The MSR PocketRocket Deluxe is a top-of-the-line small canister stove. Its excellent simmering capabilities and low weight open up possibilities for real cooking while carrying a light pack. It's quite fuel-efficient when kept out of the wind. However, it can boil water relatively quickly in the wind, a pretty unique trait in a small canister stove. It also posted proud boil times in our no-wind test. We're happy that MSR finally put a piezo igniter on this stove, but it fell behind the competition a bit because that igniter was unreliable and the pot supports were only average. Nevertheless, we think this is a great backpacking stove. It's neck and neck with our Editors' Choice winner canister stove, which edges out the PocketRocket Deluxe in being a nicer experience to use with more stability and a reliable auto-ignitor, plus a little cheaper. The PocketRocket packs up smaller, though.
MSR PocketRocket Deluxe Review
Cons: Unreliable piezo igniter
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The latest in a line of "rocket" themed stoves, MSR's PocketRocket Deluxe is a great backpacking stove. It's a stand-out simmerer, and its low weight is respectable. Though it posts an impressive boil time, what blew our hair back was the fact that it could bring water to a rolling boil even in an 8 - 10 mph wind! It's very similar in features to the Soto Windmaster. The burner heads of these two stoves are almost identical.
Fuel efficiency is a nice feature for a stove on shorter trips, but as your wilderness forays grow in length, it becomes increasingly important. Fewer fuel cans mean more space in your pack and less weight on your back. Though not the most fuel-efficient stove in our review, the PocketRocket Deluxe held its own against the competition.
When tested in calm conditions, the Deluxe used 0.4 ounces of fuel to bring one liter of water to a rolling boil. This put it in the neighborhood of the integrated canister stoves, the design characteristics of which make them more fuel-efficient by nature. None of the other small canister stoves are as efficient as the Deluxe, though some are close.
In our 2 - 4 mph fan test the Deluxe burned 0.7 ounces of fuel, which is above average in our analysis. Since we average the two scores for the final fuel efficiency number, it did knock the Deluxe down a bit. What's remarkable though, is that this stove was able to boil water in the wind at all. In previous reviews, no small canister stove boiled water in front of the fan. This time around two models were able to boil water in the breeze.
Most of the small canister stoves in our review weigh in around 3 ounces. The PocketRocket Deluxe slides in there nicely right at 3 ounces (85 grams). Its predecessor, the PocketRocket 2, weighs 0.4 ounces less but doesn't come with a piezo igniter and performs poorly in the wind. The Deluxe comes with a sturdy stuff sack that adds another 0.5 ounces.
The PocketRocket Deluxe is one of our favorite stoves for cooking real food. The control valve has the right amount of resistance, which makes it easy to dial in the correct amount of heat. Though the burner head isn't as big as some of the behemoths found on the competition, it's wider than many small canister stoves, which means that heat distributes evenly around the bottom of the pot or pan.
Though it doesn't support big pots and pans as well as the liquid fuel stoves in our test (bigger groups may want a second stove or something that performs better with larger cookware) this was our favorite stove for getting fancy.
Ease Of Use
Within the sub-categories of this review (integrated canister, liquid fuel, small canister) the differences in weight are rarely more than a few ounces. Similarly, the differences in boil times are generally hard to detect without a stopwatch. One thing our testers are interested in is how easy it is to use the stove, whether we're dumping boiling water into a bag or flipping pancakes.
Like all of the small canister stoves, basic design features make setting up the PocketRocket Deluxe easy. This stove gets extra points for a large control valve wire and simple fold-out pot supports.
While we're psyched that MSR finally added a piezo lighter to the PocketRocket family, this one worked only rarely. It comes attached to the stove in a burly housing; we never worried about damaging it when packing up. However, even though it sparked every time we pressed the button, this rarely lit the stove, even when the valve was open all the way. We're looking forward to the future development of this feature. Our testers rarely go backpacking without a lighter (or two) but it's nice to not have to find it every time we want a hot drink.
Other models edged out the Deluxe in this category because reliable piezo igniters and more substantial pot supports.
Our testing team doesn't think boiling times are that important, as long as they're not outrageously slow. Nevertheless, the PocketRocket Deluxe posted a proud time: 3 minutes and 39 seconds. It beat some of the seemingly unbeatable integrated canister stoves. Don't put the water on to boil and then go digging through that stuff sack for your meal - get everything ready first.
What impressed our testers most was how the Deluxe performed in the wind. In our 2 - 4 mph fan test this stove brought one liter of water to boil in 7 minutes and 20 seconds. This is the first time that we've had small canister stoves capable of this feat. We think the secret sauce behind this performance is the tapered and slightly protected shape of the burner head. The only stoves that are faster at boiling in the breeze are integrated canister stoves.
This is the most expensive small canister stove in our review. Do we think the extra dollars are worth it? Yes.
MSR's latest PocketRocket offering, the Deluxe is a great stove for backcountry travel. It boasts great fuel efficiency if you can keep it out of the wind. When it comes to simmering this stove is our favorite of the test; it simmers about as well as the stove in your kitchen at home. The poor performance of its piezo igniter and ho-hum pot supports have it lagging behind a few other models when it comes to ease of use. We think that's worth overlooking for the Deluxe's finer qualities, including its ability to boil water in the wind.
— Ian McEleney