BWCA MSR Dragonfly Boundary Waters Gear Forum
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Gear Forum
      MSR Dragonfly     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

ryanstewart
member (14)member
 
06/29/2022 07:23PM  
In the market for a new stove. Looking at the dragonfly by MSR due to many good reviews and logevity of use from some folks.

We cook coffee and pancakes in the AM, 1-2 fish fry per trip, and rehydrated homemade camp meals each night. 4 people in my group.

Questions:
1. Is this the best stove for me?
2. What size fuel bottle for a 7d trip?
3. Any quirks or upgrades I should be aware of?
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
06/29/2022 07:52PM  
I really like mine…I added a Bernie dawg cap which makes it quieter and I think simmers even better…when they weren’t super expensive…the negative on a dragonfly is it is loud. Not extremely but enough a few people don’t like it.

For 4 people cooking breakfast and dinner I need a 20 oz. And 10 oz. Fuel bottle. I’ll have some left over over but not a lot. I could bring a 30 oz. Bottle but I like having the smaller sizes so shorter trips I can adapt.

T

Edit: adding to the post. Have you used a liquid fuel stove before? To start it requires priming. It’s easy IMHO but it takes time to get used to it. Re reading your use you might be able to get by with a 20oz. Bottle…I’d bring extra until ya know though.
 
06/29/2022 11:13PM  
I have both the dragonfly and the whisperlite and find myself using the whisperlite more frequently. LOTS of comparisons and reviews online to outline the differences. When I solo I take the pocket rocket simply because I usually only need to heat water. The other two options are much better for finding a range of temperatures to actually cook meals.

I'll second carrying two canisters of fuel - one was tipped over on one trip and spilled some of the gas. It was nice to have the second canister as back up.

Lots of threads on this site and it seems Butthead is the expert on the topic. A search will yield a lot of really great info.
 
technically_rugged
distinguished member (394)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/29/2022 11:58PM  
I can't speak for the Dragonfly, but I really love my Windpro 2. It has been a faithful stove in and out of wind, and it gets pretty small. I would say it's fairly conservative with fuel if you make sure to put a windblock around it if wind is blowing the flames, and it has plenty of heat variability for simmering vs boiling. My group has switched to using the Windburner 1.8L pot for boiling morning coffee and water for dehydrated meals, as that thing is SUPER efficient with fuel. I can't say if cans of isobutane will last you longer, ounce for ounce, than the liquid fuel though.

For your group size and the amount of cooking you do, a single 16oz can of isobutane would likely suffice. You'll burn through the most while frying fish or doing pancakes. However, I agree with the sentiment that you should bring 2 smaller cans instead of 1 big can. My first big trip in 2018, my friend had an older Coleman stove with these silver fuel tanks, and one of them started hissing after we took it off the stove and it continued to hiss for at least 30 minutes. It eventually stopped, but we put a piece of tape on it to identify it and we did not use it again. If a can of fuel fails for any reason, I want a backup,
 
billconner
distinguished member(8200)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/30/2022 06:23AM  
I love my Dragonfly with Dragon Tamer, but I do a lot more than boil water. Works great with a JMO, never burns inside. Other stoves may be able to turn down low, but none I've found as low as easily, no fussing whatsoever.

I'm sure I could conserve fuel, but for two people, I usually carry two or three 20 ounce bottles for a week or ten days when canoeing and usually return with a lot.

As far as lighting it, I strongly recommend priming with alcohol. I carry a two ounce bottle. Stove stays cleaner. I also carry the maintenance kit. Have only used it once or twice.

Doing a little more backpacking, I may have to switch to something lighter and more compact, but I'll also change to more boil water menus.
 
PabloKabo
senior member (79)senior membersenior member
 
06/30/2022 09:49AM  
I agree that the Dragonfly is a great stove. It's a great choice when you want to be able to simmer something. It's also got a nice wide pot stand and sits firmly on the ground. I agree that a taking a few gas bottles is a good idea. Do practice the priming process before you take the stove out into the wild, so you've done it. It's very easy, but can be a little intimidating the first time.
There are other good stoves if you just want to boil water and heat things up. There are many that are more compact too, but the Dragonfly isn't too large when it's packed up, and it really is a great great stove with a long track record. It's a champ!
 
PabloKabo
senior member (79)senior membersenior member
 
06/30/2022 09:53AM  
Oh, if you buy used, check the pump for cracks. Sometimes people crank too hard on the pump when they attach it to the bottle and crack the pump which is a strong plastic. Also, note that the Dragonfly pump looks similar to the pump used for other MSR stoves, but it's different. It's got a little gray sleeve where the hose attaches.
If you buy new, you'll get everything you need.
The folks at MSR are very helpful if you have any issues with the stove.
 
