Friday, October 5, 2012

Guest Review: #$%^ That Works - MSR XGK Shaker Jet II stove

I have the very great pleasure to introduce (some) of you to my old friend Tony. Tony and I have a combined passion for Japanese weapons arts, which is how we met, and subsequently realized we share some other exciting interests as well. I am only too pleased to bring you the first article Tony has to offer......

#$%^ That Works
Some time ago I offered my good friend Josh at Apocalypse Equipped a couple of articles. And due to being slack and an urban hippie I have not managed to get this done for him until now. Below is the first of these articles.
For some back ground I have travelled a lot and climbed the odd mountain and done the odd wilderness expedition. While zombies may be off my radar I have been in places where natural disasters had just hit or hit not long after I have been there it which is more luck than good management. So in an apocalypse situation you just want @#$% that works. It needs to possibly have been lying around for a couple of years untouched and you need to know that...
  1. You can pick it up and run and when you need it and it will just work.
  1. It is field serviceable with a minimum of tools.
For me the best example I have of this is my MSR XGK Shaker Jet II stove.
I was reminded of this a couple of months ago we headed to the desert for a friends festival and one of the things on the list was cooking. I grabbed this stove out of my back shed filled it with mower fuel. Primed it and as you can see below viola first time it fired up and worked like a dream.

I first bought this shaker jet back in 1996 (some of the readers here are younger than this stove) in that time it has worked, worked and worked some more for me. It has had parts replaced over that time but the bottle and main unit are as is.
It is light at 500grams plus fuel
Efficient - I once cooked an entire month’s food hiking in Greenland on 1 litre of petrol
Rugged – works after being crammed into packs, on the back of yaks dropped, banged and just generally disrespected.
Field Serviceable – Pulled apart at 7000 meters at 20 below with the tools provided striped and put back together.
Versatile – I have run this successfully on diesel, petrol and white gas (and that was dirty dirty diesel)

Like its name says it sounds like a jet. You are not hiding from anyone using this stove.
It can burn a bit hot if you don’t know how to use it. (tip below)
Has taken my eyebrows off a couple of times priming it when I first got it.
The stove works off a simple principle of heating the liquid before it gets to the jet by passing the tube through the flame this vaporises the fuel allowing it come out as a gas. Obviously it needs to be primed and this should be practiced but once mastered you can do it with your eyes closed or a set of gloves on.
The shaker part refers to a small needle inside the unit that can be shaken up and down that breaks up any residue that might block the unit which allows for the use of very dirty fuel.
Packs down extremely small and with so many other MSR items is well made.
It can boil a litre of water in under 2 minutes and it can turn out some fine food including a nice salami, bean and risonni pasta that we did in the desert. The tip(as promised above) with not burning everything it is to drop a old can top on top of the cross beam of the stove body to act as a diffuser. Makes it less efficient but more versatile for cooking.

So after water and shelter this would be my next item on any list when it has hit the fan and as we discovered in the desert where it had not hit the fan but we where 50 very long KM’s from anywhere like civilisation that water and shelter then food and warmth where on the list.
This model has been superseded by the XGK EX which I have read and heard good things about. At $250 it is bit rich to just have lying around I admit. But as I said if I have to run for the hills or the power goes out for a week in the snow (as happened to a friend of mine) then this is one of the pieces of kit I definitely want around. If Josh lets me in the next couple of months I will put up a post on how to build a super efficient lightweight stove using some old cans.
Till then happy zombie hunting the urban hippie

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