Gear Shed

Q:

Are any stoves designed to perform at high altitude?

I’m looking for a new cp stove for climbing at high altitude (10,000+ feet). What’s the best stove for the harsher conditions at higher altitudes? Matt Vancouver, British Columbia

XGK EX Stove     Photo: courtesy, MSR

MSR XGK EX Stove

XGK EX Stove

A:For high altitudes and harsh conditions, it’s pretty much conventional wisdom that liquid-fuel stoves work best. Canister-based stoves do have much better cold-weather performance than in days of old, but they still can’t top white gas.

So, you have about three choices. You’re absolutely safe with the MSR XGK EX ($149; msrgear.com), a slightly updated version of a stove that has been on high mountains for something like two decades or more. Burn white gas or nearly anything else that’s combustible and wet. Recent improvements include a self-clean feature and feet that lift the stove a little off the ground.

Choice No. 2 is the Optimus Nova stove ($140; optimus.se), out now for four or five years. It has multi-fuel capability, is built with rugged stainless steel and brass, and is extremely reliable. Really a toss-up between this and the XGK. Take a look at both and see if one appeals to you more by virtue of stability or features.

Third choice, and the one I’m least familiar with: the Brunton Vapor AF Expedition Stove ($180; brunton.com). It burns liquid fuels and canister fuels, so it gives you some options. It has similar heat output and design to the MSR and Optimus models. It’s well made and very reliable.

So, there you go. All good choices.

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