The Most Reliable Campstove

Old faithful.

Old faithful.

I bought my MSR Pocket Rocket back in 2010 for my first ever backpacking trip. What attracted me to the stove was that it was so compact, lightweight, and reasonably priced. I figured since it was only $40, if I wasn’t happy with it I could buy another one down the line.

Turns out, I still haven’t bought another stove. I took my MSR Pocket Rocket along on my AT thru-hike in 2012. The stove still works great today. I was pondering if I should buy another one for my upcoming PCT thru-hike, but I think I will just wait and see if this stove can survive another long-distance journey.

What’s so great about the MSR Pocket Rocket, anyway?

Pros:

  • It’s lightweight. The stove itself only weighs 3 ounces, but you will also need a fuel canister to use it. You can get a jumbo canister to save money or a mini canister to save weight.
  • There’s no maintenance required. You don’t have to do anything to keep it working.
  • It’s reliable. It works in all sorts of conditions. Cold weather, hot weather, strong winds, and high elevations. This stove has never failed me.
  • It lasts forever. I’ve been using my stove regularly for five years. It still boils my water in just a few minutes.
  • It doesn’t cost much. Sure, at $40 it is definitely more than a tuna fish can stove. But when you consider the length of time you can use it for, that initial amount doesn’t seem like much.

Cons:

  • Fuel canisters are easy to find along the AT, but when I was biking down the Pacific Coast I had trouble finding canisters. They are not easy to find in some places.
  • You have to be careful to put the stove on a flat surface. It can be a little unbalanced. I’ve only had one spill, but I lost half of my Raman and mashed potatoes.

Random tips for using the stove:

  • If the weather is really cold, the stove might take longer to boil water. Before cooking, use your body heat to warm up the fuel canister.
  • Sometimes if you don’t pay attention, the pot will boil over and flood the stove. Let it dry out for about a day before using it.
  • Make the fuel last longer by using a piece of foil as a windscreen. You can fold it up and put it in your cooking pot when you’re not using it. Also use a lid on the cooking pot to make the fuel go a little further.
  • You probably shouldn’t cook in your tent, but we all have those lazy mornings sometimes. The flame is pretty powerful, so make sure it is away from the side of your tent.

Overall, this is a great stove. I will probably buy another one if mine ever stops working.

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4 thoughts on “The Most Reliable Campstove

  1. Huzzah, this is the stove I own/am planning on bringing on my AT thru-hike. I’ve heard that it can have trouble in cold weather but I’m happy to hear it wasn’t an issue for you!

  2. I completely agree with you about the Pocket Rocket. Similarly, I got mine back in 2010 (or at the very beginning of 2011), and it’s still going strong. I just got an Esbit stove for the PCT for the simplicity of mailing fuel tablets, but I still love the Pocket Rocket.

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