MSR DRAGONFLY STOVE
BY ROGER AULT
March 02, 2009
Spencer, Indiana USA
5' 11" (1.80 m)
276 lb (125.00 kg)
I have been camping for several years. I had limited chances as a child but have been camping a lot the past 20 years. I love backpacking and consider myself moderately equipped although I can never have enough gear. I want to spend more time winter camping. I typically carry 25 - 45 pounds (~11 - 20 kg). I generally use a tent for shelter. I generally hike in the woods and rolling hills of Indiana.
Manufacturer: Mountain Safety Research
Year of Manufacture: 2000
Manufacturer's Website: msrgear.com
MSRP: US $129.95
Listed Weight: 14 oz (395 g) stove with pump
Measured Weight: 13.5 oz (383 g)
Folded dimensions of stove: 5.5 X 6.5 X 4 in (140 X 165 X 102 mm) (including fuel hose)
Open dimensions of stove: 9 X 7 X 4 in (229 X 178 X 102 mm) (including fuel hose)
Fuel Bottle: 22 oz (650 ml) capacity 2.9 X 9.25 in (74 X 235 mm) 5 oz (142 g) (others available)
Field weight: Stove, pump, stuff sack, windscreen, maintenance kit, empty 22 oz (650 ml) fuel bottle 23 oz (652 g)
Fuel types: (as stated by manufacturer) White gas, kerosene, unleaded gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. I have always used white gas. Tonight I tried some diesel fuel and found it less volatile but with a small effort it seemed to work fair. White gas is preferable to me for it's clean burning and being easier to get going.
The Dragonfly has three stainless steel wire leg/pot supports which also support the burner base and burner. These fold in and snap in place to pack away. They also provide a very stable surface for the stove base and a pot. The burner is suspended in a heavy aluminum base and pivots to pack away. One fuel valve protrudes out the side and has the fuel hose attached. The fuel hose clips into the fuel pump and there is a second fuel valve located at the pump. The pump screws into the fuel bottle, which is pressurized by pumping.
The Dragonfly stove comes with a windscreen, fuel pump, instructions, maintenance kit, stuff sack as well as the stove itself. Altogether 17.5 oz (496 g). It is possible to shave a couple ounces (57 g) by leaving the windscreen at home.
Fuel bottles are sold separately and are available in 3 sizes at $10.95 - $14.95 MSRP. I have a 22 oz and it will last for a few days for a couple of people.
I have used this stove for several years in all types of weather and temps from 0 F to 95 F (-18 C - 35 C). I use it for backpacking as well as car camping. I tend to prefer my "regular gear" even when car camping. I carry a 22 oz (650 ml) fuel bottle which is made of aluminum and also available from MSR. This stove has always performed quite well for me. The area here in Indiana, USA is generally 500 - 1000 ft (152 - 305 m). I spend a great deal of my time just wandering here in Indiana and hoping to do more traveling in the future.
Setup is literally a snap. I just snap open the three wire pot supports/legs and connect to the fuel pump after removing the cap from the fuel bottle and inserting the pump. The fuel tube inserts into the pump and is clipped in place with a wire retainer. I always place the bottle stopper cap in the bag when using the stove to keep track of it. It is gray and not very large so it could probably be lost easily. (Maybe I should paint it a bright color?) I keep a butane lighter in the pouch the stove packs in. This works well but a match works even better and I always carry matches everywhere I go.
The first time or two using it was a little tricky to get the correct amount of fuel to prime the stove successfully. After that it has become quite easy and functions as I feel it should. I really like the fact that it can go from a light simmer to a blowtorch and virtually anywhere in between with the two fuel adjustments provided. One control valve is on the fuel pump and a second one at the stove. With a little practice I found this works very well.
At temperatures near 0F (-18C) getting going can take just a little more priming. I usually start to open the valve and if it doesn't generate a flame I back off and allow more more priming fuel to burn to produce more heat. After it is burned I can slowly open the fuel valve to produce a usable flame.
I also like the stability of this stove. There is a large pot support surface that works very well. The base is large enough that once a nice level spot is located this stove sits quite steadily. It packs easily into the MSR Blacklite pot that I generally use. I have also put my stainless steel coffee cup on the "cup" (main burner cup) of this stove and lightly simmered to keep coffee warm in cold weather.
Meals can vary from dehydrated meals purchased in advance to going to the grocery and getting creative. It usually just depends on my mood and if I feel like going for the dehydrated meals. These are not available in grocery stores and tend to be a little expensive yet very convenient. Quickly heating water and being able to eat in a few minutes leaves more time to enjoy the surroundings.
I have seen where some question the plastic fuel pump. My experience has been good with this pump and only minor cleaning and maintenance has been necessary so far in several years of use. Maintenance and repairs can be done in the field, however I prefer to do all I can at home. Some of the parts are quite small and could easily be lost outdoors. If I do any work in the field it has to be done on a towel or something where any dropped parts can be easily seen.
This stove performs well and has held up nicely over the years. It is not ultra compact or ultralight but is packable inside a pot and is not that heavy for the many features provided. I like to cook on the trail and this stove does an excellent job. The manufacturer states multiple fuels can be used although I have only used white gas while camping. The fuel jet can be cleaned by shaking and should be done regularly. MSR claims 126 minutes of burn time on 20 oz (600 ml) white gas fuel. I have never actually timed a tank of fuel but it does seem to last well. Boil times vary but I have experienced anywhere from a little over 3 minutes up to near 4 minutes for approximately one quart (.95 L).
I feel this is a dependable and versatile stove even though for weight and compactness it is neither the lightest nor the smallest. I cannot say how it would do at higher altitudes because I have never done any climbing.
THINGS I LIKE
1) Adjustability of flame.
2) Stability of stove with larger pots
3) Multi fuel capability
4) Aluminum fuel bottle with good sealing cap
5) Low fuel consumption
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
The windscreen that is supplied is not that strong and could be better. I have found that placing rocks or pieces of wood around generally serves the purpose for me.
Roger D. Ault
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