Rating: 4 / 5
The XE version of Vargo's Triad is an improvement in several ways.
1. After I complained of the original removable alcohol burner being too small the company owner responded by making it larger so it just barely fit in the base and then he sent me the new, larger alky container free. MUCH better burn times and great customer service.
2. Priming an XE is now easier than trying to get the older Triad version going because you merely put alcohol in the base to prime the burner can. This priming method is easy to do and works well.
3. Filling the burner can is also easy. Just remove the lid and fill, then replace the lid and put the can in the base, in which you already have alky priming fuel waiting.
4. The best part of this stove is its versatility. Remove the alky burner can and now - TA DA! - you have an excellent ESBIT/FireLite fuel tab burner that can take TWO tabs, for faster cooking, a mode I always use.
I prefer fuel tabs for cooking because they are fast, a bit hotter than alcohol and lighter per BTU (See Zen Stoves fuel comparisons chart) I used this setup for a week backpacking the Grand Canyon.
Usually about 1/3 of the fuel tabs is unburned by the time the meal is cooked so I save them for the next meal, usually breakfast, where I have to add only one new tab.
Final Note: This is an interesting, versatile stove and, with the legs vertically inserted into the ground, is VERY stable. Yeah, there are hotter alky stoves out there but not more versatile ones. It should belong in most emergency survival kits with a good supply of fuel tabs &/or alcohol.