Evolution of the MSR XGK EX Stove

Model 9 Stove
Photo of the original MSR Model 9 stove (simply called the “MSR Stove”) from the April 1973 MSR Newsletter.

Trusted by mountaineers everywhere as the world’s most reliable extreme-condition stove, the MSR XGK EX stove is still remembered by many as the MSR Model 9. Originally introduced in 1973, the Model 9 stove has evolved along with material and manufacturing technologies, and its current incarnation—the MSR XGK EX stove—still remains the number one liquid fuel stove choice on expeditions worldwide.

Remote Fuel Revolution

The Model 9 was the world’s first remote-burner component stove. The remote-burner design was developed in response to MSR’s finding that Acute Mountain Sickness and other altitude-related health problems were related to a climber’s poor hydration level, caused by the inability to melt snow on traditional stoves. Several years of field and in-house stove testing by MSR had demonstrated the increased performance and reliability that remote, pump-pressurized liquid-fuel tanks could deliver, especially at altitude.

While white gas and stove and lantern fuel were recommended, this stove could also burn non-leaded and leaded gasoline if the screen was cleaned every two quarts. Additionally, it could burn alcohol “if the air inlets of the burner are mostly closed with foil.” Lightweight (at 12 ounces), compact, and reliable, the MSR Model 9 stove quickly became the gold standard in mountaineering after its release in 1973.

MSR Model 9A stove, circa 1974
MSR Model 9A stove, circa 1974

MSR Model G Stoves

MSR Model G Stove, 1978

Building on its successful Model 9 stove, MSR released a series of next-generation burners, starting in 1975, that offered increased heating efficiency. In 1978, the MSR Model G and Model GK stoves were introduced, incorporating previous improvements to the pump, a new generator loop, and field-maintainable fuel-lines. The Model GK stove was now able to burn diesel, white gas and some aviation fuels in addition to leaded and unleaded gasoline, stove fuel and lantern fuel.


MSR_XGK II Shaker Jet
MSR XGK II Shaker Jet Stove, 1994

In 1982 the Model G stove was discontinued, and the Model GK stove was renamed the X-GK, with a new sparker and the base of the stove changed from Bakelite to aluminum. Subsequent models saw the removal of the sparker and a new fuel pump. A significant update came in 1994, with the inclusion of the Shaker Jet in the XGK II Shaker Jet stove. A key MSR innovation, the Shaker Jet incorporated a weighted needle inside the fuel jet, which allowed fuel to easily flow during cooking, yet also clear the fuel jet when traveling, due to the needle “shaking.” The Shaker Jet technology is still used on MSR stoves today. It was also on this model that the pot supports changed from four separate swivel supports to crossing the top of the burner, providing more stability.

Today’s MSR XGK EX stove

In 2005, the XGK EX stove model was introduced, with two significant updates to make the stove more compact. A fuel line improvement incorporates a flexible, PTFE-line wrapped in a braided metal protective sheath. This allows the line to be both flexible and heat-resistant. Additionally, retractable pot supports are connected to the stove, accommodating pots up to 10 inches in diameter, and packing down smaller for transport. Combined, the two updates allow the stove to fit into a 1.5 liter MSR pot, and still meet the durability requirements demanded of MSR stoves.

Affectionately compared to a jet engine by many, this stove and its predecessors, starting with the Model 9, set the standard for safety and reliability, which is why it is often called the “world’s most reliable extreme-conditions stove.” Go to any base camp on any high mountain in the world, and you’re likely to see many XGKs.

Watch this video to learn about maintenance for the XGK EX stove: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAciKxag47o&list=PL3471EEEC74EF3EDF&index=19

MSR X-GK Stove Sell Sheet, circa 1990
MSR X-GK Stove Sell Sheet, circa 1990



50 years agCelebrating 50 years of unruly dreamerso, MSR began as one man’s quest to create better, safer, more reliable mountaineering equipment. Today, we’re still an intrepid team that believes in challenging convention to engineer greater solutions to real-world issues. Along the way, we’ve remained inspired by you—the world’s passionate and unruly dreamers. Join as we celebrate this milestone and 50 Years of Unruly Dreamers