Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Review: MSR Pocket Rocket Stove

Review time! Time for a quick review of the MSR PocketRocket, I believe this in manufactured within the USA where Cascade Designs are based but it may be produced in Asia. 

RRP - £29.95
Weight - 119g
Boil time - 3.5 minutes (1litre of water)

MSR description - "The PocketRocket backpacking stove provides full cooking function in an incredibly efficient form. Barely noticeable in your pack, it delivers impressively in camp. Precision flame control goes from torch to simmer while our Wind Clip™ wind shield boosts efficiency in breezy conditions. The PocketRocket stove’s diminutive size is also the foundation of a solid emergency kit for home or trail."

Initial thoughts 

This bit of kit is one of the most widely favoured stoves in the world, it is very well known for its compact size, durability and efficient boil time - saying this, I didn't expect the thing to be so small! This is a really compact bit of kit and very lightweight. Perfect for when every gram matters and pack space is limited. For its size it feels really well made and very solid. 

Comes with a handy holder which isn't 100% necessary when out on the hill which allows you to shave 34g off the total weight which some people would love! As a big chap I'm not sure I'd notice losing 34g in the pack but I'd certainly notice if my stove got damaged so I keep it in the holder. Also helps for finding the stove as it's very diddy!

Field testing

This stove was certainly on the Scottish expedition kit list so field testing took place over 3 days in the Scottish Highlands with some other testing taking place on Dartmoor and Snowdonia. 

The quick boil time came in super handy for keeping us warm once we'd stopped walking - keeping warm and hydrated is key out on the hill - the joy of a boiling hot coffee after 12 hours of walking is something euphoric! 

One of the biggest problems with this stove is the fact it sits straight on to a gas canister... not the safest of bases when you've got a litre of boiling water sitting on top! Positioning this stove on flat ground is key, if you can't find flat ground than you're a bit stuffed! This is very similar to the lightweight stoves due to the lightweight aspect of clipping directly on to gas. I wouldn't recommend using this kit with groups or customers because of the safety aspect. I'd go with a Trangia cooking system or one of the MSR Whisperlite which still keeps weight down but allows for a sturdier cooking system which won't tip over.

Gas efficiency could be better - it's easy to crank the stove up for that quick boil time but this can get through gas very quickly. We took 2 medium sized gas canisters for the 3 day trip being on the safe side and nearly finished off 1 of them. I'm sure this is something MSR and other manufacturers are trying to look at as pans become more efficient and the gas we burn becomes more efficient. 

I was impressed with how quick the stove cooled down - not sure if this is something MSR looked in to or just a happy coincidence! Really nice to let the stove cool down while eating and then pack away so no chance of it getting rained on. 

I first noticed how well made this stove was when it first came out of the packaging, I have to say this stove has met my expectations for durability. It's still perfectly solid after some vigorous use in Scotland, Snowdonia and up on Dartmoor, love kit that just keeps on working and it's hard to find these days! 

Positive points

Quick boil time
Very light

Not-so-positive points

Can get through gas quickly 
Not very sturdy 
Open flame


Really great piece of kit for personal use and when camping with a few friends. I really like how lightweight and tough this stove is and how well it can put up with being bashed around. Wasn't too happy with how stable the stove is especially with a pan on top but this is what keeps the stove so light. 

I'd definitely recommend this stove to a friend but I wouldn't recommend for group use due to the safety aspect.

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