MSR (Mountain Safety Research) is a manufacturer of camping, hiking and mountaineering equipment such as portable stoves, water filters, snowshoes and tents. Although MSR’s gear specializes in lightweight and technical gear, it’s designed for a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts, from beginners to experienced mountaineers. MSR was founded in 1969 and is headquartered in Seattle, USA.

MSR originally started as a newsletter in 1969. It covered topics related to mountain climbing safety. Later, in 1973, Larry Penberthy developed the MSR Model 9 camp stove, which was relatively efficient in cold weather. He separated the stove’s burner from the then small fuel tanks and then pressurized auxiliary fuel bottles into the tank and used a better windshield. This evolved into the Whisperlite stove, a multi-fuel stove that can run on a variety of liquid fuels.

Penberthy also designed an ice ax that was supposed to dig ice better and stop the slide. Penberthy also introduced ice letters with metal stems; metal axes have replaced the earlier wooden handles. This is where the story of MSR products began.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does MSR stand for?

MSR stands for Mountain Safety Research.

What types of outdoor equipment does MSR produce?

MSR produces a wide range of camping, hiking, and mountaineering equipment, including portable stoves, water filters, snowshoes, tents, backpacks, and more.

What is a multi-fuel stove, and can I use it with regular gasoline?

A multi-fuel stove is a type of camping stove that can burn a variety of liquid fuels, including white gas, kerosene, and diesel. It is not recommended to use regular gasoline in a multi-fuel stove, as it may contain additives that can damage the stove and pose a safety hazard.

How can the term "waterproof" be defined in the context of a tent, and what is the significance of the "mm" rating?

According to MSR, the term "waterproof" means that all external fabric of their tent has been coated with exceptional polyurethane coatings, and the seams are watertight out of the bag. The "mm" rating refers to millimeters and is used to represent a standardized measurement of how waterproof a coating is. For example, a 1500mm coating can withstand a 1500mm (5') column of water for over a minute before a single drop might appear through the fabric. This level of waterproofing is strong enough to prevent rain from leaking into the tent even in a hurricane-force storm.

What is the meaning of the letters "D" and "T" that follow the fabrics in a material specification?

The letter "D" stands for Denier, which is a numbering system used for fibers, filaments, and yarns. In this system, lower numbers indicate lighter/finer materials, while higher numbers indicate heavier/coarser materials. On the other hand, "T" stands for Thread Count, which refers to the number of warp and fill threads in a square inch of fabric. Lower thread counts represent loosely woven fabric, while higher thread counts indicate a tightly woven fabric. Together, these two numbers provide an indication of the strength and feel of a particular fabric.

What are some different configurations for tarps and wings?

The 7-point design of a tarp or wing typically includes a "flat" and a "pointed" end. It's important to use the "pointed end" as the highest supported point for all configurations. The opposite "flat edge" consists of three points that can be stretched tightly and attached to a shelter, car rack, or pole-supported vestibule of a tent to form a protected area.

You can experiment with different configurations by placing the poles at different points, using no poles at all, or adding more poles to create new living spaces. You can even use paddles or sticks in the cord storage pockets. Let your creativity flow and have fun trying out different setups!

What is the purpose of a footprint for a tent?

A footprint is a separate groundsheet that is customized to fit each specific model of MSR tent. We highly recommend using an MSR footprint under your tent as it serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it helps to keep your tent floor clean and dry. Secondly, it provides an extra layer of protection to the floor, preventing excessive abrasion and extending the life of the tent.

In addition, some MSR tents can be set up with just the footprint and fly, creating an incredibly lightweight and minimalist alternative to a full tent. This setup is ideal for those who prefer to travel light and fast. So, investing in a footprint is a wise decision that can benefit you in multiple ways.

What is the recommended way to store a tent?

It's important to never pack or store your tent if it is wet, damp, or dirty. Although MSR uses the best polyurethane waterproofing available, prolonged exposure to moisture can cause hydrolysis, which can break down the waterproof layer, making it soft, sticky, and no longer waterproof.

Storing a wet tent for as little as 24 hours in warm weather can also lead to the formation of mildew on the fabric. Mildew can cause your tent to stain, smell, and lead to the premature breakdown of the waterproof coating. It's important to note that mildew and moisture damage are not covered under the Limited Warranty.

For long-term storage, it's recommended to keep your tent in a dry and cool area, away from direct sunlight. You should store it outside of its stuff sack, as you would a sleeping bag, in a breathable, oversized cotton or mesh duffel for protection. An old pillowcase is an ideal option if you're on a budget.

