MSR Pocket Deluxe camp stove

Best Backpacking Stove Yet? MSR PocketRocket Deluxe Review

An all-new igniter, scant weight, and surprising simmer control combine to make the PocketRocket Deluxe the most advanced camp stove in MSR’s already impressive stable.

The venerable PocketRocket line of stoves by MSR has been among the favorite of backpackers for years. And it stands as the best-selling stove series for the Seattle brand.

In February, MSR launched the third PocketRocket in its lineup, the Deluxe. We’ve been testing the most featured (and most expensive) PocketRocket this year on a handful of overnight backpacking trips.

Is short: MSR basically re-engineered the piezo igniter to meet its high standards of quality. Couple that with impressive flame control, and the PocketRocket Deluxe presents a solid buy for three-season campers.

PocketRocket Deluxe: The Stats

MSR Pocket Deluxe camp stove

The PocketRocket Deluxe has a scant verified weight of 3 ounces and measures 3 1/4 x 2 3/16 inches when folded. It has a claimed boil time of 3 minutes 18 seconds for a liter of water and a burn time of about 60 minutes for an 8-ounce canister of fuel.

The burner measures 1 13/16 inches in diameter, and the pot supports measure just under 5 inches in diameter. There is a pressure regulator, and for the first time, MSR graced the PocketRocket Deluxe with a piezo igniter.

The MSR PocketRocket Deluxe (MSRP $70) comes with a padded storage bag. For $115, MSR also offers a stove system combo that includes a 1.2L anodized pot, a strainer lid, a 28-ounce bowl, a pot gripper, and a stuff sack (everything including a 4-ounce fuel canister nests into a single unit).

MSR PocketRocket Deluxe Stove

  • Weight: 3 oz. (verified)
  • Length: 3.25″ x 1.875″ (folded)
  • Boil time (1L): 03:18 (advertised)
  • Price: $70 (stove alone) / $115 (stove, pot, strainer lid, bowl, pot handle, stuff sack)

MSR PocketRocket Deluxe: Piezo Igniter

The obvious standout feature of the PocketRocket Deluxe is the piezo igniter. Up to now, MSR has avoided this feature despite it being standard among most brands, claiming piezos suffer a lack of reliability.

To address the issues it saw, MSR gave the igniter all-metal construction, internally routed the wiring, and an embedded electrode. MSR claims the igniter made the cut only because it withstood rigorous in-house testing that included 10,000-plus firing cycles.

MSR Pocket Deluxe camp stove

Although almost everyone in the market for this type of stove would also carry a lighter or another form of ignition, the piezo igniter on the PocketRocket Deluxe proved super-convenient and never failed to fire up the stove.

MSR PocketRocket Deluxe Review

The other visible and functional feature that got my attention was the little lip on the burner that serves to shield the flames from wind. And indeed, the PocketRocket Deluxe boiled water in an estimated 5-10mph steady breeze without me having to erect a shield around the stove.

Integrated-canister stoves have no issues with wind, but upright-canister stoves can fail to produce a real boil in windy conditions. The PocketRocket Deluxe is the first lightweight, upright-canister stove to bolster my faith in boiling water in windy conditions.

Finally, the PocketRocket Deluxe simmers like a champ. I found it to be the best-simmering upright-canister stove that I’ve tested to date. The large fold-out handle, coupled with the control valve’s resistance, made dialing in and holding the desired heat easy.

Plus, the larger-than-average burner head spread the heat out more evenly than usual for a small upright-canister stove, and the pressure regulator kept output constant regardless of fuel level or temperature.

Although I didn’t verify boil times or fuel consumption rates (due to constantly varying conditions during testing), the claimed figures seemed reasonable from my experiences.

In my tests, the PocketRocket Deluxe remained stable for cookware appropriate for solo or lightweight two-person adventures. However, larger cookware would require larger and more stout pot supports.

Conclusions

The MSR PocketRocket Deluxe is my new three-season favorite when the light weight of an upright-canister stove is paramount. And the fact that it will boil water in moderate winds takes the cake for me. Its piezo igniter and incredible simmering control — paired with MSR’s reliable quality — make it a solid buy, in my opinion.

While its $70 price is high for an upright-canister stove, the extra cash is worth it for the performance and reliability. Because after all, nothing is more demoralizing than failing to make your morning brew.

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Seiji Ishii
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Seiji Ishii has enjoyed a lifetime of outdoor adventure and sports, from participant and competitor to coach and trainer, and finally as an editorial contributor. His interests have spanned cycling, climbing, motorcycling, backpacking, trail running, and training for all of it. He has also designed outdoor and off-road motorcycling gear. He lives in the woods in Wimberley, TX with his wife, daughter and a small herd of pets. Read more of his musings at seijisays.com.

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