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245
4.6 out of 5 stars
MSR PocketRocket Stove
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173 of 178 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2011
I'm a gear freak. I own 3 Whisperlites (2 I got cheap), a Jetboil (gift) and a Pocket Rocket (from REI around 2005 I think). I have several other odd stoves too. While they all had their place their niche use has been squeezed out by the excellent Pocket Rocket.

I've always been a fan of MSR Whisperlite stoves and have used them for 20 years. About 5 years ago I considered a canister type stove as white gas stoves have the downside of the fuel smell and the extra time to pump and warm/prime the stove. I wanted a more convenient lightweight stove I could use on day hikes, fishing/hunting trips and to make a quick cuppa on chilly rock climbing days. After some research, I found the MSR Pocket Rocket was the lightest and most powerful stove of it's type. It was also less than $35 so cheaper than it's competition. It was easily the best at that time, and might still be.

I have used mine almost every weekend for years, in every season, on day trips and on several multi day trips and now always take it as an emergency stove with a titanium pot, when I venture into the wild, even in winter. Together with a lightweight pole-less 2 man bothy shelter I have all the gear I need to survive a night out in relative comfort at the weight of about a liter of water. When it's that cold I keep the canister in a warm jacket pocket but it has boiled water successfully at 12,000 feet in February, in Colorado. The speed of deployment and fast boil times even in harsh environments mean my Whisperlite gets little use these days.

There are low star reviews of it being unstable. I have never found this to be the case with the larger canister. There are 2 canister diameter sizes, the small one (jetboil size) is going to be unstable with a large full pot on anything but a picnic table, but I typically only use the small canister with a small titanium pot or enamel cup. I have the old MSR Alpine Cook set and both large and medium pots work well with the larger canister.

The complaints about the heat being too central is somewhat correct. It is a very powerful stove with a small head so the heat is central and will create a hot spot, that will burn your food if you're not careful. However if you're boiling water this is an advantage and why it's boil times are so fast. If you then add your dehydrated meal to the pot you must turn the stove down. The stove will simmer on a very low heat (something Whisperlites are poor at) and if I do burn my food, it's generally my fault.

A fuel saving tip (discovered as the solution to Whisperlites simmering issues) is to boil the water, add the dehydrated food, stir, heat again, stir again and turn off the stove. Place somewhere safe and wrap it in something warm (jacket, sleeping bag etc) and leave it for an extra 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. It'll cook no problem, you might want to add a burst of heat if necessary. I usually get to my camp spot, get out my stove, get the food cooking, wrap the pot and then start setting up my tent. By the time that's done my food is ready.

The isopropane canisters are resealable so you can switch them out easily. I'll save the canisters with only enough gas left for one or two boils, for day trips like rock climbing/fishing. Two midsized canisters will last a 4 day backpacking trip for me. For multi day trips I would recommend 2 canisters in case one leaks. While that never happened to me, I guess it's possible, and there are stories of back packs blowing up from leaking canisters (I should check snopes or mythbusters on the truth to that!).

The trade off of weight does mean you have to be careful with it. It's not very rugged and I have bent the pot legs a number of times, they do bend right back though. I keep mine in the hard plastic container it came with, which will just fit a small bic lighter in as well. It's a wiggle but it does fit if you slide both in at the same time.

After many years of extensive use and as a standby "just in case", it still functions like new. I highly recommend this stove and if I lost mine I would replace it with another identical one without hesitation. Mine does not have a piezo ignition built in and that would be a welcome feature addition. I always have a fire steel lighter with me as a back up to the stowed bic lighter, and because it's a smart, lightweight thing to carry in the wild.

A titanium pot, and pocket rocket is lighter than a Jetboil. I own one of them too and hardly ever use it. A Jetboil requires you to use their pot while a Pocket Rocket does not. I paid $15 on CraigsList for a titanium pot but frequently just use an over sized dollar store enamel mug, so comparing cost to a $100 jetboil, the Pocket Rocket wins again (by about $50!). It's only a few bucks more than the cheapo walmart stoves and will outperform them considerably.

