View Full Version : MSR Pocket Rocket

08-16-2007, 08:54 AM
Interesting name, but that's another story.

Anyhow - I'm going hunting - remote - and will be using this stove for everything. We are taking freeze dried food and boiling water at least 3 times per day for meals.

So, we are going to be gone for 5 days. How many canisters should I pack? I'm guessing 3 to be safe.


08-16-2007, 06:03 PM
I would pack three of the 7.7 oz. "SnowPeak" ones.


08-17-2007, 08:10 PM
I personally use the Brunton cans which have the fuel guage on the side.

I don't know the specs on the pocket rocket though I think it's a pretty good little stove. I personally use the PRIMUS Omni Fuel.

I don't know your cooking habits but personally I wouldn't use 3 cans in 5 days. Figure boil time is 2.5 minutes average and each 8oz can will last for roughly 1.5-2 hours. If you heat up 6 cups a day, figuring you're eating the serving for two, which I do in Mountain House, they require 2 cups each. That's roughly 8-10 minutes a day.

I personally would say bring two cans.

I bet you don't make it through one though.

Brian in SLC
08-20-2007, 02:20 PM
Anyhow - I'm going hunting - remote - and will be using this stove for everything. We are taking freeze dried food and boiling water at least 3 times per day for meals.
So, we are going to be gone for 5 days. How many canisters should I pack? I'm guessing 3 to be safe.

Depends on how many of you there are, how cold it is, how windy it is.

I've got both a pocket rocket and a Windpro. I note that I get more life and burn much more efficiently with the Windpro, that, for longer trips, it would be my primary choice. For short, "fast and light" type trips, Pocket Rocket can't be beat.

Note that for safety, its very hard to use a wind screen effectively with a Pocket Rocket. And, if you're in a remote area, the last thing you'd need is "that" kind of accident. If its windy and cold, you could burn WAY more fuel.

I'll attach a friend's (the stove guru) recommendations below. From my experience, he's spot on.

I seem to typically get about three full 2 liter boils with my pocket rocket with the smallest cartridge (the snowpeak small one).

If it were me, and, wasn't sure on how the stove was going to perform, I'd take it to a similar location (elevation, temperature) prior to the trip and see how many pots of water I'd get to boil from scratch with the type of cartridge I'd be using.

I've been conservatively using .2 liter per person, per day, for many years of stove use, for winter/glacier use in melting snow into water to a boil. Be much less for just boiling water, ie, summer use.

Where you going??


-Brian in SLC

Re: Fuel Usage
Since I have been called the Stove Guru, I guess I should reply. I have been tracking fuel usage for various fuels and various stoves for quite a few years for my own use, various trips I have led, and for Scout troops and adult leader training courses. YMMV, obviously, and the best guideline is to keep track of your own personal usage on your own stove.

But I have found that even as wasteful as the boys and inexperienced adults can be, the following works out pretty well -

white gas and kerosene -
"boil water" meals (freeze-dry, fast pastas, hot drinks,
soups, oatmeal) - 1.5 oz/person/day for experienced
hikers in summer, 2 oz/person/day for reserves and
inexperienced people who leave the stove running a
"boil water" meals when melting snow for the water -
8 ounces/person/day for winters in New England,
Rockies, Sierra, Cascades. Boost that to 16 ounces
when going to areas where the air temperatures stay
subzero continuously (higher altitudes on Denali,
for example).

Butane mixes, propane - This gets a little tricky, but
basically, compressed gases have about the same
heat output. The problem is that there is a strong
air temperature effect if butane is in the mix.
The rate of fuel flow when the cartridge is low and
when the air temperature is below 35-40F can be slow
enough that you have significant heat loss from the
pot, resulting in extra fuel consumption. I had a
good illustration of this during this weekend in the
Sierra. However, I set the cartridge in some water in
the spare pan, which boosted the heat output of my
Superfly to blowtorch output, even though there was
less than an ounce of fuel left in the cartridge.
Basically, use the same 2 ounce/person/day allowance
in summer. If you use one of the heat-transfer methods
discussed previously in this board and elsewhere, use
the same figures for winter as white gas or kerosene.

Alcohol - alcohol stove fuel has a somewhat lower heat
output than white gas or butane, but the stoves are
more efficient designs for heat transfer (at least,
the Trango, Sigg, and their imitators are). Allow
4 ounces/person/day.

