MSR Pocket Rocket – a review

Well, back to reviews for now. I bought this little beastie about 3 years ago when I was looking a for a lightweight gas burner to replace my vastly over heavy Trangia. Not having used gas for a number of years I had no real idea as to what constituted a good stove. All I really wanted was a cheapish, small lightweight stove for backpacking with. I did the usual trawling through online gear shops, the occasional real shop and reading reviews. Alot of stoves were much of a muchness so why did I plump for the MSR Pocket Rocket? Well, MSR as far as I could ascertain had a good rep as a company and there were a lot of positive reviews of the Pocket Rocket itself. I found a retailer selling it for around £20 so I thought it was worth a punt.

msr pocket rocket

msr pocket rocket

Upon receipt of the stove, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it came in its own triangular plastic case which was a bonus. The stove unit itself is very simply designed with a minimalistic approach. The 3 arms of the stove open out to create the pot stand and on testing with a variety of pans, appeared to give a stable platform. The gas regulator is a simple wire “key” but there is no piezo electric ignition but then thats less things to go wrong. The stove is well built and pleasingly simple and folds up very small when not in use. It also weighs in at an impressive 78g which although is not the lightest stove out there it is still pretty good.

The perfect set?

The perfect set?

Ok, so how does it work in the field? The stove is recommended to run on MSR’s own Iso-propane cannisters although I have always used Coleman ones and never had a major problem. The burn on the stove is quite fierce and achieves a very even regular blue flame and rapidly heats up whatever you happen to be cooking. At some point I suppose I could do some “time to boil” trials but I cant be bothered for the moment. I am satisifed with the fact that compared to my Trangia meths burner the Rocket is very quick indeed. The only thing to mention, and this applies to all gas cannister stoves as far as I can see, is that in very cold weather the performance diminishes the longer you use it. This is presumably because as the liquid fuel leaves the cannister and expands to a gas, the effect is for the cannister to cool down severely and restrict the flow of fuel to the burner. That aside, I have found the stove to perform really well in a variety of situations and conditions.

I do use meths burners as well and have acquired a few lightweight pop-can style ones over the past couple of years. The advantage of meths is that it doesn’t suffer the same way as gas in the cold weather therefore, for me, the use of meths and a lightweight burner in the depths of winter and the Pocket Rocket for the rest of the year make perfect sense. In the 3 years since I have owned the Pocket Rocket, I have used it extensively and found it to be tough and virtually infallible.

Pro’s:

Lightweight

Simple

Extremely good flame and cooking performance

Small

Own carry case

cheap

Cons:

Nothing really apart from a generic loss of performance for gas burners in very cold weather

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About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
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13 Responses to MSR Pocket Rocket – a review

  1. blogpackinglight says:

    I like gas for the convenience. I have a Pocket Rocket, but even better is the Snow Peak GST100 (87g with piezo ignition, removable). The pot supports are more stable and the burner head spreads the flame better. Also has a very low carbon monoxide output. The downside is that it is very expensive. Beautifully engineered, though. Worth using canister feet as well, I use the Jetboil ones.

  2. backpackbrewer says:

    Robin!
    Now I will have to have a look at that stove and if I am “forced” to buy it, it will be all your fault….
    🙂

  3. John Y says:

    If you run the Pocket Rocket at a lower setting, it uses a lot less gas to boil the same amount of water. I usually open mine between half and three quarters of a turn. It takes a bit longer but the saving in gas is considerable.

  4. backpackbrewer says:

    Thanks John. Yes, you are right. The other bonus is in the winter, regulating the gas down will even out the performance more. Its just that on full throttle its like having a jet engine in your porch! 🙂

  5. Roger says:

    Gas is good, and I use a Brunton (Optimus) Crux. Though I would rather carry an alcohol or Esbit stove.

  6. backpackbrewer says:

    I do like alcohol stoves but occasionally the pure power of a gas stove is really nice! 🙂

  7. This is a great little stove. Like you, I’ve had mine for a number of years and it has never let me down. Yes, four season gas can be sketchy when it’s very cold but, all in all, it’s been superb.

    Like many, I am now experimenting with a meths burner but gas is very convenient, if not the most ‘sustainable’ option.

  8. backpackingbongos says:

    I have a pocket rocket and stopped using it after I had a problem getting Coleman gas cannisters to fit. No problem for years and then all of a sudden they would not work with it. Some would work and some would not – apparently something to do with the length of the metal nozzle. MSR one’s always worked well but are harder to find. I ended up with a meths stove and have never tried the Pocket rocket since – maybe no problems now?

    • backpackbrewer says:

      not had this problem. Been using Coleman gas cylinders all the time and bought a couple recently with no issues. Have also tried another manufacturer’s gas but cant remember the name of it. And yes, MSR cannisters are definitely harder to come by!

  9. I like your review! I have owned this stove for quite a while too. Don’t think i’ll ever replace it. If you want you can check out my blog at http://www.kingofdiamonds1.blogspot.com It has what i like to think is a pretty good review of the stove. Lots of pics and a little more detailed. Congrats on the good review backpackbrewer! I’ll def. be back to check out more of your articles!

  10. backpackbrewer says:

    thank you King of Diamonds! 🙂

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