Expert Review: MSR Pocket Rocket Stove

This review is my own honest opinion of the stove, which I bought with my own money in 2012.

Photo of a meal cooked by Curated Expert Andrea Kiture, in their MSR Pocket Rocket Stove.

Photo by Andrea Kiture

About this review This review is my own honest opinion of the stove, which I bought with my own money in 2012.

My take

The MSR Pocket Rocket Stove is a great choice for anyone from a beginner to a more experienced backpacker. Once the user gets used to the stove, it will work for car camping if they plan on cooking light.

Photo of Curated Expert Andrea Kiture, cooking in their MSR Pocket Rocket Stove.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Kiture

About the gear

  • Model: MSR Pocket Rocket
  • Average Boil Time: 2.5 minutes
  • Fuel Type: Isobutane

About me

  • Experience: 24 years

Test conditions

  • When I bought it: 2012
  • Days tested: 5
  • Where I’ve used it: Texas, Florida, and Yellowstone Park.
  • Seasons I’ve used it in: Fall, and Winter
  • Weather conditions I’ve used it in: Cold, dry, wet, and snowy
  • Used for: Backpacking, and car camping
  • What I’ve primarily cooked in it: Boiling water, hot drinks, breakfast of eggs and sausage.

How it performs

Fuel Efficiency

What I was looking for

When I got into backpacking it was necessary to reduce weight so I started looking around. A friend introduced me to the pocket rocket and the rest is history!

Why I chose this gear

I mainly chose this gear for its weight and compatibility. I was looking at Jetboil, but this was smaller and my friend who was using it said it did the same thing for a lot less money and I did not have to use only Jetboil fuel. That was a real selling point for me - I chose MSR because it uses any isobutane fuel.

Photo of MSR Pocket Rocket Stove.

Photo by Andrea Kiture

What I love about it

  • Durability: I have had this stove for 8 years and it has not needed any repairs whatsoever. It is so compact and the carrying case does a great job of protecting it from getting bent.
  • Fuel Efficiency: The stove is super fuel-efficient. I typically use only one 110g canister for an entire weekend with some fuel left over. It reaches maximum heat in 2-3 minutes, thus lessening overall cooking time. The burn time for this stove for one person using it is at least 5 days, with an average cooking time of 2-3 minutes. One thing to note is that this stove is not the best choice for meals that require much cooking such as raw meats, or pasta. In my experience, it takes too much time and burning occurs instead of actual cooking.
  • Heat control: Amazingly, I can turn the flame and adjust the flame to very low. I do this when cooking to not burn my food and it’s very easy to do!
  • Portability: The stove has a very light, but sturdy carry case made out of hard plastic that fits into a backpack without any problem - very smart design here.
  • Packability: I actually pack the stove into my drinking cup so that it stays put. It’s that simple. There are no problems here with regards to packability, in fact, it is so small that it could get misplaced if not careful.
  • Ease of use: At first I thought that this stove would be difficult to use, but it is super easy. There is an on-and-off switch to release the fuel and the stove itself twists onto the isobutane canister very smoothly. This is probably one of the easiest stoves that I have ever operated. Just one switch to turn on and adjust the flame.
  • Features: The stove does not have an auto-ignite, just an on/off switch, and there is no heat reflector or drip tray. It is a multi-fuel stove since it uses isobutane, but that is readily available. There is no wind guard, but I think because the stove is so small I can position it anywhere to protect it from winds.
  • Backpacking: The weight and compactness of the stove make it ideal for backpacking.
  • Car Camping: I find that it works great for car camping especially when it’s cold. One can quickly heat water for a hot drink! When car camping, I use it to mainly to boil water or reheat leftovers. This stove is good as an addition for car camping but would not be my main choice, only because I would not cook big meals on it and when car camping my meals are bigger.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Time to boil: Since I am the only one that I cook for, with a cup and a half of water I reach boiling point in 2 minutes. The time to boil is 3 minutes if I am trying to boil 3 cups of water, which is slow in comparison to other stoves like Jetboil.
  • Stability: I purposely use a small stainless steel cup and small skillet to cook in. The MSR is made of sturdy metal with gripes to hold a small pot or skillet stable. I think that if I were cooking for two and attempted to use a medium size pan, it will not be as secure. I use a small pan and a 110g fuel source which is small, but since it is just for me it works fine.
  • Wind resistance: The stove does not come with a wind guard, but I did not have trouble in winds due to the torchlike flame. When cooking in windy conditions I just turn the flame down. To adapt to wind, I just position the stove behind something else since it is so small and does not have a wind guard.

Favorite moment with this stove

When I went to Yellowstone my friend kind of mocked my stove and said that we didn’t need it and that it was not useful. On the first cold morning at 23 degrees, I had hot chocolate before she even blinked. The look on her face was priceless. After that, she was looking for that stove to make hot chocolate and oatmeal every morning!

Value for the money vs. other options

This stove is certainly worth the money and it comes with an adjustable flame already, no need to upgrade to the second model. The other really important factor is that it is compatible with any isobutane fuel source. I compared it to Jetboil and it packs smaller, the flame is adjustable on the base model, and I can use any fuel with it as long as its isobutane, which is cheaper and larger than Jetboil fuel.

Final verdict

The MSR Pocket Rocket Stove gives me freedom because it is so easy and cooks fast with no mess. It also cools down very quickly (which I did not mention earlier) so it is worth it!

Selling MSR on
MSR PocketRocket 2 Mini Stove Kit
Like this article?
Share it with your network

Written By
Andrea Kiture
Andrea Kiture
Camping & Hiking Expert
I have been camping since I was a teenager in New York City some 45 years ago! My journey began in the Catskill Mountains and includes the Adirondacks and Appalachian Trail. As you can tell I am a cold weather camper. But, I will not turn down an opportunity to campout even when it's warm. If I'm no...
View profile

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Read Next

New and Noteworthy