User Review: MSR PocketRocket
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $39.95 USD
Best little stove I have ever used while backpacking. Yeah, you can go with a lighter alcohol stove, but this little bugger is so reliable I wouldn't choose anything else.
- Low cost
- Hard to clean
Set-up is simple: Take the stove out of the case, screw onto your IsoPro fuel canister, open up the fuel control, light, and enjoy. I have people tell me all the time to light your lighter before turning on the gas but I have not had a problem with this yet. I use my PocketRocket primarily for boiling water for coffee and Mountain House meals. The IsoPro fuel canisters come in the 8 oz and 16 oz size, and despite the warnings on MSR's website, you can use this stove with pretty much any mix of IsoPropane or IsoButane.
As long as your lighter is working then you will light this stove. I have even used just a spark when my lighter has "mysteriously" ran out of fluid.
The burner on the PocketRocket is adjustable by a wire knob on the bottom of the stove. It is marked with a small "+" and "-" on the knob that shows you which way to turn the knob to increase or decrease the amount of IsoPro to put off.
This little stove makes cooking a breeze. Even with my old MSR Alpinist 2 pot set, boiling water never took any longer than seven minutes and as short as one minute depending on how much water I was boiling. Very consistent flame even if you have minimal fuel left in your canister.
In sheltered conditions, I would place the boiling time of 1 liter of water at around three and a half to three and three-quarters minutes (1 liter equals about .3 gallons). MSR gives the burn time for an 8 oz IsoPro canister at about 60 minutes.
Although the stove does stay lit during high wind, the flame is diminished severely without a windscreen (the PocketRocket does NOT come with a windscreen so I would highly recommend that you buy/make one if you plan on using this stove in alpine or mountainous conditions). I would say that the boiling time of 1 liter of water is extended to around five and a half minutes in windy enough conditions (25mph and greater).
I usually only use my PocketRocket to boil enough water to add to Mountain House meals (around two cups), so I have only boiled large amounts of water three or four times. I have owned my PocketRocket for around a year now and have only recycled fuel canisters four times (I am on my eighth canister and I use my PocketRocket almost three times per month). For a given canister of fuel (8 oz), you can expect to boil around 16 liters of water, or 2 liters per 1 oz of IsoPro fuel.
Stability-wise, the PocketRocket leaves a bit to be desired, but what can you expect out of one of the lightest backpacking stoves in the world?! After switching to the SnowPeak TI Mini Solo Cookset, I saw an immediate difference in stability (and weight!!) that I did not have with my MSR Alpinist 2 cookset.
The stove packs away into the 4 x 2 x 2 red plastic carrying case the comes with the MSR PocketRocket. It is a mere 3 oz without the plastic carrying case but I've found that it protects my things from the small amount of soot that has accumulated on the burner. If you're really concerned about the 1.2 oz plastic case, just don't take it.
I have used this stove three times on the 80 mile Springer Mtn. to Bly gap, 40 miles on the Florida trail,and I use it on all my car camping/ weekend trips. I have used it in conditions ranging from flood conditions and heavy rain, to temps down into the low 30s, to normal sunny conditions and it has yet to fail me. Bottom line: I would recommend this to everyone from a beginner looking for an inexpensive backpacking stove to a seasoned veteran trying to to go as light as possible without sacrificing consistency.