MSR POCKET ROCKET 2 STOVE
TEST SERIES BY JERRY ADAMS
November 30, 2019
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT
6' 2" (1.88 m)
195 lb (88.50 kg)
I started hiking about 50 years ago. My first backpacking trip was about 45 years ago. I currently try to do one backpack trip of 1 to 5 nights every month (which can be tricky in the winter). Mostly I stay in the Western half of Oregon and Washington. In recent years I have shifted to lightweight - my pack weight without food and water is about 12 lb (6 kg). I make a lot of my own gear - silnylon tarp-tent, bivy, down bag, simple bag style pack.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2019
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.msrgear.com/
Listed Weight: 2.9 oz (82 g)
Measured Weight: 2.9 oz (82 g)
Packed dimensions: 3.25 x 2.25 x 1.875 inches (83 x 57 x 48 mm)
Setup dimensions: 3.75 x 4 x 4 inches (95 x 102 x 102 mm)
Distance from center of burner to end of arm: 2.5 inches (64 mm)
The MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe is an upright canister stove. It has a regulator valve and a built-in igniter.
It comes with a small bag to store it. This weighs 0.65 ounces (18 g). I will never use this; it weighs too much. I'll use a plastic bag that weighs 0.05 ounces (1 g) just to keep it from rattling inside the 0.9 liter (1.6 pint) pot I use. The Pocket Rocket Deluxe easily fits inside my pot. The stove and a 4 ounce (115 g) canister fit into my pot, but I prefer using the larger 8 ounce (230 g) canisters because they have a broader base which is more stable, and the smaller canisters don't hold quite enough fuel for my trips.
The instructions say to use MSR butane canisters. I tried a generic brand canister and it seems to work. There are slight dimension differences between canisters. I think I'll just use the generic canisters I already have.
Pocket Rocket in the stored configuration:
It took me a few minutes to figure out how to move the arms into the position for using.
One of the arms partially rotated:
One of the arms completely rotated:
Stove set up with thumb on igniter. Push down until it clicks:
As can be seen in the above picture, the burner is recessed in a cup so that it is more resistant to wind. I will also use a windscreen. My testing will determine how wind resistant it is.
The instructions say not to use a diffuser or reflector. I think that's because they can cause the canister to overheat and explode. I think my windscreen is okay, but I will occasionally feel the side of the canister down below where the fuel is to make sure it doesn't feel hot. If so, I'll turn off the stove.
The valve is a regulator valve. Typical stoves use needle valves. A canister will typically cool down while burning, especially as the canister nears empty. With a needle valve, as the canister cools down, the flame level will reduce. With a regulator valve the flame level will remain constant. I think this is just a minor inconvenience - if the flame level reduces with a needle valve stove, I just turn it up a little. But it's sort of annoying because it's gradual - after a while I'll wonder why it's taking so long to boil before I realize what's happening and give a mild curse before turning it up. I prefer a regulator valve.
The regulator valve has the same low temperature operating range as a needle valve stove, about 32 F (0 C). During the test period I will be testing this. Below that temperature I have to use various tricks to get it to burn, like warming the canister in my pocket or putting the canister into a bowl of water to warm it up.
The regulator valve has a wire handle about 2 inches (50 mm) long. This seems a bit excessive. It weighs 0.1 ounce (3 g). I would be tempted to remove it, but maybe that's carrying weight reduction a bit too far.
The instructions say to turn the valve handle 1 1/2 turns to light. From use, I think they mean 270 degrees of rotation. 1 "turn" is 180 degrees of rotation. This is always a little ambiguous to me. Probably I am the only one in existence that thinks about this.
The igniter is piezo electric. Push down the button until it suddenly releases by itself and makes a clicking noise. A spark is produced at the burner head which lights the fuel. If it fails to light the first time, take finger off and then repeat.
I have read that many piezo igniters fail. The MSR igniter seems pretty solid. I will see if it fails during my testing.
The arms, burner, igniter, and flame adjust handle are a shiny metal - stainless steel I assume. The body of the stove is a dark colored metal - maybe anodized aluminum or titanium? The website says the stove contains some brass which may have trace amounts of lead.
The arms seem pretty solid. On some stoves I've used the arms seem wimpy and I fear the arms will bend and the pot will fall off. Also, the arms on this stove extend a reasonable distance (2.5 inches/63 mm from the center) so the pot will have less chance of tipping.
The website lists the boil time as 3.3 minutes to boil 1 liter (1 quart) of water. This spec is not important to me, but maybe I'll verify it in my testing. The website lists the amount of water boiled per 1 ounce (28 g) of fuel as 2.2 liters. This is the spec I'm interested in, but I have found all normal stoves perform about the same. Maybe I'll verify this.
The instructions say to use the stove with a pot that is 8-inch (203 mm) diameter max, 5-inch (127 mm) height max, and 8 pounds (3.6 kg) max weight. My pot fits well into this range
The stove is designed in the U.S. and made in Korea.
I tried the Pocket Rocket Deluxe and it works. It lit. I could turn the flame level up and down.
The stove looks really well made. The arms feel solid. The igniter works well.
The MSR Pocket Rocket seems like a really well built canister stove for backpacking.
It's light weight.
It has a regulator valve and piezo igniter so it's a little more convenient to use.
I'll test it on two backpack trips of about 4 nights in both the Field Report period and the Long Term Report period.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Aug 23, 2019 - 4-night backpack and 1-night car camp in the Goat Rocks in central Washington. 36 miles (58 km), 7000 feet (2100 m) elevation gain, 45 to 75 F (7 to 24 C).
Using stove in Goat Rocks:
Sept 11, 2019 - 4-night backpack and 2-night car camp in the Trinity Alps in northern California. 36 miles (58 km), 7600 feet (2300 m) elevation gain, 40 to 70 F (4 to 21 C).
