The Whisperlite stove is a backpackers dream. It's tough, simply made, very light weight and with some TLC will last for many years.
It may be used to make a simple cup of brew during a short hike in the desert or an extended expedition in the mountains. Weighing only 460 Grams you will hardly know you are carrying it in your pack. It folds up to a compact size to stuff in a pack pocket.
It's very adaptable. It will burn white gas, kerosene or even jet fuel. The burner has a special burner jet and a larger fuel tube. It takes from 3.5 to 8 minutes to boil a liter of water using different fuels.
One added feature not available on older models is a windscreen. This is a welcome addition since the wind always seems to come up whenever a decision to cook a meal arises.
As with most other small stoves, the Whisperlite takes getting used to. We had tried many ways to make lighting ours easily. In order to get the stove to generate, heat must be applied in the little pan under the burner. We would try placing matches or pieces of paper but the stove would balk at that. With experimentation we discovered ways to make lighting easy.
First and foremost, you place the fuel in the separate tank. Attach the tank to the stove in a horizontal position. With the valve closed on the tank and the legs of the stove spread out you are now ready to go.
The raw gas starting method.
Open the control valve ever so slightly and you will see a little gas flow into the bowl. Just a little is needed. Less is better in this instance. Close the valve. Light the gas in the pan. Let it burn until you notice that most of the gas has burned off. Carefully open the valve and light the burner if it hasn't lighted already. The stove is now ready to use.
Use a fire starter in the bowl method.
The second way to start it is to use a little bit of fire starter such as Firefly or Fire sticks. Cut off a small wafer of the Fire stick approximately 1/4 inch thick, or squeeze a little fire starter jell into the bowl. Light it with a match. Let it burn for about 30 seconds and then slowly open the valve a little. The stove should begin to generate and will easily light.
Because of their small size, Whisperlite stoves may lead you to use them inside a tent. Definitely not a good idea. Fire of any kind uses oxygen to burn. Burning oxygen from the air in a tent or enclosed area means trouble. Cook outside unless you are in a large room or cookout shelter. If in a room, open a window.
One of the worst habits to get into is challenging mother nature. You will in all probability, lose. Taking chances such as cooking in a tent, using a tent heater or using a white gas lantern inside have resulted in many deaths which could have been avoided.
If you are winter camping with your stove you should carry the fuel bottle wrapped up in your pack. This will keep the temperature of the gas up and make the stove easier to use.
Each Whisperlite stove comes with a small maintenance kit and a user manual. Learn to use it and keep it in your pack. It will be of no use to you if it is left at home and you have trouble with the stove.