Gear Archives: The Evolution of MSR Avalanche Probes

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MSR was founded on mountaineering and snow safety, and our new MSR Striker™ probes not only continue that legacy but also deliver on our founding promise to build better, more reliable and easier-to-use gear. Vastly different from the MSR probes of 40 years ago, the Striker probes’ unique construction and features meet the needs of everyone from mountaineers and professional guides, to backcountry skiers, snowboarders and snowshoers. Here’s a brief look at past and present MSR probe innovations.

The history: MSR Avalanche Probes Read More →

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The Gear Institute Tours MSR’s Water Research Lab

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Photo credit: Nathan Borchelt

Earlier this year, we gave you a behind-the-scenes look into the world of MSR’s on-site water research lab in this article. The microbiology lab was established in 1997 and has been dedicated to quality control, as well as researching, developing and testing water treatment solutions for outdoor users, the U.S. military and citizens in developing nations ever since. Recently, The Gear Institute stopped by to take a tour of the facility and find out why we go through such thorough testing on our water treatment devices. You can read all that The Gear Institute learned here.

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Production Lines: Building the WindBoiler™ Personal Stove System

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Since the original Model™ 9 stove was released in 1973, the majority of MSR stoves have been hand-assembled in our factory in Seattle, Wash. Building products in-house gives us full control of the process, allowing us to ensure a high level of production quality and properly test each stove before it leaves our production lines. Here’s a look at how our newest stove, the WindBoiler Personal Stove System, is assembled just downstairs from where it was designed and engineered.

MSR_Windboiler-Red-NoLayers2 Read More →

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On Location for the WindBoiler™ Stove System Photo Shoot

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Bishop, California, baby!

Story by Karen Predmore

Images are an important part of telling the MSR story and we work hard to capture those moments that inspire our customers and show our products doing what they do best—enabling big adventures. This past summer, we started work on bringing our new WindBoiler Personal Stove System to life through great imagery. Read More →

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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

Read More →

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Plan It Like a Pro—Strengthening Your Pre-Season Backcountry Brain

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Ali Ritter and Chris Solomon inspecting a slope on the Chiwaukum Traverse. Washington.

Ali Ritter and Chris Solomon inspecting a slope on the Chiwaukum Traverse. Washington.

Every season around this time—often sooner—we start dreaming about winter. Before long, our dreams turn into plans and plans become reality.  This evolution from office-time daydreaming in the fall to shredding wintertime powder is a process that we shouldn’t take lightly, and it rarely is, especially when it comes to our gear.

If you’re a backcountry snowshoer, skier or rider, odds are you already prep for the coming snow.  It’s good practice to prep for your season by changing the batteries in your avalanche beacon, getting your skis/board tuned, dialing-in your pack and other gear, and maybe you’re even sweating away in a conditioning class at your gym. Volumes of enlightening articles have pontificated about this pre-season ritual—both print and online. Read More →

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MSR Dromedary Bags: My Guardian Angels For More Than 50 Expeditions

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Cooking in Greenland with my Dromedary Bag nearby.

Story By Mike Libecki

MSR Dromedary Bags have become my guardian angels, providing me life––yes, literally providing life––on more than 50 expeditions around the world to complete major athletic goals.

From first desert crossings in China to climbing huge first ascents on vertical rock walls in Greenland, on every continent and beyond, they have kept me alive. Let me explain: Water. It is the sweet giver of life.

This transparent fluid forms the world’s streams, lakes, oceans and rain, and is the major constituent of the fluids of living things. We are water and water is life. And, of course life is sweet. Read More →

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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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Timelapse of a Glacier: A Climbing Ranger’s Perspective of Mt Baker

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Photos and story by Leif Whittaker

Every weekend when I arrive at a trailhead that I have been to a hundred times before I wonder if I should get a new job. Most climbers would find it monotonous to visit the same ridges, valleys, glaciers, and summits over and over throughout the summer. Admittedly, I often look at the first few steps of a familiar trail and have trouble getting motivated. But after three years on Mount Baker I have learned to appreciate the tiniest details of the seasonal cycle and I believe the mountain is always telling a new story. 

Brandon skinning up the Easton Glacier in June conditions.

Brandon skinning up the Easton Glacier in June conditions.

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