MSR reactor stove

msr-reactor-stoveThe Reactor

The MSR reactor stove is not like any other stove you'll find.

It looks very different from the mainstream of propane camp stoves. It's actually one of the most efficient propane stoves you'll meet. It is very unique in the way it works. It hasn't got a blue flame like all other stoves. It got sort of a reactor to generate heat. After you light it, it looks like a red hot dome, reflecting heat pretty far. They build it to compete with Jetboil (a stove that got both a built-in-windscreen and a heat exchanger at the bottom of the pot). The Primus Etapower stoves line is also in this race.

The burner

The MSR reactor uses a unique way to generate heat, not the regular blue flame. It got a pressure regulator that keeps the gas flow in the same pressure in all terms, regardless of how full the canister is or how cold is it outside. It couldn't care less for the weather, altitude or if the canister is almost empty. It keep the gas flowing in the same pressure. This is quite cool since you always know how it will function. The gas is ignited within the reactor (the dome) and makes the whole thing red hot. There are no regular flames that you're used to see in other gas stoves. It really looks different…

This pressure regulator, BTW, prevent the ability to simmer. The reactor is doing a pretty bad job at it…

How come it is so efficient?

Well, the main features that make this stove so efficient are its windproof and the special pot…


The reactor is built to ignore winds…

The reactor itself is surrounded by a build-in windscreen. In addition, the bottom of the pot got a profile that prevents wind from blowing between the burner and the pot. It makes a structure that allows air to flow from beneath the burner to allow combustion. Then, it allows the heat to vaporize just after all of it is used to heat up the pot. Practically, no wind can blow between the burner and the pot.

The whole thing makes the MSR reactor stove really windproof.


The pot that comes with the reactor is unique. First of all, it is built to store the burner inside it (along with a canister). Second, is the bottom of the pot. It got these fins that function as a heat exchanger. It gets the heat from the burner and transfers it to the pot. It really makes the whole thing much more efficient. You can try this pot on any other stove to see what a change it does.

The annoying part with the MSR reactor pot, is that you have to use it... No other pot can be used...

Here are a few points I like and dislike about the MSR reactor stove:


  • Efficient
  • Really windproof
  • Pressure regulator enables it to run stable in cold weather.


  • Can't use other pots
  • Expensive

Have a look below to see some comparison I made between the three rivals: Jetboil, the reactor and the Primus etaexpress…

Solo traveler super efficient cooking systems

MSR reactor stove Vs Jetboil PCS Vs Primus Etaexpress
  • All three use the same concept: Built in windscreen. Heat exchanger fused to the pot.
  • All three can be packed within the pot.
  • Jetboil where the pioneers. MSR and Primus followed.
  • Both Jetboil and Primus got a whole line of stoves using the same principle. MSR (for now) got only the reactor.
  • Both MSR and the Etaexpress feels much more robust. The Jetboil gives the feeling that it is not as solid.

msr-reactor-stoveMSR reactor stove jetboil-stoveJetboil PCS (Personal Cooking System) primus-EtaExpressPrimus Etapower express
Weight 19oz 15.25oz 14.6oz
Boil time Nice Nice Best
Water boiled per 100g fuel 10 11 17
Something else Doesn’t run with blue flame. The whole burner concept is unique. They were the first with this concept. The pot is coated with some fabric. You can actually hold it while boiling. You can use any other pot too. The burner is the primus express. A great stove as a stand alone too
Average price 150USD 100USD 95USD
Pot 1.7 liter 1 liter 1 liter
Bottom line The price is ridicules They had the crown utill Primus arrived…  Go and get one!

And a more detailed comparison, Jetboil PCS Vs MSR reactor stove...

Bottom line

I like it a lot. It got a big pot, it's efficient and a great brand is behind it. Its greatest problem for me, is that you must stick to its pot.

Anyhow, here it is if you want to get one.