The only time the MSR Whisperlite is my "go to" now is multi day high mountain cold weather trips where keeping the canister warm may not be possible. While I bought the Pocket Rocket to fill a niche on day trips it has expanded to become my go to stove in almost every other situation. The pros far outweigh the cons of this stove and it is definitely a 5 star rated piece of kit.
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88 of 95 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2005
MSR's Pocket Rocket is a great little cooker. Best for going light and fast. Perfect as a shared stove among two people, and even better for simple boiling or melting snow for drinking water. I would suggest this stove for use with a maximum pot capacity of two liters, more than this and it becomes a little unstable.

If your menu is simple and you live on instant meals that require only boiling water this is the stove for you. Because this is a stove designed for the minimalist, it is tiny and has a very concentrated hot spot, so if you are a backcountry gourmet and want to cook pancakes and eggs you might be better off with a stove that has a larger flame spread. Again, great for boiling water and melting snow, but not for actual cooking.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2009
This is a great bit of kit, I have used it for the last 3 years and it just keeps on going. One word sums it up, simplicity. It has very few moving parts which means not much can go wrong. I have drowned this stove in near freezing water and had a hot brew on before my fingers were dry.
I advise people to think long and hard about the electric start models, just something else to go wrong when it's -4 and raining...
The compactness comes at a cost, as was mentioned by one of the other reviewers, the three supports can make it a bit difficult to balance stuff on but a small price for the benefit of its size.
As a side note, I've found that the MSR brand cylinders tend to last lightly longer than other brands.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2011
This stove is probably one of the easiest to operate, very basic yet has the ability to control the flame-temp. The stove is small and compact therefore making it almost the perfect choice for backpackers looking to keep weight down. I generally prefer white gas model stoves due to the fact for me the fuel is MUCH easier to find than the fuel canisters this model uses and cheaper too, BUT i perfer taking this stove along if Im not planning on staying long or cooking alot of food because i find it a tad easier just to throw this in a pack with a canister of fuel and hit the road. No worries about the possibility of spilling gas all over your stuff from a fuel bottle, ive never had a fuel canister leak. The downside of this stove is being tippy when you place a pan on top therefore having to make sure you place the stove on a level surface. Of course in the great outdoors things are rarely perfectly level so gotta be careful it doesnt tip over spilling hot liquid all over you! Another red checkmark against this stove is COLD weather, if you plan on taking this out in 20f degree weather or colder you may have to place the fuel canister inside your coat to help kinda warm it up. I've tested this stove out in -8f temp and it failed with a weak flame, i ended up building a fire instead. Also this stove doesnt perform as well as my dragonfly on windy days so you may have to rig a windbreak to keep the flame going. Other than those things i would recommend this stove to folks that dont want to spend alot for the stove itself and dont want to fiddle with white gas stoves...These stoves are pretty much idiot proof.
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71 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2010
I've had this burner for 4 years, and I've come to the conclusion that the few ounces you save in weight with this stove aren't worth the hassle. Frankly, it is tipsy. You see how in the picture each leg has a flat spot for the pot to rest on? Well in reality the legs do not open all the way, and the pot ends up resting on three points, the "elbows" of the three arms. This is precarious and if your pots have anti-stick coating on the outside, forget about it. When water starts to boil the bubbling action is enough to threaten to topple everything over. I have spilled boiling water on my hand because of this.

