Cooking with gas: a review of camp stoves we’ve used
Earlier in this blog we mentioned our stove, the MSR Dragonfly. This was and still is a great stove. However, we decided to send this stove home and replace it with a new, smaller, and more simpler stove, the MSR Pocket Rocket. This decision was based on a few factors which I’ll expand on in a moment. First let me give you the pros and cons of each of these stoves.
Uses camp fuel (white gas) which is available anywhere in the U.S.; has a large sturdy base, perfect for large pots/pans and cooking on uneven ground; folds up compact; separate adjustments for fuel and flame make this stove perfect for the campground gourmet (which I am not) to cook full blast torch or slow simmer.
Separate bulky fuel bottle needed, which adds substantially to overall camp-kitchen weight/size in panniers; white gas spills a lot causing everything in panniers to smell of gas, and even ruined some silicon kitchen utensils; stove needs priming before each use, and is SUPER FINICKY and FRUSTRATING; Sound, this thing sounds like a helicopter taking off, loud is an understatement, not camp friendly for boiling water early in the morning.
Pocket Rocket pros:
Uses Isobutane fuel canisters, no priming needed, just turn on and light; compact size, can literally fit in your pants pocket; adjustable flame valve from simmer to full boil.
Pocket Rocket cons:
Uses Isobutane fuel canisters, which I’ve heard can be hard to come by, especially on the Eastern side of the U.S., so far I’ve seen them in every sporting goods store in every state since we left Washington (we’re in Minnesota now); fore mentioned fuel canisters take up room in Panniers; stove is very unstable, even on flat ground, balancing pots/pans while actively cooking is truly an art to master.
We decided to send our Dragon Fly stove home because of it’s size, sound, and mostly because it always seemed like a hassle to take out, put together, and prime. Some times we avoided making a meal because we were just to tired to go through the production of coking with this stove. Also, there were times when the stove would go out during the priming process and we had to wait 15-20mins for it to cool down enough to prime again and potentially go out again. For that reason alone I was just over using this stove. The Pocket Rocket has been so much easier to use so far, and while it doesn’t have a wind guard (it still performs pretty well in high winds) and is extremely unstable, it’s still far less frustrating and far less hassle then the Dragonfly. Also, I really like the extra space I’ve gained in my pannier with the smaller stove. I still plan to keep my Dragon Fly stove and believe it’s a great stove, it’s just not the best stove for bicycle touring IMO. It’s only been about a week since swapping the stoves out, I’ll update this post after using the Pocket Rocket more and let you know if I still believe that we made the right choice.