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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > MSR Pocket Rocket > Owner Review by Eric Olsen

Mountain Safety Research POCKET ROCKET
BY ERIC OLSEN
OWNER REVIEW
February 02, 2007

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Eric Olsen
EMAIL: eric.m.olsen at gmail dot com
AGE: 28
LOCATION: Provo, Utah, United States
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 180 lb (81.60 kg)

Backpacking Background: Grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska spending about 5-7 nights a year camping with my family until I was 12. From then until I was 18 I spent about 14 nights a year, mostly in the summer. The last 10 years I have lived in Utah and have spent about 10 nights a year in all seasons. These nights are split mostly between ultralight 1-2 night trips and ultra-heavy 1-2 night car camping. I am a frugal consumer and like to get the best bang for my buck.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

IMAGE 1
Stove and case
Manufacturer: Mountain Safety Research
Year of Manufacture: 2001
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.msrcorp.com
MSRP: US $39.95
Listed Weight: 3 oz (86 g) without fuel canister
Measured Weight: 3 oz (86 g) stove only. 4.3 oz (122 g) with case, no canister
Listed size: 4 x 4 x 2 inches (10 x 10 x 5 cm)
Measured packed size: Packed in case - a triangle with 2.25 inch (6 cm) sides and 4.5 inches (11 cm) tall.
Measured pot supports: inner diameter of pot supports is 2" inches (5 cm) and outer diameter is 4.75 inches (12 cm)
Materials: pot supports are steel, it has a brass nozzle and a rubber washer seal.
Other details: Uses compressed fuel canisters

FIELD INFORMATION

I have used the stove from sea level in California and Alaska to 8559 feet (2609 m) in Utah. Temperatures have ranged from 25 F (-4 C) to 100 F (38 C). Terrain varied from dry sand desert to dense forest. Weather encountered included rain, snow and wind but was mostly used in dry, warm and calm conditions.

FIELD USE

I purchased it based on the advertisements and positive reviews in outdoor magazines and have yet to be disappointed. It is quick to set up, boils water in a hurry, and packs away almost as quickly (though I don't pack it away until it is cool, I expect it could melt the plastic case.) It has worked nearly flawlessly for the 5 years that I have had it. It seems very reliable and I have not had to perform any maintenance on it. I have used the stove at least 15 times in the 5 years that I have owned it. A few notable trips that demonstrate use include:

A spring car camping trip to Gunlock Reservoir near Saint George, Utah. There were 5 people on the trip. It was about 70 F (21 C) during the day and got down to about 45 F (7 C) at night. There was very limited wind.
IMAGE 3
Winter Trip
The PocketRocket was used for breakfast for the 5 of us boiling water for oatmeal and drinks. One night we pushed it to its limits trying to cook pasta for the whole group. While bringing nearly 3/4 gallons (2.84 L) of water to a boil one of the post supports gave out. The supports often get a bit of red glow to them but this time the weight became too much for it. I was able to bend the support back and cook the pasta with about .5 gallons (1.89 L).

A spring climb to the top of "Y" mountain next to Provo, Utah. It was a single night trip to test some ultralight gear. The light weight and compactness of the PocketRocket and simple variety of food taken make it a perfect choice. The trip covered 8 miles (12.9 Km) going from an elevation of about 5200 feet (1585 m) to the peak at 8559 feet (2609 m) and back. Temperature was warm (about 65 F (18 C) at dinner to 45 F (7 C) at breakfast The stove was used to boil water for dinner as well as for breakfast. Despite the altitude the stove had no problem bringing 16 ounces (.47 liter) to a quick boil (I did not time it but it was fast)

A final trip showing the use of the PocketRocket was a winter snowshoe day trip. It was for a winter camping class and we were forced to cook a meal on a day trip rather than my traditionally more simple lunches. We were scrambling some eggs with the fuel canister placed directly on the snow. This caused two problems. First, the base was not very stable and the whole unit (pan, stove, fuel canister) tipped over spilling out eggs (see picture). The stove didn't go out when tipped over and with better preparation of the base it did just fine after that.

BOIL TEST

IMAGE 2
Assembled stove
As I have yet to time a boil on an actual trip I decided to run some tests to try and get some boil times. In every experiment I used 16.9 oz (500 mL) and did not use the lid (in case I want to be using it for something else). I started with a mostly used MSR IsoPro canister (80/20 isobutene/propane mix). This 8oz canister new weighs 12.75 oz (361 g) and empty 4.75 oz (135 g). I started tests with a weight of 6 oz (170g) and used it up. Here are the results:

With air and water at 69 degrees F (31 C) at medium heat = 3:10 and used .2 oz (6 g) of fuel
With air and water at 69 degrees F (31 C) at full blast = 2: 35 and used .3 oz (8.5 g) of fuel
With air at 25 degrees F (-4 C) and water at 35 F (2 C) at medium heat = 6:30 and used .4 oz (11 g) of fuel
With air at 25 degrees F (-4 C) and water at 35 F (2 C) at full blast = 7:05 and used .3 oz (8.5 g)
The stove then burned with some shaking and holding the fuel canister (to heat it) for another 7 minutes and had better flame than the last two tests.

So all in all it burned for 26:20 on 1.25 oz (35 g) of fuel. This was at varying amounts of flame (for the last two tests I think due to the end of the canister and the cold the flame was very low). At this same rate it would burn for 2 hours 46 minutes. This is higher than the stated 1-2 hours on the bottle and is probably due to the slow fuel use for 13 of the 26 minute test. In any case, a few things to note are:

It can boil sufficient water in a hurry.
Near the end of the bottle beware of cold. If I expect it to get close to freezing I sleep with a water bottle and my fuel canister.


THINGS I LIKE

IMAGE 4
Stove inside pot
* Extreme light weight - 3 ounces (86 g) is hard to beat
* Very small size - can be fit inside many pots, even small ones if I leave the original case at home.
* Fairly stable despite small size - I have not had a problem unless I overloaded the stove or I was on soft terrain.
* Ease to ignite stove - As with most canister stoves it requires no pumping or priming.
* Ease of flame adjustment. Can be adjusted from a roaring boil to a simmer though I rarely simmer

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

* It is a tiny bit hard for me to get back into its original case.
* It is not overly strong - I only had one problem and that was when I was boiling about .75 gallon (2.84 liters) of water with pasta and one of the three pot supports bent. (Not very smart on my part I'll admit.) I bent it back to the original shape and it has continued to work fine.
* As with most fuel canister stoves, to keep it running well, I had to keep the fuel bottle from getting very cold, especially when almost empty.
* The stability is limited to the base of the fuel canister. Not a problem in most cases but snow caused me a problem one time.

SUMMARY

It set up fast, boils water quickly, and packs away small and safe. It has performed nearly worry free in a variety of conditions. I love it.

SIGNATURE

Eric Olsen
www.thearcticsummit.com

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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