Backpacking Stoves for Melting Snow, Part 1: Coleman Xtreme vs. MSR Simmerlite

Leave it up to a company that considers Wal-Mart a key customer to invent the first backpacking stove that has the very real potential to usurp the veritable MSR white gas stoves as the highest performance liquid fuel stoves on the market.

But that’s exactly what kind of potential the Coleman Xtreme has.

Backpacking Light Magazine Section Editor Roger Caffin published a detailed review comparing the Coleman Xtreme to vs. the MSR Simmerlite earlier this year. This review uncovered the simple truth: that the Xtreme can hold its own against the market leading Simmerlite.

But how well would the Xtreme melt snow?

An important question, since the ability to melt snow efficiently and in a timely manner is the primary benefit of white gas stoves.

I tested the Simmerlite and the Xtreme, along with two other stoves, and measured boil times and fuel economies required to boil 2L of water from snow.

Here’s where the Xtreme shined: no sacrifice in boil time (both required about 20 minutes to boil 2L of water), and a 30% weight savings in fuel used (2.2 oz for the Xtreme vs. 3.2 oz for the Simmerlite).

This data proves interesting enough to complicate stove selection for my SUL Winter Challenge, coming up…

…Especially if Bill Fornshell and the gang can figure out a way to put the Xtreme on a serious weight loss program.