MSR MicroRocket Stove, $59.95, MSR.com
The Good: If you’re hoping to save weight on your trips, this stove is perfect. It’s really, really, really tiny.
The Bad: MSR recommends not using a windscreen, so if you get a big gust, it’s hard to control the flame.
The Best: There isn’t a single thing I don’t like about it.
When it comes to choosing overnight gear you’ll have to carry on your back for the duration of a trip, finding gear that balances form, function and size is essential. I’ve never been one to count ounces when I’m backpacking, but if you want to move quickly through the backcountry, every ounce counts. The goal in designing the MicroRocket stove was to make a stove ideal for fast and light travelers. And based on testing in my Pennsylvania stomping grounds, mission: accomplished.
The MSR MicroRocket, cousin to the PocketRocket, is as small as MSR stoves get. The major differences between the two are improved pot support and carrying size. At 2.6 ounces, it fits inside my insulated coffee mug and in my hiking pants pocket. The stove comes with a plastic carrying case, which holds both the stove and the piezo igniter. It measures about 3″x2″ fully packed up. The stove component screws on to any MSR IsoPro or similar fuel canister, which has to be purchased separately. (Note: make sure the fuel handle is in the “off” position when you screw the stove onto the canister to avoid wasting fuel.)
Turning the stove on was a cinch and the directions were easy to follow. I’d never used an igniter, but found the one included with the stove worked well. You can also use a lighter if you misplace the igniter, which was good to know. Once I got it lit, the pot supports started to glow orange, which made me nervous, but apparently, that’s normal. I was skeptical about stability, but once I unfolded the three pot supports and locked them in place, I could put a large kitchen pot on it without any trouble. The supports are shorter than the PocketRocket’s supports, keeping your pot closer to the element.
The MicroRocket is designed to deliver a powerful flame in a small space, which I found it absolutely does. It sounded like a jet engine when I turned it all the way up. You can also adjust the flame level, which is an absolute must for me. Some of my favorite backcountry meals require stoves that can simmer, which the MicroRocket can.
There’s a small windscreen built into the stove on top of the element, dividing the element into three separate parts. This means wind can hit the stove from one or two sides and it will stay lit. I tested the stove on a day with a light breeze, but I could see super strong mountain winds being a potential problem, but even when I blew on the flame, it stayed lit. I got a liter of water boiled in a large kitchen pot in under four minutes, which won’t set any speed records, but is good enough given all of the other features of the MicroRocket.
Bottom line? If you’re the type of overnight adventurer who cuts their toothbrush in half and puts toothpaste in a straw to save weight, the MSR MicroRocket is the stove for you. Even if you’re not, it’s still a great option for any overnight trip and I don’t plan on using a different stove anytime soon.