For 35 years, MSR’s XGK-EX multi fuel stove has made a name as being THE stove choice for high altitude mountaineering and cycle tourers alike, being lightweight, compact, dependable and tough. It can burn a multitude of liquid fuels including kerosene, petrol and diesel, a necessity when going further afield where gas canisters may be hard to find. I’ve been using petrol in mine most of the time, and it’s been consistent in spite of the cruddy petrol is some countries.
The stove consists of the compact body with it’s 3 stable foldable legs and a short braided metal hose that leads to the separate fuel canister. The canister is pressurised using the small pump which forces the liquid fuel into the stove body. Once set-up, all you do is prime the stove by letting out a little petrol and lighting it causing the large orange flame as in the photo above. Once the flame’s settled down, you just start the petrol again which causes a very hot, powerful and loud blue flame. The standard canister size is 500ml which is enough fuel for about a week’s dinners, and handily fits into a standard water bottle cage, so you can keep the petrol separate from your clothes and food supplies.
The flame is exceptionally fast and powerful, and can bring a pot of water to the boil in minutes (a litre in 2.8 minutes to be precise), though this intense heat sometimes causes thicker stews to stick to the bottom of the pan (if you don’t stir sufficiently, that is). If you fancy a stove with more adjustment, and are willing to sacrifice a little power, the excellent MSR Dragonfly stove is for you. The XGK requires minimal maintainance, in 18 months, all I’ve needed to do is clean the hose and fuel nozzle which is a very easy, tool free process.
For sheer reliability and power, the XGK is the stove for you, I love to hear the loud roar of mine as it get’s going, it means dinner is on the way!!