Kendis
distinguished member (140)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2022 09:59AM  
I heartily recommend the Dragonfly. I've had mine for 18 years and it's still going strong. I would bring two 20oz fuel bottles for a one week trip with four people. The Dragonfly can be used for boiling water quickly and also allows for finer temperature adjustments for cooking. Some of the posts on here claim the Dragonfly has poor temperature control, but that's never been a problem for me.

If and when my Dragonfly bites the dust I'll be replacing it with another Dragonfly.
 
THEGrandRapids
distinguished member (356)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2022 10:51AM  
I picked up one from a fellow member as an upgrade from the whisper lite. My balancing act ontop of the windshield for eggs was stressing out my tripmates. We like to do pancakes and eggs (and cake- but that is usually on the campfire). I upgraded it with a Bernie dawg. I did boil water once for some gnocchi, but it annoys me with any two stage stove to boil water, so as a second stove, we bring a jetboil and strictly use it for boiling water. I figure the added weight of a jetboil is worth it for a back up option and gives us quick hot drinks through the day if we want one.
 
GeneH
distinguished member (115)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2022 11:30AM  
timatkn: "I really like mine…I added a Bernie dawg cap which makes it quieter and I think simmers even better..."

+1 on the Bernie Dawg silent caps. I put it on one of my Svea's, and that's the only one I take with me. The roaring noise of any pressurized stove is a bit of a bother for some people. I particularly like the silence when I'm solo so will run a gas or canister stove a little less than full roar. Any of the silent caps are worth the money IMO.

All liquid fuel stoves have a little learning curve, (just like lanterns) and it's a little different with a silent cap too, so I just had a lot of fun playing with all my stoves, as well as giving it a good burn to make sure everything works perfectly before every trip.
 
cyclones30
distinguished member(3987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2022 12:21PM  
I love my Dragonfly, best option for steady base and larger pans/pots as well as temperature control down low.

I've got a simmer and whisperlite as well and those do fine but if weight and size aren't an issue and I need one to do anything I'm taking the DF. It does take up the most space out of those 3 but I can live with that.
 
ScottL
senior member (73)senior membersenior member
 
06/30/2022 01:21PM  
I've used both the Dragonfly and the Whisperlite and often take both on canoe trips in order to have two burners for more elaborate dinners. I always bring along a 10" Outback Backpacker Oven for baking muffins, brownies, etc. and I really appreciate the Dragonfly's ability to adjust the heat to a simmer for those longer baking sessions. The Whisperlite is quieter and I think it brings water to a boil much faster than the Dragonfly, but there is little heat adjustment with that stove, whereas the Dragonfly excels when tasked with cooking at a lower heat. I usually bring two fuel bottles, a 20 oz and a 30 oz, because I fear running out of fuel given that the stove runs quite a bit longer when I'm simmering various meals. But on my last 7 day trip earlier this month (it was a 2-person trip) I only used the 30 oz bottle to see how much fuel I used and that bottle was probably still half full when we got home. But fuel is never the heaviest item in my gear so I'd rather be safe than sorry. I also have started using alcohol to prime my stoves and that certainly keeps them cleaner and saves a little of the gas. The Dragonfly is going to be a bit heavier than other stoves but it does have a stable base and the simmer capability is a great luxury when canoe tripping.
 
THEGrandRapids
distinguished member (356)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2022 03:11PM  
I also use alcohol to preheat the stove, instead of the white gas.
 
Me2012
distinguished member (189)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/30/2022 07:09PM  
Kendis: "I heartily recommend the Dragonfly. I've had mine for 18 years and it's still going strong. I would bring two 20oz fuel bottles for a one week trip with four people. The Dragonfly can be used for boiling water quickly and also allows for finer temperature adjustments for cooking. Some of the posts on here claim the Dragonfly has poor temperature control, but that's never been a problem for me.


If and when my Dragonfly bites the dust I'll be replacing it with another Dragonfly.
"


Kendis is right on the money. I usually burn 28 oz for two of us a week. 3 meals/day and I do warm water up for a shower mid week.


 
GeneH
distinguished member (115)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/01/2022 06:40AM  
THEGrandRapids: "I also use alcohol to preheat the stove, instead of the white gas. "

True words. I would put that near the top of, "How to Keep Clean."
 
