MSR has a new and improved model of the original and iconic Pocket Rocket Canister Stove ($39.95) this year, called the Pocket Rocket 2 ($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.
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 Light My Fire fire steel to ignite stoves because it always works and never needs to be resupplied.
While MSR recommends using the Pocket Rocket 2 with MSR branded Iso-pro canister gas, 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 new Pocket Rocket 2 replaces two older stove models in the MSR stove lineup: the original MSR Pocket Rocket and the MSR MicroRocket, 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 Soto Amicus Stove (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 Jetboil Flash ($99.95).
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