With the storms in Michigan this past week, I found myself without power for a couple of days. Not one to pass up an opportunity, I took it upon myself to use the blackout as a perfect chance to test out my camping equipment and get my gear dialed in. I want to tell you about one of my favorite pieces of gear: The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Stove.
About the Pocket Rocket
Mountain Safety Research, or MSR, was founded in 1969 by mountaineer Larry Penberthy. His goal was to improve mountain safety equipment. One of the areas MSR focused on improving was portable ultralight stoves. They found that climbers were becoming dehydrated due to the inability of their current stoves to melt snow. Thus, MSR invented and built the world’s first remote burner competent stove. The idea was to use remote, pressurized liquid fuel tanks. The pressure of the tank would allow the stove to perform well even at altitudes. Today, MSR continues to build and design quality ultralight gear.
The Pocket Rocket 2 is a canister stove designed to provide a dependable heating element in an extremely small and lightweight package. The burner weighs in at only 2.6 oz and is about the size of a sports watch when it is folded down. It features threads on the bottom which screw onto self-sealing fuel canisters. It runs on white gas canisters, which again, must have a threaded top to work with the Pocket Rocket. MSR makes awesome canisters that are widely available at sporting goods retailers. The smallest MSR canister is 4 fluid ounces of fuel and weighs in at 7.4 ounces, making the total weight of the stove and fuel less than 10 ounces. MSR estimates that each fluid ounce of fuel can boil 2 L of water.
I love my MSR Pocket Rocket. It is simple and easy to use. Its ridiculously light weight and small packing size make it ideal for ultralight and backpacking trips. That being said, it works so well that I find myself packing it on just about every camping trip I go on. Even if I am car camping and could bring along a larger stove, I still reach for the MSR.
To use the Pocket Rocket you simply remove it from its small nylon pouch, raise the 3 pot stabilizers, and screw it onto the top of a fuel canister. Then you turn the control valve on and light the flame. I prefer to use a small piezo lighter that MSR makes, but any lighter or match would work to light the stove.
The stove forms a surprisingly stable bass for your small pot when connected to a fuel canister. Also, the design emits a strong flame that can stay lit even in heavy winds. Of course, using it in high wind takes more fuel, but it has no trouble functioning in adverse conditions. I find that in winter I can boil 30 ounces of water in under 5 minutes. It works that well.
Last year, while hunting black bears, I wanted to do a honey and bacon burn at a bait site. I picked up a cheap 10-inch Teflon pan and was able to use the small MSR stove to cook an entire package of bacon in about 10 minutes. Of course, the Pocket Rocket works best with a 5-inch diameter pot, but I was able to make it work. This is one of the advantages of the Pocket Rocket’s design when compared to stoves like the JetBoil which only works with their pot.
You can pick up the Pocket Rocket Stove for $45. With a 3 year warranty, you can be sure that the stove will function well for many years. If at any point after the warranty ends you have a problem with the stove, MSR will completely overhaul and fix it for a flat fee of $25. I think this is a pretty cool feature that encourages people to fix their gear rather than add it to a landfill and buy a new stove.
The Pocket Rocket is one of those rare pieces of gear that is perfect. I believe It is the best ultralight stove available for its size and weight. It is simple to use, durable, and holds up well to use in less than ideal conditions. After a long cold day of hunting, I love heading back to camp and firing up the Pocket Rocket to cook some Mountain House. If you do any ultralight hunting or camping you need to pick this stove up.