How can I use the included tensioners to guy out my tent?

To increase stability in windy or extreme conditions and maximize ventilation, it's recommended to guy out your tent. Here's how you can do it using the included tensioners:

  1. Run cord from the tent's guy point through the tensioner.
  2. Pass the cord around the stake and back through the tensioner, ensuring that the curved side of the tensioner is facing the stake.
  3. Tie a knot at the end of the cord.
  4. To tighten the cord, pull the tensioner up along the cord and release.

By following these steps, you can easily and effectively guy out your tent using the included tensioners.

How does condensation occur in a tent, and what are some ways to minimize it?

Condensation occurs when warm, moist air inside the tent meets a surface, such as the tent's walls or fly, that is colder than the dew point temperature. This can be caused by several factors:

  • Weather conditions: High humidity, low temperatures, and rainy conditions create the most condensation.
  • People: We produce about 1 - 2 pints of moisture per night through breathing and skin evaporation.
  • Wet environment: Wet ground or wet gear stored inside the tent.

While no tent design can eliminate condensation, the key to reducing it is ventilation. Cooler, drier air needs to flow into the tent and warm, moist air must escape. MSR tents are designed to facilitate ventilation in several ways.

The tent body and ceiling are made of breathable and mesh fabrics to allow moisture to escape from the interior of the tent. The waterproof fly has a peak vent that provides protection from the outside while allowing fresh air to flow through the tent. Leaving a door open in good weather or using the double sliders on the doors to vent from the top can also help. It's recommended to leave at least two vents open, allowing for cross-flow ventilation. Finally, guying out the rainfly can increase ventilation in hot or humid conditions.

How long can a tent be expected to last?

The lifespan of a tent can vary widely depending on how often and in what conditions it is used. Exposure to UV radiation from the sun is one of the main factors that can cause a tent to degrade and break down over time. A tent that is frequently used in extreme conditions, such as high altitudes or harsh weather, may only last a few months or a year or two. On the other hand, a well-maintained tent that is used occasionally under normal conditions can last for many years.

How should I clean my tent effectively and safely?

If your tent is lightly soiled, you can usually clean it by simply wiping it down with a damp cloth. For more stubborn stains or heavy dirt buildup, you can set up the tent and hand wash it using a non-detergent soap, warm water, and a soft sponge or brush. Avoid using dishwashing liquid, bleach, or other harsh cleaners, as these can damage the tent's materials and waterproof coatings.

After washing, rinse the tent thoroughly to remove any soap residue. Hang it up or pitch it to dry in a cool, shaded area, making sure to avoid direct sunlight or high heat. Never machine-wash or dry-clean your tent, as this can damage the fabric and coatings. And remember, the best way to keep your tent clean is to take care of it while you're using it, and avoid setting it up in muddy or dirty areas.

How can I fix a broken pole for my tent?

If one of your tent poles breaks, don't worry, as most tent manufacturers provide a pole repair sleeve with the tent. To make a temporary fix, slide the repair sleeve over the broken section and tape or wedge it in place with a stick to hold it secure. This should keep your tent stable until you can get a replacement pole. If you don't have a repair sleeve or the break is severe, you may need to improvise a fix using materials like duct tape or paracord, but keep in mind that these are only temporary solutions and should be replaced with a proper pole as soon as possible.

How can I prevent mildew from forming on my tent?

Mildew can permanently damage the waterproof coatings on your tent by causing them to separate from the fabric, but mild to severe staining is more common. To prevent mildew, it's important to dry your tent as quickly as possible after it gets wet. Even if your tent appears to be dry after use, it's best to assure it is completely dry before storing. Hang it outside or pile it loosely in your house for a few days, turning it inside and out to assure it has dried everywhere. Storing a wet tent for as little as 24 hours in warm weather can start the process of mildew formation. Never machine dry your tent as the heat can melt the fabric. If you notice mildew on your tent, you can use a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water to clean the affected area, then rinse thoroughly and let it dry completely before storing.

What are the differences in properties between titanium, aluminum, and stainless steel?

Titanium, aluminum, and stainless steel are all commonly used materials for outdoor cookware.

Titanium has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal and is known for its light weight. It is also corrosion-resistant and durable, making it ideal for backpackers and other weight-conscious adventurers. However, it is not a good conductor of heat and can develop hot spots, which makes it less suitable for cooking foods that require even heat distribution.

Aluminum is a popular choice for outdoor cookware because it is lightweight, conducts heat evenly, and is easy to clean. Hard-anodized aluminum is even more durable and scratch-resistant. However, it is not as strong as titanium or stainless steel, and can be prone to warping and denting.

