My MSR Whisperlite has served me well for more than 10 years. It started leaking a few weeks ago, and I'm looking for a proper replacement.

I've read some good reviews about dual fuel stoves (amazon.com, travellingtwo.com), which can work both on canister gas or liquid fuel. They seem like a great solution: Using clean canister gas for day hikes, and switching to energetically efficient liquid fuel on longer treks.

Are there any drawbacks to these stoves, especially in terms of reliability?

  • 2
    Have you considered making your own stove? I'm not particularly handy, but I made my own cat stove for <$5. It's lighter than any commercial stove I could afford (about 2.3 ounces) and supremely reliable, since there are no moving parts. It burns alcohol, and fits inside my cookpot. Here's the one I made: royrobinson.homestead.com/Cat_Stove.html. There are fancier ones. Commented Mar 10, 2013 at 17:33
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    Plus there's the joy of using something you made yourself. Commented Mar 10, 2013 at 17:34
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    What on your stove is leaking? MSR sells a repair kit to replace all the seal on the stove. Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 17:18
  • I've had MSR overhaul stoves more than once at reasonable cost.
    – Reid
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 3:07
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    MSR also has a "Universal" version of the Whisperlite that is a multiple fuel stove as you describe — kerosene, white gas, canister butane/propane. Conversion requires changing out a couple of parts, and I believe the weight penalty over the liquid-only versions of the Whisperlite is minimal. I'm happy with mine.
    – Reid
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 3:10

1 Answer 1


There are no reliability problems specifically with dual fuel stoves. Reliability really has more to do with the design and the manufacturer than the fuel(s).

So the best stove for you really depends on what you are doing. If you are making lots of short hikes with occasional multi-night treks, then a reliable dual fuel stove could be a great solution. If weight was your top concern I would not recommend a dual fuel because they usually have more bulk in their design.

If you liked your Whisperlite I can say that I use the International version which burns pretty much every fuel there is.

The Cat Stove design the Don mentions is phenomenal for reliability and cost, but it can be tough to learn to cook on them and I find they are best for the ultra-light multi-night type of treks.

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