MSR Reactor Stove Review
Whether you’re car camping or heading out for a week long backpacking trip, having a good reliable cooking source can make or break your trip. After all, Food and water is a necessity for human survival and I don’t know about you, but I like to have a stove that I can depend on.
The MSR Reactor Stove System is a combination of a cooking pot and stove. This stove itself can be used alone and the pot itself can be used by itself, but they are most efficient and work best when paired together( Peanut Butter and Jelly, Koolaid and sugar, milk and cereal, you get it…)
The Stove in the MSR Reactor Stove System is a little different from the typical propane backpacking stove. Instead of using a traditional flame, this stove uses what MSR calls a radiant burner. What this boils down to (no pun intended) is a surface that doesn’t produce an actual flame, but it’s like a pumice stone like surface that acts most closely to an electric burner on a stove that you might use in your house. Yes, I am sure the designer of this stove will scream if he sees that I am comparing this stove to an electric burner, so if the designer happens to read this, this is where I say it acts similar to an electric burner, but kicks way more ass!!
The stove itself gets super hot which is one of the reasons it has a grate on top. Not that you won’t burn yourself or anything else that touches this grate, but so you won’t damage the actual surface. The burning temperature on this stove is extremely hot, so it can sometimes be hard to simmer soup or other foods with similar consistencies. On the upside, this stove cooks as fast as Tom Cruise (Maverick) fly’s an F14 in Top Gun, yup, that’s pretty darn fast!
The cooking pot system used in the MSR Reactor Stove System is made from thin perforated steal. The top part of this pot is similar to other backpacking pots, but the bottom is what sets it apart from the rest. The designers at MSR added an outer layer that maximizes the amount of heat that goes through the bottom of the cooking pot. When the flame hits the bottom of the pot, the heat is then transferred around the bottom 2 inches of the pot and then escapes through holes at the top of this section. This is difference from a normal backpacking stove as the heat is condensed and encompasses more of the pots surfaces versus hitting the pots bottom and indirectly going upwards partially around the pot.
As for the size of the pot, it comes in 3 different sizes at this point in time, 1 L, 1.7 L, and 2.5 L. I tested out the 1.7 L version while camping with my wife and found the size to be perfect for two. We never ran into a time where we needed more space in the pot. If weight is incredibly important to you, I think the 1L size would do just fine.
The System as a whole
The MSR Reactor Stove System as a whole is an efficient working machine! For starters, this set is perfect for backpacking or car camping where you don’t have a ton of space. The stove fits down into the pot and you can also fit in a full sized propane canister. The set also comes with a Packtowl to help keep you from scratching the inside of the pot and also comes with a lid that locks on. This lid is made of see through plastic so you can see into the pot without having to take the lid off. The lid comes with a small rubber handle at the top so no matter how hot the pot gets, you don’t have to worry about burning your fingers. Just be sure to be careful about the steam. To lock on the lid, all you need to do is move the adjustable pot handle and place it over the lid. Next, just connect the little steal ball to the handle and you are good as gold.
If you find yourself in windy conditions, it is good to know that it’s extremely hard to blow out this burner. The burner itself is extremely hard to blow out( I wasn’t able to blow it out) and when combined with close to an air tight seal with the pot, you get a backpacking stove as efficient as you can get. As I mentioned, the stove and cooking pot work well by themselves, but when you combine them, they will blow your socks off.
The total cook times for this cook system is as follows
|Weight||14.7 oz / 417 g||1 lbs 1.5 oz / 496 g||1 lbs 4.7 oz / 588 g|
|Burn time (MSR IsoPro) per 227-g / 8-oz. canister||Appx. 80 minutes||Appx. 80 minutes||Appx. 80 minutes|
|Boil time (MSR IsoPro), 1 liter||3.5 minutes||3 minutes||3 minutes|
|Water boiled (MSR IsoPro) per 227-g canister||20 liters||22 liters||22 liters|
|Water boiled (MSR IsoPro) per 1 oz. of fuel||2.5 liters||2.8 liters||2.8 liters|
The MSR Reactor Stove System is hands down one of the best stove/pot systems I have ever used. MSRP $179.95 as seen above for 1.7L