MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe Canister Stove Review
The MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe Canister Stove is a powerful 10,400 BTU backpacking and camp stove with a built-in windscreen, folding pot supports, a piezo ignitor, and pressure regulator. Weighing 2.9 oz, it’s optimized for group cooking with larger cook pots and frying pans with a wide burner head to distribute its flame over a larger surface area. That said, it’s still compact enough that it can fit inside a small cook pot together with a large 8 oz or smaller 4 oz iso-butane gas canister making it easy to carry on all of your solo backcountry adventures.
Specs at a Glance
- Type: Canister stove
- Weight: 2.9 oz
- BTU: 10,400 BTU
- Wind Screen: Built-in
- Pot Supports: Yes (3)
- Piezo Igniter: Yes
- Burn time (max flame): 8 oz. canister MSR IsoPro: 60 minutes
- Regulator: Yes
- Max recommended pot/pan diameter: 8″
Weighing 2.9 ounces, the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe 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 minutes 20 seconds and very standard for a stove of this size, quality, and type. The actual boil times you experience in the field will depend on how well you protect the stove from wind, the shape of the cookpot you use, the brand of fuel, temperature, and elevation. However boil times in ideal kitchen conditions are interesting to compare, they really don’t tell you squat about the performance of a stove in the field when the wind is blowing, your kids are whining for dinner, and your domestic partner is shooting you imploring looks.
The burner head on the Pocket Rocket Deluxe is oversized to accommodate larger pots and frying pans so that the flame is dispersed across a wider surface area than stoves with smaller burner units, including the MSR Pocket Rocket2. The Deluxe burner also puts out a whopping 10,400 BTU’s which makes it one of the highest energy canister stoves available today. That extra heating power is useful when boiling large amounts of water or simmering family-sized meals.
The Pocket Rocket Deluxe includes a built-in piezo igniter which can be used to light the stove fuel when you’re ready to cook. This is one of the chief ways it differs from its less expensive and slightly lighter weight sibling the MSR Pocket Rocket2, which does not have a built-in igniter. To light the stove, you twist the shaped wire valve to start gas flowing and then click the metal button along the side of the stem to create an ignition spark. Piezo igniters have a nasty habit of wearing out and not working, so I’d still recommend bringing some sort of sparking element, either a butane lighter or fire steel with you just in case it dies on a trip.
Cooking Pot Supports
The Pocket Rocket Deluxe has three pot supports that fold out from the stem. When opening them you need to make sure that they are fully extended. This is best done by pushing down on them from above. When you’re ready to pack up, the supports fold away next to the stem, so the stove unit can be compactly packed in the little storage bag that comes with it. This storage bag is a handy thing to hang onto and use for the lifetime of the stove because it helps deaden the rattling metal-on-metal sound if you store the stove in a metal cookpot along with a fuel canister.
Despite their convenience and ease of use, the performance of isobutane canister stoves can be severely degraded by the wind, when it blows the flame away from the center of a cookpot and up along its sides, greatly increasing boil times. You can counter the effects of the wind with a white gas stove or an alcohol stove by surrounding them with a metal windshield, but you can’t use the same technique with a canister stove, because it can cause the fuel canister to overheat and explode like a grenade.
The Pocket Rocket Deluxe, like the Soto Amicus and the Soto Windmaster counter the effect of the wind with a recessed burner head surrounded by a ring of metal. It works pretty well but not as well as the manufacturers would have you believe. Just look at the flame when the wind blows and chances are it will still be directed to the side of the pot and not the center. The best way to prevent the wind from affecting a canister stove is to cook behind a barrier like a wall or large boulder so you’re out of the wind. If that’s not possible, you probably want a totally windproof stove like the MSR Windburner or the MSR Reactor, although you lose the flexibility of a canister stove.
The Pocket Rocket Deluxe has a built-in regulator that is designed to increase the efficiency of the stove and make a fuel canister last longer. Canister gas is usually higher pressure than what the stove requires, so the regulator lowers it so less fuel is forced through the stove. As the gas pressure reduces in cold weather or an almost empty cylinder, it simply reduces it less. This gives you a more consistent flame and helps preserve your gas. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see visible evidence that the regulator is working or to measure its benefit without a laboratory. So you basically have to take MSR’s word that it’s doing its job.
One of the biggest complaints people have about isobutane canister stoves is their tendency to fall over and spill hot water and food all over your campsite. They’re tippy because they’re tall. Unfortunately, the Pocket Rocket Deluxe does not include a fuel canister stabilizer, like those included with Jetboils or the MSR Windburner. For $6, this is something you’ll probably want to carry with any canister stove if you anticipate cooking on uneven ground and not picnic tables. Even then…it is a useful item to carry, especially around children and families.
Fuel Canister Compatibility
While MSR recommends using the Pocket Rocket Deluxe with MSR branded Isopro 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 Deluxe and other stoves intended for the US market.
If you’re shopping for a new canister stove, the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe is a solid value that’s comparable with the MSR Pocket Rocket 2, but with additional features such as a built-in windscreen and igniter. In general, canister stoves are more flexible than personal cooking systems like the Jetboil Flash or the MSR Windburner because they can be used interchangeably with many different cooking pots which is useful if you backpack or camp with a partner or your family and want to cook more complex meals or share a stove.
But is the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe worth getting instead of the MSR Pocket Rocket 2, which costs about $20 less? It really boils down (haha) to how you plan to use it. If you plan to cook for multiple people with large cookpots, the 10,400 BTU Pocket Rocket Deluxe and its wide burner head will be faster to cook with than the 8,200 BTU MSR Pocket Rocket2. If you only need a stove for solo backpacking and boiling water in a small cookpot, the less expensive MSR Pocket Rocket2 with a small burner head will be perfectly sufficient for your needs.
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