A lot of outdoorsy folk can tell you where their WhisperLite has been – Yosemite, Canyonlands, Denali, Bryce – the list goes on and on. But how many of these people can tell you where their stove came from? Our new video answers that question in great detail. In this video we walk you through the making of a WhisperLite International stove, step by step, in our Seattle factory. The process starts with raw materials such as sheet metal, tubing and aluminum bar stock. These materials are machined and shaped into parts that are tested and hand-assembled to create each stove. The process is similar to that used on the first WhisperLite, manufactured back in 1984. Almost every MSR stove is manufactured in Seattle, including the Reactor, XGK-EX, SuperFly, DragonFly, WindPro II, and the three WhisperLite models.
By Ryan Hayter
As children Mom told us to “join the clean plate club” in order to avoid wasting food. Considering today’s generous portions that may not be such a good idea unless you’re in a backcountry environment where eating all the food on your plate is one of the most basic steps toward reducing food waste and human impact on the environment. Creative cooking over a stove is one of the joys of outdoor adventure. What to do with the leftovers, food waste and dirty dishes – the gray water – is a different matter. “The key thing to keep in mind is to smartly plan your meals in advance to reduce waste and minimize clean up,” said Ben Lawhon, education director for The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. The LNT center is the leading organization promoting responsible enjoyment of the outdoors, and an MSR partner that provides science-based techniques for minimizing visitor impact on parks and protected areas. “Pre-planning such as cooking with one pot instead of using three pots for meals and preparing the right portion sizes will reduce waste and reduce the amount of dishes that need to be cleaned.” Dirty dishes are often unavoidable so when it’s time for KP, Leave No Trace recommends using methods that are appropriate for the environment you’re visiting in order to protect water sources and minimize the chance of providing food rewards to local wildlife that may alter their natural habits. Tips for cleaning dishes in the backcountry: You’re in the backcountry. You’ve eaten a meal. There’s a dirty bowl, a dirty spoon, and a dirty pot. Now what do you do? Read More →
Story By Roddy Scheer
No doubt this is a peach of a gig. A major publisher hired me to put together a guide book on waterfall hikes in Washington State, so I have spent the last several months winnowing down the list of cascades and hiking some of them. While many of the waterfalls on my list are well-known and well-loved, others are more obscure. For me, that’s where the fun — and adventure — comes in.
One recent outing to a remote waterfall — I’m not telling where — accessed via a short hike off of an otherwise deserted old logging road turned out to be more of an adventure than I anticipated. I had basic instructions cobbled together from a couple of websites, but not a lot of detail on how to access the waterfall. I parked along the side of the logging road near a clearing which turned out to be the unmarked trailhead. As instructed by the folded up printout in my back pocket, I hiked in for about a third of a mile to where the trail started switching back but saw no pink ribbons indicating the side trail down to the falls. So I continued on further and kept a lookout for ribbons or any other indication of a way to safely descend down the gorge wall to the rushing water I could hear below. Read More →
Fall is here and nighttime temperatures are dropping in the regions where many of us live and play. This change in temperature brings up a question our tent team hears all the time: Why is the inside of my tent wet in the morning, even when it’s dry outside? The answer is phase change! This MSR video explains the phenomenon as we experience it in the backcountry. It also covers what you can do to reduce condensation in your tent. And for those of you who don’t take condensation seriously, trust us it can be in tents!
A few years ago, my husband Tyler and I were bicycle touring on Kerkennah, a desert island famed to be Kirke’s isle in Homer’s The Odyssey.
It was there, just off the coast of Tunisia, that we first tried the dish lablabi. This satisfying soup was vaguely reminiscent of the chili I grew up eating in North America, but it was far simpler, made of yesterday’s baguette, a scoop of hearty chickpeas, and an ample amount of spicy chili-garlic paste. Though the dish didn’t win any awards for beauty, the hearty meal was humble, delectable, and inexpensive. Read More →
At MSR we get this question all the time: How do you recycle fuel canisters?
