Gear Review |

Gear Review

Paul Conrad
The MSR Simmerlite stove. Aspen Times photo/Paul Conrad.

It’s a cold fall morning at Taylor Pass. The sun is peeking over the mountains, the birds are beginning to chirp, and my brain is screaming “I want coffee NOW!”

With the water in my bottles nearly frozen solid, I pull out my stove and start it up. “Ahhh,” I say, as the water reaches a boil several minutes later and the refreshing taste of camp coffee delights my sleepy palate.At only 8.5 ounces, the Mountain Safety Research (MSR) Simmerlite is one of the lightest stoves on the market. It is also durable, easy to clean and repair in the field. The serrated stove legs add grip to keep your pots and pans on top, and the small size takes up little space and allows it to be stored in a 1-quart pan.

In addition, the Simmerlite operates just as the name implies: It can simmer, a must for the finicky camp chef or when good flame control is needed. Especially when cooking up some tasty cheese brats and a cream sauce. My older Whisperlite just couldn’t hold a low flame. Often the flame went out, or the flame was too high and I ended up with charred mac and cheese.As with everything in life, cleaning is a necessity. The stove is easy to take apart to fix and clean. With the Shaker Jet technology, a few shakes before starting it up will clean the jet and you’ll get a well-controlled flame. One recommendation is to buy and carry a maintenance kit, which includes new parts, a small tube of pump oil, and cleaning utensils. Having a few extra parts will save you frustration in the field.

One bonus: MSR recently re-engineered their pump and control valve assembly. It now features a built-in fuel filter and a more precise control valve. The Ute Mountaineer has both the Simmerlite stove and the new pump available. The stove retails for $99.95 and the pump for $29.95.

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