MSR PocketRocket 2 Mini Stove Kit
isobutane/propane, MSR IsoPro
|Boil time for 1 L of water||
|Water boiled per 1 oz of fuel||
4 x 4 x 5 in
9.8 oz / 0.28 kg
This small stove kit, designed for minimalist solo…
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by MSR for testing and review)
This small stove kit, designed for minimalist solo backpacking includes the new MSR PocketRocket 2 stove, a pot grabber, a plastic cup/bowl, a cup lid, and an aluminum pot (.75L capacity). A small 4 oz. fuel canister (not included) will fit within component system. The entire system (not including fuel) weighs only 10 oz. Its small size, versatility, and efficient stove action make this an ideal stove kit for camping or backpacking.
- Compact and lightweight
- Components nest well
- Good temperature adjustment control
- Very simple and easy to use
- Cost effective as a complete system
- Can be unsteady with larger pot
- Plastic bowl not always visible (when on the pot)
- As with most canister stoves not efficient in really cold temperatures or strong wind
This stove kit arrived in a solid cardboard box, protecting the contents well. I have loved my original PocketRocket stove, and have used it for many years. However, MSR no longer makes the original PocketRocket Stove. This improved stove is .5 oz lighter, and demonstratively more compact than the original version.
The original PocketRocket ,and this newer version have nearly identical spacing of pot holder arms, and height when in position for use. However, the dual-hinged arms of the PocketRocket 2 result in its ability to fold smaller for storage. The burner head of the PocketRocket 2 is ¼ inch smaller diameter than the original.
A small plastic case is available from MSR for this new stove, but it is not necessary with the stove kit; such a case would negate the ability to nest the components, and the stove is protected by being enclosed within a hard pot.
The kit comes with the stove, as well as an aluminum pot, a pot lid, a plastic exterior cup, and a small mechanical pot grabber. In my testing period, I utilized each of these components while canoe camping, car camping, winter hut camping, and trailside while snowshoeing.
Metal Pot: This .75 L capacity hard-anodized aluminum pot is 4 inches high, with a diameter of 4 inches, and has a rubber sleeve around the outside edge, for safer grabbing of the pot. This sleeve is removable. The small size of this pot makes it perfect for the placement on the stove's support arms. The interior measurement designation stops at .5L, 1 3/8 inches below the top of the pot. For safe use, the practical capacity for boiling liquids would most likely be .5 L. The pot weighs approx. 3.75 oz.
Snap-on Lid: The lid snaps on ether the pot, or on the plastic cup/bowl. The BPA- free plastic lid has vents and a sipping opening. There is also a small rubber handle in the center, and a lifting tab on the side. The lid weighs less than an ounce.
Plastic Bowl: Described by MSR as a “hot and cold safe bowl” made of BPA -free plastic, this cup/bowl fits over the metal pot, and comes up to the base of the rubber sleeve on the pot. Its upper end measurement designation indicates a capacity of 12 oz. This bowl is made of a plastic that is translucent, and the same color as the lid. When placed over the dark grey of the pot, it essentially becomes invisible.
On the box, the photo of the kit apparently shows the bowl; however, it was not until I disassembled the components that I actually realized there was a bowl. My first thought was that it would be very easy to inadvertently place the pot on the stove, with the bowl still covering the pot. For my first few outings, I placed a small piece of orange duct tape on the bowl, to prevent such an occurrence. However, after time, that fell off, and sure enough, I did it…while using the stove in pre-dawn low light, the plastic bowl was not readily visible, and within seconds of putting the pot on the stove to boil water, I realized the bowl was melting! My error, but if the bowl were a different color, or contrasted with the pot material, it may still be intact.
Pot Grabber: This small pot grabber, a mini LiteLifter pot handle, works very well. It is, light (less than 1 oz), and fits well with the other components when nesting in the pot. Even with its diminutive size, I was able to use it successfully (no spilling!) with bare hands and also while wearing gloves. The basic hinged mechanism seems durable, and has worked in temperatures from below zero to the 70’s.
PocketRocket 2 Stove: Yes, the crux of the kit review! All the above described components would be useless without the stove itself, the small, compact, and efficient MSR PocketRocket 2. This is the newest MSR PocketRocket, replacing the no longer manufactured original version.
The stove is quite small and lightweight (2.75 oz). MSR reports it has 8,000 BTU power, with a boil time of 3:30 for 1L., said to be 25% faster than competitors' stoves.
