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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > MSR Pocket Rocket > Owner Review by Josh Coatsworth

MSR PocketRocket Stove
BY JOSHUA COATSWORTH
OWNER REVIEW
February 03, 2008

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Joshua Coatsworth
EMAIL: jcoatsworth@lebanon.k12.pa.us
AGE: 28
LOCATION: Newmanstown, Pennsylvania
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I started backpacking 10 years ago. I enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, and working with the high school students in the backcountry. I run a hiking and camping group at the high school that I teach at. I use my time with the inner city youth to teach basic survival skills that translate into everyday tasks. I usually hike in local areas of the Appalachian Trail during all four seasons. I strive to be an ultralight backpacker weighing almost everything that enters my pack. I am averaging 18-24 lb ( 8-11 kg ) depending on the time of year.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: MSR - Mountain Safety Research
Year of Manufacture: 2001
Manufacturer's Website: www.msrgear.com/
MSRP: US$ 39.99
Listed Weight: 3 oz (85 g)
Measured Weight: 3 oz (85 g) - stove only, no case
4 oz (113 g) - including case
Fuel: MSR IsoPro Isobutane Canister (Approximately 60 minutes per canister)
Fuel Canister Weight: 8 oz (227 g)

IMAGE 1

**Picture courtesy of MSR

FIELD USE

The MSR PocketRocket was used on multiple day backpacking trips on local parts of the Appalachian Trail between Lebanon, Pennsylvania and Hamburg, Pennsylvania. The temperatures varied from 30 F (-1 C) to about 90 F (32 C). The elevation ranged from 200 ft (61 m) to about 1521 ft (464 m) above sea level. The winds depending where we would stay on the trail can be very rough and can gust up to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h). The stove has been used throughout all of the elements from very gusty winds to heavy downpours.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

The MSR PocketRocket is a very compact canister stove that is easy to stow and provides great boiling times. The stove folds up into a red triangular plastic protective case that can fit into any small space in my pack. The height of the stove itself is about 4" (10 cm) and the width is about 2" (5 cm). When stored, the stove packs to 4.25" (11 cm) in height and 2.25" (6 cm) in width. It has no igniter and MSR offers no option for one on this model stove at this point in time. The stove is controlled by a fold out flame control mechanism that is used to adjust the flame when cooking. The pot supports fold out and each has a series of teeth that do a good job of supporting my cookware. I have used an MSR Titan Kettle and a set of Snowpeak Ti pots and both were well supported by the metal supports. The burner is circular and is very well constructed allowing an even burn through a series of holes that surround it. The PocketRocket also has a built in wind deflector which is part of the design that is used to shield light winds. This stove uses resealable Isobutane canisters (80% Isobutane 20% Propane). The recommended fuel for the stove is the MSR IsoPro canisters.

Review

I purchased this stove at REI and have used it many times since purchase. I consistently switch between this stove and another depending on the time of year. Throughout my ownership of the stove, I have generally been very happy. First, the price of the stove itself is very good. The size and ease of carry for the backpacking that I do is always appreciated. The PocketRocket is very easy to set up by twisting the stove onto the canister and folding out the pot supports. The controls for the stove are easy to use even with gloves on. The flame control is adjustable and the stove is ignited by hand. I must always have an item to light the stove with (lighter, matches, Strike-Force, etc). The flame is a torch-like flame and has a wide array of adjustments. When adjusted to simmer the boiling times get longer and the wind deflector does almost nothing for the stove. The controls are very smooth and allow you to adjust to a quicker, hotter flame which I use the most to boil my water for my Mountain House meals. Both the MSR and Snowpeak pots yield the same results on the stove. The stove's flame is diffused in a wider pattern that allows for more even cooking. It has not scorched my pots yet, which is surprising considering the blowtorch flame that can come out of such a small stove.

The boiling times are fairly quick and I have found that the stove is very consistent with boiling 1 liter (1.06 Q) of water between 3 minutes and 3 1/2 minutes. When finished, the stove cools down very quickly which allows me to pack everything up quickly and return to fishing or hiking.

On the downside, the stove comes equipped with a small wind deflector. In my experience the deflector has not shielded the stove from wind at all. To make up for this, I have designed a foil windscreen out of commercial grade foil, I obtained this from working at a packing plant for the summer. This quickly solved the problem. The next obstacle that I came across was the stove does not perform well in colder temperatures. If the stove is set on the ground, it will perform great to about 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 C). The fuel starts to act up and doesn't flow well. This produces an inconsistent flame which can be a struggle to cook with. I quickly added a Brunton can stand to keep the canister off the ground and wrapped the Isobutane canister in foil. This yielded better results but the stove still struggled below 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 C). The fuel is easy to find, but it is more expensive than typical propane or white gas. I have only used the MSR brand Isobutane canisters.

THINGS I LIKE

Pros:
* Very small and easy to stow
* Lightweight and durable
* Easy to use
* Quick boiling times
* Cooled down quickly

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

Cons:
* No Igniter
* Flame is inconsistent when canister is cold
* Wind deflector does not do a great job of deflecting wind
* Fuel is more expensive than white gas or propane

SIGNATURE

Joshua Coatsworth
Teacher and Avid Backpacker and Camper

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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