Welcome to my MSR POCKET ROCKET DELUXE REVIEW!
This year, one of my favorite backpacking stoves of all time received a serious upgrade and a new line of enhanced features. The MSR Pocket Rocket has been a mainstay in most backpacker’s kits for decades. It’s slim, lightweight, and ever-reliable design had made it the go-to choice for countless backpackers, adventurers, and travelers.
After traveling and trekking with a Pocket Rocket stove for the last 10 years, I was pretty pumped on the prospect of testing out the new Pocket Rocket Deluxe. When it comes to MSR products, my expectations are high and let me just say that the Deluxe did not disappoint me.
This MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe review will help you get to grips with this new and improved backpacking stove. Everything I have learned about this epic backpacking stove is immortalized in the following paragraphs…
Below, I cover the most important aspects of the Pocket Rocket Deluxe including key features, burn time, weight, how to use the Pocket Rocket Deluxe, competitor comparison, backpacking stove safety tips, and much more.
For lack of a better phrase…Let’s get cookin’!
Quick Answer: Why the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe Should Be on Your Radar
Here are a few of the questions this Pocket Rocket Deluxe review will answer:
- What sets the Pocket Rocket Deluxe apart from other Pocket Rocket models?
- How much does the Pocket Rocket Deluxe weigh?
- What is it like to cook with the Pocket Rocket Deluxe?
- How easy is the Pocket Rocket Deluxe to use?
- Is the Deluxe a 4-season backpacking stove?
- How long does the Pocket Rocket Deluxe take to boil water?
- Is the Deluxe a good option for thru-hikers?
- Why Should I Buy the Pocket Rocket Deluxe over other backpacking stoves?
MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe Review: Breakdown and Key Features
The feature that I immediately noticed on the Pocket Rocket Deluxe is the new push-button ignition system. In the past, you had to light the stove the old fashioned way and if you ran out of matches or lost your lighter, well there went your hot dinner.
Since the spark igniter is protected inside the burner for maximum durability, your ignition system should hold up against years of use. For those of you who have done lots of cooking on a backpacking stove, you don’t need me to tell you: having a push button ignition is a super handy feature when you are cooking halfway up a mountain or on the forest floor. And you will never have to look for that mysteriously disappearing lighter again!
The next most noteworthy feature is the pressure regulator. The pressure regulator maintains the stove’s fast boil times even in cold weather & with low fuel. Cold weather has been the Achille’s heal of past Pocket Rockets. In below-freezing temperatures, the old Pocket Rocket model suffered severe performance drops and boiling speed.
It’s actually quite rare to find ultralight qualities in a pressure-regulated stove, so it is pretty awesome that MSR was able to finally combine the two concepts.
Between the push button ignition system and the new pressure regulator, MSR has taken the Pocket Rocket Deluxe into a class of its own. The push-start Piezo ignitor is the icing on the cake.
How Much Does the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe Weigh?
Quick Answer: 83 g (2.9 oz)
The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 backpacking stoves, by comparison, weighs just 10 grams less (73 g). For 10 more grams, you get a significant number of important features.
That is not to say that the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 doesn’t have its place to shine. For more information on the Pocket Rocket 2 be sure to check out my in-depth and equally entertaining MSR Pocket Rocket 2 review.
For ultralight hikers looking for an awesome cooking system, search no further. Now, you thru-hikers have even less reason to go with a no-cook setup (which I never understood, having been an AT thru-hiker myself).
By comparison, one of my other favorite backpacking stoves, the Jet Boil weights 371 grams—more than triple the weight.
Of course, for the Pocket Rocket Deluxe to compliment your ultralight setup, you will also need some ultralight cook wear. There are plenty of options out there, but I recommend going with the MSR Alpine Stowaway Pot.
For avid tea and coffee aficionados, pick up an MSR Pika Teapot!
Cooking With an MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe
Whether you are familiar or not with the former Pocket Rocket stoves, after your first use, you will immediately be impressed by the power and speed the Deluxe puts forth.
For boiling water, the Deluxe is capable of cranking out one liter of boiled water every 3 min. 18 seconds on average. Factors like wind and cold may affect the boil time. That said, the powerful burner of the Deluxe can hold its own in windy conditions as long as the stove isn’t facing gale force squalls.
Another one of the old Pocket Rocket’s small but not insignificant faults is having the ability (or lack thereof) to simmer. Cooking rice for example on a Pocket Rocket 2 is not for the faint of heart. Try as you may, it is almost impossible to get the simmer low enough to avoid burning the rice.
