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Old 02-21-10, 11:02 PM   #1
mthayer
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Whisperlite International or Dragonfly?

I have been looking at getting a Whisperlite stove, but while at Cabelas today in the bargain cave they have a MSR Dragonfly stove for $85. I am looking wondering if anyone uses experience with both stoves? I am starting to lean towards getting the Dragonfly because it can be used with diesel, which I feel safer riding a bicycle with containers of diesel over white gas or unleaded gas.
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Old 02-21-10, 11:30 PM   #2
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I've always been a fan of MSR multi fuel stoves. I always burn white gas..... It just tends to burn the cleanest without all the soot. I've used unleaded in a pinch. Tends to burn sooty but it does burn and it keeps you going until I can find more white gas.

I prefer the Whisperlite only because it's a little smaller and lighter. But either one is a great stove.

MSR stuff is damn good.
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Old 02-21-10, 11:42 PM   #3
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I can only speak for the Dragonfly. Very noisy, versatile, and reliable. I've only used white gas in it. I also really like MSR gear.
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Old 02-21-10, 11:44 PM   #4
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I've owned a Whisperlite International and an XGK. Used the XGK with diesel once while traveling in South Africa. Won't ever make that mistake again! More soot than anything I've seen before or since. Stove, pots, hands: everything got absolutely filthy! Tried kerosene in Zimbabwe and it was only slightly better; nowhere close to the quality of the kerosene I've used in the U.S.

I've never been a big fan of the Whisperlite stoves. If I wanted an "international" stove, the only ones I'd consider are the XGK-EX and the Dragonfly. The XGK is, allegedly, lighter and slightly more fuel efficient but if the dual-valve design on the Dragonfly works it would be my choice. Don't know about the XGK-EX, but controlling the flame on my old XGK is a bit difficult. It really only had two reliable settings: full-blast and off. The XGK is also really loud. At full-blast, it seemingly makes as much noise as a jet engine...
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Old 02-22-10, 01:01 AM   #5
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I agree with everyone saying diesel is dirty. It's a fuel to be used in a pinch, not if cleaner options are available. Having used both, I would say the main advantage to the Dragonfly is it's adjustability. The secondary needle valve in the fuel line lets you adjust the flame almost as accurately as a pressurized gas stove. However the whisperlight international is a great standard workhorse stove. It's also quieter and a little lighter than the Dragonfly.
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Old 02-22-10, 01:59 AM   #6
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We've been on the road for 11 months. We use a Whisperlight International and have never run anything but unleaded fuel in it, simply because it is easy to get anywhere. Why are you worried about carrying unleaded gas?
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Old 02-22-10, 04:53 AM   #7
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I have both and use both. I have never burned anything buy white gas in mine. I had a buddy try using kerosene in his and it made a helluva mess. The DragonFly has the advantage of being more adjustable. FWIW you can simmer with the Whisperlite you just have to reduce the pressure on the fuel canister. I typically carry my fuel bottle in the water bottle rack mounted on the underside of my down tube or in an outside pocket on my pannier. If it leaks (which they never have) it is no big deal.

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Old 02-22-10, 05:18 AM   #8
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I would buy the Dragonfly.
It does everything the WL does and more. The easier simmering is a plus.
As Aaron mentioned, the WL Int (which I've had for the last 15 years) simmers adequately with some bottle pressure management.
But the DF beats it, on all counts.

I too think white gas is safe.
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Old 02-22-10, 06:15 AM   #9
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Consider the Optimus Nova. It simmers beautifully and is capable of burning diesel as well.
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Old 02-22-10, 06:19 AM   #10
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I used diesel in an MSR X-GK years ago, and I experimented with kerosene a few times. If you're in a third world country where fuel is hard to find, then the option of using diesel or kerosene is nice, but I wouldn't use either in a stove unless I had to. Lots of people carry white gas on bicycle tours safely, what are you worried about? Keep the bottle closed tightly, keep it away from open flames unless you're lighting the stove, and you'll be fine.
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Old 02-22-10, 06:49 AM   #11
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I have used unleaded (premium - what the hell, splurge!) in my XGK-EX for about 100 nights with no issues. It's hard to find white gas in small enough quantities while on the road in the US. There is some ability to adjust the flame and it is loud - but certainly not to the level of a jet engine.

Make sure that whichever stove you buy nests in your pot.
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Old 02-22-10, 08:05 AM   #12
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I have used unleaded (premium - what the hell, splurge!) in my XGK-EX for about 100 nights with no issues. It's hard to find white gas in small enough quantities while on the road in the US. There is some ability to adjust the flame and it is loud - but certainly not to the level of a jet engine.

Make sure that whichever stove you buy nests in your pot.
While I loved my old version of the XGK stove. Had it for years with great service while mountaineering... This thing was nothing short of a flame thrower. Was great for melting glacier ice for water but other than boiling water or drying out my clothes in a tent it was overkill.

Is the new version more adjustable? I don't have any personal experience with the newer version.
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Old 02-22-10, 08:53 AM   #13
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I used a Coleman 442 dual-fuel for 16 years. I never did any maintenance and it always worked. I think the convenience of being able to pull into any gas station for unleaded is invaluable. Coleman is now selling their fuel (white gas) in quart bottles, so I'll get that when it's available, but I'm sure there will be plenty of times it isn't. I bought a Whisperlite International for last year's tour, then the tour was cancelled. I still haven't used it, but I'm looking forward to it. The Coleman is heavy.