Overall this product should only be considered by those who place a very high premium on minimizing their pack weight. For all others it's worth getting a slightly heavier, but more stable model.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2007
My wife and I bought this several years ago as part of an effort to reduce our pack weights. It has performed splendidly since we bought it. It runs fine on MSR fuel as well as Snow Peak's fuel, so you can shop for the lower price. The hot spot is rather small, so you may not want to do a lot of frying/baking with it, but it is perfect for heating water for dehydrated meals, hot drinks, and oatmeal. The stove would get five stars from me if it had a wind screen and was more fuel efficient--the difference in fuel usage between this stove and our earlier MSR Rapidfire was not huge, but it was noticeable enough that we still use the Rapidfire for car camping. Still we're not willing to add the weight and bulk of the Rapidfire back into our packs. Since the Pocket Rocket does not come with a wind screen, the tin folding screen from our Rapidfire does double duty (and you too will need one with the Pocket Rocket). Both stoves require virtually no maintenance. The Pocket Rocket is a great value for those trying to pack it light.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2011
I have had this stove for about 8 years and it still works as well as the day I got it. I have used it close to 100 times. The only complaint I have is that if you need to simmer something like pasta, you have to constantly stir it or it will get burnt to the bottom of the pot due to the concentrated flame. Other than that, this thing is awesome. It boils a good size pot of water in about 3 minutes. A few people have said that it is tipsy. That is true if you don't put it on flat ground. If you have a nice base, it is pretty darn stable. The size of this thing is amazing. I have an MSR fold away pot and this fits inside with my squishy bowls and utensils. I would recommend this thing to anyone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The MSR Pocket Rocket is perfect when you're working off of a simple menu. I boil water each day for both dehydrated meals and instant coffee. For that purpose, you won't find a more compact, simple, and reliable stove. I opted to get the MSR Universal Canister Stand to offer a little more stability for the base. The unit demands a bit of care and balance as it is, so the tripod leg support is helpful. Paired it up with a Snowpeak Trek 700 Titanium. The cookware balances across the micro-burner. It is not secured in place, but rather rests against notches. Herein lies the strength and weakness of the unit. It's simple. That means it is incredibly easy to set up, use, and pack up. But it also means there are no bells and whistles. Your setup will probably be a small unsecured pot or cup balancing over a strong flame. If you or a friend inadvertently bump it, you will most likely be spilling your boiling water or hot food on the ground (or yourself). I'm very happy with the stove. For my needs, it's great. I'm careful with it, and make sure my friends know where I have it set up when I'm cooking. Haven't had a spill yet, though my brother has. If you don't have simple tastes on the trail, or you're prone to accidents and spills, this might not be the best fit. Included some photos of my setup for a visual.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2009
I bought this a little over a year ago in preparation for a 50 mile hike on the AT. It performed wonderfully. Boils 2 cups of water in a little less than 2 minutes and is very fuel efficient. Because of its light weight, you'll want to set it up on flat ground. This stove is made to be compact and efficient. Don't expect to be boiling more than 2-3 cups of water at a time. It'll heat up to red hot in 30 seconds and be cool to the touch within 3-4 minutes.

I would buy this again in a heartbeat. Have found all of the MSR products I have to be high quality.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2014
I bought this stove before my deployment to Afghanistan in 2008. I had another MSR stove that ran on white gas, and it worked great when I was in the Boy Scouts doing backpacking trips. I decided to give this stove a try. My main concern with this stove was making coffee with a percolator while we were outside the wire, generally on observation posts and other places where I needed a quick hot flame. I shipped 4 IsoPro 12 oz containers of fuel over in our mass storage box. I can tell you, this thing works fast. Whether it be using a pot to boil water for heating up an MRE pouch or getting my percolator going in about 2 minutes or less with 12 full cups of water in sub zero temperatures. That said, it is also impressive on its use of fuel. Although I alternated the fuel cartridges, I still have 2 of them left after all this time. I used a total of 2 overseas in a year's time. No heat shields were used, and it still boiled fast. I will say that when storing, back off the valve a turn or two, in order to keep your seals intact. I carry one in each of my trucks for winter emergencies, as well as any time I go on the trail and need a fast way to get some hot water going. I definitely recommend anything MSR makes.
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