Review of the MSR XGK EX military multi fuel stove

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Luchtaine, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. Luchtaine

    Luchtaine MOA #22 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    I’m going to try an do a little review here. This is my first stove apart from hobo stoves and soda can stoves. I’ve always just cooked over the fire so using a stove is a bit of a different expirence.

    This is MSR’s military grade stove. It’s extremely heavy duty and is capable of burning multiple fuels. It will run on white gas, home heating oil, diesel fuel, kerosene, and automotive gasoline. It will not work with alcohol. I wanted this option because in addition to being a cold weather and car camping stove I wanted it to double as an emergency stove. So having the option to scavenge fuel sources was a huge bonus.

    The military version comes in a “water resistant” roll top bag. The bag fits all the components that come with the stove apart from the fuel bottle neatly and with room to spare.

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    All laid out the kit includes. The stove, fuel line, simmer plate, kit for swapping out nozzles to change fuel types, wind screen, and fuel bottle.

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    When I set up I give the fuel bottle 20-30 pumps and attach the fuel line.

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    The next thing this particular stove requires is to be primed. Crack the valve and let a small amount of fuel into the stove. This pic doesn’t show it well but the “wet looking” metal has fuel on it.

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    The stove lights very readily and will burn with a tall flame while it pre heats the fuel to gas.

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    I’d say in about 20-30 seconds the stove heats up and begins to make a “jet engine” sound. At this point you can open the valve and let the fuel flow as the stove is primed. I placed the summer plate and here the stove is running. It burns pretty clean so it’s very hard to see the flame.

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    I found that adjusting the flame is pretty difficult. It likes to run wide open. Most of the time today I had the valve almost completely closed and it still boiled water in about 2 minutes.

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    I used the water I just boiled to make a cup of tea to enjoy while the stove was rehydrating some chili I brought along.

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    The chili took about 15 minutes to cook and completely rehydrate. I stirred it occasionally while it was cooking.

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    I was pleasantly surprised to see that in spite of not having a lot of control over the flame the food at the bottom of the cup did not burn.

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    This is a bombproof stove. It’s a little bulky so it’s probably more suited for winter or cold weather camping which works out well considering how hot it runs. I’m sure it’s not the best compared to other stoves that are available that have more simmer control. That said I had no problem cooking on it but it probably wouldn’t work well for just warming food. As far as boiling water the stove is a beast. I’m definitely happy I got it and it holds a place with my gear in cold weather and for emergencies. I think I’m staring to like the idea of cooking with a stove and will be looking into trying some other stoves in the future.

    “THERE BE ACTION HERE!”
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
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  2. CivilizationDropout

    CivilizationDropout -MOA #17- Supporter Bushclass I

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    Added to the Christmas list... thanks for the review!
     
  3. isme

    isme Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Ok now you've got my attention.
    I bet it's much lighter than my Coleman peak 1 dual fuel.
    Lighter weight, more fuel options, more compact.....
    I gotta check this out. Thanks for the review....
     
  4. isme

    isme Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Backcountry.com has them for 119.95
    with 10% off entire purchase...
    anyone interested in buying a Coleman???LOL
     
  5. DKR

    DKR Scout

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    Thanks for htr post & pictures.

    I've had an MSR XGK since the mid-70s. It bumped the Svea 123 out of my ruck for winter use. I don't think you could find a better stove for melting snow/ice. For cooking, maybe not as good as other stoves by MSR.

    For those interested in the history/evolution of the stove, this is pretty definitive:
    https://thesummitregister.com/evolution-msr-xgk-ex-stove/

    To be honest, I don't think I would buy one today ($160 plus for any addition accessories). The Whisperlight International comes in at under $100 - less the fuel bottle. While a single fuel White gas/gasoline it offers better burner control for cooking...
     
  6. isme

    isme Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Appreciate the info, I'll look into the Whisperlight
     
  7. Luchtaine

    Luchtaine MOA #22 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    It’s definitely on the pricier end. Well built though. I traded into mine. Sufficient for cooking anything as you would over a fire. If you sauté mushrooms or cook more delicate foods a different stove will probably be better. Bacon, bannock, boiling all work fine on this. I thought I read somewhere about a whisper light multi fuel. As I mentioned I’m going to explore more myself.
     
  8. isme

    isme Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Apparently the Whisperlite International is the multi-fuel version. Looks like it's going on my list of gear to watch for on the Trade Blanket.
    Like I said my Coleman Peak 1 works great. It weighs a ton but always works with no isssues. I love the dual fuel option. The Coleman lists white gas or unleaded gas. This gives even more options on fuel with the lighter weight.

    I was happy with my gear then ya'll gotta show me something else I can't live without...Thanks...LOL
     
  9. Jean

    Jean Guide

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    Ha, I don't think I've ever seen a canteen cup on an XGK. I've never used mine with anything less than a 2L pot and usually larger.
     
  10. RobbieinME

    RobbieinME Scout

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  11. Luchtaine

    Luchtaine MOA #22 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    I don’t have pots that big. Cooked the canteen cup just fine.
     
  12. carpenter

    carpenter AXE MOB Supporter

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    I've got an XGK from the late 70s. Your right it does not have any simmer control. Looks like that simmer ring should help. Just need to watch your food when cooking. Nice stove pretty mnch bombproof. @isme your Coleman is a good stove. Ive got the older brown 400 and like it a lot. I don't think there is that much weight difference when you factor in fuel.
     
  13. isme

    isme Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Yea, mine is the older brown 400 also...
    I wasn't sure about the weight, or how much room it would take up in my pack, but otherwise I have never had a problem with this one. I always use 100% gas ( unleaded with no ethanol )
     
  14. wizard

    wizard Guide

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    I have had an MSR stove since the first model, which was called a Model 9. It evolved over the years into the XGK that is sold today. That included various nomenclature changes along the way. I have never seen the simmer plate as a commercially available product, the plate only comes with the military version of the stove. It does help both with cooking and as a platform for smaller pots, like the canteen cup.

