Cost and fuel types
In terms of running cost, the MSR is the most economical and certainly
using liquid fuel means you can start every trip with a full fuel
bottle. I understand the MSR Dragonfly gives similar performance
with a much more controllable regulator system. Having the multi-fuel
option may be useful as you can burn unleaded petrol, Aspen, Coleman
fuel, kerosene, diesel or "panel wipe" (make sure you
get the naptha based version not the cellulose thinners-based
variety. Apparently Tetrosyl is known to work ok). As noted, my
preference is to use Aspen 4T.
There have been reports of MSR stoves being unreliable - mine
was bought in 2000 and has been 100% reliable. It's had the various
sealing rings in the pump replaced once, and been completely stripped
down for maintenance at the same time. Most failures are down
to operator error in my opinion. Keeping the bottle connected
to the burner probably helps as it stops grit getting into the
tube or pump manifold. I've never had any problems with the gas
conversion on the Trangia although a friend reported the connector
to the tube having corroded and failing.
Unleaded petrol contains various additives which may be responsible
for clogging pressure stoves - certainly it killed a Coleman stove
many years ago as there is no way of cleaning the generator tube
if it clogs. Which it will. My MSR was however run on unleaded
for many years without problems, before I discovered Aspen fuel.
It's easy to field strip and clean and can be broken down to its
component parts using the tool provided. I've never had to while
on a trip. It has a "shaker jet" system which automatically
cleans the fuel jet.
Pre-heating with unleaded is quite messy and leaves a lot of
soot on the pan supports. With Aspen or Coleman fuel, far less
so. With meths, there is almost no soot on the pan supports. Once
running, the stove burns clean. I've never used the other options
but I imagine kerosene or diesel would be very sooty.
Ease of lighting and use
The faff factor of having to pre-heat the MSR is a nuisance -
lighting gas is much easier and won't flare as a pressure stove
can if not properly pre-heated. The meths burner in the Trangia
is easy to light, but does take a few minutes to come up to full
efficiency. It needs to warm up so as to vaporise the fuel. Heat
control is limited. Even with good fuel (and the quality varies),
the pots will get sooty although some people claim that adding
10% water helps. I don't bother.
Getting suitable gas canisters can sometimes be challenging -
especially on a long trip, in remote places. Messrs Warrender
and Goss had problems finding gas canisters on their Tasmanian
trip and unded up using a "woodgas"
stove. Using a multifuel MSR gives more options. There is also
an MSR burner called the Whisperlite
Universal which will run on gas as well as liquid fuels but
I've no experience of using it. MSR also offer a small, lightweight
gas burner called the Windpro
which is very effective.
The Trangia gas connector seems fine with Primus and Coleman
canisters, and the competively prices Highlander cylinders are
also fine. There are converters
available to allow the use of the Campingaz puncture canisters,
and the Campingaz CV series "clip-on" canisters - be
wary of these, as noted
in this discussion where a friend had a very nasty experience
with one. That said, these converters may be useful to have to
expand the range of usable canisters in places where getting the
correct ones may be difficult.
A significant feature of the MSR is that you can use any pot
size you like, unlike the Trangia. Using bricks for support and
as a windshield, I've had a 5 ltr pot on mine. The downside is
that pots can easily slip off the burner, something which won't
happen with the Trangia.
review of the Trangia system is also useful - the writer has
done some long-distance cycle trips in remote parts of the world,
and compare meths, gas and petrol burners. I note they seem to
get 2 to 3 weeks on 1ltr of fuel! There is also a mention of the
Optimus Nova+ as itís possible to buy an attachment to allow you
to fit it into the Trangia base. It seems that the newer versions
of this burner are less than reliable.
Trangia also offer a multifuel
burner which will run on white gasoline (Coleman, Aspen or
naptha), petrol, kerosene and diesel. It costs an eye-watering
Costs to buy
At time of writing, approx. costs to buy each of these
Meths Trangia 25 (2 non-stick pots, kettle) + 1 ltr fuel bottle
Gas Trangia 25 (2 non-stick pots, kettle) = c£130
MSR +1 ltr fuel bottle + base + decent pot set = c£137
Trangia gas converters are around £50 on their own and
are a direct replacement for the meths burner. It is easily retrofitted
to any Trangia although you may have to cut the hole for the pipe
fitting if you have an older version.
of the Trangia.
Size comparisons below.