Stove on the grass with pot

Review: MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove 2017

Insanely small, ludicrously light and impressively powerful. The perfect lightweight stove for backpackers and campers alike.

If you think the classic PocketRocket is a great little backpacking stove, then you’ll be star struck by this newer, smaller, lighter and more powerful version. The PocketRocket 2 is THE best option for hikers and backpackers. And with simmer control comparable to that of liquid fuel stoves, it will cater brilliantly for all your two-person camping meals, however gourmet you like to cook.

MSR PocketRocket 2: The stats

Weight:73g (2.6oz)
Size:7.8cm x 4.8cm
Included:Plastic carry case
Boil time:1 litre in 3.5 minutes

Design features of the MSR PocketRocket 2

Size

Camping stove without gasWhen folded up, the stove is a minuscule 7.8cm tall and 4.8cm wide. This is small enough to fit inside most cooking pots with ease, with plenty of room for a gas canister too. When extended there is 10.5cm between each arm at the widest point, creating a good platform for small to medium pots.

Carry case

Pocket Rocket 2 in carry caseThe hard plastic case is 8.8cm x 5.3cm x 5cm, and leaves just enough room inside for a lighter or some matches. It has a hinged lid that closes securely and easily with a simple clasp. The case fits inside most cooking pots easily but you may struggle to also fit in the gas canister, if that is your desired set up.

Flame control

On switch of PocketRocket stoveTo turn the gas on and off, twist the lever in the direction indicated. This easy to hold system makes controlling the flame from a full boil right through to a delicate simmer a breeze. When packing away, the lever folds and fits over the red base of the stove to keep it as streamlined as possible.

Compact

PocketRocket 2 being heldEach of the three arms have two rotating joints that enable them to twist on multiple planes. This allows them to fit into place around the stove when folding away. When fully extended, the rotating joints are immovable with the downward pressure of a cooking pot.


MSR PocketRocket 2 review

This brand new version of the already excellent Classic PocketRocket by MSR has really reached new heights in both its cooking performance and its compact nature. At only 73g (2.6oz), MSR have somehow shaved 12g off the previous version making it truly disappear in your backpack. Not only is it mega light, but it’s also super compact; without its case, it fits in my backpacking cookset with the gas canister, a lighter and a cleaning cloth that also stops it rattling around.

Camp cooking set

The three support arms take a fraction longer to twist and fold open that the previous, more simple design. But once out, they provide excellent support to small pots and pans. The pot set that I use is 12cm tall and 11.5cm wide, so fairly compact. And I have no worries at all about it toppling over, even on full boil.

To fully test the heat distribution, simmer control and stability of the stove, I pan fried a couple of tuna steaks in a 25cm wide frying pan. Bearing in mind that I was aiming for a medium-rare steak, I couldn’t have been happier! The heat spread evenly across the pan, and I was able to keep the heat at just the right point for a perfectly cooked steak.

Tuna steaks on camping stove

Stability-wise, the PocketRocket 2 stood up to the width of the wide pan with no problems at all – even with a long handle to unbalance things slightly. It also really surprised me how stable it remained whilst simmering potatoes in a larger saucepan (10cm high x 17cm wide). The solid, flat surface that the stove was placed on definitely helped with this, but I didn’t expect it to deal with the weight and size of the pan as well as it did.

What I love the most about the MSR PocketRocket 2

I’ve never used a lightweight canister stove with this much simmer control before. And although the flame is fairly focussed, it still manages to spread the heat well across the base of the cooking pot (even when cooking tuna steaks!). Because of this, I’ll happily use it on car camping trips as well as backpacking, making it a really versatile option for those only wanting one stove in their lives.

Stove burning with pot on top

What I don’t love so much about the MSR PocketRocket 2

Honestly, I’ve yet to find anything that sticks out as being a negative in this powerful little stove. Like most lightweight canister gas stoves, its fuel efficiency dwindles somewhat in the wind, but that is to be expected when used without a windshield. And in light wind it still boils a litre of water in around 4.5 minutes, without a windshield.

Verdict

I’m a huge fan of not having multiples of things that essentially do the same job but in different ways. So having a stove that is designed for backpacking but good enough for cooking a decent meal whilst car camping is a huge bonus to an already appealing and excellent value stove. Sure, it has many of the same limitations as other canister stoves (expensive fuel, not good for international travel, not good in the cold), but this little guy does what it’s designed to do, and more, exceptionally well.

So if you’re thinking about looking elsewhere for a lightweight backpacking stove, I wouldn’t waste your time. You’ll struggle to get anything lighter, more compact and better performing than the might of the oh-so-tiny MSR PocketRocket 2.

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Backcountry

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