Stainless steel is known for its strength and durability, making it a good choice for cookware that may take a lot of abuse. It is also easy to clean and does not react with acidic foods. However, it is not as lightweight as titanium or aluminum and does not conduct heat as well, which can result in uneven cooking.

In terms of cooking efficiency, the color and material of the cookware can make a difference. Darker pots are more fuel efficient than lighter ones because they absorb and retain heat better. Cookware that has been used often and has developed a darkened patina can also be more efficient than brand-new cookware.

Is it possible to fit an MSR stove into an MSR cookset?

The compatibility of your MSR stove with your MSR cookset will depend on the size of both the stove and the cookset. The SimmerLite™, WindPro™, Pocket Rocket™, and SuperFly™ stoves are small enough to fit in an MSR 1-liter pot. For all other MSR stoves with a flexible fuel line, they will fit into all MSR cooksets that are 1.5 liters or larger, except the DragonFly™ stove which requires a 2L pot or larger. However, older MSR XGK™ stoves with a rigid fuel line will not fit inside a cookset. If this is the case, you can store the stove and fuel bottle in the side pocket of most backpacks.

What is the purpose of the tabs on the sides of the lids of the MSR Alpine Pot Set?

The tabs on the sides of the lids of MSR Alpine Pot Set serve multiple purposes. Firstly, they allow for easy lifting of the lid using a pot lifter or any other tool that can fit through the tabs. Secondly, the tabs help in securing the lid onto the pot, preventing it from sliding or falling off during cooking or transport. Lastly, the tabs are designed to work with MSR's Talon pot handle, which can be quickly and securely attached to the pot for easier handling. The Talon handle also folds to lock nested sets together, making it more compact for storage and transport.

Can I use my cookware on an open flame?

Stainless steel and titanium pots can be used over an open fire, but you should use caution. When using them over an open flame, some soot may accumulate, and the pot may warp if exposed to high heat. However, aluminum cookware is not recommended for use over open fires due to its plastic parts, which can melt. It is best to use cookware specifically designed for use over open fires, such as cast iron cookware, which is more durable and better suited to withstand high temperatures.

How should I properly wash my MSR cookware?

MSR cookware is designed to be easy to clean. All components except aluminum cookware are dishwasher safe. We recommend using a mild liquid detergent and a non-abrasive sponge or cloth to clean your cookware. For tough stains or stuck-on food, you can use a non-abrasive scrubber or soak the cookware in warm, soapy water before cleaning.

Aluminum cookware should be hand-washed to prevent damage to the cookware's surface. Use a non-abrasive sponge or cloth and mild liquid detergent to clean your aluminum cookware. Do not use steel wool or abrasive cleaners as they can scratch the surface. Avoid soaking the cookware in water for extended periods, as this can cause discoloration or pitting. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and dry with a soft towel or allow it to air dry.

What is the difference between a filter and a purifier?

Water filters are designed to remove waterborne protozoa and bacteria, but not viruses, while water purifiers are designed to combat all three classes of microbes, including viruses. Filters physically remove matter and microbes from the water, while purifiers can use a variety of methods to remove contaminants, including physical removal, disinfection, UV light or chemical treatments. In North American backcountries, filters are typically sufficient, while purifiers are recommended in areas heavily trafficked by humans or where sanitation systems are poor. The flow rates of physical purifiers are generally slower than that of filters due to the smaller media size needed to capture viruses.

Can MSR filters and purifiers remove chemical contaminants from water?

MSR filters and purifiers are designed to remove microbiological contaminants from water, such as bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. Some MSR filters, like the Guardian Purifier, include a carbon component that can also reduce some chemical contaminants, such as pesticides and herbicides, as well as improve the taste and odor of the water. However, it's important to note that MSR filters are not effective against heavy metals and other high concentration chemical contaminants. Therefore, it's recommended to avoid water sources that may be contaminated with chemicals, such as those near agricultural or industrial sites.

How can I determine whether to use a water filter or purifier for my needs?

The decision between a filter and a purifier should be based on two factors: water sources and susceptibility. Water sources in remote areas require filtration, while popular areas with many visitors require purification. Purification is also recommended in developing countries with poor sanitation. Susceptibility should also be considered, with infants, young children, elderly, pregnant or immunocompromised individuals requiring the highest level of protection provided by a purifier. Otherwise, filtration may be sufficient depending on the water source.

Can I use my MSR water filter to purify saltwater?

No, MSR water filters are designed to remove bacteria and protozoa from freshwater sources only. They are not effective at removing salt or other minerals from saltwater.