User Review: MSR Reactor
Price Paid: $85
Got it today and couldn't wait to fire it up. Got home, read the instructions started it up. Got a weird blue flame hovering over the entire grill, instructions say turn off and try again. It turns off like a champ, no little wisps of flame, off is off. Started it up again... WOW hot red glowing grill in 5 seconds the trick is not doing 3 full turns, (as instructions state) but 1-3 half turns.
The first thing I noticed is commercial but cool looking none the less, it has a MSR logo emblazoned in flame on the inside, hard to describe, looks really, really cool (like a neon light). So I put a liter on with the lid and started a timer. After about 2min15secs the pot started making noise, I couldn't believe it would be boiling after just 2 mins so I took the top off, no boil. I put the top back on and about 30 secs later it was howling, took off top, no boil. I gave it 10 secs for the loss of heat and looked under at 3min10sec and whaddya know, boiling water. I am really impressed.
Playing with the heat I took off the pot and tried to determine the difference in settings. It seems like there are two. About 1/8th a turn gives you a low, and the next 5 full turns give you a volcano. I couldn't get my hand within 10-12 inches above or around the edges. As soon as you put the pot on you can move your hand to within less than an inch. I was too afraid to actually touch the welded on wind screen but imagine it wouldn't burn me. So instructions say wait 5 mins for the stove to cool down before packing. With other stoves they are still pretty hot at this point.
After 1 min I touched it and could keep my finger on the stove itself, pretty warm/hot. 2 mins and it was comfortable to hold. I poured the water into a nalgene, a little spillage. The smallest pour spout would be such a nice addition. Given the depth of pot and weight at bottom with welded on heat exchange in relation to handle placement it is a bit unruly when it comes to pouring. I can see that it will take practice to get a precise pour. I myself will keep it solely for water boiling, don't want to let food give it any chance.
Possibly the most impressive and amazing part of the whole package is the way it packs up. When you use a 8oz MSR cannister the whole thing folds away into the pot, no big deal right? Wrong, the rubber stopper on the lid flushes up perfectly with the top of the cannister inside the pot. It makes the whole thing clank proof. It just stays perfectly stable inside the pot, no rattel at all. The weight isn't spectacular and you do need a cannister but it is sooooo convenient.
pros: Lightning fast boil time, coolest looking flame output I've ever seen, whole package fits and stows into awesome package. INSANE heat exchange. SIMPLE SIMPLE SIMPLE, no add-ons,(windscreen, baseplate, etc.) because of the lightspeed boils it saves fuel/weight.
cons: after a second liter boil I realized the lid kind of vacuums itself on and will hit you with steam when you lift it up (also when boiling kind of rocks about), hard to tilt pour, pricier than other stoves, not ultra-light, cannister only option.
I will leave a rating after I have used it more, I will be up in the Sierras for the next couple days so I will put it through its paces. On first use though it is a really impressive, innovative stove.