It’s not often that we take a second look at gear that we have previously reviewed at The Load Out Room, but today’s review does just that. We are going to take a quick look at a highly portable stove that has a large following despite its diminutive size, the Pocket Rocket by MSR. The Seattle, Washington based company has been producing the Pocket Rocket since 2005 and it shows no signs of stopping production anytime in the near future.

Who is MSR ?

MSR stands for Mountain Safety Research, the company was founded in 1969 as a result of one man’s desire to make the outdoors safer. The company was the brainchild of engineer, professional inventor and experienced mountaineer Larry Penberthy. In the early days of MSR Larry Penberthy started with small projects such as engineering a stronger ice axe and designing more stable camp stove fuels.

Within eighteen months he was selling ice climbing kits that included new innovations such as his auto belay device, ice axe reinforcement brackets, snow flukes and he even included igloo building instructions. In 1972 they released the Thunderbird ice axe and the company took off from there.

Why review a piece of gear a second time ?

It’s a valid question with a simple answer. When different users test the same model or brand of equipment they have different things that they feel are important. With this review we will take a closer look at potential users and why compressed gas can be safer to use than liquid fuel style stoves.

MSR Pocket Rocket Camp Stove
Pocket Rocket with fuel canister attached

Specifications:

  • Type of stove: Personal
  • Country of manufacture: South Korea
  • Stove weight: 3 Ounces (85 grams)
  • Total packed weight: 4.2 Ounces (119 grams)
  • Length: 4.25 Inches long
  • Case Included: Yes, plastic hard shelled case with lid
  • Burn time using MSR fuel: Approximately 60 minutes per 8 ounce canister
  • Boil time 1 Liter of water: 3.5 Minutes
  • Water boiled per 8 oz canister: 16 Liters on average

Users:

  • Mountaineers
  • Campers
  • Hunters
  • Hikers
  • Car/Van campers
  • Anyone who wants a highly compact stove

Pros:

  • Highly portable
  • Great price
  • Easy to use
  • No liquid fuel to spill
  • Hard sided carry case
  • Easy to use controls even with gloved hands

Cons:

  • Easy to lose
  • No built in ignition
  •  Fuel canister stand is extra

MSRP: $39.95. Available on Amazon for around $37.

MSR Pocket Rocket Camp Stove
Pocket Rocket in storage case

Overall Performance:

The MSR Pocket Rocket is an amazingly popular and compact stove that is in the gear bag of many professional and amateur mountaineers. It’s easy to understand why once you handle the stove and begin to use it. There isn’t much to the stove in the way of frills or features but what it does do is perform well. A stove isn’t suppose to be complex, after-all it’s a tool.

A hard sided triangular hard case protects the MSR Pocket Rocket from dirt, debris and damage. It’s made of a very noticeable red plastic with a lid that fits securely over the bottom section. I noticed in my trials that you can’t just shake the lid off of the case, the design of the lid makes it falling off almost impossible

MSR Pocket Rocket Camp Stove
MSR Pocket Rocket on low setting

We have been impressed with the Pocket Rocket’s ability to sustain the size and weight of large cook pans on its three legs. The first pan I placed on the burner was the GSI 1.8 Liter Pinnacle Dualist cook pot. The Pocket Rocket was very stable during the whole cooking process as I made a dish of Bachelor’s Special Dinner.

The second test I performed with the Pocket Rocket was brewing a pot of water for my wife’s tea using the Sea to Summit X11 tea pot that we have recently featured. It worked as advertised heating the small kettle up at an alarming rate. The one thing I did notice during the heating of the water is that the tips of the three support legs do glow red quickly, even when on a lower setting. I will keep an eye on this during my field trials this spring.

MSR Pocket Rocket Camp Stove
Notice the glowing tips of the legs

A stove that uses compressed fuel like the MSR Pocket Rocket are much easier and safer to use than liquid fueled stoves such as the MSR Whisperlite. Each style of stove have pros and cons, but for my style of camping where I am driving around in a conversion van and hiking, the compressed gas is safer.

The MSR IsoPro fuel that is recommended to use with the Pocket Rocket is a 80% / 20% blend of Isobutane and Propane to provide a more complete combustion and perform better in lower temperatures. This was a welcome sight when I read those statistics, being as that I live in Alaska. Our version of cold is a little different than most others.

When MSR designed the Pocket Rocket I’m not sure if they knew they were making on of the most versatile and popular camp stoves ever to hit the market. The ten year track history of the Pocket Rocket is a testimony to it’s simplicity and durability. It’s been in the pack of many mountaineers during accents to some of the worlds most rugged peaks.

If it can handle those climates and conditions it should serve anyone reading this for years to come. The stove does have limitations and lacks a built in ignition source but those are minor details. If you carry matches or a lighter the problem is non existent. The Pocket Rocket might be a great stocking stuffer or inexpensive Christmas gift for yourself or others in your family who enjoy the outdoors.

There is one accessory for any of the compressed fuel stoves that MSR makes that users might want to know about. The Universal Canister Stand, is a stand connects to the bottom of most brands of compressed fuels. The stainless steel and polyvinyl chloride stand keeps the bottom of the fuel canister off the ground. It is an optional item that has a MSRP of $14.95. In out tests it also gives the stove and canister firmer footing on uneven ground.

Thanks for stopping by The Loadout Room, if there is anything we can do to help you spend money during the holiday season drop us a line and someone will get back with your answer. The Comms Check link is always up and waiting for your comments and questions.


(Featured image courtesy of outdoorgearlab.com)