JohnGalt
distinguished member (127)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/01/2022 02:10PM  
I love my Dragonflies (the stove & the mosquito eaters haha).
Purchased my first for four person group camping ~2007. I liked it so much that I chose to use this stove for my extended solo (purchased a new one as I didn't want to risk using a 15yr old stove, though the old one still worked fine when I used it in 2015 & I'm sure it still works now).
I like the flame control & the wide pot base. The shaker jet works well too for keeping the nozzle clean.
I've been going through 3-5oz of fuel per day using it to boil water for freeze dried meals/oatmeal/coffee/tea ~twice per day. I was going through more fuel during colder temps as I was drinking more hot tea/coffee (more boiling of water). My last week up I went through just about 20oz. This included making a steak & potato dinner + 2×egg & veggie breakfasts + frying 1lb bacon + 2x pancake breakfasts (oatmeal for others). Note that I only had one cup of joe per day & was making pancakes for 1, so you'll be boiling more water & may end up closer to 5oz per day than 3.
Sidenote: A buddy gave me one of these Rayonner Lighters & I love it. I use it for lighting the stove when preheating to avoid having the hair on my hand burnt off in the ball of flame. It is also useful to relight the stove sans cooldown if a stiff wind blows out the flame (not much of an issue with a clean nozzle).
 
07/01/2022 02:17PM  
GeneH: "THEGrandRapids: "I also use alcohol to preheat the stove, instead of the white gas. "


True words. I would put that near the top of, "How to Keep Clean.""

Yep, I bring a little plastic bottle that held Mio and it's filled with denatured alcohol that I use to preheat the stove. Works brilliantly.
 
07/02/2022 09:44AM  
YetiJedi: "I have both the dragonfly and the whisperlite and find myself using the whisperlite more frequently."

First time I'm re-quoting myself...sheesh!

Packing for Monday's trip into the BWCA and started comparing my dragonfly and whisperlite. I use the dragonfly over the whisperlite, not the other way around. Yes, it is louder but it is more stable and temperature control is excellent. I'm taking the dragonfly and pocket rocket this trip since there are 7 in our group. It'll be interesting how carrying both types of fuels goes - first time for that too.
 
JohnGalt
distinguished member (127)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/02/2022 10:36AM  
YetiJedi: "Packing for Monday's trip into the BWCA"

Have a great trip!
 
07/02/2022 11:14AM  
JohnGalt: "YetiJedi: "Packing for Monday's trip into the BWCA"


Have a great trip!"


Thank you, JohnGalt! I have been following your adventures and living vicariously through your experiences. :)
 
07/05/2022 11:32AM  
Questions:
1. Is this the best stove for me?
2. What size fuel bottle for a 7d trip?
3. Any quirks or upgrades I should be aware of?

1. Consider what type of fuel you want, then how you cook. The Dragonfly is a liquid fueled burner using white gasoline of kerosene/diesel. White gas has the best cold weather performance but needs the burner primed to use, can be smelly, needs more care in use.
2. Highly dependent on your use of the stove. In my use it is a frugal burner as I normally carry 10 ounces for a solo trip exceeding 10 days.
3. No real quirks far as any liquid fuel burner. I use a 11 ounce fuel bottle even on occasions where extra fuel is needed then carry a separate refilling bottle, the 11 ounce bottle will place the fuel pickup at the end of the fuel tank and need less pumping to pressurize. Use the supplied windscreen to save fuel. Use alcohol for cleaner priming. Any cup/flame plate burner will be loud. There are "silent caps" for such stoves but the original designer is now having a problem with the suppliers Bernie Dawg Stove Lab . Silent caps do quiet the burner but make cleaning and maintaining more difficult, the Dragonfly is not that loud and the volume corresponds to the flame out-put. I use a cap in campgrounds not the BWCA/Quetico.

butthead
 
Kendis
distinguished member (140)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/05/2022 03:06PM  
butthead: "Questions:

3. Any quirks or upgrades I should be aware of?

3. Use alcohol for cleaner priming.
butthead"


I have never used alcohol for cleaner priming in the 18 years I've owned my Dragonfly. White gas works fine and almost any liquid fuel can be used in a pinch. This stove is basically indestructible.
 
07/05/2022 07:21PM  
Kendis: "butthead: "Questions:


3. Any quirks or upgrades I should be aware of?


3. Use alcohol for cleaner priming.
butthead"



I have never used alcohol for cleaner priming in the 18 years I've owned my Dragonfly. White gas works fine and almost any liquid fuel can be used in a pinch. This stove is basically indestructible."


Never said white gas doe not work, but alcohol burns without smoke. I have used a Dragonfly since 1999.

butthead
 
THEGrandRapids
distinguished member (356)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/06/2022 01:27PM  
Kendis: "butthead: "Questions:


3. Any quirks or upgrades I should be aware of?


3. Use alcohol for cleaner priming.
butthead"



I have never used alcohol for cleaner priming in the 18 years I've owned my Dragonfly. White gas works fine and almost any liquid fuel can be used in a pinch. This stove is basically indestructible."


