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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Stoves > MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe 2019 > Test Report by Michael Mosack

MSR POCKET ROCKET DELUXE
TEST SERIES BY MIKE MOSACK
LONG-TERM REPORT
January 26, 2020

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Mosack
EMAIL: mosack(at)earthlink(dot)net
AGE: 56
LOCATION: San Diego, CA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.90 m)
WEIGHT: 240 lb (109.00 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, doing day trips, weekenders and week-long or longer trips throughout the year. I backpack in all climates and seasons, from summer desert trips to Spring/Winter camping in Michigan, California and Grand Canyon, Arizona. I rely on my equipment constantly. I prefer to go lighter when possible and I am always trying new items. Quality and reliability of items are paramount to me over price and weight.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Cascade Designs
IMAGE 1
Image from MFG Website


Image from mfg website

Year of Manufacture: 2019
Manufacturer's Website: www.cascadedesigns.com
MSRP: US $69.95
Listed Weight: 2.9 oz (83 g)
Measured Weight: 2.9 oz (8.2 g)

Other details:
Length 1.8 in (4.57 cm)
Width 2.2 in (5.59 cm)
Height 3.3 in (8.38 cm)
Packaged Weight 3.4 oz (96 g)
Burn time (MSR IsoPro) per 227-g / 8-oz. canister - 60 minutes
Water boiled (MSR IsoPro) per 227-g canister 17 liters
Water boiled (MSR IsoPro) per 1 oz. of fuel - 2.2 liters
Boil time (MSR IsoPro), 1 liter - 3.3 minutes
Country of Origin - Korea

Please note while referencing all of the manufacturer's listed burn times - All of their listed testing reflect they used MSR IsoPro canister fuel, even though there are many other manufacturers & suppliers of similar fuel that are normally quite compatible with these types of canister stoves; that all their test results do not reflect what the ambient or water temperatures were at the start of their tests and they do not list what flame strength or height was used for comparison. I think it is reasonable to presume that they used maximum flame power for minimum boil times and I will use that as my standard as well. These results can only be used as a base guide, not to be relied upon. My favorite phrase to add here is, "Your results may vary."

Burn time (MSR IsoPro) per 227 g / 8-oz. canister approximately 60 minutes, but the mfg does not list what the ambient or water temperatures were at the start of their tests
Water boiled (MSR IsoPro) per 227 g canister 16 liters
Water boiled (MSR IsoPro) per 1 oz (28 g) of fuel 2 liters boil time (MSR IsoPro) 1 liter 3.5 minutes

Cascade Designs is the parent company of Mountain Safety Research (MSR). I should note that the product being tested does not come with a fuel canister as shown in the product image above. The fuel canister can be purchased separately throughout the USA and Canada. International users and purchasers will have to check for fuel availability for their specific travel location.

The Pocket Rocket Deluxe stove is similar to the other canister stoves in the Pocket Rocket line in that it is quite similar in design, use and fuel source. This model sports a larger diameter burner head intended for better distribution of heat and simmering. This also comes with a push-start Piezo igniter that the manufacturer states is the most durable one they've ever built. The stove assembly is separate from the fuel canister. The stove collapses down in the same way as other Pocket Rocket stoves do, where the pot supports twist and fold down against the body along with the gas control. This stove comes with a storage bag rather than the hard plastic one that the Pocket Rocket and Pocket Rocket 2 both come in. Personally, I prefer the storage bag as it will pack nicely without the concern that the hard plastic will inadvertently open or the hinge or clasp will fail, which has happened to my other stove storage containers.

A few of the highlights as presented by the manufacturer...
Consistently Fast: Pressure regulator maintains the stove's fast boil times even in cold weather and with low fuel.
Ultralight and ultra-packable; expands the menu options for ultralight backpacking.
Push-Start Ignition: Fast, reliable piezo lighting; spark igniter is protected inside burner for maximum durability.
Broad Burner: Improves wind resistance and combines with simmer control for excellent cooking versatility; wind-blocking burner lip.
Compact: Folding pot supports pack exceptionally small,
Strong pot supports offer excellent stability.

The manufacturer recommends that for best results with canister fuel, always burn MSR IsoPro fuel. I have had the opportunity to own and use a variety of these canister-type stoves and have found that the individual stove performance differences from using different fuels of other well-known manufacturers have been negligible.

Warranty:
MSR offers a 3-year Limited Warranty is provided to you by Cascade Designs, Inc., a company doing business as Mountain Safety Research ("MSR"). There are links to Customer Service and for additional warranty information available on the manufacturer's website.

Initial Impressions

So, what is in the box?
The stove comes fully assembled; There is an information card attached along with a storage bag.
Fuel canisters must be purchased separately, but are easily attached by screwing them onto the bottom of the stove assembly. The flame adjustment is wire-type that can be seen in the above photo sticking out horizontally from the stove assembly. Turning it counterclockwise turns on the gas and increases the gas flow, while turning it clockwise reduces the gas flow and turns off the gas. This allows one to adjust the flame from nothing to simmer to high flame as needed.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The included instructions are straightforward. There are also videos available online via the manufacturer's website and other popular places showing how to operate this stove. There are no surprises that I have found so far. Having used these types of stoves previously, this one really isn't much different in its operation.

