Hands-on Gear Review

MSR MicroRocket Review

MSR Micro Rocket
Top Pick Award
Price:  $60 List
Pros:  Extremely light, small, simple, peizo igniter included
Cons:  Unstable, not wind resistant, less fuel efficient than an integrated canister stove
Editors' Rating:   
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Category:  Small canister
Weight (ounces):  2.5 oz.
Dimensions (inches):  3x2x2 in.
Manufacturer:   MSR

Our Verdict

MSR Discontinued the MicroRocket in January 2017

The MSR Micro Rocket takes our Top Pick Award for being the lightest and smallest stove in this review. Lightweight backpackers who still want to carry a stove should consider this sub-three ounce model. We took this stove on a Grand Canyon Rim to Rim backpacking trip and thought it was the perfect addition to our kit. We also threw this stove in our truck as a back up stove for when we were car camping. The Micro Rocket has enough temperature control to be able to simmer more delicate meals, but can boil water in a flash. It is not ideal in windy conditions, and its fuel efficiency and stability will be significantly reduced with any breeze.

To see how the Micro Rocket stands up to the rest of the stoves we tested check out the full Best Backpacking Stove Review. If you're interested in stoves for car camping check out our Best Camping Stove Review.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Backpacking Stoves of 2018

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jessica Haist

Last Updated:
Tuesday
January 31, 2017

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The New PocketRocket 2 vs. the MicroRocket


According to the manufacturer, the PocketRocket 2 is a hybrid of the MicroRocket of this review and the MSR Pocket Rocket 2, from the tiny size of the Micro to the quick boil time of the Pocket. The best news? It's retailing for a mere $45 compared to the MicroRocket's $60. Check out the new look here, with the PocketRocket 2 on the left and the now-discontinued MicroRocket on the right. Then, keep reading for a full summary of updates.
MSR PocketRocket 2
MSR Micro Rocket
  • Weight — The PocketRocket 2 weighs in at 2.6 ounces by manufacturer measurements. We recorded the MicroRocket at 2.6 ounces as well, so as long as the manufacturer is correct, it seems the PocketRocket 2 was able to maintain this favorite quality.
  • Boil Time — It took a mere 2 minutes, 4 seconds for us to boil water in the MicroRocket. MSR reports a 3 minute, 30 second boil time for the PocketRocket 2, which would make this new model quite a bit faster than the Micro. We'd like to test this ourselves before advertising a boil time, but we're definitely excited to check out this new product and see how it performs.
  • Accessory Accommodation — One new perk of the PocketRocket 2 is that it accommodates more pot sizes than the MicroRocket or Pocket Rocket did before. Included in this is a new folding pot and Titan kettle.

Hands-On Review


This little rocket is the smallest, lightest stove we tested. We love its versatility and quick boil time and don't hesitate to throw it in our pack for any kind of adventure.
Waiting for the water to boil in the Grand Canyon.
Waiting for the water to boil in the Grand Canyon.

Performance Comparison


Check out the chart below to see how the MSR MicroRocket fared in Overall Performance compared to the other contenders in the backpacking stove category.


Versatility


The MSR Micro Rocket is more versatile than any of the integrated canister stoves we have tested. You can use any type of pot or frying pan on this stove (within the limits that this small stove can handle — see stability below), allowing for more versatility cooking. The Mircro Rocket has decent simmer control, allowing you to turn down the temperature and simmer things you are cooking. It boils water fast, but when you need a lower heat to cook rice or make something more complicated than pasta, have no fear, the Micro Rocket is here!


Like the integrated canister stoves, the Micro Rocket has minimal field repair ability — there are not a lot of things you can do to troubleshoot problems that arise in the field. That being said, this stove is so simple and durable we do not anticipate many field malfunctions and have not experienced any ourselves. If you want a stove that is very easy to troubleshoot in the field, we recommend the MSR WhisperLite. Generally, the Micro Rocket is a great tool to bring on any backpacking trip, and is a great back-up option if you're concerned about your main stove malfunctioning.

Jessica and Andrea anxiously awaiting dinner. When it is on any kind of uneven surface or there is any kind of breeze  the Micro Rocket requires constant monitoring or you risk loosing your dinner!
Jessica and Andrea anxiously awaiting dinner. When it is on any kind of uneven surface or there is any kind of breeze, the Micro Rocket requires constant monitoring or you risk loosing your dinner!

