I’ve got a stack of MSR stoves on test over the next few days – alongside a couple of competitors – and I’ve chosen to start with the smallest. MSR’s MicroRocket stove is a baby brother to the incredibly popular PocketRocket stove and is designed for those who like lightweight, packable kit for backpacking or cycling but still need a high-quality stove for knocking up a cuppa quickly and easily.
The MicroRocket comes in a plastic container along with a separate piezo-ignitor (press a button and make a spark) which will save you burning your thumb using a lighter or matches when the MicroRocket kicks in to life. And it does kick. I let out an audible ‘whoah’ when it caught light and started roaring like a vacuum cleaner trying to inhale a kitten. From such a small burner it really packs a punch. The name Rocket is quite apt.
The burner head is quite small (10p coin – ish), so you get an intense burning flame in a central area of your pan/pot. I tried out with a couple of different pots and found myself more comfortable using a smaller pot and stirring lots than a wider pan and worrying about scorching the middle and toppling the pan.
The pan stands (arms) fold out from the body and feel quite flimsy, but in use they supported a large pan with ease and my concerns seemed unfounded.
The body of the stove feels solid and chunky – reliable – and it’s easy to twist on and off a gas cylinder. The fold-out wire flow adjuster works really very well indeed to regulate the afterburner-like flame from small to Take-Off and save you charring the bottom of any pans.
MSR state that the Microrocket can boil a litre of water in 3.5 minutes, which is pretty quick for a stove this size. My gas was running low, so I can’t verify that exactly but the intensity of the flame would suggest that it is chucking out a lot of energy compared to some of the larger stoves even in MSR’s range.
The MicroRocket burner features something called a windclip (the 3-armed thing on top of the burner), which works really well to shield at least 1/3rd of the flame from any wind and stop it extinguishing. I blew quite hard on it as a test with no major problem. Interestingly, MSR state not to use a separate windshield with this stove.
At 73g the MicroRocket is a lightweight stove by any standard. Coupled with the piezo-ignition pen it negates to need for carrying any other lighter unless you smoke and the whole kit comes in at 120g. It is thirstier on gas than some of its big brothers, and produces a smaller burn pattern, but these things are a balance.
SUMMARY: MSR’s MicroRocket is a stove for serious lightweight enthusiasts who pack light and don’t need to whip up a large meal. It’s a very compact and minimal design which doesn’t compromise usability. And it sounds properly impressive and loud. No faults found, but it’s not for everyone.