Editor Kristin Hostetter. With a core team that has several centuries of combined trail time, along with first descents, decades of retail experience, and expertise in every backcountry discipline, Kristin puts new products through an unprecedented level of real-world abuse in every terrain and weather imaginable. She also oversees a transparent process that has earned an unrivaled amount of trust from readers, retailers, and manufacturers. The results are reviews that lead consumers to smart, durable products that consistently prove their worth with years of best-in-class performance."
“Since MSR’s inception in 1969, we’ve been committed to quality, local manufacturing and innovation. The WhisperLite Universal is the result of years of hard work and, at long last, easily powers globe-trotting expeditions by working with numerous types of fuel,” said Drew Keegan, Division Director, Stoves and Cookware for Cascade Designs. “We’re huge fans of Backpacker, their scrupulous testing methods, and their expertise in the outdoor industry. We’re honored.”
The Backpacker Editors’ Choice Awards are the gold standard against which all outdoor products are measured, and are a seal of approval that can help put an outdoor company or product on the proverbial map. Each year at the Outdoor Retailer show, retail buyers use the awards announcements as a must-buy shopping list, knowing that their customers will be asking for these products in the spring.
Since their inception, the Backpacker Editors’ Choice Awards have come to be regarded as the most sought-after award for outdoor equipment and apparel found in the industry. The impeccable outdoor credentials and rigorous field-testing standards of the Backpacker staff guarantee that these awards are an undisputed mark of quality for the companies and products selected.
All winners must excel under extensive field-testing conducted by Backpacker’s team of editors, who take hundreds of new products every year into the backcountry to put them to the test. This rigorous process ensures that the performance of the winners is truly worthy of distinction and meets the guiding principle behind the program: gear that is of real value to the readers ofBackpacker magazine, who are very active, long-term outdoor enthusiasts.
The complete list of Backpacker 2012 Editors’ Choice Award winners will be officially announced to the general public in the magazine’s April Gear Guide issue, on newsstands March 6, 2012.
We all know that paddling/camping and shopping for gear go hand in hand and anybody who has visited their local camping store can testify that it can be intimidating at times. Never before have there been so many options and items to purchase. For example, my local camping store has 24 different types of headlamps for sale and that doesn’t include the 22 hand-held flashlights also available!
To help you out, I have made a list of my top 8 pieces of paddling camping gear for 2010. This list represents to me the best gear of it’s type for design, usefulness and durably in the field. It’s all gear that if I had to replace tomorrow I would most likely replace with the exact same thing.
When I worked in a camping store, I would show people the Trangia stove and compare it to the MSR stoves and they would always ask, how long does it take to boil water? Generally speaking the MSR stoves have a higher BTU output so they will get your tea in your hands slightly quicker.
I have never understood why boil time is the benchmark for stoves. To me, the reliability of a product is way more important. In the 4 years I worked in the returns and repairs department, I only saw one Trangia stove ever come back. I can't tell you the hundreds of Whisperlight and Dragonfly stoves that people tried to return because they couldn't get them working or parts broke while out on the trip. Mind you, the majority (almost all) of the retuned stoves were because the user never read the instructions before using or never pulled out the instructions with the troubleshooting tips when something went wrong. The biggest complaints I got were that they were finicky or loud.
That is where Trangia stoves are different. They are simple with no moving parts. They run on alcohol so the fuel is cheap. Best advantage? They run completely silent. Yes, the BTU output isn't as high but how often do you need your water ready to go in 3 min? You are sitting around talking anyways...
That doesn't mean that MSR stoves are bad, they are fantastic stoves for what they were designed for, high BTU output. I love my dragonfly because it simmers nice but man is it loud. It is designed on the same principles as a jet engine so what does it sound like? Yep, a jet engine.
On a slightly different note, you can easily build your own alcohol stove using two beer cans. This is an old trick that ultra light backpackers have known for years but paddlers have been slow to join in. Build your own stove for about $3 worth of material. Metacafe has a video showing you how to do it.
Here is a little primer on stove via the Wikipedia.