Expert Review: MSR PocketRocket Stove Kit
This review is my honest opinion of the stove kit which I purchased with my own money in June of 2018.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the stove kit which I purchased with my own money in June of 2018.
The MSR PocketRocket Stove Kit is a great one-stop-shop for backpacking or casual car camping. It includes everything I need and nothing I don’t to make easy meals for myself and a buddy.
About the gear
- Model: MSR PocketRocket Stove Kit
- Average Boil Time: 15 min
- Fuel Type: Isopropane
- Experience: 25+ years
- When I bought it: June 2018
- Days tested: 100+
- Where I’ve used it: Montana, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, California, Nevada. National Parks, remote backcountry camping spots, parking lots, just about everywhere.
- Seasons I’ve used it in: Spiring, Summer, Winter, Fall
- Weather conditions I’ve used it in: Cold, windy, hot, dry, rainy, snowy
- Used for: Car/tent camping, backpacking
- What I’ve primarily cooked in it: boil only, some more complicated things like frying veggies though it excels in boil-only situations.
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was looking for a system that could make simple meals, didn’t take up too much space, and was versatile for use on backpacking trips and car camping meals. I also found that on many camping trips, I usually had one person with me, at least, who didn’t camp a ton or have a stove, so I was looking for something that came with a system of bowls/spoons that would all pack together. It was my first camping stove, and I was on a Patagonia Provisions kick, so I didn’t need anything too complicated, just that I could boil water.
Why I chose this gear
I decided on this particular product because it was a good package deal with two cups, two bowls, two spoons, a little stove, and a pot with a lid and handle. They all fit together well, and I knew if I was backpacking by myself, I could just take one of the utensils out. At the time of buying, I didn’t need anything fancy. I was just doing a few day's trips, so it was perfectly simple. I had also heard good things about MSR stoves, and it seemed easier to use than a JetBoil or anything with an auto-ignite.
What I love about it
- Durability: It’s been really durable, I am pretty careful with the sporks because they are a bit flimsy, but there haven’t been any issues with the stove, pot, or system as a whole.
- Time to boil: I can really ramp the flame up, and although that uses fuel faster, it can get things boiling and cooking quickly.
- Fuel Efficiency: It could be better, but overall I don’t feel like I am going through IsoPropane canisters very quickly at all.
- Heat control: The heat regulator is really easy to adjust the flame, just a little knob like on a regular stove.
- Stability: Because it is a three-pronged stove, it's actually pretty stable. The prongs come out to add some more stability when in use and fold back up to fit inside of the stove system when it is packed away. I don’t like using the really tall canisters with it just because it gets a bit precocious with a tall Isopro canister, the stove, and a taller pot like the one it comes with, but I have never had it knock over or anything. I also don’t usually use the taller canisters anyways since I use this stove for shorter outings where I don’t need to carry that much fuel in the first place.
- Portability: It is super portable and packable.
- Packability: It’s easy to pack. It fits into itself and is lightweight since the bowls and cups are plastic. I have used it on solo missions where I take the cups out and bring the bowl, and I can fit the IsoPropane canister inside the pot with the spoon and stove. The handle for the stove doubles as a locking mechanism to keep it together when I’m in my backpack.
- Ease of use: It’s really easy to use; I can just screw the stove on the isopropane canister, turn it on, and light it with a match. The flame is really adjustable, and there is nothing complicated about it.
- Backpacking: The packability and the fact that it's a whole system with bowls/cups makes this ideal for backpacking.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Fuel Efficiency: It doesn’t have any sort of shield or protector around the flame, so it’s not the most efficient option.
- Wind resistance: It could be better at wind resistance as some Jetboils are since they have a little protector around the flame, but for a stove that doesn’t have that, it handles wind and rain pretty well just because it can really blast the flame.
- Car Camping: When car camping and looking for meals that require more than just boiling water, the best option would be to go with something a bit bigger with a burner instead. It’s awesome for dehydrated meals, oatmeal, pasta with just plain sauce, etc. But anything more will be more time spent than it's worth.
Favorite moment with this stove
My favorite moment with this stove was bringing it up on a really long hike in Glacier National Park called Grinnell Glacier. It is 11ish miles, and we went around dinner time to see the sunset. It was really beautiful, but I was starving when I got there. I brought a Patagonia Provisions Red Bean Chili meal and my hiking partner that day brought a Backpacker's Pantry Pad Thai Chicken meal. We boiled some water and ate them both by the glacial lake before going down. It was a great spot for dinner, and it was awesome to have the capability to bring everything I needed to make a real meal on that long of a day hike.
Value for the money vs. other options
The other option I had considered at the time was a simple Jetboil. My dad always had one growing up, so I kinda just thought that was the thing to get. Looking into it, Jetboils are more expensive and more fuel-efficient. Still, they don't have all the other things that come with The MSR PocketRocket Stove Kit, they are usually a taller pot, which makes it harder to clean it after use and a less evenly cooked meal if I am trying to use it for anything except water. Though I don't really use mine for much more than water, I have cooked couscous or oatmeal in it, and it’s easy to clean afterward, and it cooks things evenly because of the greater surface area. If I was trying to go ultralight or doing any sort of mountaineering, I might have chosen a Jetboil or something similar, but for what I wanted, this is perfect, and it was a little over $100 so it felt like absolutely the most bang for my buck.
This is a great stove kit for anyone looking to dabble in backpacking, car camping, and occasional trail meals. It will get my food cooked, and my water boiled reliably. It is also a great intro system if I don’t have bowls/cups. It is easy to use, easy to clean, and incredibly packable.