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When I think of stoves, I think of the big monster gas range thing Mom had when I was growing up. So "stove" seems something of a misnomer when talking about this little 3-ounce rocket that can boil water or fry an egg in just minutes. A "burner" is probably a better description, but the industry calls it a "stove", and so will we.
A Backpacker Magazine tester said about the MSR Pocket Rocket, one of the styles we rent, "This midget flamethrower is one of the lightest backpacking stoves available, and the best cartridge stove I've used." I know lots of hikers who carry these too, and for good reason. It's reliable, not much to break, is easily fired up, and takes up little space or weight. It has a 3-prong, serrated pot-holder base that is big enough to hold a decent sized pot, such as our cookware options and Titan Kettle, but that folds up into its small, hard plastic storage box sized at about 4.5" x 2" x 2".
This burner, excuse me, "stove", screws into any Propane/IsoButane Fuel Canister, which is available from us at our store and many other sources. We cannot ship it due to UPS restrictions. Open up the one and only simple valve on it, put a match or lighter to it, and you're in business. The specs say it will boil a liter of water in under 4 minutes, which might be a bit optimistic, but nonetheless it does happen pretty quick. Unlike some stoves, you can control the flame output volume on this one, so you can simmer or slow cook whatever is on the menu. See a owners manual here or see our own instruction page for operating this rental stove.
One stove will provide one or two campers all of the cooking power needed for a typical backpacking trip. With each regular size canister, a reasonable usage estimate is about 12 meals where you're boiling a couple cups of water for dehydrated packages. For 3 or more, we suggest adding another stove for your group. If you're car camping, where weight is not an issue, or you are cooking for larger groups, consider instead a larger Base Camp Stove. You can cook a regular dinner with that one. Or purchase one of our Esbit Pocket Stoves if you're still looking for another small stove option while backpacking the trail.
For more information, read one of our articles on cooking in the woods, preparation tips and eating right while on the trail. For some third-party user reviews of this and other gear we rent and sell, visit our backpacking and camping user gear review page.