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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > MSR MicroRocket Stove > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

MSR MicroRocket Stove
By Raymond Estrella
OWNER REVIEW

June 21, 2014

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 53
LOCATION: North Western Minnesota, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 213 lb (96.60 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, Minnesota, and many western states. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly ultralight, I try to be as light as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot evening meals. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or my twin children.

The Product

Manufacturer: Mountain Safety Research, Inc. (MSR) MicroRocket
Web site: www.msrgear.com
Product: MicroRocket stove
Year manufactured: 2013
MSRP: US $59.95
Weight listed: 2.6 oz (73 g)
Actual weight: 2.61 oz (74 g)
Folded size: 3.25 in x 1.7 in diam.(94 x 43 mm)
Set-up size: 3.8 in high, 4 in diam. with pot
supports open (97 x 102 mm)
Image at right courtesy Cascade Designs

Quick & Dirty, Nitty Gritty

The smallest and lightest stove that MSR makes is as good as or better than any canister stove I have used to date. This tiny gas burner delivers big performance with fast boils while sipping the fuel. While I just used it for boiling water it simmers well for those times I may want to actually cook. Please read on for the details.

Product Description

The MSR MicroRocket stove (hereafter referred to as the MicroRocket or stove) is the company's smallest and lightest weight stove to date. They claim to have engineered it to be very efficient so as to keep the fuel weight down on long trips too. (More in my Observations on this.)

The burner is made of brass. It is 1.18 in (30 mm) in diameter. The fuel flows through 63 tiny holes in the slightly concave burner. On top of the burner is the WindClip, a "peace sign" looking deal that sticks up about in (6 mm) and acts as a wind block.

MicroCollage


Sitting to the side and below the burner are three folding/rotating pot supports. They are 2.56 in (65 mm) in length. When opened, the top side of the supports have their sawtooth-like serrations exposed. These are to help to hold pots in place. The pot stand is about 4 in (100 mm) in diameter when deployed.

Mounted on the side of the aluminum main body is a brass control valve. A formed steel wire handle is attached to the valve. On each side of the base is the MSR "mountain" logo.

The MicroRocket does not have a built-in ignition system, something I never look for in a stove as I find that they never worked at the higher elevations I hiked at for most of my life. What the MicroRocket does have is an included stand-alone (hold-alone?;-) piezo electric lighter. The 3.25 in (83 mm) long lighter has a push-down ignition button at the top that sparks the hidden piezo element at the other end. The wire for the igniter is inside what MSR calls the fuel gathering tube. I suppose the rising fuel gas collects in the tube and makes for more reliable starts. The lighter weighs 0.5 oz (14 g).

Last is the hard plastic carrying case that weighs in at 1.27 oz (36 g). It is 2.25 in (57 mm) in diameter and stands 3.25 in (83 mm) tall.

Field Conditions

rainy snowy trip


I used the MicroRocket on all of my 3-season hikes in 2013. All use was in the State of Minnesota (MN) including numerous backpacking trips to the Halstad/Hendrum areas on the Red and the Wild Rice Rivers on my side of the state (west), plus trips to Itasca State Park, Chippewa National Forest and Paul Bunyan and Smoky Hills State Forests for a total of about 23 days. Temps encountered ran from lows of 32 F to highs of 80 F (0 to 27 C) with a lot of rain, some hail and even snow on the last trip with it. I even took it on a late November trip (considered winter here) that saw temps drop to 0 F (-18 C) and a bit of snow covering the ground. I mentioned rain? In the picture above I am cooking under my Tarptent's vestibule. In the picture below the MicroRocket is sitting on a picnic table at a Fisherman's Campsite in Paul Bunyan State Forest as all my clothes dry from the hike in.

Wet everything

Observations

The first thing I did was to verify the claims made about the capabilities of the stove. MSR says that the MicroRocket will boil one liter of water in 3.5 minutes and that it will boil two liters of water per ounce of fuel (28.3 g). I conducted my tests with 65 F (18 C) water used in controlled conditions, with the fuel weighed after each boil. I tested it many times (and gave myself a CO headache in the process) using two different pans. One was the MSR Titan 1.5 L (51 fl oz) pot that I got just to use with the MicroRocket, and the other was the MSR Reactor 2.5 Pot (85 fl oz) pot that is made for use with the Reactor Stove, but that fits just fine on the MicroRocket's pot supports. I should note that MSR does NOT recomend the 2.5 for use with any stove but the Reactor. I just wanted to include the times I got with my experiment. (If they ask I will have to remove this, so read fast...)

With the Titan pot I could boil 1 L in 4 minutes with 10 g (0.35 oz) of fuel by weight used. I am more concerned with the time and fuel it takes to boil 2 cups (473 ml) of water as that is the standard measure that I use for the majority of my freeze-dried meals. With the Titan pot it takes 65 seconds to start boiling and uses 5 g (0.18 oz) of fuel per boil.

The Reactor 2.5 Pot would get to boiling in just 2:55 for the 1 L test and used 9 g (0.32 oz) of fuel. The same pot smoked with the 2 cup amounts, starting to boil at 35 seconds, with full blasting boils at 50 seconds and averages of 3.75 g (0.13 oz) of fuel used.

In the field the MicroRocket worked flawlessly. While I have had a lot of problems with piezo lighters at high elevation in California, the lower elevations of MN allowed it to work without a hitch. It is easy to depress the button to activate the ignitor. Many of my trips were in wet weather but the humidity never bothered the lighter or the stove itself.

Cocoa's ready kids...


All I did was boil water with the MicroRocket. (Like to make cocoa for the kids in the picture above.) I rarely do any "real" cooking while backpacking these days. It was just used to prepare my freeze-dried meals and hot drinks. I used it mainly with the Titan 1.5 pot mentioned above but also brought a smaller Titan pot also when I hiked with my twin children. Both pots work very well with the MicroRocket, which is to be expected I suppose. The pots can hold the stove, lighter and a fuel canister but I don't like the way that the parts all clank around when stored that way. I carry the stove lighter and fuel in just the 1.5 pot but wrap my swimming/bathing towel around the fuel to take up space and keep the noise down. It works well. I never used the storage case that the MicroRocket came with. I just don't see the point in the wasted space or weight but maybe if sharing/splitting gear with fellow hikers it may be good to have. Here's a picture of "their" way and my way.

Packed in pots


This is the only 3-season canister stove I have in MN and is the first I have used in a long time as I had gone to alcohol or wood for the past five years or so. The MicroRocket made me remember how nice it is to just turn the gas on and go to town. The size weight and speed of boiling make this sweet little burner a winner in my book. I leave with a shot of the MicroRocket ready for dinner at a North Country Trail campsite.

Waiting for dinner

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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