For high altitudes and harsh conditions, its 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 cant top white gas.
MSR XGK EX Stove
XGK EX Stove
So, you have about three choices. Youre 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 thats 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 Im 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. Its well made and very reliable.
So, there you go. All good choices.
The 2008 Winter Outside Buyers Guide is now online. From snow sports to trail-running to camping, get reviews of more than 300 new gear must-haves.