Do you use a Bernie Dawg silent cap? I figured that was the main reason to use the alcohol for priming, otherwise the carbon buildup on the holes could lead to less efficiency
 
Banksiana
distinguished member(2593)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/06/2022 01:43PM  
THEGrandRapids: "Kendis: "butthead: "Questions:



3. Any quirks or upgrades I should be aware of?



3. Use alcohol for cleaner priming.
butthead"




I have never used alcohol for cleaner priming in the 18 years I've owned my Dragonfly. White gas works fine and almost any liquid fuel can be used in a pinch. This stove is basically indestructible."



Do you use a Bernie Dawg silent cap? I figured that was the main reason to use the alcohol for priming, otherwise the carbon buildup on the holes could lead to less efficiency"


Using alcohol means no soot build up around the jet and a better functioning stove. In earlier versions of the Whisperlite alcohol priming made a huge difference in stove function. With more recent versions of the Whisperlite (viva la shaker jet) and with the Dragonfly the advantages of alcohol priming are not as significant. I quit using alcohol quite a few years back and have yet to foul a jet. I still use the original cap- for some reason my stove is fairly quiet.
 
Argo
distinguished member (458)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/06/2022 02:20PM  
I definitely will turn to priming with alcohol. Do you simply use one of those soft plastic squeeze bottles? Is there any risk of the fuel eroding the plastic?

I was planning to use methyl hydrate. Denatured alcohol is pretty expensive and only available in quantities far exceeding my needs.
 
cmanimal
senior member (79)senior membersenior member
 
07/06/2022 03:08PM  
Argo: "I definitely will turn to priming with alcohol. Do you simply use one of those soft plastic squeeze bottles? Is there any risk of the fuel eroding the plastic?


I was planning to use methyl hydrate. Denatured alcohol is pretty expensive and only available in quantities far exceeding my needs."


You can get a quart of Denatured alcohol for ~$6 and it would last a long long time if you are only priming stoves with it.

Isopropyl alcohol (Rubbing alcohol) also works and is available in as little as 16 oz., but you should use the 91 or 99% for best results, the 70% doesn't burn as clean.
 
07/06/2022 06:25PM  
I have a selection of Bernidawg caps for MSR stoves. 4 row of ports for old XGK's, 5 rows the Dragontamer and 6 rows that happen to fit my Dragonfly's and Firefly.
These I experiment with and use only in populated campgrounds. Where separated from others the simplicity of the original roarer burner works fine. I tend to use marine methanol stove fuel for priming, available in pints and quarts at local hardware stores. Alcohol prime is cleaner for the whole stove not just the jet, and honestly I tend to remove the shaker needles to allow better burner performance. I do a lot of things with MSR burners that MSR may not recommend, but tend to keep those mods to myself as I know my stoves quirks.

Far as priming, I know the dangers of methyl alcohol and use it sparingly. I prefer MIO plastic bottles to carry the methanol, they have proven to last.

butthead
 
billconner
distinguished member(8200)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/06/2022 06:35PM  
The original instruction sheet (or video?) with the Bernie dawg dragon tamer showed a paste in a tube, gelled alcohol. Always seemed the neatest but I haven't actually tried it. Coughlans has one, and something called hot snot om Amazon. Anyone tried this? (I googled gelled alcohol and oh my, maybe some of those would be good camping.)
 
07/06/2022 06:42PM  
I have used Mautz Fire Ribbon and that does leave a residue. I prefer a squirt of alcohol more.

butthead
 
GeneH
distinguished member (115)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/08/2022 03:27PM  
I used to have a yellow tube of the Cooglians fire paste. Lasted forever but did leave a residue. Great for wood fires, not great for stove primer.

Better to use some carbon foam stuff and alcohol if there's a separate tray for the primer, like on the Svea stoves.
 
07/14/2022 07:58AM  
Personally I had a Dragonfly and didn't care for it. It does many things OK and none of them well.

If doing real cooking is on the agenda I'll take a Windpro II and not have to deal with potential fuel leakage, priming, etc and have a better burner pattern and even more control of the output.

If I need a reliable, super-sturdy, or true cold-weather stove I use an XGK EX. Same burner as the dragonfly, even more stable, easier to do field maintenance, and has a generator tube and works much better in cold weather. It doesn't simmer as well, but it can be done with some practice.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next

Community Links


 Poll: Should we keep trip reports in the listening point forum?
(114 responses)