The WindBurner Personal Stove comes with a 1.0L hard-anodised aluminium pot which has a heat exchanger on the base, when coupled to the burner it provides a system that is impervious to wind. Like all systems that use a heat exchanger to focus the heat onto the bottom of the pan the WindBurner is best used for heating water to add to dried foods. Because these stoves are very efficient they can’t be turned down to the low level that would be required for simmering foods.
I chose this type of stove because I was carrying nine days food and the only realistic way to achieve that was to eat freeze dried meals, therefore the inability to simmer and cook food wasn't required, and the high efficiency would allow me to trek for nine days yet only carry a single can of gas. Also this was Iceland - not known for its calm weather.
I'm delighted to report that the efficiency exceeded my expectations - what turned out to be a seven day trek rather than nine days was completed with a single 240g gas cartridge which I estimated still had enough gas in it to easily last a further two days. My typical usage was to boil 300ml for soup, 4-500ml for main course and 300ml for coffee on an evening, then 600ml for breakfast and coffee before packing up each morning.
The burner is a mesh dome which sits neatly below the heat exchanger, this spreads the heat evenly but it’s difficult to tell if it's on, MSR have fitted a fine wire which glows red hot when heated - so look out for this. The fact that you have to light the stove with a match or similar (I used a firesteel) wastes some gas at least, if a piezo igniter was fitted and the stove could be lit with the pan attached that would be an improvement.
Locking the pot onto and removing it from the stove is easy enough, except when the stove is lit, not sure if this is a safety feature or simply that when it gets hot the pot expands and clamps itself in place. Early on I wanted to remove the pot while the stove was still lit, pour the water into my freeze dried meal, then add more water for my coffee - the pot wouldn't detach from the stove when it was lit - so I couldn't do it. The obvious answer is to measure out enough water for both, but then it's tricky to pour just the right amount into your meal.
I really liked the graduations, both on the pot itself (which are easy to read) and even better, on the transparent bowl which allowed me to get the correct amount of water for my freeze dried meals easily. I used the plastic bowl as a drinking mug, the lid for the cooking pot also fits this mug/bowl allowing you to keep your drink quite warm, the vents in the lid are configured as a sipping cup.
The handle on the pot is the most rigid I've used on this type of stove - some can be quite unnerving, MSR have noted this problem and designed an excellent solution. Not so the pot lid however, it's made from plastic and clips onto the top of the pot, when the whole unit is cold the lid clips on and off easily - when the pot gets hot though the lid becomes more difficult to remove, and you're also dealing with the heat from the stove, and boiling water inside it - not ideal.
This was such a problem that I just rested the lid on the top of the pot loosely, this will reduce the efficiency a bit but I find I need to look at the water quite often, when making coffee I don't need the water to be boiling so I pour it when it's just 'hot', I need to be able to look inside to judge this point. Similarly there's no need to wait for a rolling boil top make up freeze dried meals, the best time to turn the stove off is when it's just started boiling.
None of the manufacturers of this type of stove use a loose fitting lid, I'm not sure why.
In Summary - I really like this stove, it's very efficient and is unaffected by wind and rain, if I could find a loose titanium lid to fit it I'd do that. Over treks of a week or more weight savings are achieved compared to conventional gas systems because you don't have to carry two gas canisters.