Sept 28, 2019 - 3-night backpack and 3-night car camp on Mt Hood in north central Oregon. 36 miles (58 km), 3500 feet (1100 m) elevation gain, 30 to 50 F (-1 to 10 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe stove worked very well for me.
Every time I used it, I put the pot with water on the stove, turned the valve on, then clicked the piezo lighter and it started. Occasionally I had to click it a couple times. I find this convenient, as opposed to having to light with a lighter. I have heard of some stoves with piezo lighters where the lighter broke, but the Pocket Rocket Deluxe has worked fine so far.
My 900 ml pot seemed stable on the pot supports. It never seemed tippy.
All I did was boil water in my 900 ml pot, no simmering or anything. Sometimes I boiled 1 cup (0.25 l). Usually I boiled 2 cups (0.5 l). Sometimes I boiled 3 cups (0.7 l).
I weighed my butane before and after the Trinity Alps trip. I did 5 nights. I used 0.75 ounces (21 g) per day. This is very similar to other upright stoves I've used. In my experience, there is very little difference between different stoves. I boiled 3.5 pints (1.66 liters) per day. That would be 17.7 liters (4.7 gal) boiled per 8-ounce (230 g) canister. That's pretty close to MSR's spec of 17 liter (4.5 gal) per 8-ounce (230 g) canister. My testing was with the water starting at about 40 F (4 C) and heated until boiling, which was about 205 F (96 C) at my altitude.
On the Mt Hood trip, two mornings the temperature was down to 32 F (0 C). The Pocket Rocket was able to boil water, but it was very slow. It took twice as long as normal. This is the same as other upright stoves I have used. I use "cheap butane" which is about 50% isobutane and 50% n-butane. If I had been using good butane, like the MSR IsoPro as recommended for this stove, it would be good to about 22 degree F (-6 C). Maybe during the long term test period I'll get a chance to test this, I have some IsoPro I save for cold weather.
The regulator valve on the Pocket Rocket kept the burner at the same strength as the temperature of the canister dropped down to about 35 F (2 C). With a regular needle valve stove like the original Pocket Rocket, after it burns for about a minute, the stove strength will drop significantly and I will have to adjust the valve up. This is a convenience, but it doesn't allow the stove to operate at a lower minimum temperature.
I used a windscreen on all my testing and it was never very windy. I'll try to get some better testing in the wind during the Long Term test.
I didn't do a time test. I'll try to do this for the Long-Term test. This is the least important characteristic of a stove to me.
I am very satisfied with the Pocket Rocket Deluxe stove.
The stove is lightweight.
I like the piezo lighter.
The pot supports seems solid.
I think when this test is done I'll keep using this as my regular backpacking stove. I have another regulator stove that is almost as good, but it's pot supports are just a little tippier. It'll be a close call though.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
October 22, 2019 - 4 night backpack and 2 night car camp in Badger Creek Wilderness in north central Oregon. 25 miles (40 km), 2500 feet (750 m) of elevation gain, 28 to 50 F (-2 to 10 C), dry.
November 16, 2019 - 6 night car camp in Mill Creek Wilderness in central Oregon. 20 to 50 F (-7 to 10 C), 1 day of wet snow.
December 4, 2019 - 6 night car camp on the Deschutes River in north central Oregon. 28 to 45 F (-2 to 7 C), dry.
December 24, 2019 - 5 night car camp on the Metolius River in central Oregon. 18 to 42 F (-8 to to 6 C), 1 day of wet snow.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I used the MSR Pocket Rocket on 40 nights during the FR and LTR periods. For each day I boiled about 4 pints (2 liters) of water. The stove worked perfectly.
I continued to monitor fuel consumption which was the same as the FR period - about 17.7 liters (4.7 gal) water boiled per 8-ounce (230 g) canister which is pretty close to MSR's spec of 17 liter (4.5 gal).
During the Badger Creek trip it got down to 28 F (-2 C). The stove ran very slowly - this is really below the normal operating temperature range for the fuel I was using - cheap generic butane. This would be similar to 18 F (-8 C) for good butane like MSR IsoPro. I had a bowl I could have put the canister in with water, to warm it up, but I was in no hurry and was too lazy.
On the Metolius trip I used MSR IsoPro fuel down to 18 F (-8 C) and it slowed down just a bit. I think it would have worked down to 15 F (-9 C) or so without slowing much. This was with a full canister. With a canister that's half full or less it has to be a few degrees warmer. This is all determined by the fuel, all upright canister stoves work the same, in my experience.
During the Mill Creek trip I tried using the Pocket Rocket on a windy trip. It was about 2 miles per hour (3 km per hour) - not very windy.
Side view of stove in wind:
The flame was blown to the side. I marked where the edge of the flame was on each side with red:
It can be seen that the flame was only hitting the left side of the bottom of the pot and much of the flame was just blown away. This means that much of the heat is wasted. It takes a lot more fuel to heat the same amount of water as when it's calm. Therefore, in my opinion, this stove like all canister stoves needs a windscreen to operate properly. This was not very windy - it would be even worse if it was windier.
For the rest of my testing I used the same windscreen as in the FR test.
MSR advertises that the Pocket Rocket Deluxe burner head is better in the wind. I think this is because the burner head is recessed below a ring. I think this is useful, because it keeps the flame from blowing out, but it doesn't mean a windscreen isn't useful.
Overall, I was very happy with the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 stove.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
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It operated reliably during my testing.
It operated as good as other upright canister stoves.
The piezo igniter worked fine.
In the future I think this will be the stove I use on all trips, although I have another stove with igniter that works about the same. I'll use one and then the other will be a backup.
Thanks to MSR and BackpackGearTest.org for letting me test this.
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Read more gear reviews by jerry adams