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MSR Pocket Rocket Review

   

Backpacking Stoves

  • Currently 4.0/5
Overall avg rating 4.0 of 5 based on 7 reviews. Most recent review: November 19, 2013
Street Price:   Varies from $32 - $40 | Compare prices at 7 resellers
Pros:  Simple, durable, inexpensive, strong hardcase.
Cons:  Unstable
Best Uses:  Backpacking.
User Rating:     
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 (4.5 of 5) based on 6 reviews
Recommendations:  83% of reviewers (5/6) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   MSR
Review by: Max Neale ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ October 17, 2010  
Overview
The MSR Pocket Rocket is the cheapest backpacking stove we reviewed. Itís simple and durable, but not very stable. For another $10 we believe the Optimus Crux is a better buy because itís more durable, more stable, and stores conveniently under a fuel canister. If you travel to high altitudes we recommend the Soto OD-1R (75 percent more expensive) because it has a fuel regulator.

If environmentally harmful fuel canisters and tiny unstable stoves arenít you thing, we recommend the stable, versatile, and durable MSR Whisperlite. This liquid fuel stove will last you a lifetime.

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  • Photos
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
The Pocket Rocket is the simplest and most durable small canister stove we reviewed. Its design is incredibly basic, yet perfectly functional. At $40 itís the least expensive stove we reviewed. It also comes with a red triangular hard case that protects the stove incredibly well.

Dislikes
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 stoveís instability was its long stem. This raised the stoveís center of gravity slightly higher than all other small canister stoves. Our comparative photos illustrate these differences.

Best Application
Budget backpacking.

Value
While this is the cheapest stove, we believe the Optimus Crux is worth the extra $10.

Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: November 19, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.5)

83% of 6 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
7 Total Ratings
5 star: 57%  (4)
4 star: 14%  (1)
3 star: 29%  (2)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 6 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Feb 22, 2013 - 01:10pm
oldranger · Climber · Ventura, CA
I have used the PR for more than ten years, ever since it came on the market. I had to read this review to find that it is "unstable." The PR is light, hot, easy to use, and a real bargain. I am sure it is not the only good stove out there, but the PR has served me very well for a long time. I agree with the previous poster's comment about environmental impacts.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Nov 2, 2010 - 05:24pm
Gene · Climber
Wow. I disagree with the reviewer. I love the Pocket Rocket and am smart and experienced enough to make it stable. Stability is not a big deal when compared to its minimal weight and size.

The reviewer states
If environmentally harmful fuel canisters and {snip} arenít you thing,…
Kinda harsh since environmental impact is not mentioned in any other canister stove review. (All other canister stoves get at least 4 stars.) I know that many shops that sell fuel canisters will recycle them for you if you punch out the top.

I'm pleased that we can chat about all these wonderful toys. Keep the reviews coming.
g

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 19, 2013 - 06:34pm
prion · Kayaker · northern Vermont
Read the review again. It doesn't say the stove base is unstable. All canister mini-stoves have identical base stability. It says the pot rest is tall and offers minimal contact, making *the pot* unstable. The observation is correct but I believe the analysis is bassakwards. Do you really think MSR couldn't figure out how to make arms that open flat or a stubby burner throat? The point of balancing the pot on 3 tiny points is that's the *most* stable configuration for a variety of pot bottoms and orientations. Three points of contact sits without rocking, regardless of tilt or lumpiness. Unless everything lines up perfectly, >3 points of contact alternates groups of 3 contacts as the pot jiggles, which = skating or walking pots. That's what happens with all-in-one-plane pot rests. Yes, you have to look at what you're doing when you set your pot on the Pocket Rocket rest, but can you manage that?
The major drawback of these stoves is poor wind protection and the reason it's major is the temptation to wrap a barrier around the whole stove, over-pressurizing the canister. The Pocket Rocket, because of its long throat, has room to mount an effective reflector/wind baffle below the burner head but above the mixing ports. That's the only safe place to put it, and only possible if the throat is long enough.
In my opinion, this stove is superbly, intelligently engineered to be the best of its kind. It's a paragon of minimal, durable, reliable hardware. There're arguments for and against liquid fuel, but for solo backpacking with pressurized gas canisters, this little beauty is tops.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 18, 2013 - 07:22pm
MississipVol · Hiker · Mississippi
This is a great stove but I can't recommend it because there are better stoves out there at this price. Is it unstable? If you are using it on a picnic table…no. If you are actually backpacking in backcountry and cooking off a rock or the ground then, yes….it can be unstable. Plus it has such a small burner that it develops a hot spot in the middle of your pot…..not so much a concern if you are just boiling water but it can be a hassle if you are cooking food.

Like I said….this is a decent stove for sure but there are better stoves to be had at this price.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Aug 27, 2013 - 12:54pm
rexthegorman · Backpacker · Memphis, TN
Great little stove. For being so cheap, it's pretty indestructible. I'd recommend it to anyone.

I haven't found that it's unstable, but I always make sure it's on a steady, flat surface.

I'm sure there are better stoves out there, but at $40, You can't do better.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Mar 10, 2013 - 02:57pm
Seemore_Miles · Fort Collins, CO
This is a BOMB PROOF stove!! I've been using it on backcountry trips for over 5 years now. Has never failed me. Just be careful where you put it to cook and you shouldn't have a problem with stability. Be creative and make a wind screen with your sleeping pad or something. Small, light, durable and cheap = a happy camper :)

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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MSR Pocket Rocket
Credit: Max Neale
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