MSR Pocket Rocket
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Weighing well under 100 grams, the pocket rocket is the baby of the MSR stove range. That said, it's size is deceptive - the rocket is stable, durable and has great flame control.
MSR Pocket Rocket Reviews
Reviewed by Charlie (North west Scotland) on 2005-12-15:
General comments: The perfect stove for me because I hate carrying anything heavier than I have to, and this stove is as light as a stove could get I think. I have found that it takes slightly longer to boil a litre of water than it says on the packaging, but it's still pretty quick and my Epigas stove has gone into dignified retirement. Perfect stove for lightweight forays into the hills, particularly as it fits easily into MSR's titanium kettle, along with enough fuel to last a one night trip.
Pros: Super lightweight.
Easy to use.
Not many bits that could go wrong.
Reviewed by Andy Townsend (UK) on 2006-01-02:
General comments: An excellant pocket sized stove which is perfect for short breaks away. I've used this stove for a few years and its never let me done. Its perfect as it fits into the smallest pockets of your bag although it is still very stable with big pots on. It also cooks extremely quickly and is great for warming tents on those very cold nights, (although i dont recommend that anyone does this). Not sure on how many times i've changed the canisters on the stove but they seem to last almost half a year at a time with decent useage.
Pros: Folds up very small and cooks very fast.
Cons: May not be suitable for huge pots.
Reviewed by Mat J (Staffs) on 2006-01-11:
General comments: Well, I've used this stove for a couple of years and if weight is your biggest concern by a long way then it's ideal. It's perfect for boiling water and cooking boil in the bag meals. However, if you actually want to be able to cook any real food it's difficult.
The pocket rocket produces a very small very hot spot on the pan which means it burns the food in an instant. That said, it is by no means impossible to cook a proper meal on, just be prepared to be constantly moving the pan around on the stove.
The supports are very strong considering how thin they appear, and gas seems to last quite well. The control is quite sensitive, so you can turn the flame down to simmer something. Also, the control is easy to operate with gloves on.
The other problem with the pocket rocket is that its performance drops dramatically in the wind. It has three tiny 'wind shields' on the burner head which seem to make little difference.
It suffers with the usual canister stove problems, i.e. it can be quite unstable and the canister can freeze if you're using it in the cold.
Pros: Very light weight
Boils water fast.
Cons: Unstable. Useless in strong wind.
Reviewed by Adam Round (Lincoln) on 2006-02-02:
General comments: A very light and versatile stove. I've used this for both camping weekends away in the car, backpacking and for making a brew on the hill. I think the highlight of the Pocket Rockets career in my bag has been reheating home-made spag-bol in the shadow of The Ben's summit shelter after ascending the CMD arete last winter. The look on the climbers faces as they sipped their thimbles of manky flask coffee!
Anyway! I use it with a set of copper bottom pans, and its true, if you leave your beans on it without moving it around, it does weld them to the bottom. It can be a bit unstable, as with most canister-mounted stoves, but this can be solved by using rocks to steady it. Its worth making sure you are upwind of it in exposed areas too.
Its by no means the perfect stove, but its beauty lies in its size and lightweight. It comes in a handy plastic box that can be wedged anywhere in your pack.
The only problem I've had is that you have to make sure that you really screw the canisters on tight, or it just doesn't burn right. You end up with a really small flame. The pan supports seem to go to a point rather than flat, so keep your pans steady (as with any stove).
Brilliant little stove which reminds me of those Bunsen burners at school!
Pros: Lightweight, compact, boils water fast
Cons: Not the most stable, on the whole or for a litre of water in a pan
Reviewed by graham slater (carlisle) on 2007-07-29:
General comments: excellent. Gets the job done quickly and effortlessly. Small compact and weighs hardly anything. A great bit of kit.
Pros: weight, speed, compact
Cons: Tends to heat the middle of pan mainly gotta keep stiring
Reviewed by De (Huddersfield) on 2007-11-27:
General comments: Fantastic little burner!
I have used a Trangia in the past but now I been converted to this little beauty. Pocket Rocket is so small and compact and lightweight. My Pocket Rocket fits into a mess tin with small gas canister and lighter and other bits of cooking equipment. So everything’s conveniently in one place.
It’s far less hassle compaired to a Trangia. . . no messing about with fuel or cleaning the bottom of pans. Pretty quick at boiling water and you can speed this up by using a lid to cover your pan!! In windy conditions the flame can dance around, increasing the time to heat up your food. I found that making a wind breaker overcomes this issue.
Like other canister stoves using it on uneven ground is an issue, but generally you can always find a flat space.
I wouldn’t go on any camping trip without my pocket rocket. I used it for boiling water, cooking dinner. . . . pasta and sauce, sausages!!!
The red container it comes in is a good colour, easy to find in your bag, or tent, or long grass and it protects the stove and the rest of your kit.
Pros: Lightweight, small, nice container to store it in!
