MSR XGK EX Review

September 5, 2015
MSR XGK EX
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
82
Boil Time
6
Efficiency
7
Wind Performance
7
Cooking
7
Weight
6
Reliability
9

The Good

  • Bombproof
  • Fuel versatility
  • Low, stable stance
  • Easy field maintenance

The Bad

  • Heaviest in category
  • Expensive
  • Inflexible fuel line
  • Loud
THE VERDICT

The XGK EX’s longevity in the market is a direct result of its durability and maintenance simplicity. Having to adjust for alternative fuel types is not as easy as it is with the Kovea Booster +1, which requires no mechanical replacement of the jet. The XKG’s stability and no-hassle set-up make it ideal for larger pots on varied terrain. Its short, rigid fuel line can make fuel bottle placement a challenge. It is heavier than others in its category but it’s meant to serve in a kitchen for an extended basecamp, not packed up every morning. This stove doesn’t have wow with bells & whistles nor does it boil water in under two minutes. What it does do is work every time you need it to. 

FULL REVIEW

Liquid fuel stoves are losing some traction in favor of simpler, all-in-one rapid boil systems. However, international travel and trips into icy elevations aren’t about traveling light and boiling in under three minutes. They’re about gear dependability. The XGK EX is a brick. It holds large group pots to blast snow into dinner water, stands firm with meaty, serrated legs, and will burn whatever fuel can be siphoned from a nearby construction site. Testers didn’t like the stiff, hard-to-manage fuel line and we believe it’s long past time for MSR to toughen up its plastic pumps. 

Boil Time
The MSR XGK EX averaged 5:13 to boil a liter of water at 6,600’ above sea level in sunny, cool conditions at 55°F using Coleman white gas. 

Efficiency
The stove boiled 16 liters of water on 16 ounces of fuel for an efficiency quotient of 1, making the XGK-EX more efficient than the Optimus Nova+, but less so than the Booster +1, which achieved 19 liters boiled. There was little to no wind on this series of tests.

Wind Performance
The MSR XGK EX lagged a bit when things got breezy, averaging 5:50 over five boils in 10-15 mph gusts with the included malleable, thin aluminum windscreen.

Cooking
This stove is for melting snow above 14,000 feet and turning simple meals like pasta, oatmeal and pancake batter into climbing fuel. The XGK-EX is not a subtle stove, you may want to move back a bit to share beta about tomorrow’s summit attempt.

Weight
Not including the fuel bottle, this stove weighs 17.2 ounces when packed with its windscreen, base plate, pump, carry bag and small maintenance kit. 

Reliability
This is the XGK EX’s sweet spot. It primes easily every time, handles drops, and big pots. It’s easy to pull apart, diagnose, and return to working condition should something go awry. The self-cleaning shaker jet is especially beneficial when the use of multiple fuel types results in soot and particulates within the jet.

 


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MSRP
$159.99
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