MSR Pocket Rocket Review

MSR Pocket Rocket 2 and the NEW Pocket Rocket Delux

MSR Pocket Rocket 2

The Pocket Rocket stove has been around for quite some time now and has been the go-to stove for many lightweight enthusiasts. It’s efficient performance and minimal size makes it a market leader. How could it be improved?

Time moves on and with improvements in technology this new version has all the best features of the old together with new features a few tweaks in performance.

Features and Performance

In terms of performance I found the burner to be as powerful as the old one, but far more controllable. The gas-regulating valve can now be adjusted to give fine control, making the stove a lot easier to use – and no more burning your rice or porridge.  MSR have also included a surprisingly effective wind clip that guides the flame and minimizes any wind buffeting (looks like a Tricorne sat on top!).

At brew up time, although we were sat behind a stone wall (on a typically blustery Dartmoor day), conditions were still pretty testing. I found that the boiling time was really very good and was about 2 mins 30 sec for a cup (in good conditions MSR claim 3 mins 30 sec for a litre).  At home, with a full canister of gas and cold tap water in a lidded pan, I got 1 litre to boil in 3mins 45 secs.  However, ‘in the field’ boiling time seems pretty impressive to me, given that a near empty canister and cold temps also affect performance.

Pocket Rocket 2 Summary

Overall, seeing as this is just a fairly simple canister top stove, it kicks out a powerful flame and is ideal for a quick boil – perfect for a brew or water based pasta / freeze dried meals etc. The limitations of this screw on top type stove – small, potential height stability issues etc, really are out weighed by the brilliant simplicity of design, certainly compared to a more elaborate stove system.  You can use pans, kettles, frying pans, whatever and this little stove will perform.  I would probably still take a windshield on a longer trip – makes fuel last longer and helps when simmering, but other than that its sheer diminutive size coupled with its energetic performance makes it a winner.

MSR Pocket Rocket Delux

If the Pocket Rocket 2 doesn’t have enough new features for your liking then the all-new Pocket Rocket Deluxe may be the answer.

This new compact stove has a different burner and a revised combustion chamber.  The overall effect is a stove that maintains peak power in variable conditions i.e. at higher altitudes.  It manages this by regulating the pressure more evenly, even with a gas canister that is low on fuel.  This could be a key selling point for use on lightweight high altitude trips!

The features

In use, I found it to have just as much control as the Rocket 2, easy to simmer etc, as well as being able to blast the bottom of a pan with full power.  The burner is bigger than on the Rocket 2, with a cupped rim to help prevent wind buffeting and focus the flame – which seemed to work well.  In fact, the Deluxe is noticeably bigger than the diminutive 2 – but not too much – it still folds down into a tidy package.

The other main technical addition is the introduction of a piezo igniter.  One click and the burner ignites instantly.  MSR have always stayed clear of these devices as they felt they have had a tendency to break down.  Time will tell, but MSR have put the igniter inside the burner to help durability – seems good.

In the short time I had to test the unit I was impressed with both the power and control of the unit, and certainly the ability for constant gas pressure to be maintained, even when the canister is running out, would maybe tempt me away from the standard Rocket 2 – cooking at 10k feet!

Summary

Retailing at £70 it is almost double that of the standard Rocket 2, but the additional features may be good value in more variable conditions – and with the piezo more functionality.  Boil time is similar to standard 2 (when on full canisters) about 3.5 mins.  The deluxe is heavier by 10 grams – about the same a £1 coin – hardly worth worrying about!  The choice is yours!

 

Keith is a Dof E assessor and runs training expeditions for Ten Tors and DofE. When he is not hiking and wild camping he also enjoys cycle touring and climbing.

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