I keep my gas in an MSR aluminum bottle. It's solid and never leaks a drop. I use common sense caution with gas and don't worry.
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Old 02-22-10, 09:26 AM   #14
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White Gas ( think they now call it Super Fuel or something like that) is not going to explode on you, if that is what you are worried about.

The Dragonfly is great. Yes, it's noisy at full throttle, but it is so powerful you don't need to run it at full throttle for very long to get water boiling. Once you turn it down, it is quiet and the simmer adjust is precise.

MSR makes 22 and 32 oz. fuel bottles. When I have not been able to find a small can of White Gas, Coleman Fuel, Camp Fuel or one of the other brands that are pretty much the same thing, I have bought a big Coleman Fuel can, take what I needed and left the rest at a campground for other cyclists/campers. The stuff is just not that expensive, and it creates good Karma. Also, some stores have a "communal" can and will fill up your fuel bottle for a charge.
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Old 02-22-10, 11:00 AM   #15
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I have used unleaded (premium - what the hell, splurge!) in my XGK-EX for about 100 nights with no issues. It's hard to find white gas in small enough quantities while on the road in the US. There is some ability to adjust the flame and it is loud - but certainly not to the level of a jet engine.

Make sure that whichever stove you buy nests in your pot.
Dunno, I've only used the new version. I wouldn't liken the flame to a flame thrower, but I don't have to wait much before soup is on either.

With 16 oz of unleaded premium costing $0.40 with no packaging and 32 oz of Coleman camp fuel costing $12.00 with packaging that could be but probably won't be recycled, I'd go with the former. Besides, I've never been able to give away camp fuel in the front of the store where I bought it and I won't leave it, like I would unwanted bottled water. PITA.
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Old 02-22-10, 11:11 AM   #16
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With 16 oz of unleaded premium costing $0.40 with no packaging and 32 oz of Coleman camp fuel costing $12.00 with packaging that could be but probably won't be recycled, I'd go with the former. Besides, I've never been able to give away camp fuel in the front of the store where I bought it and I won't leave it, like I would unwanted bottled water. PITA.
I wonder about is how hard is it to pump the small quantities of gasoline required into a suitable container. How does that work out for you?
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Old 02-22-10, 11:28 AM   #17
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I wonder about is how hard is it to pump the small quantities of gasoline required into a suitable container. How does that work out for you?

I've done it.. But it's tricky because of how much air is pumped into the fuel... also if the pump has the safety valve thing you have to push down on the nozzle you end up with one less hand to work with.

Plan on getting a little stinky.... At least that has been my experience about 1/3 the time.
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Old 02-22-10, 11:28 AM   #18
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The Dragonfly flame control is excellent but I hate everything else about it. It's heavy, noisy and very awkward to pack, which is the main negative point IMO. It's also failed me twice so it cost me a new pump and I might have to replace it again. I've used white gas stoves since I'm a kid and the Dragonfly made me try a tuna can alcool stove and I quite like it. I'm not a fan of MSR gear in general and emails have been unanswered.
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Old 02-22-10, 11:53 AM   #19
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I wonder about is how hard is it to pump the small quantities of gasoline required into a suitable container. How does that work out for you?
Takes the finesse garnered from being a gas pump jockey in the early 70's. "Check under the hood, mam?"

Also, I don't worry about filling the fuel bottle exactly to the "line" (to 16 oz in a 22oz MSR bottle).
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Old 02-22-10, 12:12 PM   #20
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Takes the finesse garnered from being a gas pump jockey in the early 70's. "Check under the hood, mam?"

Also, I don't worry about filling the fuel bottle exactly to the "line" (to 16 oz in a 22oz MSR bottle).
That was the mid to late 60's for me
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Old 02-22-10, 12:18 PM   #21
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If traveling solo check out the jetboil personal system. Very light weight but can't easily adjust flame. Used mostly for re-hydrating foods. Some excellent dehydrated foods these days.
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Old 02-22-10, 01:05 PM   #22
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Be sure you are okay with the noise before buying the Dragonfly. Some people find it unacceptable; other people don't. The Whisperlites aren't silent, but they're much quieter than the XGKs and the Dragonflies.
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Old 02-22-10, 09:44 PM   #23
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Dragonfly Downsides:
Heavy
Bulky
Noisy

Upsides:
Wide base makes it much more stable than whisperlite
Simmers really well

I've owned both a whisperlite and a dragonfly. I much prefer the dragonfly, despite the weight and noise issues.
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Old 02-22-10, 11:50 PM   #24
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We have both the WI and the DF. We are planning on taking the DF on our next 3-4 week tour. Yes, it's heavy and noisy, but the fuel consumption is less with the adjustability.
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Old 02-23-10, 12:19 PM   #25
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Heh. I've been using my Svea 123 since 1964. Replaced the fuel cap twice, otherwise it's been good. Probably only cooked a couple thousand meals on it, though. Simmers well. Lovely noise. No pump.
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