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MSR PocketRocket Deluxe Review

A fantastic and reliable option that simmers well, works in the wind, and is very compact
MSR PocketRocket Deluxe
Credit: MSR
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Price:  $80 List | $59.39 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Compact, lightweight, works well in the wind, great for simmering
Cons:  Unreliable piezo igniter
Manufacturer:   MSR
By Mary Witlacil and Ian McEleney  ⋅  May 9, 2022
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 20
  • Fuel Efficiency - 25% 6.0
  • Weight - 25% 8.0
  • Simmering Ability - 20% 9.0
  • Ease Of Use - 20% 7.0
  • Boil Time - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

Who says you can only eat freeze-dried food on fast and light missions in the backcountry?! With the lightweight, excellent simmering capabilities, and compact design of the MSR PocketRocket Deluxe, you'll have endless possibilities for cooking real meals. This stove is decently fuel-efficient and can even boil water quickly in the wind — a unique trait in a small canister stove. We're happy MSR finally put a piezo igniter on this stove, but it was somewhat unreliable compared to the competition, and the pot supports could provide more stability. Nevertheless, this stove packs up smaller and boils faster in the wind than even the stiffest competition. If you're looking for a durable, reliable, lightweight stove that can keep up with your backcountry culinary skills, this is the stove for you.

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Pros Compact, lightweight, works well in the wind, great for simmeringLightweight, works in the wind, great piezo igniter, fuel efficient, very stable for a small canister stoveUltralight, fuel efficient, affordable, quick to boil even in windGood at simmering, simple operationTiny, light, cheap
Cons Unreliable piezo igniterPot supports pack up separately from stoveA bit loud, possibly less durable pot stabilizersNo piezoelectric igniter, slow to boil, bulky, somewhat heavySmall burner head, poor wind performance, not great fuel efficiency
Bottom Line A fantastic and reliable option that simmers well, works in the wind, and is very compactOur favorite small canister stove, providing the best performance for most backpackersThis affordable and fuel-efficient canister stove is also tiny and ultralight, perfect for your next backcountry adventureThis standard small canister stove is good for simmering but bulky and a bit heavy in your packA shockingly small, ultra lightweight, and straightforward backpacking stove at an impressively low price
Rating Categories MSR PocketRocket De... Soto Windmaster Soto Amicus Primus Essential Trail BRS-3000T
Fuel Efficiency (25%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
2.0
Weight (25%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
10.0
Simmering Ability (20%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Ease Of Use (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
Boil Time (10%)
9.0
7.0
7.0
4.0
3.0
Specs MSR PocketRocket De... Soto Windmaster Soto Amicus Primus Essential Trail BRS-3000T
Category Small Canister Small Canister Small Canister Small Canister Small Canister
Essential Weight (stove or stove + integrated pot only) 3.0 oz 3.0 oz 2.79 oz 4.5 oz 0.9 oz
Trail Weight (stove, fuel, pot) 15.13 oz 15.63 oz 14.92 oz 16.63 oz 12.63 oz
Wind Boil Time (1 liter, 2-4mph) 5:27 min:sec 5:46 min:sec 6:30 min:sec 10:10 min 14:45 min:sec
Boil Time (1 liter) 3:14 min:sec 4 min:sec 3:52 min: sec 5:30 min:sec 5:13 min:sec
Packed Weight (stove + all accessories) 3.5 oz 3.5 oz 3.5 oz 4.5 oz 1 oz
Dimensions 3.3" x 2.2" x 1.8" 4.7" x 3.9" x 3.6" 3.9" × 0.7" × 6.5" 4.3" x 2.4" 2" x 1.2" x 1.3"
Fuel Type Isobutane Isobutane Isobutane Isobutane Isobutane
Additional Included Items Stuff sack Stuff sack, pot support Stuff sack None Stuff sack
Piezo Igniter? Yes Yes Yes No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The latest in a line of "rocket" themed stoves, MSR's PocketRocket Deluxe is a great backpacking stove. It simmers like a champ, is among the lightest weight small canister stoves, and is incredibly compact for how durable it feels. While it boasts respectable fuel efficiency and an impressive boil time, what blew us away was that it can bring water to a rolling boil even in an 8-10 mph wind! It is very similar in features to the Soto Windmaster, our Editors' Choice. Indeed, the burner heads on these two stoves are almost identical.

Performance Comparison


MSR PocketRocket Deluxe backpacking stove - the pocketrocket deluxe is our runner up backpacking stove. on all...
The PocketRocket Deluxe is our runner up backpacking stove. On all fronts, it's a fantastic small canister stove.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Fuel Efficiency


Fuel efficiency is a nice feature for a stove on shorter trips, but it becomes increasingly important as your wilderness forays grow in length. Fewer fuel cans means more space in your pack and less weight on your back. Fewer cans is also gentler on the environment and your budget. While the PocketRocket Deluxe is not the most fuel-efficient stove in our review, it held its own against stiff competition.

When tested in calm conditions, the Deluxe used 0.52 ounces of fuel to boil one liter of water, comparable to the best small canister stoves and even some of the integrated canister stoves.