Cons: I haven't found any that you can't overcome!
Reviewed by William Morrison (Whitley bay) on 2009-05-07:
General comments: A great little stove and very powerful. After much web hunting I picked this stove for my first backpacking trip for 30 years (in the scouts) and was very pleased with it
Pros: Very light and comes in a neat wee red box, to keep it from getiing damaged
Reviewed by Cameron McMurdo (Glasgow) on 2010-02-27:
General comments: I used a Primus 1/2 pint stove since I started camping, as far as I was concerened this was the only stove any self respecting camper would use,
My friend was of a similiar view. We are both not getting any younger and the packs seem to be getting heavier and heavier each year. He purchased the Pocket Rocket I scoffed, how wrong I was. What a beautiful bit of kit. Works well camping or bothying, I can get a full weekends cooking and multi brews out of a standard gas cartridge. Its light easy to use and very quick, I was most surprised how quickly it can boil a pot of water. No more paraffin or messy priming now,
Pros: Light quick relaible
Cons: can be a wee bit unstable on the ground.
Reviewed by Eiran Cooper (Stockholm) on 2010-11-26:
General comments: Great wee lightweight stove, small and incredibly light it easily fits into it's sibling the Titan kettle along with enough fuel for one or two nights limited use. As above, I find it takes longer to boil water than it says on the box. I think this probably has something to do with laboratory as compared with mountain conditions since the windier it is, the longer it takes to boil. I find that I almost always have to build a small windbreak out of stones to get anywhere even if there is just a moderate breeze. I have you used this method to great effect in boiling a much needed cup of tea on the summit of Ben Macdhui in a gale! That said the stove is incredibly light and reliable. Another plus is that you can take it completely apart on the mountain (so long as you have your leatherman handy) and clean it out. I've found dirt to be the problem (starch from boiled over pasta tends to be the culprit) when I wasn't getting a strong enough flame. A quick clean and you're ready to go again. As above it can be a bit unstable but common sense is all that is required in choosing the most stable ground to site it upon. It all but replaced my Trangia when I bought it 5 years ago, and since then has been a tireless workhorse, probably notching up 100 hours or more. It may be relegated to then bench soon if I can get hold of a Caldera Cone woodburning coke can stove. Not that the Pocket Rocket isn't up to the job, but not having to carry in fuel when I'm camping in the forest gives the Caldera somewhat of an absolute advantage.
Pros: Lightweigh, tough (my one is 5 years old), compact, reliable, fairly quick
Cons: Fairly unstable, takes practice in sheltering in the wind
Reviewed by Brian Hamilton (Scotland) on 2011-02-25:
General comments: The MSR Pocket Rocket is a functional, flawless and brilliantly engineered stove. There are a lot of similar stoves out there but I have seen none that tick every box and do it so well.
For a start the gas adjusting handle folds up along with the pan supports and the stove slips neatly inside an included red plastic tote box. The box is awesome as previous stoves I have owned have caught on other items in my backpack. The Pocket Rocket is held neatly in there and you can throw it in your pack and forget about it.
Although the Pocket Rocket is shown with an attached can of MSR gas in reality it can be fitted to Go-Gas and Coleman canisters and no doubt many others. Indeed, the instruction manual states what gas mixes the stove can take. The screw-fit attachment seems pretty universal so there is no issue with finding gas. I have read about people struggling to find the small MSR canister pictured here but I use and easily obtain Coleman canisters of the same size.
A big bug bear of stoves like this is they become very top heavy when a pan full of water or food is placed on the stove. A simple solution to this that I employ in the field is to simply dig a hole in the ground the same dimension as the canister and then stick the stove in the ground. With a little practice the hole can be constructed so as to grip the side of the canister and you only have the stove part of the assembly above ground level, this increases stability no end.
In use the stove can be lit with a lighter or even a firesteel. The flame is steady, blue and very loud. It can be adjusted very precisely and when in use you can feel the quality of the components, just try it and you'll see what I mean. The tri-clip windshield glows red hot when in use. The stove will throw out a fearsome amount of heat and a hot-wet can be slapped together in minutes.
In short I can't recommend this stove highly enough, I was guided to it by a friend who is ex-forces and he told me that literally hundreds of his colleagues used these stoves in uber harsh conditions from the desert to ultra low temperatures in Kosovo and other hot spots. Good enough for them, good enough for me.
Totally recommended for the ultra-light camper.
Cons: None, the stove looks flimsy but works time after time with no complaint
Reviewed by Wildrover (Scotland) on 2011-07-22:
General comments: Brilliant little stove for a day out in the hills or fishing. Fits inside the Titan Kettle with a small gas cannister - brew heaven. I take a foil type windshield, as already said, it's poor in any wind. I used to take an old Optimus 96 but this is handier although doesn't get the same bankside stove envy....
Pros: Portability & power
Cons: None really for what it is.