I rarely carry a stove wind screen except in the winter when I really need one to conserve fuel for melting water. Other times of year, I either have plenty of fuel (wood/canister fuel) or can more easily situate my stove behind landscape features to keep it out of the wind.
But I hate carrying stove screens in winter that you have to store rolled up or big pieces of aluminum that you can fold flat but never last more than one season. They’re not space efficient in my winter pack, which is very space constrained, or they have so many sharp edges and I’m wary of letting them close to my inflatable sleeping pad, my sleeping bag, or other delicate gear.
Rather than create yet another flimsy wind screen for this winter, I decided to try a compact folding wind screen that folds up accordion style. It’s purpose-built for the MSR Whisperlite and other comparably sized liquid fuel stoves.
I tested the silver windscreen (shown above) this past weekend on a winter shake-down backpack I did in the White Mountains in very frigid and windy weather and it worked remarkably well. I use an MSR Whisperlite stove and the collapsible wind screen is the perfect height to protect the stove flame and wrap around the pot I’ll be using this winter without getting in the way of the pot handle.
The folding windscreen has 9 panels, each 5 and a quarter inches tall and 3 inches wide. Each panel has a cutout at the bottom which provides air to the stove and is high enough to feed an MSR fuel line through, thereby protecting the fuel bottle from the stove flame. When folded up, the stack of panels measures 1/2 inch and weighs 4.1 ounces. That’s about 2.5 more ounces than my last home-grown aluminum wind screen, but I expect to save that in better fuel efficiency.
I also like the way in which the leaves of the stove can be pushed down into the snow around the pot so that they don’t move around every time you lift the pot up. The end leaves have two feet that you can press into the ground (these are wires with little handles) if you want to anchor the screen in 3 season conditions.
But best of all, I like how this screen folds up into thin stack of rectangular leaves. The edges are all smooth and it packs flat in my pack. I wish it were an ounce or two lighter (hint: someone should make this in titanium), but having a wind screen that will last multiple winters is good enough for me. This is $10 bucks well spent.
Disclosure: Author purchased this product with his own funds.