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Gear junkie: Tiny MSR gas stoves emit big flames

Gear junkie: Tiny MSR gas stoves emit big flames

This camp stove is small enough to fit inside a coffee mug. But screw it onto a fuel canister and you'll quickly have a flame that can only be described as huge.

Blue fire erupts from the top of the MicroRocket, a metal stove from MSR ( made for backpacking and wilderness use.

At 2.5 ounces, its weight is negligible in a backpack. Indeed, a single energy bar measured the same miniscule weight on my scale.

But the MicroRocket can boil a pot of water in just a few minutes. It is aptly named, as the stove's flame truly roars like a rocket or an engine on the rear of a jet.

For years, I have used MSR's similar PocketRocket stove model. Its simple design, like the MicroRocket's, includes three fold-out arms to support a pot.

A fuel canister screws in on the bottom. A wire handle controls the flow of gas, and thus the size and heat of the cooking flame.

Few moving parts and an all-metal build make for a product that can last for years. My PocketRocket has been around the world and boiled an untold number of pots of water and soup.

Caveats? The canister setup makes for a tall stove design, and in windy campsites I've had to use logs and stones to shield the exposed flame. The stove's mini support arms cradle only small- and medium-sized pots. If you're cooking for a group, look to something larger.

For backpackers, either of these tiny MSR stoves are a great pick. The MicroRocket comes with its own case and a penlike sparker. Matches are not required — you press a button to shoot a small spark and initiate the stove's flame.

The PocketRocket is a bit larger but only a half-ounce heavier, so weight is pretty negligible. It does not come with the sparker.

For about $60, the MicroRocket includes stove, case and sparker. The PocketRocket is $40. If you need a tiny burner that fires big flames, I guarantee one of these units can do the job.


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