The MSR PocketRocket 2, representing an update of a long-running popular stove, the original PocketRocket, has been out for a couple of years. I recently had a chance to test it to compare to my original PocketRocket as part of a convenient MSR Mini Stove Kit. Light backpackers love items that nest together efficiently and this kit is a marvel. Like the original PocketRocket, the stove itself is tiny, lightweight, reliable, heats water quickly and accepts a variety of cooking vessels. The most significant changes are the smaller size, lower weight and arms (pot supports) that fold like origami to make a more compact stove. MSR has a long and storied history developing innovations in camping stoves and other equipment.
The stove kit contains six items:
Everything except the stuff sack fits together inside the pot with a 4-oz fuel canister. The pot, which is 4.24 inches high and 4 inches wide, holds everything. The plastic cup has standard and metric measurement markings and is safe for hot and cold liquids. The lid has 10 strainer holes and a rubber knob so you can hold the top on and strain liquid from the pot. The lid also has a semi-circular cut out that allows the included MSR Mini LiteLifter pot handle to be placed without disturbing the top. The stove is ringed with a rubbery 1.5 inch insulated grip at the top that prevents burned fingers. I added a lighter since the stove doesn’t have a piezoelectric igniter built in. The lighter fits inside the pot as well.
The slightly lower height of the PocketRocket 2 means that it fits into smaller pots and cups such as the MSR Titan cup. I tested it with my Toaks 450 ml titanium mug and it fit perfectly whereas the original PocketRocket was an annoying half inch too tall.
I tested the stove on a backpacking trip in the spring. Everything worked as expected, just like my original PocketRocket. There was only a light breeze so I didn’t get to test it in wind, but I added a wind test later (see “Boiling Time” below). I found that I’ve gotten lazy with my JetBoil’s piezo igniter so I fumbled around with the lighter to light the flame—no big deal but if a piezo igniter is important to you, consider the PocketRocket Deluxe which has push-start igniter. Having an igniter is a pro for some who appreciate the convenience and a con for those who prefer simplicity and durability.
The pot felt stable on the stove and I appreciated the rubber tip on the lid and insulated grip on the pot so I didn’t burn my fingers. The pot handle worked well and felt secure when used to remove the pot from the stove. There are a lot of separate pieces compared to a JetBoil that I use when I’m with my husband. However, the PocketRocket 2 Stove Kit is lighter by 5¼ oz (that’s significant!) and more compact than the JetBoil, which is my goal when I’m solo. See weight list below for more detail.
Egg test: One of the reasons I wanted to try a simple stove design was to free me from oatmeal in the mornings. On short, relaxed trips I put a high premium on being able to have eggs for breakfast. Our JetBoil doesn’t have an adjustable flame and we prefer to just boil water in it to keep stray flavors from contaminating our cooking water, though we don’t actually cook. We use the hot-soak method of rehydrating our dried-food meals. I tested the PocketRocket 2 at home, comparing the MSR pot that comes with the Stove Kit and my Toaks titanium plate that can double as a frying pan. I used olive oil and OvaEasy Egg Crystals, mixing the egg powder with water according to instructions on the package. The PocketRocket flame was easy to adjust and both the pot and pan resulted in acceptable eggs. However, the pot was better. The MSR aluminum pot distributed the heat evenly for better cooking while the Toaks titanium pan got too hot and scorched the eggs a bit. This is not surprising as titanium transmits heat efficiently, a little too efficiently for real cooking. MSR has a good article comparing aluminum, titanium and stainless steel. The benefit of the titanium pan is that it doubled as my plate, is easier to clean and doesn’t matter so much if there’s a little oil or flavor residue. I still dislike having an oily pot to clean but it might be worth it to have an improved cooking experience.
Mixing and matching: I love how all the parts work together with the Stove Kit but I also have some other products that I can swap in and out if I’m really shaving ounces. I can reduce weight by using my Toaks 450 ml titanium cup instead of the pot. If I want to use a pan to scramble eggs, I can use my Toaks titanium plate. If I want a shallower bowl, I can use my REI plastic bowl. See below for individual weight comparisons. It’s possible to ditch the stuff sack except that it keeps the lid intact when the kit is nested. I often store my stove in the long pocket of my Gossamer Gear Mariposa pack where it sits snugly in a vertical position. For this placement, a rubber band worked fine to secure the top.
Boiling time: MSR states a boiling time of 1 liter in 3.5 minutes. For my home test, I filled the MSR 750 ml pot with 500 ml cool tap water using the 500 ml mark inside the pot. There was an ambient air temperature of 73 degrees with no wind. It took 1 minute for the water (500 ml) to feel hot enough for hot chocolate with significant movement of the water and 2 min 40 seconds for a full rolling boil. In a second test, the wind test, I used similar parameters. I used 500 ml cool tap water, the ambient air temperature was 67 degrees and there was a howling wind. I lit the flame with a match instantly with no trouble. It took 4.5 minutes to come to a full rolling boil in challenging conditions.
The MSR PocketRocket 2 Mini Stove Kit is light and compact with all the components you need to boil water or simmer food with the addition of a lighter and fuel canister. The recently updated PocketRocket 2 continues to set the standard for lightweight, efficient stoves that perform well in a variety of conditions.
MSR PocketRocket Mini Stove Kit is available from MSR or Amazon for about $80.
Weight List (all weights by author using kitchen scale):
PocketRocket 2 Stove Kit without fuel: 10 oz total
Other products for weight comparison