The new pressure regulator found on the Deluxe is a godsend in that regard. Simmer ability, hurray! The Pocket Rocket Deluxe offers plenty of beastly firepower, but it is a beast that can be easily controlled and tamed to produce bowl after bowl of non-burned rice.
In my book, simplicity is king in the backcountry. While the Pocket Rocket Deluxe may have a few more moving parts now, it remains a simple, easy-to-use device that gets the job done better than any of its predecessors.
Another subtle but significant improvement involves the burner head. MSR redesigned the broad burner head in order to achieve better heat distribution and simmering capability. Start preparing you backcountry menu…
Using the Pocket Rocket Deluxe in Cold Conditions
The MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe would not be my first choice of a backpacking stove to bring on an Arctic expedition or Himalayan summit bid. But, I have no intention of climbing 8,000-meter peaks or going to the Arctic anytime soon. For serious expeditions where you will need to melt a ton of snow to drink and cook with, the Deluxe stove is not for you.
For cold-weather backpacking trips however, the Pocket Rocket Deluxe is the perfect, ultralight tool for that job.
Perhaps one of the greatest performance features of the new Deluxe stove is its ability to perform exceptionally well in cold (not extreme) temperatures.
Even when your gas canister starts to run low, the Deluxe continues to work hard up until the last vapor of isobutane.
MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe Fuel Consumption and Usage
How much fuel your Deluxe stove will burn depends on a few factors. Altitude, ambient temperature, and how you regulate the stove’s flame will all have an impact on how long a canister of fuel will last in the backcountry.
On average, the stover offers 60 minutes (with an 8 oz. canister MSR IsoPro) of burn time. 1 hour of use per canister may not seem like much, but consider that the majority of things you need to prepare only require you to boil water (which take a little over three minutes per liter.) If you are cooking elaborate meals, you will obviously blaze through your fuel at a faster clip.
If you are mostly just boiling water to make hot drinks and instant dehydrated meals/ramen noodles, etc, then you can expect to be able to make an estimated 18 meals.
Personally, I never carry a gas canister bigger than 8 oz. as I will rarely be on a trekking trip that requires more than that.
Even if you are out for a week or more, one 8 oz. canister should last the duration of your trip. If you already have an idea of what you plan to cook and you know you are likely to use heaps of fuel, simply buy a bigger canister.
MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe Review: Cost
Quick Answer: $69.95
Most quality outdoor gear is outrageously expensive. I have spent the better part of the last ten years slowly accumulating the best gear that I can afford. It is always a good idea to invest in quality gear because 1. quality gear typically lasts longer and 2. it always performs at a higher level when you need it to.
Thankfully, the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe is not crazy expensive, making it accessible to all backpackers’ budgets.
While the Pocket Rocket Deluxe costs about $25 more than the Pocket Rocket 2, there is no question that the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe is the superior backpacking stove.
I must emphasize again that the Pocket Rocket 2 is a fantastic stove. I actually have much more experience using the Pocket Rocket 2 than the Deluxe (years). That said, there is no denying that having a push-button ignition, a pressure regulator, and a larger burner head without sacrificing much in terms of extra weight is a no-brainer if you are willing to spend the extra cash.
If you are running seriously low on gear funds and just need a badass stove to get you through a trekking season, go for the Pocket Rocket 2. If you want the absolute best ultralight backpacking stove of the year, go for the Pocket Rocket Deluxe.
MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe vs the World: Competitor Comparison
We are living in the golden age of outdoor gear technology. That means that there is no shortage of worthy competitors of the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe. Below, I cover some of the Pocket Rocket Deluxe’s closest rivals…
|MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe||Check on REI|
|Jetboil Flash||Check on REICheck on Amazon|
|Snowpeak Litemax||Check on REICheck on Amazon|
JetBoil Flash Quick Facts:
- Weight: 13.1 ounces
- Average Boil time for 1 liter: 3 minutes 20 seconds
- Automatic Ignition: Yes
- Ultralight: No
- Case: No
- Price: $99.00
As I mentioned before, the Jetboil Flash is one of my favorite all-time backpacking stoves. The best part of the Jetboil Flash is that it is essentially an all-in-one package. You do not need to purchase an additional cooking pot to accompany it.
Jetboil stoves also have the reputation of being super reliable in cold temperatures. In terms of average boil time, the Jetboil Flash is right on par with the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe, which I actually found quite surprising. I had always assumed the Jetboil was faster…
For at least half of my backpacking trips throughout the year, I use a Jetboil Flash. I personally enjoy the functionality of the Jetboil and how the stove base fits inside the cooking pot. I admit that a Jetboil can be a bulky addition to any backpacking setup. It is certainly possible to find a lighter Pocket Rocket Deluxe + cooking pot set up.