I know that I used the stove in different conditions (rain, wind, snow) and both cold and warm temperatures, and found it to be an efficient, easy to use, quick boiling stove. The variables are many for fuel consumption (air temperature, how open the fuel valve is, canister capacity), but anecdotally, I feel that the fuel canisters last longer than with other similar stoves I have used.
I used the stove with different brands and sizes of fuel canisters, and its excellent performance did not change. The fuel canisters I used were the 4 oz. MSR Isopro, 4 oz. JetBoil Jetpower Isobutane, and 16 oz. North 49 Isobutane.
The stove is small, and when the surface on which I placed the stove warranted it, I used an MSR universal stove stand on the fuel canister for additional stability. This is especially important when using a larger pot. When the pot support arms are in position, they are approximately 4.5 inches apart at the ends.
The pot support arms are double hinged, so they can fold up compactly against the stove for storage. It can take a bit of manipulation to maneuver the third support arm down into nesting storage position, as it has to fit around the fuel adjustment lever.
I had been a little concerned that the multiple hinge design might negatively affect durability, but for the most part, those concerns have been unwarranted. The stove has received a lot of use, and has been packed and unpacked numerous times, but the support arms remain stable. I did have to slightly tighten up one of the hinge screws, using a small hex wrench, as it appeared to be getting slightly loose.
The connection to fuel canisters is easy, and the 1 inch long stove base (red), used to screw the stove to a fuel canister is easy to manipulate.
The fuel adjustment lever is easy to use, and controls fuel output well, for simmering as well as boiling. Lower temperature grilling, as well as higher temperature boiling has been successful during my uses.
I was able to check out the boiling time for this stove, using the small pot from the kit. I boiled water at different temperatures, and in windy and non-windy conditions.
While camping at 40 degrees (f) temperatures, the stove boiled 1 cup of water, to full boil (open pot/no lid) in 1 min. 15 seconds, with stove turned up to nearly maximum. The stove was on a rock on the ground for this use.
When placed in the snow, with air temperature of 26 degrees, and (the fuel can having been stored in my pack) it took 2 minutes to bring the same amount of water to a boil. There was a moderate wind, but I had placed the stove in a natural wind-break behind a rock, and used the pot lid only briefly.
When the temperatures got quite a bit colder, I did notice a reduction in performance for the stove. This is important information for me, since I like to carry a stove while snowshoeing, to make trailside coffee or cocoa. At 5 degrees, with a moderate wind, the stove worked fine. The canister had been kept warm inside a jacket, but then was outside for approximately 10 minutes before lighting. The stove lit without issue, and boiled 1 cup of water in 2 min. and 25 seconds, with the fuel valve fully open (open pot/no lid).
I repeated the test, at negative 5 degrees, and the starting and boiling times were almost identical. There was just a bit less wind for the negative 5 degree test, but essentially, the stove worked well in both temperatures. The water in both situations began to bubble before 2 minutes, but it took another 30 seconds or so before a full boil was reached (open pot, no lid).
I did try the stove in much colder temperatures, in a controlled environment, to see how it would function. The fuel canister was not completely cold (as I did not want to cause an explosion), but had been exposed to the -15 temperatures for a brief period. The stove did light, but sputtered, and the flame control was not effective. This was a quick test, and verified that temperatures that low are beyond the stoves functional capacity. For recommendation and or suggestions on safe cold weather use of canister stoves, the Trailspace forum has some great information (https://www.trailspace.com/forums/gear-selection/topics/48025.html )
I do feel comfortable using the stove, with a warmed fuel canister, in temperatures in the single digits. I am not sure that I would want to depend on it, though, as too many variables have to fall into place for effective use. In general, it boils a cup of water in 2-3 minutes, in a range of temperatures upwards, from slightly below zero (f)
Conclusion: The PocketRocket 2 is an effective, compact, and lightweight stove, suitable for basic cooking while backpacking, canoe camping, or trailside. The Mini Stove Kit is an efficient way to carry most essential cooking components for a single person, and takes up very little space in a pack. I would suggest that the exterior plastic cup/bowl of the kit be a different color, to prevent my low-light disaster of melting the bowl! Otherwise, I found the kit components, including stove, to be well-made and durable.
The Mini-Stove kit will retails for $79.95 msrp, and the stove alone retails for $44.95 msrp. This calculates to a Stove Kit component value of $35, very reasonable for a pot, lid, pot grabber, and hot/cold bowl. Certainly, the compact nesting ability of the kit makes me highly recommend the stove be purchased as part of the kit.