Fuel Efficiency


MSR does not recommend using any type of wind screen with this product. For this reason, we can not score the Mirco Rocket high in the fuel efficiency category. It is simply not wind resistant and in windy, exposed conditions its fuel efficiency will be significantly decreased. When we use it in a completely sheltered location, this thing roars, boiling water fast. However, it still uses more fuel than the integrated canister stoves that have an insulated pot with integrated heat exchangers, like the Jetboil Flash or the Editors' Choice winning MSR Windburner. The Mirco Rocket also tends to lose a bit of fuel every time you screw it on to the canister — this is something that we did not notice the Optimus Crux Lite to do. We have also made the mistake of screwing the canister on before making sure the fuel valve was closed, and lost fuel before we could get it closed.


Boil Time


The MSR Micro Rocket is aptly named, and boils water fast! During our boil tests the Micro Rocket was the fastest stove in town, boiling half a liter of water in a mere 2 minutes and 4 seconds!


As we mentioned above, the Micro Rocket's boil time will be dramatically decreased if there is any kind of wind. The best strategy is to try to find a sheltered spot when it is time to cook. The most windproof stove we tested was the Windburner.

Boil testing the Micro Rocket and the MSR WhisperLite Universal.
Boil testing the Micro Rocket and the MSR WhisperLite Universal.

Weight


This category is where the Micro Rocket truly exceeds. It is the lightest stove we tested, weighing a mere 2.5 oz. The MSR Pocket Rocket is only half an ounce heavier, but for those of us who live by the philosophy "an ounce in the hand is a pound on the back" will appreciate the difference. The peizo igniter that is included weighs half an ounce as well, less than a full sized lighter that weighs about an ounce. Its hard shell case weighs 1.2 oz, but we usually leave that at home.


One factor for consideration in this category is how fuel efficient your stove is, and how long your trip will be. We believe that the Micro Rocket is best on short trips where you can bring a small canister. The longer the trip, the more fuel you will use, which, when your stove is less efficient, may mean bringing another canister or a bigger canister, equaling more weight. We explain this concept further in our Buying Advice Article.

The smallest and lightest stove we tested  the MSR Micro Rocket fits in the palm of your hand.
The smallest and lightest stove we tested, the MSR Micro Rocket fits in the palm of your hand.

Stability


The Micro Rocket has the widest base of the small canister stoves we tested (by a millimeter or two), but these stoves are inherently less stable than liquid fuel stoves. Once screwed on to a canister they become tall, wobbly things to perch a pot on top of. This means they require constant monitoring, especially if they are placed on an uneven surface, or if there is a breeze at all.


We would recommend purchasing a short and squat pot (which are generally more fuel efficient anyways), to use on this stove, versus a tall narrow one.

The Micro Rocket (right) has the widest platform by a few millimeters when compared to the other small canister stoves  the Pocket Rocket (middle) and Optimus Crux Lite (left).
The Micro Rocket (right) has the widest platform by a few millimeters when compared to the other small canister stoves, the Pocket Rocket (middle) and Optimus Crux Lite (left).

Packed Size


The Micro Rocket takes the cake in this category and is the smallest stove in this review. Its folding legs enable it to pack even smaller that its sister the Pocket Rocket, and it fits into the palm of your hand. It also has a slimmer profile than the Optimus Crux Lite.


We find the hard case bulky and will usually leave it at home, but if you are less than gentle on your gear and find yourself sitting on or throwing your pack around, you may want to bring the case along for added protection.

The Micro Rocket and peizo igniter fit compactly into its case.
The Micro Rocket and peizo igniter fit compactly into its case.

Best Application


We take our MSR Micro Rocket along for short backpacking trips. For a few days on the trail we can bring it, a small pot, and a small canister and be set to cook simple meals. This is also a great option as a back up stove for any kind of camping. We keep ours in our truck in case we run out of propane for our Camping Stove or if we're traveling with large groups in case we need a second stove for complicated meals, or if our other stove breaks. It is so light it's a no brainer to bring along.

Value


At $60 the Micro Rocket is not the best value in the small canister stove category. The Pocket Rocket is 30 percent cheaper at $40. For those of us who want to save half an ounce and a bit of room in our packs — its worth it! We think that this stove is simple and durable and will last you a very long time, so it is ultimately a good value in the long run.

Conclusion


The MSR Micro Rocket wins our Top Pick Award because for lightweight backpacking. It is the smallest and lightest model that we tested, which makes it the perfect option for shorter backpacking trips. We love that it is versatile enough to simmer more complicated meals and fry up some eggs in a pan. We also think its peizo ignitor is a great alternative to a traditional lighter. The Micro Rocket is less wind resistant than most other stoves in this review and is less stable, requiring constant monitoring in less than perfect conditions, but in its element it will boil water fast, is simple, and reliable.

The MSR Micro Rocket is versatile enough to cook meals that require simmering. We like the ability to adjust the temperature.
The MSR Micro Rocket is versatile enough to cook meals that require simmering. We like the ability to adjust the temperature.

Jessica Haist

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Most recent review: January 31, 2017
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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