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.
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.
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.
Extremely good flame and cooking performance
Own carry case
Nothing really apart from a generic loss of performance for gas burners in very cold weather