I’ve owned the MSR pocket rocket stove for a number of years now and it’s seen its fair share of use. It’s seen multiple canisters of fuel from different brands and all have worked flawlessly. I mainly use it to boil water for simple backpacking “just add water” type meals.
Can you cook with it? Hmm, I wouldn’t suggest you go making pancakes. The hotspot of this stove is pretty small. You might be able to make one in a small pan although I have not tried it. I have successfully fried an egg with it and cooked 3 hot dogs at the beach one day using a small frying pan. I think if you keep it simple you will do OK.
If I thought the pocket rocket stove had any issues it would be stability. Now, I’ve never had it topple over and cause any serious injury or anything but more than once I’ve looked at it as the water started boiling and thought, “god, I hope this thing don’t tip over”. I’m always pretty careful when I use it to make sure I have it on the most level surface possible.
I think the main issue is the arms that extend out to hold your pot or pan just don’t seem to extend far enough to make me comfortable. It’s a pretty small base and once you start cooking it can make one a little uneasy. Again, nothing bad has ever happened and I’ve used it quite a bit so these thoughts have kind of faded since my first use.
Still, I found it funny when my brother showed up to camp one day with a little pocket stove he bought on amazon for a lot cheaper. What immediately grabbed my attention was the burner surface on his stove was much larger than that on the MSR pocket rocket. It also had hinged arms that could extend the circumference of stoves burner a bit more to accommodate a larger pan or pot. I think that’s a really clever design.
He used this stove the entire trip which was only 5 nights but it held up nicely. Now, I can’t tell you what happens a few years down the road. You know, does the little hinge arms start breaking off at some point or does the thing just quit working? I don’t know truthfully but the reviews on Amazon are good.
I do know if we compared flames mine wins. The MSR lets out a flame that means business and it can bring a liter of water to a boil in just less than 3 ½ minutes. However, like I said the hotspot is pretty focused in one spot where my brothers stove seemed to disperse the flame more evenly.
So if I was going to be cooking a fish or something I would definitely want the more even burning surface.
Conclusion: The MSR Pocket Rocket delivers on both, functionality and reliability with brand name recognition and appeal. It surely will not disappoint. It’s a great stove and especially great for boiling water for simple “just add water” meals. Because of the concentrated hot spot you may find cooking a bit touchier. Keep it simple and you will be happy!
That said, I still think it’s worth a look to check out these cheaper options on Amazon. You can see and read reviews about the one my brother was using here:
In addition, while searching on Amazon for the one my brother had I came across another one that actually looks a lot like the MSR Pocket Rocket that also has outstanding reviews. Check it out here:
Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camp Stove with Piezo Ignition 3.9oz (silvery)
Good Luck and Happy Eating!