A couple things that make a big difference in fuel consumption are wind screens, black pots, and heat exchangers like the ones that come with the MSR Superfly hanging kit, Bibler hanging stove, and that MSR sells separately as well as in one of their cook kits. Each of these can make as much as a 10 percent difference in fuel consumption efficiency.

But the thing that makes the biggest difference is proper stove maintenance. Since I keep my stoves in good shape, I can consistently get the standard 3-3.5 min boil times for my MSR XGK, Whisperlite, and Dragonfly and Primus MFS (now called Himalayan). I have seen other people get no better than 5-7 min boil times on the same stoves, with correspondingly higher fuel consumption rates.

Scott Card
08-20-2007, 04:30 PM
Thanks for that good info. That is very helpful. I have the Snowpeak Giga Stove GST-100A. It is a great little stove so far but I'll be darned if I can ever figure out how many canisters to take and also how much is left in the dumb things. Do those little stickers you apply to the side of the canisters that tell the gas level really work? Any body know?

08-20-2007, 08:55 PM
since we are on the subject..

What is the advantage of pressurized canister to white gas?

I have been using a MSR whisperlight for years and I am always confused when others pull out two or three canisters while I have my single little 11oz bottle. The white gas boils in less than 5 minutes and it seems to work great at any temperature and any elevation.

Also I like being able to know how much fuel is left in the can so I can monitor it know how wasteful I can be with it. (ie using white gas to start a quick fire). I am not trying to bash the canisters, I just don't understand why they are so popular?

The 1.5oz per day estimate.. is that cooking 3 meals per day? My typical use is boiling a cup of water for hot chocolate in the morning, and boiling 2 cups once or twice in the evening depending on how hungry I am.

I also have a titanium evernew 900ml pot, I presume that would effect how much fuel I use as well. I would be very interesting in knowing how to really know how much fuel I should take because I always come back with fuel left over.

08-21-2007, 08:08 AM
I am not trying to bash the canisters, I just don't understand why they are so popular?

They are tiny, light, and easy. If you generally use your stove in summertime up to elevations of 9000-10000 feet or so, they basically have no drawbacks. My wife and I have been using the same canister for about 7 nights of camping now . . .

08-21-2007, 08:39 AM
What is the advantage of pressurized canister to white gas?

I have been using a MSR whisperlight for years and I am always confused when others pull out two or three canisters while I have my single little 11oz bottle.

I am not trying to bash the canisters, I just don't understand why they are so popular?

i think there are a couple reasons for their popularity ... mainly i think it comes down to simplicity and what you're accustomed to. simplicity, in this case, means at least 3 things (1) much simpler to set up, (2) no priming, and (3) lighter weight. I also think that adjustable flames are quite attractive to many folks, though there are some white gas stoves that have this feature too.

however as you point out, white gas stoves are hotter and it's easier to monitor the fuel consumption, (also nearing the end of the canister doesn't require a decision whether to proceed).

frequenting high elevation and cold make a clear difference which to use. also white gas cansiters are easy to recycle. i know some places (e.g., rei) recycle the butane/butane-propane canisters.

there are tons of other little differences, benefits and detriments.

priming gel can be useful for priming, as it makes a hotter blue flame that doesn't create any char on the underneath. but it's hard to find. i used to stock up on bottles of it from the Marmot store.

on the preference thing, me and my friends use the white gas, but it's not completely uncommon, especially with 3+ people, to bring along a compressed gas stove as a lightweight backup or for adjustable flame.

i guess it's just whatever works for you

08-21-2007, 08:42 AM
I just found an article at the GORP site.

Do these sound like fair comparisons?:

Canister Stoves
Best for: Weekend backpackers, pedalers, and paddlers who primarily camp in warm weather, at low elevations, and who would rather trade dollars and a few ounces for an extra measure of convenience.

White Gas Stoves
Best for: Ounce-counting adventurers bound for long trips (5+ days) in a variety of conditions and topography, including high, cold places. Also best for people concerned about the monetary and environmental costs of using canister stoves.


Canister: The few problems that occur are usually caused by incorrectly connecting stoves to canisters, and can be avoided. Knocking stoves over can cause flaring. No risk of spillage.