MSR PocketRocket Deluxe backpacking stove - the bell shape of the burner head protects the flame when it's windy.
The bell shape of the burner head protects the flame when it's windy.
Credit: Ian McEleney

To test fuel efficiency in wind, we situate each stove adjacent to a box fan blowing 2-4 mph of "wind." In this test, the Deluxe burned 0.83 ounces of fuel to boil one liter of water. On average, between these two tests, this stove consumed 16% of a 4-ounce fuel canister per boil test. This is slightly above average when compared to other stoves in our review. It is remarkable that this stove can boil water in the wind, and it does so much quicker than other small canister stoves. Only integrated canister stoves boil faster with wind present. However, while it did have a slightly above average fuel efficiency score, the high performance and quick boil time in the wind is likely why it did not prove even more fuel-efficient. The burner's high output can produce a hotter flame, resulting in a faster boil time in the wind but more consumed fuel. If you want to conserve fuel with this stove, turn down the fuel knob to avoid blazing through your supply.

MSR PocketRocket Deluxe backpacking stove - two very similar burner heads, the soto windmaster on the left and...
Two very similar burner heads, the Soto Windmaster on the left and the PocketRocket Deluxe on the right.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Weight


The PocketRocket Deluxe weighs 3 ounces on the nose (85 grams), very similar to most of the small canister stoves in our review. Its predecessor, the PocketRocket 2, weighed 0.4 ounces less but didn't come with a piezo igniter and performed poorly in the wind. The Deluxe comes with a burly stuff sack that only adds another 0.5 ounces.

MSR PocketRocket Deluxe backpacking stove - weighing the deluxe.
Weighing the Deluxe.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Simmering Ability


The Deluxe is one of our favorite stoves for cooking real food. The control valve has the right amount of resistance, making it easy to dial in the correct amount of heat. While the burner head isn't as large as some of the behemoths found in this competition, it is wider than many small canister stoves, which means heat distributes evenly around the bottom of a pot or pan.

MSR PocketRocket Deluxe backpacking stove - the pot supports on the deluxe have a diameter of around 5 inches.
The pot supports on the Deluxe have a diameter of around 5 inches.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Even though this stove doesn't support large pots and pans as well as the liquid fuel stoves in our test (bigger groups may want a second stove or something that performs better with larger cookware), this stove was still our favorite for making fancy meals.

Ease Of Use


Within the sub-categories of this review (integrated canister, liquid fuel, small canister), the differences in weight are rarely more than a few ounces. Similarly, the differences in boil times are generally hard to detect without a stopwatch. Because of that, our testers are also interested in how easy it is to use each stove, whether we're dumping boiling water into a water bottle or flipping pancakes.

Like all of the small canister stoves, the Deluxe boasts some basic design features that make it easy to set up. It gets extra points for a large control valve wire and simple fold-out pot supports that lend more stability than you'd expect — though it's still not as stable as the competition.

Previous reviewers have had issues with the reliability of the piezo igniter on the Deluxe. Even though it sparked every time we pressed the button, it sometimes struggled to light the stove, even when the valve was fully open. More recently, we have found improved reliability with the igniter, signaling some variability in how consistently these igniters work. This is why we always carry a lighter with us, even when our stove has an integrated igniter. The igniter on the Deluxe is protected by burly housing that attaches it to the stove, and we never worried about damaging it when packing up. Overall, other models edged out the Deluxe in this category because of their consistently reliable piezo igniters and more substantial pot supports.

MSR PocketRocket Deluxe backpacking stove - the stove and it's burly stuff sack.
The stove and it's burly stuff sack.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Boil Time


Our testing team doesn't think boiling times are that important, as long as they're not outrageously slow. Nevertheless, the PocketRocket Deluxe delivered proud results, boiling 1 liter of water in 3 minutes and 14 seconds — an unbeatable score that couldn't be bested even by integrated canister stoves. Don't expect to multitask while boiling water with this stove; make sure you have everything ready to go before you fire up, it will surprise you with how quickly this stove boils.

What impressed our testers most was how well the Deluxe performed in the wind. When we tested the stove in front of a 2-4 mph wind generated by a box fan, this stove boiled one liter of water in 5 minutes and 27 seconds. We think the secret sauce behind this performance is the tapered and slightly protected shape of the burner head and a high-powered burner. The only stoves that are faster at boiling in the breeze are integrated canister stoves.

MSR PocketRocket Deluxe backpacking stove - this small stove performs well enough that we took it along a quick...
This small stove performs well enough that we took it along a quick spring ski tour.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Value


This is the most expensive small canister stove in our review. Do we think the extra dollars are worth it? Absolutely. We can't recommend it enough.

MSR PocketRocket Deluxe backpacking stove - the deluxe packed in a 1 liter pot with a 4 ounce fuel can, pot grip...
The Deluxe packed in a 1 liter pot with a 4 ounce fuel can, pot grip and lighter.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Conclusion


MSR's latest backcountry Rocket, the PocketRocket Deluxe, is an almost unbeatable backpacking stove. It boasts impressive performance in the wind, lightning fast boil times, decent fuel efficiency if you can keep it out of the wind, and when it comes to simmering it's our favorite, working almost as well as the stove in your home kitchen. The inconsistent performance of its piezo igniter and ho-hum pot supports have it lagging behind one other model when it comes to ease of use, but we think that's worth overlooking for the Deluxe's finer qualities, including its ability to boil water in the wind.

MSR PocketRocket Deluxe backpacking stove - the piezo igniter is protected in this metal housing, and the wire...
The piezo igniter is protected in this metal housing, and the wire runs up through the stove body.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Mary Witlacil and Ian McEleney
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