Gear Review: MSR PocketRocket Deluxe Stove
Backpacking stoves these days run on wood, esbit tabs, alcohol, and the ever-popular IsoPro canisters. The PocketRocket Deluxe runs on an IsoPro canister and is an improvement to its predecessor, the MSR PocketRocket 2, (which is still available for $45) in that it boasts premium and upgraded features. In this review I put it through some camp chores and boil tests to see if the features are noteworthy and compare stoves of a similar variety.
I was operating on the Florida Trail so all of my data comes in at or near sea level and the weather is almost always warm, so I wasn’t able to test this stove when my gear was genuinely cold. That said, I think warm temps at sea level serve as a great base for the information provided when combined with the manufacturers specs. The PocketRocket is consistently one of the top stoves on long-distance trails, for good reason.
MSR PocketRocket Deluxe At-a-Glance
Weight: 2.9 ounces
Dimensions: 2.2 inches wide x 1.8 inches long x 3.3 inches high
Burn time (MSR IsoPro) per 227-gram / eight-ounce canister: 60 minutes
MSR PocketRocket Features
Some of the premium features include:
Pressure Regulator: The pressure regulator is meant to offer consistently faster boil times than non-regulated canister-mounted stoves.
Push-Start Piezo Igniter: This deluxe model has a push-start Piezo igniter, with more durability than any previous model.
Broad Burner: A broad burner is equipped to help with wind resistance and heat distribution.
As part of my testing I compared the PocketRocket Deluxe to a BRS 3000T stove. I’m including this quasi-scientific boil test as a reference point to compare with the manufacturer’s specs and to keep in mind while reading the rest of this review.
Fuel used: Jetboil isobutane/ propane fuel mix 3.53-ounce canister
Water Volume: Eight ounces (Yes, eight ounces because that is the exact water volume I use to make coffee on trail every morning)
Altitude: Sea level (or within 100 feet of sea level)
Additional Control Factors: Pot was cooled to ambient temperature before each boil. Water was measured with the same cup. Eight ounces of purified water was taken from a 20-ounce water bottle for each test (the boiled water for test No. 1 was discarded and not reused for test No. 2). Lastly, both stoves were turned up to maximum heat (fuel consumption) for this test.
BRS 3000T Boil Time: 70 seconds
MSR PocketRocket Deluxe Boil Time: 47 seconds
Heat Distribution: Even at maximum heat output, the burner does an excellent job distributing heat. It did not flare out or send flames high above the bottom of the pot. There was no “stuttering” or moment where the fuel was not evenly flowing from the canister.
Push-Start Piezo Igniter: The igniter did not feel cheap and had a very positive “click” sound and feel when depressed to engage the ignition. It was not spongy or hard to depress. Also, the workings of the Piezo lighter were not unnecessarily exposed, which helps protect the stove from exposure to dirt or debris. Lastly, the fact that the push-start lighter is here could mean carrying less (no Bic lighter) and certainly is convenient compared to pulling out a lighter and holding a flame under your stove.
Track Record: It’s worth noting that although this is a new product, it is preceded by the popular PocketRocket 2 and the original PocketRocket, all of which have stood the test of time.
Size/Weight: Although there are smaller, lighter stoves available (such as the BRS 3000T mentioned above), this stove is among the smaller, lighter options on the market. It won’t take up much space in your pack.
Pot Surface: The pot-holder legs flip up to make a wide base for the bottom of your cooking pot. This is a larger area for the cook pot to rest on than the BRS300T, offering creating a more stable surface.
Wind Protection: Although it offers some features to help with wind, this style of stove in general is not best suited to operate in windy areas. MSR offers other stove options (WindBurner) that are better suited for windy conditions, as do other manufacturers. If you compare this stove to others of the same type, it’s as good or better in this department.
Pot-Holder Legs – Production Consistency: MSR offers good quality control as a general rule and is known as a quality brand. The PocketRocket Deluxe that I received had a considerably loose pot-holder leg. This resulted in two legs having a good tolerance so that they could be smoothly opened and the third one was so loose that it was hard to get it into position and remain there so that I could safely place the pot onto the pot-holder legs without that third leg flopping down. Make sure all legs are secure before placing your pot down or it could turn into a safety issue in some circumstances.
Overall Thoughts on the MSR PocketRocket Deluxe
I really like this category of stove. It’s a great balance of size, weight, and space for those backpacking with a stove. This stove in particular is among my top choices. I like that it now features a quality Piezo igniter, has a larger area diameter for the pot to rest on, and distributes heat so evenly. The main thing that keeps from hailing this as the end-all stove in this category of stoves is the pot-holder leg issue that I experienced. After reaching this conclusion, I perused msrgear.com and found others had experienced this issue as well. I might also note that cheaper, lighter, smaller stoves in this category exist. Then again, so do more expensive, heavier, wind-resistant stoves. It can be a matter of preference and condition expectations when it comes to choosing a stove.
In the end, I would recommend the PocketRocket® Deluxe. Exceptions might include those who plan to be in a high-wind environment on a regular basis or if weight is everything when it comes to a canister stove. Make sure your pot legs are properly in place and you’ll get great performance. With great heat distribution and an easy push-start Piezo lighter, this stove will make cooking easy rather than adding any frustration to meal prep.
For a less expensive, lighter weight stove, the BRS3000T is a good choice. Unless you’re going stoveless or want to try alcohol stoves, this is as light as they come at 0.9 ounces. The pot surface isn’t as wide, the stove does flare a flame up/around the bottom of the pot at full heat (heat distribution not as good) but it gets the job done lighter and less expensive.
These stove kits are heavier (14/15 ounces) but offer better wind protection and many hikers enjoy the ease that these stoves offer.
This product was donated for purpose of review.
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