White Gas: Large flames during priming can be alarming to some people and can present a fire hazard if care is not taken. Some risk of spillage when filling. More likely to go out than to flare if overturned.

Ease of Adjustment of Output

Canister: Easy on all models.

White Gas: Easy on Coleman/Peak 1 models and MSR DragonFly. Takes a little practice to adjust to low flame with MSR Whisperlites, Sigg Fire-Jet, and Primus Himalayan Multifuel because the valve is distant from the burner.

Reading all that its sounds to me like canister is more "convenient" (at the right alititudes and temperatures) for those not experienced with the white gas and things like priming the stove and knowing how to adjust the flame (most white gas stoves have a delay so it takes some practice to know how much to close the valve). It also sounds like white gas costs less, and is lighter?

Again I am not trying to bash canisters, I am just trying to learn.

Brian in SLC
08-21-2007, 09:17 AM
Do these sound like fair comparisons?

Yeah, they do.

For me, was (and still am, really) a white gas stove guy for many many years. But, I like the convenience of canister cooking. Way faster, less messy, easy to control the flame (wide open or simmer). Plus, a feller climber gave me a case of can's to burn, so...

For light and fast, canisters can't be beat. If I'm climbing for a weekend, and, want a boil or two, very light and easy to put in a day pack. Also, I don't have to worry about white gas leaking in my stuff.

For travel, if you're going to a "civilized" place, canister stove doesn't smell and won't trip the security folks as easily. Just does not smell like gas. Can be hard to fly with a white gas stove (almost impossible?). Got to be able to get the gas cans, though.

Of note, is Steve House's choice of stove for his Nanga Parbat climb (see the Patagonia website: his review of gear is really interesting). Canister gas, an MSR windpro. Light, reliable, nothing really to maintain, no cleaning, etc.

Look at the maintainence kits for each type of stove too. That's a consideration.

Also, not a huge deal, but, my white gas stoves take a while to cool down after use. Easier to pack up after using a canister stove.

Anyhoo, both work great for me. My favorite white gas stove has become the MSR Simmerlite. Ran it for a week in Venezuela a couple years ago on auto gas, no problemo. Burned hot the whole time and no cleaning.

One reason I picked up the windpro was to get the gas can separated from the stove. Lets me run full throttle in the wind, with a really efficient wind screen, without worrying about overheating the can. Also, easier to mess with the can, too. Flip it upside down is a nice trick to get all the gas out, and, its easier to heat the can a bit on cold days, too (by hand, or, whatever insulation, jacket, hat, chemical heat pack, etc). Also, the free gas cans I got are all tall aerosol can types, and, super unstable with a Pocket Rocket.

-Brian in SLC

08-21-2007, 09:21 AM
I've been using a pocket rocket for the last few years, and I've found that for 2-3 day trips, it is the easiest and lightest for my needs. But, I often go solo, or with only one other person, so the canister usually works out perfectly.

The last few months though, I've been using the jetboil. That is my new favorite toy. It boils water ridiculously fast, and is small, simple, etc... With a jet boil, I am yet to run out of a canister of gas, and I've probably made 7 or 8 meals on it, plus hot drinks.

As for gas, I just buy the brunton? canisters rather than the jetboil ones. Works great. Also, when you are using a canister, it is pretty easy to see the gas level when you are using them, because as the gas escapes under pressure, the outside condenses, usually leaving a visible line where the fuel level is. At least, that is one way I've managed it in the past. Not sure how accurate it is though. The brunton canisters have stickers as well that indicate level.

08-21-2007, 10:57 PM
I have a whisperlite international, and I love it. my 11 oz can of white gas seems to last forever, and in case of rain and cold, a little white gas on the campfire eases the frustrating ten minute of trying to get that fire rocking. I do have a brunton mantleless lantern though, and so have been thinking about grabbing a canister stove as well.

09-04-2007, 10:09 AM
A bit of an update. The MSR would be used during September at elevations around 9000-10,000 feet. Maybe a bit higher. As for wind - not sure - probably some wind.

I've narrowed my choiced down to the Pocket Rocket and the Jet Boil.

Any ideas?


09-04-2007, 10:23 AM
I have 'em both, like 'em both. Jet boil is faster though, but heavier, and more pricey. But it is super easy, and you don't have to carry a pot or anything. You'll be amazed how efficient that thing is. But, you can't do much more than just boil water.