You can view the full specs of this stove on MSR’s website, this is a review about our experiences using the stove and not a technical run down of it's features.
The Story So Far . . .
We haven’t completely made up our mind up about this stove, maybe we are very patient people. So far this stove has failed us twice, and by that I mean completely broken and unusable. The initial thing that attracted us to the dragon fly was the flame controller, I’d say we are both pretty keen cooks and like to put in a bit of effort for dinner, even when we’re camping after a tough days riding. So being able to control the flame meant we didn’t burn food, and could be a bit more creative with our cooking.
The flame controller is great for controlling the flame, but it’s really not designed for easy maintenance, especially if the fuel is dirty. Annoyed, but not completely stuffed, we were in Kenya when our first stove failed. But luckily we found it pretty easy to find methylated spirits to make a beer can stove. However Mayu did knock this over one evening in a guest house, spreading flames across the floor, so that taught us to be bit more cautious, and in the future we will not cook with methylated spirits indoors and near curtains!
That failure came roughly eight months after using the stove almost everyday, which for us was about 400-500 uses. The issue was a build up of hard carbon deposits in the part of the stove that the flame controller was located. The male part of the flame controller is removable, and the carbon build up can be scraped off the rod and the thread of the metal rod using a knife. However the thread located on the inside of the barrel cannot be cleaned.
The only idea we came up with was using a thread cutting tool, we used one previously to clean out paint in the rack bolt threads on our bike frame, when we had them re-powder coated. We can't confirm that this works, as we haven't tried, we don't know if the thread is standard, but when we get the chance we will try and update this post. If anyone has any other tips, they are very welcome!
Lack of tools
MSR do provide a scraping tool, but this only deals with the bottom of the barrel closest to the burner and not the thread itself. Due to this build up of carbon it becomes extremely difficult to relocate the threaded rod into the thread of the barrel, and it's only a matter of time before it becomes cross threaded. Once that happens ignited fuel will spray out of the flame controller, and yes that is quite scary, especially if you happen to be surrounded by dry grass.
Before this event, on a number of occasions, I would have to force the rod in hoping that it was engaging with the thread properly, but it becomes impossible to tell with all that carbon filling up the threads. I have sent MSR this information, and asked that they provide a thread cutting tool to clean out this carbon build up, hopefully this will be included in the kit or a design change will be made in the future. The dealers of MSR in Japan were very good to us, and after our troubles with the first Dragon Fly they sent us a new burner, which is essentially the whole stove minus the stand.
We definitely can't fault MSR's service, they are always ready to right a wrong, and we really appreciate good support and their willingness to send wherever we are in the world.
Second time round
We began using the next stove in January 2017, but by July of the same year we hit that problem again. The thread began to jam up and I had to begin the almost daily routine of cleaning. But the flame controller just kept getting stiffer and stiffer every time it was turned. We contacted MSR Japan again and told them that the same problem was persisting but this time after less than 400 uses. They understood that maybe this stove is not designed for long trips, especially in areas of varying fuel quality, so they decided to send us the MSR XGK EX.
So the general conclusion of the MSR Dragonfly is avoid it until there is a way to perform proper maintenance out in the field. The flame controller is great when it works, but until something changes, or an extra tool is included to solve this problem, we give it the thumbs down.