If ultralight is the backpacking style you are after, the Jetboil Flash is not the stove for you.
Honestly, it is really a hard choice to say which stove I prefer. Both the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe and the Jetboil Flash are truly excellent backpacking stoves. It all comes down to your own personal preference in terms of what you are willing to carry and how important it is to you to have an all-in-one stove/pot setup.
Snowpeak Litemax Quick Facts:
- Weight: 1.9 Ounces
- Average Boil time for 1 liter: 4 minutes 30 seconds — 5 minutes.
- Automatic Ignition: No
- Ultralight: Yes
- Case: Soft canvas pouch
- Price: $59.95
The Snowpeak LiteMax is slightly lighter (by about 40 grams) and smaller than the Pocket Rocket Deluxe. This thing is tiny! To produce a liter of boiling water, the Snowpeak is about one to two minutes slower. It might not seem like much, but over time these minutes can add up and you end of using more gas.
Overall, the Pocket Rocket Deluxe seems to be better made than the Litemax. The folding arms (the pot stand) of the Litmax reportedly come loose over time. The balance of the Pocket Rocket pot stand is more finely tuned to support the weight of whatever it is your cooking.
The Snowpeak also costs $10 less than the Deluxe.
It is also worth noting that the Pocket Rocket when operating is louder than the Litemax.
Here is my advice: if you are a long-distance, bear-bones dirtbag (no offense, that’s the term) hiker really counting ounces, the Snowpeak Litemax could be the right choice. I say that only from the perspective of weight. I can attest from experience that every single gram is counted when you are trekking hundreds or thousands of miles at a time.
As far as overall quality, efficiency, and price, both the Pocket Rocket Deluxe and the Jetboil Flash easily trump the Litemax based on overall performance and features.
Cooking with the Pocket Rocket Deluxe: Stove Safety 101
It is always important to keep in mind that operating a backpacking stove is inherently dangerous and far from idiot-proof.
Using a backpacking stove does not need to inspire fear. They are simple tools with built-in safety features. I have seen young children using them without burning the entire valley down.
You should NEVER operate your stove inside your tent unless it is an absolute necessity. The warning labels written all over the tags and packaging should make you hyper-aware of this.
Gas burning stoves emit carbon monoxide, and when these gases are trapped inside the confines of your tent, you put yourself at risk of poisoning yourself. In rare, but well-documented cases, trekkers and mountaineers have died from breathing the toxic fumes inside their tent. Don’t let yourself be the next “stupid hiker” headline.
If you must cook inside your tent, ALWAYS keep several points of ventilation open. Be extremely careful and thoughtful about how and where you cook inside your tent. Don’t multi-task whilst cooking in your tent. Sit on your ass and concentrate. In the back of your mind remember the fact that if the stove falls over inside the tent you could potentially meet a grisly end involving your skin and the tent’s fabric becoming one. No thanks.
I recommend cooking from your tent vestibule if and when you need to cook from inside the tent. I’d say pretty much avoid it at all costs unless the weather or conditions have deteriorated to the point of making outdoor cooking impossible.
Due to its solid design, simplicity, and stability, the Pocket Rocket Deluxe is super safe to use as long as you use a bit of common sense and follow a few of these backpacker stove safety tips…
Backpacker Stove Safety Tips
- Always operate the stove with proper ventilation.
- Hang your dry food after cooking to avoid having unwanted animal visitors (and bears) to your camp.
- Try to cook on an even, level surface.
- Don’t pack a hot stove that you have just used into your backpack or tent.
- Never leave your gas canister in direct sunlight.
- If you must cook under the shelter of your tent, try to cook in the vestibule area and make sure the doors are well secured away from the direct flame.
- Pay attention when lighting the stove. Don’t wear gloves.
- Never cook or operate your stove in tall dry grass, leaves, or other flammable shit.
- When possible, keep a little extra water handy for the worst-case scenario (IE possible forest fire created by the stove flame).
MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe: Final Thoughts
Alas, we have reached the end of this review and now you know what the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe is all about.
The jury is out: this latest version of the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe is the best lightweight backpacking stove they have engineered yet.
When it comes to quality backpacking stoves, no player in the game has a better reputation for producing quality products like MSR. When you are trekking in the backcountry, it is important to be 100% confident is your gear. You don’t want to have to question your ability to make a tasty dinner at camp or have a fresh cup of coffee in the morning.
With the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe, you can hit the trail with confidence knowing you are packing one of the best performing 3-season backpacking stoves in its class.
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