I’ll take my tea with a few less eyebrows please:

By on November 15, 2012
pocketrocket

My camping trip may have failed this weekend, but I still wanted to test out a few products, even if I had to do it at home.

One of the items I decided to test was the MSR pocket rocket. This is a compact portable camping stove that runs off of a 70/30 mix of propane and butane (opted for the Coleman 7.75 oz. bottle).

I got this nifty little tool because it was lightweight and compact.  I have to say I’m pretty impressed with the amount of heat this stove can produce.  Even though I didn’t get to use it to cook anything outside, I was still able to brew up a great cup of tea in just a couple of minutes.

Pros:

-Quick start: the fuel mixture is highly flammable, the smallest spark will set it alight (I used  an empty fireplace lighter and it caught on the first try).
- High heat: Boils a liter of water in under 4 minutes.
- Lightweight: under 4oz.
-Compact: the stove fits in just about any pocket, the fuel takes up minimal space in a pack.
-Energy efficient: depending on the flame intensity that you set, one 8oz bottle will last up to an hour.

Cons:

-Sensitive flame adjustment: The directions tell you to open the fuel valve ¼ of a turn to light it.  In my experience ¼ of a turn was enough to burn off a few eyebrows. (About 1/16 of a turn was more than enough)
- Hard to tell when it is fully off: The flame adjuster is also the on/off trigger for the stove and it is a bit hard to tell when the valve is completely shut.
-Goldilocks balancing:  The triangle shape of folding wings that hold a cup or small pot make it seem as though it may tip over if it is not placed carefully or if it is bumped.
-Great for use in inclement weather.

Bottom line
I think that every outdoorsman/survivalist should have one of these and a couple of cans of spare fuel.

These things put off an insane amount of heat and actually boiled the water for my 1-cup of tea in just over a minute.  Just be careful when adjusting the flames.  If you have a pot on the burner and accidentally make the flame too large it will spread along the bottom of the pan and make the adjuster too hot to handle.  If you are careful with it, the MSR pocket rocket can be an invaluable asset to your supplies.

P.S. This tool came in at a hefty $39.99 on amazon which is a little high for me, but  after a little research I found one that may work better for the more budget conscious person, the Ultralight Backpacking Canister stove. This one is a bit of an off brand but it has a crazy amount of positive reviews and comes in at only around $9.00.

It even has a piezo ignition switch so that you don’t even need matches to get it started.  The only drawback is that it is a bit bigger than the pocket rocket, but it seems to make up for it with having a fourth addition to the pot holder.  If you have used either of these please let me know what you think, or if you think something else might work better.



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'Above Average' Joe

About 'Above Average' Joe

I am just an average guy with a passion for learning. I am excited to share the things I learn with you but I am most interested in learning from you. Survival Life is more than just one man. It is a growing and living community of individuals; all with the desire to be prepared to survive and thrive no matter what this world throws at us. I look forward to growing with you! Feel free to follow me on google+

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7 Comments

  1. Mike

    I find that propane and/or butane don’t work really well at altitude.I usually camp at 11,000 feet, or better.But,most camp stoves lose efficiency in the thin air.Maybe I’ll give this one a whirl…

    • Joe

      Joe

      Hey mike,
      I didn’t even think about altitude since I live in austin and we’re not that high above sea level. Do you have any suggestions for others that may be in the same boat as you?

  2. Mike

    While I think this little stove is awesome and will work for most people, I feel that you left off one very important “Con”. It only uses the ISO Butane 70/30 mix and, only certain brands. My first backpacking stove was a Scorpion II that only used these special bottles of ISO Butane. It worked great but there were times when I had trouble running out of fuel during extended excursions. Also, it can be difficult to find this fuel in certain parts of the country. About 12 years ago, I switched to a Primus multi-fuel stove. It can still use the ISO Butane, and it is recommended for the cleanest burn, but it can also use “white gas”, unleaded gasoline, kerosene, and diesel fuel. You have to change a little jet when using kerosene or diesel but the stove came with everything you need. I imagine, I haven’t tested my theory, that you could even render your own fuel out of animal fat if things really got bleak. This is just my $0.02

    • Joe

      Joe

      hey mike, thanks for the tip, I guess I hadn’t thought of that as in my neck of the woods these fuel canisters are everywhere. I’ll have to check out the primus stove you mention, do you have a specific model that you recommend?

    • Rose

      Where would I find the Primus multi-fuel stove and approx cost?

  3. Randy Bauman

    The MSR Pocket Rocket is one of the best canister fuel stoves on the market. As an avid backcountry/backpack hunter I have toted the little Pocket Rocket in my pack for about 8 years now.
    The stove comes in at just over 3 oz. The larger fuel cans will last a person 5-7 days if you are just boiling water for freeze dried meal and your coffee/tea.
    The newer blended fuel canisters will work fine at elevations in the 10-11,000 foot range. In extreme cold you need to keep the canister warm, so shove it in your sleeping bag and you’ll be fine for your morning cup of joe.
    As the canister depletes it loses some pressure. You can use this little trick to get more mileage from your canisters and if temps are cold. Place about 1/4 – 1/2″ of ambient temperature water in a pan or a even a ziplock baggie. Place your fuel canister in the water and listen. The fuel will begin to boil in the can. The boiling point of the pressurized fuel is very low and the water temp is usually enough to get things going. Your stove will run like a champ and you’ll eke out all the fuel as it boils and vaporizes. Warning: do not heat the canister with flame or extreme temps. You don’t need more than cool water.

  4. Randy Bauman for the win. What Randy just told us is what we need to hear. He gave us practical advice for our application. Thank you Randy.

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