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3/11/2018 7:24 pm  #1

msr whisperlite universal vs international

Hi All,

I'm looking to pick up a new stove this spring and I'm debating the MSR universal vs international, anyone own one of these, any thoughts/opinions? I know they both get good reviews and are very popular but the universal is pretty expensive, I am leaning that way though. For anyone who owns the international do they simmer well? I hear that's where they are a little weak.



3/12/2018 7:47 am  #2

Re: msr whisperlite universal vs international

The universal is just a Whisperlite that supports more fuel types if I recall correctly. Unless you're planning on using it locales where getting specific fuel types is an issue it's probably not worth the extra money. 


3/12/2018 9:02 am  #3

Re: msr whisperlite universal vs international

I agree with Uppa.  The only reason to get the Universal is if you plan on burning LPG.  If you only use white fuel which is plentiful and cheap get the international.  I have the international and have used it for several years and it is rock solid.  The only weak point is the lack of simmer though you can get around this by controlling the pressure in the fuel cylinder by limiting the number of strokes to the pump while priming.

sorry should add that if you want to spend the extra money and want a simmer feature try the msr dragonfly.

Last edited by faitzy (3/12/2018 9:04 am)


3/12/2018 9:04 am  #4

Re: msr whisperlite universal vs international

The difference with the Universal is the ability to use a canister in addition to white gas and international fuels.

The remote canister means you can run it upside down in lower temperatures, and you can use a windscreen without overheating concerns. It does simmer reasonably well with the canister.



3/12/2018 11:17 am  #5

Re: msr whisperlite universal vs international

I've got the regular Whisperlite, not the international version. We've had it for 10 years or so and I'd definitely recommend it. You can control the heat somewhat with the valve or priming the fuel bottle less with fewer pumps but I wouldn't say it has a really great simmer option. 

Maintenance on the whisperlite is easy. We honestly don't do maintenance on it regularly and have rarely had a problem. We ran into trouble once on a spring trip and we were able to do the maintenance at the site easily (just needed the hose cleaned). 

After 10 years, the only thing we need is a new tinfoil base. Ours has been folded so much it's tearing. The windscreen itself is still fine. I can't be upset about a 10 year old tin base giving up the ghost; it's served us well. 

One thing we did invest in (a whole $7!) was a pot cozy. This helps us save on fuel significantly. For meals that require simmering (e.g. dehydrated soups, etc), we bring them to a boil on the stove and then put them in the cozy. It keeps the heat in and the meals continue to cook. 

We also use it to keep a pot of water hot for a second cup of coffee in the mornings. 



3/12/2018 1:06 pm  #6

Re: msr whisperlite universal vs international

If you have any interest in simmering the Dragonfly is the way to go. After many years of camping with my family with a whisperlite, the improved functionality of the dragonfly in this respect can't be overstated. I've been extremely pleased with this stove.


3/12/2018 1:43 pm  #7

Re: msr whisperlite universal vs international

Thanks everyone, 

I guess you cant go wrong either way, I did see the Dragonfly has the extra valve which looks handy. Appreciate the feedback, No bad news stories so I guess there well made, just a matter of functionality. Hopefully we can get out there soon and try all our new toys.

     Thread Starter

3/12/2018 2:35 pm  #8

Re: msr whisperlite universal vs international

The problem with the Dragonfly (in my opinion) is that it's insanely loud. That thing ruins a quiet Algonquin morning like nothing else I've heard. 


3/12/2018 4:17 pm  #9

Re: msr whisperlite universal vs international

Forgot to ask before, I was looking at buying 2 800ml bottles for fuel, I'll be using white gas or coleman camping fuel for the most part. I typically do my longest trip of the year solo 8 nights total in late April early May, would these two bottles last in your opinions? I do like some of the grocery store rice dishes etc that require 10-20 mins simmering. 

     Thread Starter

3/14/2018 6:58 am  #10

Re: msr whisperlite universal vs international

RE the noise: it certainly is loud for the user. If you're not camping solo and so you're not cooking every meal, it's not too bad as an around camp 'white noise.' But as the user you basically can't hear anything else when it's running at full power. In my opinion that is well offset by not having to deal with the frustration of getting the whisperlite to simmer! But if you're doing mostly boil meals I'm sure the WL is the way to go.

Fuel: we bring a 650 and a 975ml for 2 ppl on an 8 day trip, and cook a lot. Haven't run out of gas yet, and always come home with some in the tank. 1 person, lots of simmering, 800ml might be right on the edge in my opinion.


3/14/2018 10:12 am  #11

Re: msr whisperlite universal vs international

I ended up buying the international, I liked the idea of the canisters but one of the reasons I was buying it in the first place was to avoid having to dispose of the canisters afterwards, so a bit of an irony. I have a pocket rocket so I guess I could always bring it along as a backup with one canister if I felt the need. I was thinking for simmering I could bring along my hobo stove and use the top to elevate the pot above the burner and that might do the trick, I guess experimenting is half the fun.

Thanks again for all the comments and suggestions. 

     Thread Starter

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