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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 vs. the Soto Amicus

Recently, I've reviewed two small upright canister stoves, the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 and the Soto Amicus.  Which is the better stove?
The Soto Amicus, left.  The MSR Pocket Rocket 2, right.
Well, it depends.

I try to be pretty even handed with the brands. If a given brand puts out a solid stove that is reasonably well executed, I'm generally going to give them a good review, but this doesn't mean that they're necessarily my top pick for that class of stove.

With respect to the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 ("PR2") and the Soto Amicus, they're pretty much in the same class:
  • About the same price – $40 (without ignition) or $45 (with ignition) for the Amicus* – vs $45 for the PR2.
  • Roughly the same weight, 73 g/2.6 oz for the PR2 vs 78 g/2.8 oz for the Amicus.
  • About the same level of compactness and packability.
  • Both have needle valves – as opposed to a regulator valve which can handle cold weather better (see:  Canister Stoves in Cold Weather – Regulator Valves and Inverted Canisters).
So, which is better? Well, I guess that depends on what one values. The Soto is clearly the more sophisticated, and for the same price*, you get a piezo ignition, better wind resistance, and better pot stability.

But the PR2 is dead simple. It's really beefy, and there's little to go wrong with it. It's most vulnerable point is its aluminum threads which can wear out with heavy use. The Amicus has a brass insert which will wear better – but which can still wear out.  Note however that there are many people who have done multiple long distance through hikes with stoves that have aluminum threads and have reported no problems.

With all canister stoves, always:
  • Keep the stove's threads clean.  Do NOT set a stove base down in the dirt!
  • Keep the canister's threads clean.  You might actually want to keep that little cap.
  • Thread the stove on carefully
  • Gently tighten; never over tighten

Dimensions
Soto Amicus, folded:  1 9/16" x 1 9/16" x 2 7/8" (40 mm x 40 mm x 73 mm)
Soto Amicus, unfolded: 4 1/8" x 4 1/8" x 3 5/16" (105 mm x 105 mm x 84 mm)

MSR Pocket Rocket 2, folded:  1 11/16" x 1 11/16" x 3" (43 mm x 43 mm x 76 mm)
MSR Pocket Rocket 2, unfolded:  4 3/4" x 4 3/4" x 3 9/16" (121 mm x 121 mm x 90 mm) 

The Amicus is slightly more compact in terms of width and a bit shorter when packed.  

The Pocket Rocket 2 has a wider span to its pot supports when unfolded, but as I say in my write ups, the Amicus actually has better pot stability with it's four pot supports compared to three for the Pocket Rocket 2.  

When unfolded, the Pocket Rocket 2 is slightly taller than the Amicus.

The MSR Pocket Rocket 2, left.  The Soto Amicus, Right.
Note spark point on the Amicus' ignition.
Conclusion
So, sophisticated with lots of features for the same price – or dead simple? Both are pretty good stoves. One has to decide what is most important to them. For me... probably the Amicus. I really like the improved pot stability and the wind resistance. The piezo is nice too.

But I know a lot of people – particularly through hikers who typically want simple, strong, and reliable – are going to go with the PR2.  The PR2 has everything you need but nothing you don't.

Advantages of the Amicus vs. the PR2:
  • With no ignition, lower price – $40 for the Amicus* vs. $45 for the PR2.
  • With an ignition, the same price but a more sophisticated stove.
  • Better pot stability
  • Better wind resistance overall, quite a bit better
  • Better simmering, particularly in wind (although the PR2 generally simmers very well)
  • Threaded brass insert (vs. aluminum for the PR2)
  • Simpler, quicker set up than the "rotate out and around" pot supports of the PR2
Advantages of the PR2 vs. the Amicus
  • Simple
  • Strong
  • Reliable (not that the Amicus is unreliable but there's little to go wrong on the PR2)

If you would like to read my detailed reviews on each stove, here are the links:

I thank you for joining me,

HJ

*There are some screamin' deals on the Amicus right now:
  • Backcountry Gear is selling the Amicus with ignition for $45 – but they're including a free cookset in the deal.  I've never used the cookset, but for free, hey, why not?
  • Campsaver has the Amicus without ignition for $32 and with ignition for $36.  Tough to beat that.  Supposedly, if you sign up for their email list, you can get an additional discount.
Unfortunately, the PR2 is a new stove just coming out, so it may be a while before you can find discounts on it.
The Soto Amicus, left.  The MSR Pocket Rocket 2, right.

Disclosures:  
  • I don't think I've ever purchased anything from either of these two sites.  They look reputable, but these links do not constitute an endorsement.  Friends have bought stuff at Campsaver and had a good experience.  I can't say either way.
  • I receive no remuneration posting these links or writing this blog post.
  • I receive no benefit if you purchase something at either of those two sites
  • I have no financial relationship with either site.  I'm not even a customer as of this writing.
Considering the above disclosures, you probably have realized that I know a lot about stoves, but I don't know much about making money on the internet, lol.  Have a nice day, and get out there.  

5 comments:

  1. Great report, thank you for sharing. I am fortunate to own the Soto Amicus + the cookset (I must be one of the few in the UK to be the proud owner of the Amicus given that it is not yet on general sale over here). I have used the PR1 too, but for the reasons listed in your report, my vote goes to the Amicus and for its quality and sheer reliability. Happy hiking...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oops, I put the reply in the wrong spot. See reply, below.

      HJ

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  2. Hi, Mike,

    Glad you were able to get a hold of an Amicus. I think it's a really good stove, and for the price an excellent stove. I'm not sure how Soto is quite managing to offer the Amicus at such a price (hopefully I'm not speaking out of turn here; I'm only familiar with prices on this side of the pond).

    HJ

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  3. Based on your reviews, I picked the Amicus to replace my aging PocketRocket. Campsaver had a deal for the Stealth igniter version with a cookset for $38 once you used a coupon code. That is outrageously cheap. Thanks for all the knowledge!

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    Replies
    1. Wow! A whole set for $38!! What coupon code and how did you get it?

      HJ

      Delete