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Friday, December 30, 2011

The MSR MicroRocket -- Packability Report #1

This is an installment in my series on the new MicroRocket stove from MSR.  Other installments in the series include:

If you're interested in traveling light, there's more to it than just the weight of a stove. You have to consider your cooking set up as a whole. And of course, it's really sweet when everything nests together inside a small lightweight mug-type pot. So, for the new MicroRocket, the inevitable question is: Just how small is it? And will it fit in my particular set up?

Well, obviously I can't test the MicroRocket with every pot and mug known to man, but I thought I'd test it with a few hopefully representative mugs/small pots.  Hopefully my tests will give you an idea if the new MicroRocket will fit in your set up.

Well, let's meet today's "contestants:" A BPL Firelite 550 mug/pot (550ml), a Snow Peak 780ml pot, and an MSR Titan kettle (850ml).  We'll be seeing how a MicroRocket does or does not fit and how the older PocketRocket compares.  So, fasten your seat belts, and let's head out on another Adventure in Stoving.
Front:  MSR PocketRocket (left), MSR MicroRocket (right). 
Rear (left to right):  BPL Firelite 550 mug pot (550ml), Snow Peak 780ml pot, MSR Titan kettle 850ml
Well, let's start with the Firelite 550 mug pot.  We'll try the PocketRocket first and see how that flies.
A PocketRocket in a BPL Firelite 550 mug pot
Uh, well, the word "FAIL" comes to mind.  Twist and turn, try as I might, I could not fit a PocketRocket into a BPL Firelite 550 mug pot.

But what about the MicroRocket?
A MicroRocket inside a BPL Firelite 550 mug pot
Whoa!  How cool is that?  Not only does it fit, it lays down flat.  Nice.  And, yes, that's the same pot as in the prior photo.  The MicroRocket really is that much smaller.  Sweet!

Well, shoot, if we've got that much room, why don't we pop in a canister of gas?
A BPL Firelite 550 mug pot with a MicroRocket and a 110g gas canister inside
Well, it sort of fits, but not exactly.  Even if I take the cap off of the canister, I can't quite get the mug's lid on.
A BPL Firelite 550 mug pot with a MicroRocket and a 110g gas canister inside
A tad disappointing, but still that's pretty darned good that I can fit all that into a little 550ml mug.  And, if you use your favorite ultralight stuff sack, maybe it will work for you.
A "stuff sack" for the BPL Firelite 550 mug pot.  Inside are a canister of gas and a MicroRocket stove.
OK, next, let's look at the Snow Peak 780ml pot.
A PocketRocket inside a Snow Peak 780ml pot
This time, the PocketRocket does fit, but try to fit in a gas canister, and you've got a bit of a problem.
A PocketRocket and a 110g gas canister inside a Snow Peak 780ml pot
I tried differing combinations, but to no avail.  A PocketRocket and a gas canister just cannot be made to fit in this small of a pot.
A PocketRocket and a 110g gas canister inside a Snow Peak 780ml pot
But with a MicroRocket, now, that's a different matter.  They both fit without too much trouble.
A MicroRocket and a 110g gas canister both fit inside a Snow Peak 780ml pot
A Snow Peak 780ml pot without the MicroRocket will fit a larger 220g canister, but with precious little room for anything else.
A Snow Peak 780ml pot with a 220g gas canister
OK, so there's our look at a Snow Peak 780ml pot.  Now, how about the MSR Titan kettle which is 850ml?
An MSR Titan kettle with a PocketRocket and a 110g gas canister inside.  You can't close the lid.
Well, with a Titan kettle, you can get both a PocketRocket and a 110g canister of gas inside.  Kind of.  But you can't close the lid.

On the other hand, with a MicroRocket, you've got oodles of room.  Go ahead, throw in a lighter, a little washcloth, or what have you.
An MSR Titan kettle with a MicroRocket and a 110g gas canister inside.  Plenty of room.
With the MicroRocket and a 110g canister, I can fully seal the lid.  Nice.
An MSR Titan kettle with a MicroRocket and a 110g gas canister inside.  The lid seals fully.
A 220g canister however doesn't quite work even with a MicroRocket.
A 220g canister doesn't quite fit into a Titan kettle with a MicroRocket.
Just for fun, I thought I'd try another gas stove with a reputation for being compact, the Optimus Crux, in the same configuration.
An Optimus Crux inside an MSR Titan kettle
There was no material difference between the fit with an Optimus Crux and the fit with a MicroRocket.
The fit with an Optimus Crux is not materially different than that of a MicroRocket
In fact, I tried the Optimus Crux with all of the above pots.  The Crux is a bit more compact than the MicroRocket, but it made no material difference with any of the pot and canister combinations.  I do find that the new MicroRocket's pot supports are a little less fiddly than the supports on a Crux, but more on that in a future post.