    The XGK and earlier versions all have no real flame adjustment, they are either full on or going out. If you adjust the flame to be smaller it sputters and pretty much goes out. They were primarily designed as a mountaineering stove, for melting ice, boiling water and for cold weather use.

    The MSR stove with the true flame control is the Dragonfly. It operates similar to the XGK but has a separate valve to regulate the flame. It can simmer, boil or warm, once adjusted. There is a lag on adjustment due to the length of the fuel tube from the bottle. The Whisperlite stove had some flame adjustment on the first generation model but that has changed to where they almost operate like an XGK, just quieter.

    The real beauty of any MSR stove is the availability of parts to repair and replace, even in the field they can be serviced easily.

    On another note, I used to have one of the old Coleman 400 stoves with super flame control and the wife and I used it a lot. She was an excellent cook and loved the operation of the Coleman. Too bad I don't still have that stove. It was a heavy beast but a great stove. The models that Coleman sells today are not even close to how good that old 400 operated.
     
  15. Broke

    Broke I found my hat! Supporter Bushclass I

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    Nice review! well written and contained of an excellent quantity of real world use, or, as it is known, action!
     
  16. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Good informative post and nice pictures young fellar. Thank you. joe
     
  17. Hawaii

    Hawaii Supporter Supporter

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    If you want a lower flame instead of the full flamethrower put a lot fewer pumps of air in. You will get a more manageable flame. Once you get the hang of it you can simmer.
     
  18. Not Sure

    Not Sure Supporter Supporter

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    I ran my XGK-II and XGK-EX on Kerosene as a test the other day.
    Kero is very hard to light. If you decide to use Kero I suggest bringing a small bottle
    of Alcohol to pre-heat with. I got closer to a simmer with Kero than I ever have with White Gas.
    A trick I learned from Hikin Jim is, get it hot than shut it off and then open it up ever so slightly.
    Seems to help get somewhat of a simmer.
    Amazing stove.
    Good write up............
    Stove at full throttle with simmer plate I found on the Web.
    IMG_4281.JPG
     
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  19. Jean

    Jean Guide

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    Sure it did, I would have been worried it would have launched it.
     
  20. Not Sure

    Not Sure Supporter Supporter

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    Evan gave the OK to piggy back this on his thread.
    MSR Tool Spoon.
    Stainless Steel- 1.5 oz- 9 inches long.
    Love this thing, long enough to reach the bottom of MRE or Mountain House.
    And still be able to take Pump apart or pull cable out of stove.
    Perfect companion IMG_4313.JPG IMG_4308.JPG IMG_4309.JPG to your stove.......
     
  21. Not Sure

    Not Sure Supporter Supporter

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    A better Picture showing the Tool it mimics.

    IMG_4316.JPG IMG_4317.JPG
     

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  22. AngryDaddyBird

    AngryDaddyBird Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    Great review. It’s an awesome stove and an excellent boiler! I like it! I use my Coleman Apex or 550 when I have to simmer meals. Often I take either my Omnilite Ti or dragonfly. Excellent review!
     
  23. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    Reminds me I need to replace my own MSR tool and field repair kit.
    The military version is different from the civilian version in a few aspects, you only get the simmer plate with the army version and the fuel bottles are in Coyote or OD depending on date and the carry bag is a very heavy but excellent Seal-Line water proof bag that varies in weight again depending on date. Ditto the colour of the case with the repair bits etc. Interesting conversation with a feller from MSR when I tried to get a simmer plate [ as an Ex myself he bent a rule and posted one to me as they are not supposed to be available except to US military] and the USArmy was the main instigator in the change from a rigid fuel line to the flexible. As a climber and skier I do miss being able to warm up the base of my skis using a roaring stove but the flexible fuel line does mean it fits inside a pot now
    On my third stove now, even with repairs they seem to last about 15 years max but I really like the latest iteration even if it is heavier than the original, it is more stable and I do think it is much easier to set-up, big factors when winter camping and climbing
    EDIT
    To add some stuff and further thoughts
    I still have the little plastic Nalgene bottle supplied with my first X - stove, it really helps to use alcohol as the priming fuel
    A lot of my mates are now using the lid from a big Titanium pot as a base for the new XGK-EX stove, they seem to be much more stable than the MSR Trillium base sold as an extra as well as cheaper and lighter and they also seem to aid in efficiency as a replacement for the reflector or in addition to the supplied reflector
    In melting snow for drinking water any increase in efficiency is well worth carrying a few grams extra. I notice in the first picture that the OP is not using the reflector, you really need to use it or the fuel tube can get far too hot, ditto the windshield even if the wind isn't blowing, you simply use too much fuel if you do not The other thing is that the simmer base should not be used to enable a canteen cup to be used to cook in. There is a serious safety issue here and it is regarding the issue of flame quenching, there needs to be an air space above the simmer plate to enable full combustion of the fuel, that space between the vortex cup and the arms is VERY important. The problem is CO, if the flame temperature is reduced or the internal turbulence of the flame front is disturbed you can generate very high levels of Carbon Monoxide very quickly.
    It is a very serious problem if you cook inside a tent and in winter we often have to, so while it may not seem to be a problem cooking outside it is a bad habit to get into.
    Sorry OP but I really think I need to point this out.
    I've given myself CO poisoning once and it was unpleasant to say the least as well as scary, in my case using a too big pot full of ice and snow on top of a SVEA 123 and flame quenching seems to have been the cause
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018

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