TRYING IT OUT

I "opened" my stove so that the pot supports were ready to support a pot and then attached my fuel canister to the stove. I turned on the gas and pushed the igniter once and immediately had a flame. I slowly turned the adjustment to ensure I had full control of the flame height from high down to simmer, repeated and then turned it off. After letting the stove cool, I disconnected the fuel canister and stored the stove in its storage bag. This stove appears to be quite simplistic and easy to use, set up, breakdown, and store. I look forward to taking it out to test.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

IMAGE 2
Numerous daily uses in Northern Central Pennsylvania USA in varying temperatures from approximately 45 to 85 F (7 to 29 C)

Klamath River Recreational Area in Northern California USA
Conditions: Open range, some river rock, both grassy and rocky areas; clear and sunny skies with temperatures that ranged from 65 to 94 F (18 to 34 C).
Duration: Three-day, two-night trip

Four-day, three-night backpack trip in the area of Gunnison, Colorado USA; elevation was approximately 7600 - 8050 ft (2310 - 2450 m). Weather included sunny days mixed with rain showers. There were foot trails, open grassy fields and rocky climbs.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Having been able to use this stove a few times, I have found that it is very convenient and easy to use. The igniter is a pleasant bonus and to date, mine has been quite reliable. Pushing the igniter button just once has been simple and reliable every time. I must admit, however, that I habitually carry multiple methods of fire starting regardless of where I am or the conditions. Bypassing the igniter is easily done as well. I turn on the gas and am able to light the burner with either a lighter, matches, or even just a spark. Having said that, I suppose that the igniter could easily be relegated to the "irrelevant" category, but for me, I find it a welcome addition that enables me to possibly start my stove when I've run out of other methods of fire-starting and the absolute negligible weight added for that feature would not frustrate any but the most hardcore ultralighters.
IMAGE 3
Compare to MSR Pocket Rocket


The size of the stove is very similar to the MSR Pocket Rocket, although a little larger and beefier. The diameter of the bezel is larger which allows the stove to produce a larger diameter flame that spreads out the heat a little better, reducing the possibility of scorching a pot, yet the diameter of the pot stabilizers or potholder legs are identical to the Pocket Rocket, so despite how it may look in the photos, the size of the pot limitations has not changed, not that I would want it to. The stabilizers are snug and stay put whether stored or fully deployed for use.

The simmering control feature that MSR has added to this stove is a welcome idea. Having full control of flame height and strength just makes cooking, even if in the field, much better. While I like my other stoves, I will have a harder time getting used to not having the simmer option when taking those others out. I guess this may have spoiled me.

The stability of the stove is a bit more difficult to nail down. Stability really isn't a factor for the stove other than whether it secures solidly to the fuel canister and if the pot legs stay put without wiggling. Physics tells me that low and wide is always better than tall and narrow. Essentially the stability of the stove itself relies upon the other factors, to include diameter, height, and weight of the fuel canister as a base and how solid and flat the ground or surface to which everything is standing on is; the diameter, height, and weight of the pot set on the stove; whether the food or water in the pot is at a rolling boil or not and if the user maintains a secure grip while stirring and lastly, if there is a strong wind.
IMAGE 4
Tall & narrow not so stable



Obviously all these factors can or will possibly impact safety and ease of use, so common sense and attention to detail is paramount while using this, or any stove. I routinely will use a larger fuel canister for most trips as I tend to prefer the better stability and comfort knowing I do not have to wonder if I should pack an additional canister or if my trip plan will be covered by the one I want to take. When I am by myself, I do not mind taking the smaller canister, knowing the stove is less stable but I just ensure I maintain a grip on my pot, just in case. I also often use a foldable "base" support under my canister which gives the assembly a welcomed assist. I am quite happy with the stability of my stove assembly so far.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Location #1 - El Capitan Mountain area, Eastern San Diego County in Southern California.
Conditions: Foot trails and rocky outcroppings.
Temperatures ranging from 38 to 75 F (3 to 24 C).
Duration: Two overnight trips

Location #2 - Pacific Crest Trail section in Laguna Mountain region of Southern California, Cleveland National Forest, USA
Conditions: Ungroomed foot trails and forest access dirt roads.
Temperatures ranging from 30 to 75 F (-1 to 24 C)
Duration: Three days, two nights

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

My experiences with the Deluxe stove have been 100% positive. I have not identified a single negative aspect of this stove. That isn't the goal, mind you, but it is uncommon for me to not find something. Today, it works like new. The Piezo spark igniter has operated consistently without fail.

The pot supports which are designed to twist and fold have worked perfectly. They are sufficiently snug in that they stay where put, but also are easy to move as needed when configuring the stove for storage or cooking. The pot supports are plenty strong enough but, (hey! I found a negative!) they are quite slippery and do not "grip" the bottom of the pot at all. Maybe it would be better if the "serrated" design on the pot supports were filed to have sharp points, then maybe the pots would grip a bit better. That may become a future DIY project later!

The larger diameter burner is a definite and noticeable improvement over my older Pocket Rocket. There is a much wider window from simmer to full power and it is easier to control. Using a full fuel canister or almost empty one, I didn't notice any difference in the performance of the stove.

This stove is very light and easily packable due to its small size. I've had no reservations about tossing it into the depths of my pack and upon retrieving it, finding it still worked perfectly.

SUMMARY

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with this stove. Here are a few comments about my experiences with this stove.

The good -
The stove has proven reliable, easy to set up, use, adjust the flame, and store. It seems almost hiker-proof in that with normal to hard use, my Pocket Rocket Deluxe hasn't even had a hiccup. The igniter has worked perfectly every time I've tried it. I expected the igniter might fail at some point but it never did. Regardless, I always carry multiple methods of creating a spark or starting a fire because it's just smarter to be safe than sorry.

The bad - If I am being nitpicky, I would offer that the pot supports, which have a design resembling a dull / unsharpened serrated knife edge, allow the pot or pan sitting on them to slide around a bit. I believe it is worth trying, to put a sharpened edge on the serration so that there are fine points that would grip the bottom of the pot much better.

This concludes my test of the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe Stove. I would like to thank Cascade Designs / Mountain Safety Research and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.

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