Over more than two decades I’ve tried several styles of backpacking stoves for my adventure travels. Most recently, I’ve been using a simple alcohol stove, but missed the level of flame control provided by compressed gas models. When Appalachian Outdoors asked me to review the MSR Pocket Rocket, I jumped at the chance. The last compressed gas stove I owned, while convenient, didn’t hold up well. So, I looked forward to putting the Pocket Rocket through its paces.
My first impression out of the box was that the stove is very compact and light. It comes in its own plastic case, which immediately alerted my “Is it necessary, or is it extra weight?” alarm, so I checked the weight. (Nothing gets in my pack without sitting on my scale first.) The box adds an ounce to the stove’s weight, but does provide good protection.
The opinions below are derived from my decidedly non-scientific methods of evaluation, including the use of a hiking partner’s stove on the trail, my tests of the stove provided for review and testimonials from other backpacking buddies.
- Compact and light, it weighs just 3 oz without the 1-oz case. (A large full canister weighs 12.7 oz.)
- Excellent flame control.
- Boils 2 cups of water in three minutes at sea level on an 82˚F day, no wind.
- Small pot base means it can be a bit tippy with a wide pan.
- Canisters are bulky and must be packed out.
- Canisters may be harder to find in small towns than other fuels.
The convenience of this stove has swayed me to pack it in place of my alcohol model on some trips. I recommend the MSR Pocket Rocket for hikes with regular re-supply points to prevent having to carry multiple fuel canisters (both empty and full) in your pack. Personally, I will use it on sections less than four days, since I think I could make one large canister last that long. MSR also offers a small canister, which is a good choice for 1-2 day treks. How long canisters will last has many variables, my estimate is based on my cooking habits. I suggest tracking your use on a couple of short trips to gauge your fuel needs.
Naturally, the canisters create a disposal issue. If possible, recycle them using these suggestions from Backpacker Magazine: Read: How to Recycle Spent Fuel Canisters. Otherwise, be sure to dispose of them safely. Note: Throwing them in a campfire is not safe!
I want to thank the folks at Appalachian Outdoors for providing the stove for this review. I took note of their order and fulfillment process when I ordered the stove and a couple of other items. My experience with their customer service went without a hitch. (I’m under no obligation to say nice things…they really did a good job.)