The MSR Pocket Rocket backpacking stove is one of the most inexpensive stoves of its type. It packs quite a punch for its low price tag however, and coming from MSR you’re right to always expect quality. You will spend very little time with the setup and more time on the trail.
It’s geared towards people who want to spend more time hiking, and less time cooking.
The burner itself attaches to the top of a canister, and you’re ready to cook. If you are after a stand alone burner with an attachable canister, you should take a look at the MSR WhisperLite model.
Setup and Design Features
One of the major plus points to this stove is how simple and durable it is. Keeping it simple is a big plus when out backpacking, it’s a plug and type of stove. You don’t need to worry about it becoming damaged in your backpack, plus it comes with a hard case to add some extra stability.
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The dimensions are 4.1″x 2.1″ x 2″, and it weighs in at an incredibly light 3 oz. The name Pocket Rocket is certainly apt in this instance, it’s a small stove that will easily fit into your shirt pocket and boils 1 liter of water in under 3.5 minutes. It burns isobutane, and has a precise control valve to control the flame.
The Pocket Rocket stacks up well against other stoves in its range. Although it is less expensive than the others, so that’s something to take into consideration. However, the MSR Reactor does have a slightly quicker boiling time along with a few additional features.
The Pocket Rocket is a popular stove among backpackers due to it’s small, lightweight, and affordable price tag. You can boil water, warm food, and cook some small meals. It folds down and back up with ease, and only takes a few seconds.
The MSR Pocket Rocket does come with a tri-sectional windclip shield to help protect the flame, and add improve economy. It’s not the most stable of units though, and you need to use care and attention when using it.
MSR Pocket Rocket vs Jetboil Flash
Let’s take a look at the MSR Pocket Rocket vs Jetboil Flash as most agree that these two are similar models, but both have their pros and cons that may sway you one way or the other when deciding what exactly you want from a small camping stove.
Price – The MSR is a lot less expensive than the Jetboil, which does come as a bit of a surprise. But it’s not something anyone is going to complain about, plus, you can be sure anything under the MSR brand is going to be reliable and perform really well.
If cost is the going to be the dealbreaker or you just want the least expensive option from a reputable brand then check out the Pocket Rocket.
Performance – The Pocket Rocket boils water just under or around 3 and a half minutes. While the Jetboil takes around 5 minutes. So the speed edge goes to the MSR, but the frugal among us will be aware that it’s burning a lot more fuel.
If you want speed it’s the MSR, if you want economy it’s the Jetboil.
Weight and size – The Pocket Rocket weighs just 3oz, it’s hard to believe it’s so light, but it is. The Jetboil weighs 13.2oz, which ordinarily would be considered a lightweight stove but compared alongside the MSR it looks like a heavyweight!
If weight is a factor is choosing a stove then it doesn’t get much lighter than the MSR. At least not while delivering this performance and quality.
For a visual and some extra information on how these two stoves compare, check out this video:
- Simple, durable design
- Very quick to set-up and use
- Boils water quickly
- Very small and convenient as a backpacking stove
- Legs can be a little unstable in bad weather conditions
- Tall stem also makes the Pocket Rocket unstable
Find a suitable place to position this stove, hard, flat ground is the best due to it’s small centre of gravity. If you try situating it on uneven ground you will end up holding it in place, it’s just not worth the hassle unless it is absolutely necessary.
For safety, use the pocket as a backup stove on larger group trips. If there is an issue with the main stove or if you need an extra burner it’s always handy. Plus you will barely notice it in your pack.
Making the Most of Fuel Efficiency
We all want our fuel canisters to last a long as possible. Not only to save a few bucks in the long run but the canister is one of the more bulky and heavy items for some people. I recommend traveling with a spare incase of emergencies, and here are some tips to help stretch out the fuel longer:
Keep the canister warm – Warm canisters will burn less fuel when starting up. Just simply wrapping up the cannister to insulate it while storing it will make a difference.
Shield the flame – Using wind breakers and shielding the flame from wind and other weather conditions will let the flame burn under less stress.
Invert the canister – Some canisters allow you to invert them, this means you’re feeding liquid fuel into the stove and helps use less fuel.
Don’t run it on max – If you’re in a hurry or hungry it’s always tempting to run your stove at max but this is a quick way to waste fuel. Try turning it down a notch or two and you’ll see the cannister lasting a lot longer.
Don’t boil fresh water – You only really need to boil water is you’re purifying it. When cooking and making drinks you can stop before boiling point, you’re not going to drink water that’s boiling hot anyway, are you?
MSR Pocket Rocket Stove Summary
MSR make some of the best backpacking stoves on the market. The MSR XGK is also a highly rated stove, and is an example of the quality you are buying into when choosing a MSR stove. The Pocket Rocket is a no frills stove, but that is its best feature. You can put this stove in your backpack, head off hiking, and use it at a moments notice without any problems.
The MSR Pocket Rocket may not be the best backpacking stove on the market, but it’s hard to argue against it being the best value for money. I’d recommend this stove for beginners, or casual outdoors people or folks who are just looking for an ultralight stove.
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