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MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Canister Stove Review

MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Canister Stove
MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Canister Stove

MSR has a new and improved model of the original and iconic  ($39.95) this year, called the  ($44.95), even though it doesn’t look much like its namesake. The biggest visible difference between the two stoves are the pot supports, which fold down and away more compactly along the stove stem (see below). This makes it easy to store the Pocket Rocket 2 inside a small cook pot together with a large 8 oz gas canister for backpacking, making the new stove more competitive with many, if not most of the canister stoves available from other manufacturers, that can do this already.

The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 and a large gas canister (8 oz/ 227g) fit into this 0.9 liter Evernew Titanium Pasta Pot
The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 and a large gas canister (8 oz/ 227 g) fit easily into this 0.9 liter Evernew Titanium Pasta Pot

Weighing 2.5 ounces, the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 is a canister stove that provides you with the ability to simmer food, a useful capability if you want to do more than just boil water on your trips. The flame height is easy to regulate using the shaped wire on the stove stem, which folds away when the stove is packed. The boil time for two cups of water is approximately 3.5 minutes and very standard for a stove of this size and type.

Lighting the stove does require a separate ignition source, as one is not included. While a match or butane lighter is sufficient, I’m old school and prefer using a sparking to ignite stoves because it always works and never needs to be resupplied.

While MSR recommends using the Pocket Rocket 2 with , it also works perfectly well with isobutane canisters from any manufacturer that provide a screw-on Lindal valve, including the canisters from MSR, JetBoil, Primus, and Snow Peak that are commonly found in the USA. That’s not always the case if you travel to Europe, where some gas canisters have a bayonet-style valve that is incompatible with the Pocket Rocket 2 and other stoves intended for the US market (I’ve had this happen to me…)

The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 includes this plastic protective case, which weighs just 0.1 oz.
The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 includes this plastic protective case, which weighs just 0.1 oz.

The new Pocket Rocket 2 replaces two older stove models in the MSR stove lineup: and the , which will be phased out and may be available at a discount as retailers start to liquidate their old inventory.

If you’re shopping for a new canister stove, the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 is a solid value, comparable to the (See Review) in price and capabilities. This and being able to use the stove with different cook pots and the ability to simmer is the advantage of a canister-stove over an all-in-one, boiling-only unit like the ($99.95).

Disclosure: MSR provided the author with a sample stove for this review. 

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21 comments

  1. Definitely a nice upgrade from the original. The Amicus as you point out is also nicer. There have been a lot of deals on the Amicus lately. It’ll probably be a while before we see such deals on the PR2 since it’s new.

    HJ

  2. Since the match was invented about a century before ferocerium, I’d say it wins the “Old School” method award for lighting a stove using the options you mentioned (though a flint & steel would be ridiculously older still). A butane lighter actually uses ferocerium to create a spark as well, though the rod is quite a bit smaller.

    Flit & Steel =/= Ferro Rod

    • Learn something every day. :-)
      Buntane lighters still jam. I won’t use them. Bad experience on the Long Trail in 2008.

      • Ferro rods are not without fault either, though they are still a very reliable source of a spark. If you’re in a very damp environment for too long, they can corrode & become useless. While a full-featured pyromaniac’s dream kit is probably overkill for a hike, it’s still a good idea to have a backup method for making fire; preferably of a different type than your primary.

      • I’ve had it happen to me. But it didn’t happen overnight, so I noticed and replaced it. I have the 12,000 strike military Light My fire which I suspect I could scrape down to get a useable surface even if it has corroded.

  3. Philip did you try the stove in a windy situation and how does it compare to the Soto Amicus and Windmaster

    • I’ve had this stove since this summer.

      I honestly don’t think much of the wind shielding performance of any of those stoves, since I’ve reviewed all of them. If wind protection is important to you get an MSR Reactor or Windburner or make yourself a proper windscreen with aluminum or titanium foil (at your own risk since you might overheat the canister) Me, I just cook in a protected campsite behind a tree or boulder, the ultralight way. :-)

    • Scott,

      The Amicus and Windmaster are a good deal more wind resistant than the PR2.

      HJ

  4. Phillip, what’s the difference between the micro rocket and this new edition and any reason that MSR has decided to stop selling it with the igniter?

    • Very little. The pot supports are slightly different. I think the motivation for this product consolidation was to cut their costs and simplify their product line. There’s so much competition at the low end of the stove market, they were probably losing money by having products that competed with one another and which weren’t really competitive with other companies’ stoves.

      I don’t really consider dropping the little piezo stick to be a huge loss. I usually lose them within a day or two.

  5. Unstable at the best. I do not like the things.

  6. If you had to choose between this and the Soto Amicus, which would you recommend for thru-hiking?

  7. Yonah Ruttenberg

    We lost a 1/2 pot of stew that was supposed to feed four of us (one who eats like a horse) off the original Pocket Rocket, so I started extending the pot supports with binder clips, which work o.k. (they add very little weight and they do add some stability). The Pocket Rocket 2 is supposed to have wider pot supports. Have you found the upgrade to be significantly more stable? I’m also planning to try the canister support that MSR makes to add some stability without much more weight as well — my pack seems to be getting heavier :-(

  8. I too am concerned with pot stability. Philip, I see in a previous pictures that you used the XTS pot by Olicamp. So my question is will this new MSR stove be stable with the XTS pot? I have been looking at the Olicamp remote canister stove in order to achieve stability and maintain the weight. Or maybe a better question would be . . . what stove works best with the Olicamp XTS pot to maintain stability and peace of mind when it boils? Thanks for all your insight to this and many other questions you have answered for others.

  9. Robert L Bates Jr

    I too am concerned with pot stability. Philip, I see in a previous pictures that you used the XTS pot by Olicamp. So my question is will this new MSR stove be stable with the XTS pot? I have been looking at the Olicamp remote canister stove in order to achieve stability and maintain the weight. Or maybe a better question would be . . . what stove works best with the Olicamp XTS pot to maintain stability and peace of mind when it boils? Thanks for all your insight to this and many other questions you have answered for others.

    • Here’s the deal on pot stability. It’s effected by four factors:

      1) Whether you’ve rested the stove on a flat surface.
      2) How much you mess with the pot (stirring) while it sits on the stove
      3) The total height of the pot+stove
      4) The width and length of the telescoping pot stand feet

      In other words, much of this is not just an issue of the stove stand, but it’s usage.

      As far as the XTS pot goes, it sits on top of the pot stand feet. Actually the base of the heat retention fins sits on top of the pot stand feet. But it wouldn’t take much to knock the stove off the pot stand, since it’s not sitting on the bottom of the pot. A flat bottomed pot would be much more forgiving and give you more leeway, if stirring nudged the pot a little bit more to the left or right.

      No the burner head will not fit inside the heat retention fins.

      • You can increase stability by using a tripod stand under the gas canister. MSR and Jetboil both supply them.

  10. I used the version 1 Pocket Rocket for more than a decade. It simply works and nothing much can go wrong. However I replaced it with the MSR Windboiler several seasons ago and it’s been one of the greatest things I’ve ever bought for hiking. It solved all the faults the Pocket Rocket had, instability, needing protection when cooking with any breeze and so on. I’d always resisted buying an all in one cooking device (Jetfoil etc) because of the weight factor but when I actually added up all the individual components, burner, pot, windshield, cup etc. the weight was about the same. I won’t criticise the PR because it served me well but like self inflating mattresses, technology have left them behind.

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