Well, this isn't one of our original three contestants, but I was curious.  If a 220g gas canister won't fit in any of the above, what will it fit in?  Let's try a 1000ml Snow Peak pot.  I wouldn't exactly call a 1000ml pot small, but let's try it.
A 1000ml Snow Peak pot with a 220g gas canister and an MSR MicroRocket inside.
Fits reasonably well, and the lid closes fully.  Do note that my pot has a "fry pan" type lid with some depth.  I wouldn't say that a 220g canister and a MicroRocket will fit in all 1000ml pots, but it's worth checking.
A 1000ml Snow Peak pot with a 220g gas canister and an MSR MicroRocket inside. The lid closes fully.
Well, there you have it, a look at the fit of the MSR MicroRocket in three small, ultralight backpacking type pots -- with a special guest appearance by our friend the 1000ml Snow Peak pot.  I hope this gives you a sense of the size of the MSR MicroRocket and whether or not it might work with your particular set up.

Thanks for joining me on another Adventure in Stoving,

HJ

P.S.  A preview of coming attractions:
An MSR MicroRocket
I fired up the stove using the piezoelectric lighter.  It's actually very effortless and slick.  I found it easier than using a conventional lighter.  Now, is it worth it to carry the extra 13g and to have to keep track of yet another piece of gear?  I mean, I am going to have to carry a regular lighter anyway, so is it worth it to carry the little piezoelectric lighter?  Dunno, but now that I've used it and seen how well it works, I'm not quite so dead set against it.  It's actually pretty nice.  I now think that some people will elect to carry it.  One nice thing about it is that unlike a Bic, the piezoelectric ignition will not run out of gas.

It also looks like MSR has taken some steps to reduce the carbon monoxide output of the MicroRocket.  More on that in a future post.  Stay tuned.  :)

6 comments:

  1. Hi Jim,

    " One nice thing about it is that unlike a Bic, the piezoelectric ignition will not run out of gas."

    True, but as I think you stated before a Bic can be used to ignite any other fuel or tinder. If and when the Bic is completely exhausted of its own fuel the flint and spark wheel will still produce sparks. These sparks could quite possibly be used to light the MicroRocket's burner. It could be a little dicey as far as placement of fingers though. :-)

    John Donewar

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  2. Hi, John,

    Yes, good point.

    Party on,

    HJ

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  3. HI Jim, you didnt say if you could close the lid of the 780 ml pot on the micro rocket with the 110 gram canister inside. Can you? and can you do it with the case of the micro on it? thanks.

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    1. Oh, yes. Sorry I wasn't clear. Plenty of room for a 110g canister and a MicroRocket (without the case) inside a 780ml Snow Peak pot with the frying pan type lid.

      Now can the case fit too? I can't remember, but I don't think so. Frankly, though, I just leave the case at home. The pot is plenty of protection. If there's some rattling going on, just stick in some paper towels or a wash cloth. Particularly if you wrap the stove in a wash cloth, you'll kill two birds with one stone: You'll protect the stove AND have a wash cloth. :)

      HJ

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    2. thanks! love your posts, do you think the micro and canister will fit inside the MSR alpine stowaway stainless 775 mil? i love the locking lid setup of that pot, and prefer taste of stainless to alum. , worried cuz has a lower lid. : ( trying to decide myself between this and all in one setup like Jetboil sol and msr 1L reactor, comparing apples and oranges, i know!)

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    3. I'm not sure. If I get a chance, I could check it out at the local Sport Chalet.

      I'm not a big fan of steel. Tough as nails and inexpensive, but too heavy -- and aluminum does a much better job of distributing heat evenly.

      Regarding an integrated canister stove (Jetboil or Reactor type) vs. a "regular" upright canister stove (e.g. the MicroRocket), the real question is: Do you want to do any real cooking? Real cooking with a Jetboil or Reactor type stove can be done, but it's not what they're designed for. However, if all you want to do is boil water; they're great. On the other hand, if you like to do some real cooking, a "regular" type stove will be the better choice in my experience. Particularly with the Reactor, getting a low flame is really difficult.

      HJ

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