Living with the MSR Reactor

I am not in any position to compare and contrast all the good outdoor equipment that's on the market, but I know when I use something repeatedly that exceeds my expectations. I will try to keep up with the gear we carefully choose and sell at Rock and Snow and attempt to convey to you the reasons why I may consider something exceptional.

I have used the MSR Reactor stoves for many years now and have not ceased to be amazed by its performance, design, durability, and quiet operation. The stove comes and mates with its own pots. I own the 2.5 and the original 1.7 liter version and have had many a great meal faster and easier than I ever thought possible. One of the great time savers is that using a windscreen or finding a sheltered area is unnecessary. The pot and heat sink are integrated into one unit thus adding to the efficiency and simplicity of the cooking system. The stove is regulated which means it runs under the same low pressure at all times unlike many canister stoves that lose heat output as the fuel level goes down. Cold weather reduces the pressure in a canister which is much less of a concern with a regulated stove due to the low pressure under which the stove functions. The nesting of the stove and fuel inside the pot for packing is impressive as is the folding handle on the pot that locks the lid down when you're on the move. Despite the fact that this is a radiant stove, meaning it glows and has no flame, it is by far the hottest device I have ever cooked on and that includes our home burner. Care must be taken with the tremendous output of the unit because it is easy to burn your food even when you turn it down as low as possible. If you are a freeze dried or boil in bag person this is not a problem (unless you walk away without realizing how quickly the Reactor will bring the water to a boil) but if are trying to sauté some onions and broccoli you must constantly stir the pot. When cooking pasta I always make sure to leave room in the pot for adding small amounts of water to prevent boil over. I also want you to know that you can only use pots made for this stove.

I think the Reactor's limitations listed above are minor compared with stoves that have inferior output and take forever to cook your food or boil water, present problems when it's windy and may need fiddling with on a regular basis. This is a true tool that will get food in your belly quickly and will be a dependable partner for years to come. If it is possible to love a compact backpacking stove this is my choice and it even looks hot.

I am sure there are those that will disagree but this has been my experience. Also remember that I am writing about this gear because it has been extremely useful and I get pleasure in sharing information and ideas. I am not writing because I am engaged in affiliate marketing (ie: nor am I trying to boost sales. I'm not that type of guy and Rock and Snow is not that type of shop. If you have a better time outdoor we have a better time in here. Thanks for listening. rich