May 20, 2007

MSR Dragonfly: Strong Performance

This stove has terrific flexibility and is durable enough for tough treatment. Best of all, I can bake with it.

This was an unnecessary upgrade to my Whisperlite. I got it on prodeal as a back-up and it turned out to be a replacement. It has a dual valve fuel control which makes for more specialized cooking and even baking. I used it throughout my 2 1/2 month hiking tour of the UK and have used it on numerous overnights and weekenders in the Tetons, Gros Ventres, and Winds as well as week long trips in the Ozarks and Winds (during both I also used campfires extensively).

This is a very solid stove that's seen a lot of use with only occassional cleaning. I've mostly used gasoline in it with very little carbon build up. It's fairly easy to take apart and I have replaced the pump. I have an expedition service kit, but haven't needed to replace anything yet. There are more heavy duty stoves out there, but this one should be strong enough for pretty much anyone's needs. My only concern has been the plastic elements, specifically the pump, but I haven't had any serious issues yet.

Delicious cherry pie
Photo by Ian Campbell
It's boil time is sufficient. I'm not one of those people who cares about the difference between three minutes and five. If I cared about things like that, I'd stay home and busy myself about schedules and such. At the same time, when I'm hungry in the backcountry, I want to eat now. It gets the job done in a timely manner and as long as you don't view backcountry cuisine like fast food you should be happy. It's got some heft, that's for sure, but I carry this stove because of its gourmet potential, its durability, and its flexibility. I don't mind carrying a 17 oz. stove for what I get out of it, as long as I have someone else to help tote the weight. I can boil 1 liter of tap water with 20 grams of gasoline at 6,200 ft., and that's without a fresh cleaning job. That means I can boil 30 liters with a 22 oz. fuel canister. I'm satisfied.

It's a good stove for general boiling and cooking, but where it shines is its 'gormet' potential (relatively speaking). If you don't mind burning some fuel, you can also bake. I've baked apple and cherry pies, chocolate and german chocolate cakes, pizza and shephards pie with this stove and my oven kit. It does a great job. I've also made fudge and trail bars. If this little list doesn't suffice to convince everyone that this stove has definitely added to my backcountry and travel experience, then I have failed in this review. I am very happy with this stove and I highly recommend it.

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