Isobutane canisters are made of painted steel and plastic valves. Technically they can be recycled as mixed metal. Unfortunately, the process is a lot more complicated than just throwing your spent canister in a bin. Fuel canisters can only be recycled in areas where mixed metal is accepted, and they can only be processed when properly prepared beforehand. Here’s how to make your fuel canister recyclable:
- Make sure the canister is totally empty. You should use all the gas for cooking – it’s better to burn the hydrocarbons than release them. Of all the stoves on the market, the Reactor is probably the best at using the last drop of fuel in the can.
- If you think there could be some gas left you can purge it by attaching your stove, inverting it, and opening the valve. This will allow any remaining gas to leave the canister. Make sure you’re clear of any potential flame or source of sparks while doing this.
- Once you’re sure the canister is empty, you need to puncture it so it meets recycling requirements. You don’t need a special tool to do this – just puncture it with a can opener or a sharp object like a screwdriver or an ice axe. Don’t use a saw because it can create sparks that will ignite remaining fuel. You don’t need to remove the valve to meet mixed metal requirements. Read More →
Story and Photos By Heather Balogh
The plane sputtered through the water and smoothly sailed into the distance, leaving the five of us standing on the banks of Circle Lake, watching our only link to civilization fly in the opposite direction. Our bush pilot had just dropped us in Gates of the Arctic National Park, near the Arrigetch Peaks in Alaska. We were literally hundreds of miles from anything, and the silence was truly deafening.
Our crew– comprised of Will, Amy, Shannon, Drew, and myself– had been planning this trip for months. Will and Drew had originally heard of Gates in 2007, but it had taken a few years to find a group of people that were interested in going so far off the grid. After a few discussions, we agreed on the adventure: packraft 60 miles of the Alatna River over the span of a week. None of us were familiar with packrafting, but it seemed logical; we could hike if we wanted to, and would be able to cover more ground by raft than we would by trekking through the trail-less park. Thus, the adventure was born. Read More →
Story By Laurel Miller
Bacon makes everything better. This is hardly news. What causes some confusion, however, is how best to pack your meaty treats into the backcountry. Food safety, while perhaps not of highest concern to those of us who live the dirtbag lifestyle, is still important. Raw or cured/aged/preserved protein products such as meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs can cause serious food-borne illness, so choosing the right products and packing them properly is key before heading out on an adventure.
I spoke with David Katz, chef, salumi-maker, and owner of Napa’s Salumeria Sub Rosa, about what safety precautions hikers should follow when taking cured meat products on the trail. Despite the fact that frontiersmen have been packing bacon for centuries, “If it’s not a shelf-stable product, unlike most salami (or the ubiquitous Summer Sausage), prosciutto, and other dry-cured meats, which are ready-to-eat (RTE), cook the heck out of it,” Katz advises. Read More →
Story and Photos By Tara Alan
A few years ago, my husband and I embarked on a two year journey across Europe and Asia. We spent most of the adventure on a pair of touring bicycles, with everything we owned packed in our panniers.
After returning, I set about writing a cookbook for other two-wheeled wanderers. Bike. Camp. Cook. is the result of my labor. Despite its obvious focus on cycling, the book is a beautiful, informative, food-centric journey for anyone to enjoy.
In the cookbook, I show you the tools and techniques you’ll need for cooking on the road. Then, I provide a delicious collection of gourmet recipes that you’ll love making at camp. Read More →
By Ryan Hayter
The Lunch Room (TLR): You have fire in your title. What exactly is your role?
DK: I’m responsible for overseeing strategy, product development, marketing and sales for stoves, cookware and fuel. I get to use my knowledge of combustion and stoves, and tap into my engineering background on a regular basis.
TLR: How long have you been doing this?
DK: I joined the company 14 years ago as a manufacturing engineer with the goal of moving into R&D. I came in with an engineering background, and a passion for climbing and mountaineering. It’s hard to find engineering jobs in the industry because once you’re in nobody leaves them. The manufacturing opportunity opened the door for me to eventually move into product development and management roles in filters, stoves, snowshoes and climbing gear.