Tuesday, September 29, 2009
MSR POCKET ROCKET REVIEW
MSR (mountain safety research) has a pretty outstanding reputation as being a high quality provider of various camping and backpacking gear. The pocket rocket stove is the most affordable and consequently most popular ultralight stove they offer. Like anything else it has its pros and cons, but first I'll tell you what MSR claims right on the box.
Burn time: aprox. 60 min. / 8oz. canister
Boil time: 3.5 min. / 1 liter water
Water boiled per oz. fuel = 2 liters (8 oz. canister = 16 liters)
The pocket rocket has three serrated pot supports for stability, a wind resistant clip over the burner, and "glove friendly" flame control. What they mean by glove friendly is that it can be operated while wearing gloves easily, not that you should wear gloves due to heat. I have operated the pocket rocket on full blast several times and the flame control handle has never been hot enough to burn me.
After going through a couple of fuel cannisters, I would say their estimate on fuel consumption is only close. It seems to me that in a controlled environment like the one I demonstrated above, their figures are probably accurate. However, on the trail is a different story. The big factor here is wind. The wind guard clip on the burner works to keep the stove lit, but does little in a constant wind to cook your food. The easiest solution to this is simply to stack up some rocks upwind of your stove. Even with this the fuel isn't really an issue for weekend trips or short section hikes. I can get about 10-14 days of cooking done with one 8oz. canister. If you are a little more frivolous with your fuel or if you are simmering anything for long periods of time, then look for that number to drop a little.