The latest update to the popular Pocket Rocket offer a deluxe model for the gourmet chef in you.
There have been several updates and modifications to the popular micro stove from MSR and we looked at one in detail in one of our Christmas specials. The latest 2019 model offers a few features that allow the stove to be used for a better quality cooking experience.
As I’ve got older I become less tolerant of eating poor quality meals. You know the type I mean: cheap freeze dried meals that look and taste like baby food. Don’t get me wrong, you can get (and I now pay for) great freeze dried food and I love the Real Turmat range and believe they are worth every penny. But unless I’m really trying to save weight and space I always try to to pack a few small amount of fresh vegetables to add to the meal and at times even try to cook a fresh meal from scratch if I’m only staying somewhere overnight. So think adding and onion and small amount of red pepper to a freeze dried curry.
This is where I want a better stove than just a water boiler. We’ve reviewed several MSR Windburner and Reactor stoves with good results so why would you want to own a stand alone stove unit? Well, weight for one. The MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe weighs in at only 83g so is super light. The normal pocket rocket is even lighter so if weight is a critical issue for you you can get a super light system with a small stove and a titanium pan ( I use an MSR Titan Kettle).
Another reason is cost, if cost is an issue then a stand alone stove is a much better option for you. A word of warning though – I’ve used a cheap ‘own brand’ stove and it was useless for backpacking use. It didn’t even last three days! I did get it going again and now I just keep for the kids when they are going to festivals. So see buying the Pocket Rocket Deluxe as an investment and remember it will be significantly cheaper than a good quality heat exchange type of stove unit. The Pocket Rocket Deluxe + Titan Kettle combo is cheaper than a Windburner or Reactor system.
Finally the Pocket Rocket Deluxe is more compact and versatile than a heat exchange system and can take up less room in your won’t be able to get the stove and a canister into a Titan Kettle but at least you can organise it a way that takes up as little space as possible in your pack.
So, why the new Deluxe model? Well, you have a pressure regulator for starters. This keeps the gas pressure constant through the canister use. So you will see a constant pressure until just before it empty’s. This can be a issue as the pressure will drop very quickly at the end but the compromise is that even when the canister is only a quarter full you will get the same pressure as when it’s full. So no shaking before use needed. I used bot MSR and Jetboil gas to power the stove which provides a powerful 3.2kW (more than you average electric kettle) and saw little difference. To be honest there is loads of chat about Jetboil being better but I noticed no difference in boil times. Talking of boil times I boiled 500ml of tap water indoors at 1 minute 40 seconds using Jetboil gas. It’s really difficult to accurately get consistent boil times out in the field as there are so many variables: wind direction, shelter, water temperature, air temperature, etc. So just put the kettle on and there’s always a job to do right?
You also get a piezo igniter built in. This appeared on the Pocket Rocket 2 and was still working last time I checked it! I’m always sceptical of piezo lighters and I would never rely just on that working so I carry a steel. The piezo on the Deluxe model has worked every time so far and as long as I have good shelter then it has worked. In really windy conditions then it takes a little linger to get going and I have to take time to construct a good quality shelter.
Finally, the Deluxe model offers a broader burner than the Pocket Rocket 2. This means that it does offer a little more wind protection but also a more stable position for the pot. I’m sure you know how unstable a stove and boiling pot of water can be. The more it boils the more it has a tendency to rock itself of f the stove! The slightly wider stove head helps but now I usually carry a canister support and that works well. There is also good simmer control with the wired handle which has also stayed in place – the one on the Pocket Rocket 2 started to come out of the hole before I glued it in position.
I would say that the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe is a good upgrade and if you are looking for a stand alone stove well worth the extra money and weight. It takes up very little room in the pack thanks to its clever folding system and delivers a powerful punch in terms of heat. It will remain a part of my cooking system for backpacking and general camping but I think I’ll still be using a heat exchanger system for mountaineering.
SRP is £70 and the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe is available from specialist retailers.
Disclaimer – CGR reviewers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising or link to affiliate sales. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene and safety reasons and more often it’s in no fit state to return!