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Hands-on Gear Review
The MSR Pocket Rocket is the least expensive backpacking stove we reviewed. It is small, simple and durable, but not very stable. For the same price we believe the Optimus Crux is a better buy because it's more durable, more stable, and stores conveniently under a fuel canister. If you travel to high altitudes, we recommend the MSR Windburner because it does much better in cold temperatures and high winds, and is more fuel efficient. If you are looking for the smallest and lightest stove you can carry, then go with the similar MSR Micro Rocket.
If environmentally harmful fuel canisters and tiny unstable stoves aren't your thing, we recommend the stable, versatile, and durable MSR Whisperlite. This liquid fuel stove will last you a lifetime.
RELATED: Our complete review of backpacking stoves
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
This little rocket can boil water fast and is small and light, but not as small or light as other canister stoves we tested.
This little stove can go anywhere because it is so small and light, and unlike an integrated canister stove like the Jetboil Flash, you have the ability to simmer on it and can use your own cookware. The Pocket Rocket is very simple and durable and comes with a hard plastic case to store in your pack – although we usually leave this behind to save weight.
The Pocket Rocket is relatively fuel efficient, although we notice that when you screw it on to a canister there is always a bit of leakage that sprays out. If you can use the stove in a sheltered location it will be much more fuel efficient. Once there is any kind of breeze, the Pocket Rocket's fuel efficiency is gone with the wind. The most fuel efficient stove we tested was the MSR Windburner, which performs admirably even in strong wind.
We boiled half a liter of water in 2 minutes and 8 seconds when there was no wind on the Pocket Rocket. This is decently fast and impressive. If there is wind present this will take a lot longer.
Although this small and light stove appeals to fast and light backpackers, the Pocket Rocket is the heaviest small canister stove we tested at 3 oz. The lightest and most compact stove, the MSR Micro Rocket is only half an ounce lighter. If you are on a budget and want a small stove, the Pocket Rocket will do just fine.
The Pocket Rocket is the least stable stove we reviewed. While the pot supports fold out to a reasonable diameter, they do not extend perfectly flat. This leaves your pot or pan balanced on three small points and nothing more. Further contributing to this stove's instability is its long stem. This raised the stove's center of gravity slightly higher than all the other small canister stoves.
This little canister stove will indeed fit in most pockets. It has, however, the largest packed size of the three small canister stoves in this review, measuring 4.1 x 2.1 x 2 inches.
This is a great little stove to bring along on backpacking and car camping getaways, especially if you are looking for a cheap, simple solution. Three ounces is light enough to make an excellent option for any type of multi-day backpacking trip.
While this is the least expensive stove in our test, we believe the Micro Rocket, which will save you half an ounce, is worth the extra $20. However, if you are on a budget and want the least expensive product that will work backpacking, this is a very functional and small stove for only $40.
Other Versions and Accessories
MSR Whisperlite International or MSR Whisperlite
Quick 2 Pot Set
— Jessica Haist and Max Neale
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: February 10, 2015
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