MSR Reactor Stove Review

Push Button StoveMSR Reactor Push Button Start Stove | Photo Mike Hardaker Mountain Weekly News

The MSR Reactor Stove simply outperforms every other stove in the outdoor world.  When comparing the MSR Reactor to the others there really is no competition. If you like hot boiling water fast in the backcountry this is the stove for you.

MSR Reactor vs Jetboil

MSR Reactor Stove Review

Mike Hardaker Cooking with MSR Reactor Stove on the Teton Crest Trail | Photo Mountain Weekly News

We recently took the MSR Reactor Stove on a 4-day backpacking trip through the Tetons.  The group also had Jetboil stoves as “backups”. The first time we had a cook-off to see whos stove would boil water the fastest the Reactor from MSR was always first and by a long shot.

The 1.0L MSR Reactor boiled the maximum amount of 0.5L of water (just over 2 cups) in seconds.  This is the sort of stove you need to pay attention to if you’re coming from one of the other brands.  No more walking away and waiting.

According to the MSR website, the Reactor outperformed the competition with the ability to boil 0.5L of water in just 1.5 minutes, although we found this took seconds at best.

If you’re a coffee drinker, you’ll want this stove.  But it’s not just for boiling water, you can cook inside the stove as well.  Our favorite has been mashed potatoes.

MSR Reactor Weight

With the Reactor Stove System, you get a choice of 3 sizes depending on your needs.  I opted for the light and fast 1.0L which weighs only 14.7 oz. MSR also has a 1.7L (1 lb 1 oz) and 2.5L (1 lb 4 oz) systems for longer trips with more people.

One of the cool things about this stove is its ability to work in a plethora of conditions.  Wind is really no match for the burner as it always lights and has yet to go out on me.

Even altitude didn’t phase this stove.  Having used the MSR Reactor above 11,000 feet and all the way down to 6,000 feet with everything in between and I have yet to notice a difference in performance. The only thing that changes at altitude is the hiss when removing the canister.  Pro tip – If using the Reactor in the winter or any stove for that matter, always wear gloves when putting on and taking off the canister.

The MSR Reactor System is compact and to the point.  My only gripe is that other fuel canisters are not able to sit inside the cookware as the other brands do.  Perhaps this is due in part to the fact MSR canisters are hard to find in my area so we went with a similar-sized Primus canister. Otherwise, you’ll need to find the 4 oz. MSR canisters, which are sold separately.

Overall Impression

MSR Reactor Camp Stove

MSR Reactor Stove and Small Fuel Can | Photo Mike Hardaker Mountain Weekly News

MSR’s Reactor is the perfect stove for camping and backpacking year-round.  If carrying less fuel is important to you, well again this stove was built with you in mind.  With efficient burn time and fuel usage, your canisters will go for much longer than they had in the past.

The other stove brand became popular over the past few years, now MSR is back at the top of the list.  The MSR Reactor System ($219.95) is an investment in a stove you’ll love right out of the box.  Something that will be used for years to come and most likely even passed down to the next generation.

This is how camping stoves should operate. When other reviews online state “Best Stove I have Ever Owned” we can’t help but agree. Kudos MSR for making camp cooking that much easier.

Related Articles:

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  2. Must Have Gear for Camp Cooking
  3. Euerka Ignite Stove Review

About the Author

Mike Hardaker
Mike Hardaker grew up surfing and snowboarding in Orange County and followed his love of surfing to Hawaii before eventually moving to the mountains to concentrate on snowboarding. He went on to found Mountain Weekly News based in Jackson, Wyoming.

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