Technology: How Stove Pressure Regulators Work

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It’s evening in the alpine and after a long day on the trail, you’re set to boil water for that hot, comforting meal. As soon as the sun dips below the surrounding peaks however, the temperatures plunge and your canister stove, though cranked up to full blast, suddenly loses its powerful output and oomph.

What gives?

Seasoned backpackers will recognize that the pressure has dropped in their canister. A stove’s output relies heavily on its fuel pressure, and when that pressure drops in cold weather or as you simply use up your fuel (which cools as it vaporizes), your stove’s output naturally declines.

Because of this, each back-to-back pot of water you heat with that canister can take longer to boil.

So, what makes certain canister stove systems like MSR’s Reactor, which is an alpinist’s snow-melting powerhouse, able to deliver consistently fast boil times, even amid the extreme conditions and icy temps of high altitudes?

The answer is a pressure regulator.

Photo Credit Paul Bride

Photo by Paul Bride

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WindBoiler vs. Reactor: What’s the Difference?

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By Steve Grind, Category Director for MSR Stoves

How does the all-new WindBoiler™ Personal Stove System stack up against the legendary Reactor?

By now, you may have heard that our all-new WindBoiler Personal Stove System is built around some of the same award-winning technology that’s found in our Reactor Stove System. But is the WindBoiler simply the Reactor’s little brother? How does its performance really stack up against the Reactor’s? And which of these incredible stove systems is best for which trips?

So, what exactly is going on over there at MSR R&D? Read More →

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Backcountry Water 101: Danger Zones

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After a long day trekking in the backcountry, that idyllic, trickling stream may look extremely tempting, but a cool sip isn’t worth the risk of ingesting waterborne contaminants. The best way to greatly minimize the risks of infection is by treating backcountry water with a filtration or purification system (more on that later), but you should also educate yourself about the wilderness water contaminants that pose immediate threats to your health, and the backcountry “zones” in which you are more likely to encounter them. Read More →

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Gear Overview: The New WindBoiler™ Personal Stove System

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The new WindBoiler Stove System is the first truly personal stove system from MSR. The latest in our line of the world’s fastest, most fuel-efficient stoves systems, it features the same radiant burner and windproof technology that makes our Reactor a powerhouse in weather that shuts other stoves down. Yet, the WindBoiler brings with it personal features that solo travelers or minimalist backpacking pairs seek most. Read More →

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Gear Overview: New Revo™ Explore Snowshoes

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New for 2014, our Revo series snowshoes combine the confidence-inspiring grip of MSR’s perimeter traction with the unrivaled durability and torsional flex of our proven plastic decks. Together, they offer a light, rugged snowshoe built for surefooted stability through any conditions you find beyond the packed trails. The Revo Explore model features our new HyperLink Binding, which provides exceptional comfort and ease of use, making long days in the backcountry even better. In this video, we explain the key features and technologies of the Revo Explore—and how it maintains the legendary versatility that have defined our performance plastic decks. Read More →

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Stove Systems 101: 5 Reasons Your Backcountry Stove Should Be A Stove System

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If you are wondering how to choose a backpacking stove that’s right for you, you can always start with a comparison of canister stoves vs. liquid fuel stoves to learn the general options available to you. But you also might want to consider a stove system, which offers some compelling advantages that transcend both categories.

All stove systems are in fact canister systems, which means they feature a fuel canister that threads directly onto the stove. However, unlike a conventional, top-mounted canister stove, a stove system is integrated with a specially designed cooking pot to create a compact and efficient unit. Certain stove systems offer additional benefits that traditionally could only be achieved by liquid fuel stoves, including better fuel efficiency, and superior performance in cold and windy weather and at high altitudes. Read More →

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Water 101: Clean Water Solutions to Prepare for Any Emergency

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Road flooding caused by a hurricane

Water is our most important resource, but you never know when a disaster could compromise your local water supply. Whether you live in the city or in a more remote area, having a way to get clean water is crucial to keeping you safe from additional harm. In honor of emergency preparedness month, we’ve put together the information you need to ensure you have access to water that’s safe to drink.

Clean water threats

When drinking water is contaminated in municipal or developed areas, the immediate threat to human health is the introduction of waterborne pathogens—microscopic disease-causing bugs. These include bacteria, protozoa and viruses, all of which are normally removed by the city treatment center long before water ever flows out of your tap.

In a disaster situation, contamination of the existing municipal water supply can happen quickly. For example, a sewer line can break, intermixing sewage with your clean water supply, and introducing those pathogenic agents. Read More →

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Gear Archives: Trusted Source—The Evolution of the MiniWorks EX Microfilter

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Photo from the 1991 MSR catalog debuting the WaterWorks Total Filtration System

In 1991, MSR took the plunge into water products to answer the needs of backcountry travelers for more user-friendly and trustworthy solutions to gathering safe drinking water.

One of these initial offerings was the MSR Dromedary™ Beverage Bag, a rugged, collapsible bag to tote your water as you roamed. The other was the now-legendary WaterWorks Total Filtration System—a highly engineered pump filter that was more effective and so easy to use it changed how people filtered water. Today, the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter is its evolutionary descendent and remains the world’s favorite backcountry filter for its plain and simple workhorse reliability. Read More →

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A Commitment to Safety: Inside MSR’s World-Renowned Water Research Lab

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Lab supervisor Zac Gleason enumerates how many viruses are alive in a water sample.

Lab supervisor Zac Gleason enumerates how many viruses are alive in a water sample.

Behind every MSR water treatment and hydration product is a team of scientists dedicated to researching, developing and testing the latest in water treatment solutions. Established in 1997, our on-site microbiology lab is crucial to MSR’s water program and the safety and reliability of our products. Initially founded to ensure quality control, today the lab’s world-renowned efforts stretch into research of new technologies, testing and development for the U.S. military, and contracts with nonprofit organizations working in developing nations.

The lab is located at our Seattle headquarters, in close proximity to our production lines, and is staffed by seven scientists with advanced degrees in chemical engineering, biochemistry, microbiology, environmental science and cellular and molecular biology. The world inside this small space is fascinating, with an incredible amount of scientific knowledge. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look inside.  Read More →

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Gear Archives: Diving Deep—The Evolution of the MSR® Snow Fluke

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Some people love snow flukes: skiers who want a low-profile anchoring device that fits in their packs; mountaineers traveling in softer or uniform snow conditions; rescue guides or climbing pairs who may need to anchor with only one free hand. As snow protection gear, the fluke definitely has its place, and it’s been part of MSR’s history from nearly the beginning.

It goes back to 1969, soon after Larry Penberthy founded Mountain Safety Research, Inc. to support the work he began with The Mountaineers of independently reviewing climbing equipment and making gear that was safer and easier to use. Penberthy published his findings in the Mountain Safety Research newsletter, which also sold third-party and MSR brand gear. The first two pieces of gear featured in the newsletter were Edmont cold-weather gloves and MSR first-generation snow flukes. Read More →

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