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MSR's Pocket Rocket Canister Stove

by Dirk
01/07/2013 03:52:46 P.M.

Shortly after the the beginning of time there was fire. It was a laborious process to obtain it, but in it was life. Those prehistoric cavemen may have been technologically advanced for their time, but they’ve got nothing on the modern day fire making devices.

The MSR Pocket Rocket is amongst the few such stoves that make quite the spectacle out of cooking.

The flame, when the fuel is fully open, resembles that of a jet fighter engine (hence the name). Although fire is, and will likely always be, impressive, often times hikers need the quickness and convenience of a stove. And for that, the Pocket Rocket will almost always be my preference. It is one of the lightest, most affordable, and simplest canister stoves that I’ve used.

A few years ago, I was in the market for a canister stove - and the big problem is that, though they’re relatively simple, there is such a huge selection of them on the market. It’s hard to choose which one is best for you.

I made my decision exclusively on price. In fact, when I got my stove I wasn’t considering weight or functionality. I wanted something inexpensive and something that worked, and now, almost 3 years later, I still own and use that very same stove (which I still consider a $40 investment well made).

It was only in retrospect, after the initial shock that something so small could cost so much, that I learned to appreciate the stove for what it was. Now, it’s not the smallest stove on the market, nor the lightest, but I would boast that the Pocket Rocket is still one of the most durable and easiest on the market to use and operate. It’s a no frills, no gimmicks, type of stove.

There are other more techy stoves like the LiteMax from Snow Peak that does all kinds of little magic tricks (it folds up and has an auto start) and weighs next to nothing, but it comes at a high price tag. Although these all great considerations, simplicity is exactly what I want when I’m in the outdoors.

The only downfall with the Pocket Rocket is that, just like any other canister stove, it has a difficult time simmering or cooking actual meals due to the lack of flame control and small flame coverage. I had a bad incident in Dubois, Wyoming where I burnt ravioli after only a few minutes in the pot - the result was a meal that tasted like tobacco smells (gross).  Also for the few times that I have successfully cooked something with my stove/pot combo its usually resulted in a really labor intensive scrubbing of the pot. Because of those things, I prefer to only the boil water with the Pocket Rocket or make meals that require minimal cooking.

From my personal experience I would recommend this stove to anyone. If you’re on a tight budget and demand a very functional product that will last you a very long time then this might likely be the canister stove for you.

There have only been a few adventures and expeditions that the MSR Pocket Rocket hasn’t joined me in. It even consider it to be a safety tool to keep that you can keep in your car for emergency situations. It is a great stove for someone on a tight budget and demands a very functional product that will last a very long time.

Note: MSR recently released the Micro Rocket, which is a lighter, slightly more expensive, version of the Pocket Rocket.