The MSR XGK EX is a multi-fuel camping stove, so it can burn a variety of fuels and works better than canister stoves in freezing temperatures. The stove can burn white gas, kerosene, unleaded gasoline, jet fuel and diesel. Reviewers say it is reliable and stable, and while it boils water pretty quickly, it can't top the speeds of canister stoves. The MSR XGK EX must be primed before it can be lit, so it has a longer setup time and may be hard to use for beginners. Some reviewers find it hard to control the stove's heat output, and others say it is very loud. Still, the MSR XGK EX is highly versatile for campers in extreme temperatures or at high altitudes. If you won't be camping in winter, the MSR Reactor (*Est. $140), a canister camping stove, offers faster boiling times and a more compact package.
We found the best reviews of the MSR XGK EX in TGO (The Great Outdoors) magazine, which tests a number of multi-fuel camping stoves. Each stove is rated, with very detailed and balanced analysis. Wired.com and Outside magazine also test the MSR XGK EX, and user reviews at Buzzillions.com and TrailSpace.com help round out the coverage.
After testing several multi-fuel camping stoves, Chris Townsend recommends the MSR XGK EX. He finds it reliable and stable, and although it's not the lightest stove on the market, the XGK EX is still relatively compact.
Review: Roaring to Go, Chris Townsend, Oct. 2007
Calling it a "demon camp cooker," Steven Leckart says the MSR XGK EX can put out some serious heat. That's great for boiling water, but don't expect to simmer or slow cook food with this stove. Overall, the stove gets a rating of seven out of 10.
Review: MSR XGK EX, Steven Leckart, June 27, 2008
More than 50 reviewers give the MSR XGK EX very high ratings at Buzzillions.com, which compiles reviews from Rei.com and other retailers. The biggest complaint is poor temperature control, which is cited by other reviewers as well.
Review: MSR XGK EX Stove, Contributors to Buzzillions.com
Only a handful of owners review the MSR XGK EX on TrailSpace.com, but the reviews are highly detailed. Overall, the stove gets nearly perfect ratings.
Review: MSR XGK EX, Contributors to TrailSpace.com
5. Outside Magazine
In this older review, Christopher Solomon at Outside magazine calls the MSR XGK EX "the most reliable stove we've used." He says it's especially useful for boiling large amounts of water. No negatives are mentioned.
Review: MSR XGK EX, Christopher Solomon, Summer 2006