Stove: primus omnifuel VS MSR XGK

10:44 p.m. on February 21, 2011 (EST)
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Hey all,

I'm currently in a hard place picking a multi fuel stove for camping in high altitude and cold places. As far as it works good, weight would not be my concern. I know MSR whisperlite is probably the most popular multi fuel stove for the money but I want something better even if it's more pricey.  After considerable searching, I have narrowed my choice to two models: primus omnifuel and MSR XGK. Both are built for expedition condition and prices are close. Both have received good reviews on online stores like REI and BC. Followed is a few differences I've found so far:

Con for primus:

1, Burns multi fuel as well as will attach to butane or propane canisters, while XGK only burns multi fuel. I know it's not that a big advantage but it's always better to have more choices since you never know what you are facing in remote area.  

2, Somewhat better design. I did a little search on youtube and find this really good official primus video that explains how to use and clean omnifuel. I particularly like the feature that you can unscrew the jet orifice and clean it from both sides to prevent it from stuck, which is the biggest problem when using fuel not that clean. Also primus use metal pump over MSR's  dedicated plastic pump. So overall it seens to me that omnifuel has a better design over the XGK model.

Con for MSR:

Great customer service. I've found negative reviews for MSR product but all I heard about MSR's customer service is great. I used to buy a MSR Hubba Hubba 2-person tent but have to return it after one month because there was some change to my plan and I need a 3-person tent. Absolutely nothing wrong with the product. However, they offered a full refund upon receiving it. No question asked. Primus, on the other hand, doesn't really say any thing about services like warranty on their website.

Any comments, experience or information about these two models would be appreciated. Thanks

1:51 p.m. on February 22, 2011 (EST)
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I have both an XGK (actually 2 of them, an older XGK-II which I have had for 15 years and a newer XGK "expedition", the current model) and a Primus MFS (which I have had for 10 years, predecessor of the Omni). I have used both in winter and at altitude.

One thing about both on the pump is that it is easy to accidentally knock the pickup tube and its filter (clear/white in both cases) off the pump. If you are on snow, this can be hard to find (I have done that). With the MFS, I had a gas canister along, so I used that for a day until I luckily happened to find the pickup tube. With the XGK's tube, I got lucky and spotted the tube right after I dropped it.

I have had few problems with any of the 3 stoves. In all cases, they just needed the cleaning procedure that is described in the instruction sheet. In all cases, be sure to use a drop of pump oil every month or so. And be sure to remove the jet and clean it after every 5-10 hours of cooking. Following the recommended shutoff procedure helps slow the carbon build-up at the jet and the lacquer buildup in the fuel line, as well.

In 45 years of having MSR stoves (I had one of the original XGK's, which MSR replaced for free when it was about 20 years old), I have never broken one of the MSR plastic pumps, though I have witnessed people breaking them (carelessness in most cases, clumsiness of one person dropping the pump and stepping on it while trying to see where they dropped it), and one case of a person putting the windshield around the stove in a way that directed heat onto the plastic pump (melted it, of course, with a spectacular burst of flame). But the vast majority of people who I know who use them never have a problem.

I did have the Primus MFS develop a leak at the coupling of the fuel line. Primus sent me a replacement with just a phone call (the importer of Primus these days is a different company, but the current company seem to be good folks in the contacts I have had with them). My very first stove (when I was 17 or 18 years old) was a Primus 71L, which I still have and works well (very similar to the Svea 123, of which we have 2 in the family). 

I think you would be happy with either one.

12:38 a.m. on February 23, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks Bill, that's really helpful. I think I would go with primus. Customer service was my only concern and they seems to stand back of their products from your info. 

You mentioned using canisters. Does they perform well in expedition condition like extreme cold and high altitude area?Also I plan to hike in remote places in Asia so I anticipate access only to bad gasoline or even cooking oil (I know it's not suggested but sometimes you just don't have choice), do you have any experience using it with unclean fuel? 

July 29, 2014
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