I'm not one who normally writes reviews on products, having said that, I felt compelled to write a review on this exceptionally designed stove. From start to finish I can have a hot meal, i.e. Mountain House DEHY, in less than 10 minutes!!! Thats from initial lighting to fork in mouth.. I have consistently seen the stove boil 16 ounces in 1.5 minutes!!!! The design, materials, and construction of this stove are superb.. It's rare when a product performs as advertised, over & over & over & over, this product does just that.. It's packabilty and simplicity make it easy to use store. Two thumbs up!!!!
The wait has been well worth it. This stove kills all other MSR stoves, and the JB too. I own one of each of these and they all have some merits, but the Reactor handles wind (topside Sonora pass at 10K in a mega wind already this season, and does it to a ltr of H2O in record time. We actually set up three stoves with same conditions and equal H2O and lit em all off. 1 min 27 seconds later Reactor flew off the clock with a hearty boil. Others followed at 2:20 and 3:17, not slow, but not a record either. Cool, actyually very hot, and large but can take a stuffing anyway. Thanks Cascade Designs for another out there item. From Zyler in Modesto
I love this stove. I've used it on two backpacks, a 4 day and a five day. The 4 oz canister lasted 4 days with fuel to spare and the 8 oz canister had about a third of its fuel left after 5 days with cooking between 11,400 and 10,800 feet in windy, cool, wet weather. The stove and canister fit nicely in the integrated pot (I got the 1.5 L pot) with room to spare for matches and spork. When you buy this stove you need to understand that this is for boiling water quickly so freeze dried food can be re-hydrated. There is no simmer. I put this down as a con even though I knew when I bought it is was just a quick boiler. The only real con is that it does not have a lighting mechanism built in. I had a hard time lighting the stove in wind. I'm hoping to find out the trick to this.
The positive features are covered well in the other reviews, and the product page text. There is one design flaw in this device, IMO; the pot does not attach to the burner! I considered this unit as a possible replacement for my REI-bought Jetboil, but 90% of the time, I dispense the Jetboil water into the food bag, mugs, cups, bowls, etc.. with the burner attached, sometimes even while still heating the water. This connection makes it even faster to serve the water, and keeps it boiling hot until served.. less fuel used, less time used. The MSR Reactor literally can not do that. Also as a result, it can not be hung or suspended in a mountaineering tent.
Fairly lightweight, pack size is not that small, but manageable. Boils water in no time flat, and I mean boil. Also essential as a snow melter for water. Very economical on fuel. I did a backcountry trip where my Steripen failed, and I boiled four quarts of water twice a day for two days and still packed out with half an 8oz can of fuel left.
I had the MSR Reactor for years by now and very satisfied. Back then they only have the big 1.7L model -- it was a little too big for a single person (since I travel solo a lot); but back many years ago I had no choice. Now I saw they came out with a smaller model but I am not ready to retire my 1.7L yet since it had worked so very well.
I have had this stove for 2 years now, and let me tell you, it will boil water faster than any other stove on the market. The first time I used this was when me and 11 of my friends were in the Badlands in Dakota. There stoves took approximately 17 minutes to boil water, with a windscreen! I got started first and it took 90 seconds to get a boil. So, instead of using theirs, they all used mine. The Jetboil Flash Cooking system is up their with this, but the stove isn't covered, whereas the stove on the Reactor is covered. My only problem with this is the size, it takes way too much room in my backpack.
This is the fastest stove that i have ever come into contact with while backpacking. I tried it for the first time and it started to get a raging boil at about 3 minutes and 15 seconds or so. It is very, very fast and works very smoothly. it is also relatively lightweight and packs down pretty small because everything you need to operate the stove fits into the pot.
i couldn't have thought of a better name for this product that's for sure. the way that this thing boils water is almost scary. in nicer weather this the stove was boiling 1L so violently that i was afraid to leave it on any longer than for just boiling. mine does not have the auto-start ignition which i would find very valuable considering how finicky the fuel knob is when trying to take the temp down low. but i can see that MSR has made provisions for it on the bottom of the stove, so probably any smart do-it-yourself-er could buy an igniter drill a hole and presto
The reactor is a great stove for fast boil times. I use it mostly for water for freeze dried meals, and coffee and tea. It seems a bit bulky for solo use but great for two. I use it on solo trips still just because the boil times are so fast that I save weight in carrying fuel. Its not great for cooking gourmet meals as the temperature control is either full on or off. I used it last weekend to melt snow in abou 15 degree weather it melted enough snow to make a liter of water in under 5 minutes. (I put the fuel canister in my sleeping bag at night to keep it warm) It works great in windy conditions! Great stove!
I mainly bought this stove for fall-late spring hiking and to melt snow. So far Ive used this stove in the snow around 20'f it takes a little longer to boil water but it still gets the job done. When melting snow put a handful in and bring it to a boil before you add any more. It comes in a nice compact design. I put the stove, fuel, matches, hot chocolate mix all in the pot which saves space. This stove is completely windproof and good for bad weather. When you take the pot off the stove it throws off so much heat that you can use it in emergency's as a heater.
This stove is a water boiling machine! I was able to very quickly boil water/snow at 7000 feet elevation in 20 degree F. weather for a large group. In a mater of 10-15 minutes I had boiled multiple containers full of snow/water mix to provide boiling water for freeze dried meals for me and two other people and enough hot chocolate for me and all of the scouts in our group. Great stove for a small family or small group of scouts. I am very happy with this purchase! I would also recommend using the MSR fuel canister stand/tripod for additional stabilization.
I got this stove because it is a canister stove, and it has great reviews. Being a canister stove it really has little that can go wrong with it. I probably would still use a white gas stove for high altitude(above 15 thousand feet) or temps below 20 degrees. Simmering isn't going to happen with this stove, at least not to easily. It boils water for 1-3 freeze dried meals in a hurry! The built in windscreen works great! I use this stove for backpacking up to 14 thousand feet in CO. So far so good. I would highly recommend this stove for 2 or more people trips!
I tested my stove out at over 8000ft and it had to be below freezing. I measured out 12oz of water. It took about 45 seconds to come to a complete boil. I have yet to test it in other conditions but look forward to seeing how it performs. This stove is incredibly powerful and I've never seen water boil that quick. Along with the reviews on this product and many awards, the [...]staff I inquired was very knowledgeable about the MSR reactor stove which helped me to choose this over the competition. It's a bit bulky for one person but who cares?! IT'S SO COOL!!!
I have used more stoves over the last 30+ years than I care to list. This one just ROCKS.
I have been very impressed with this stove. My first meal with this stove was at over 6000 ft, temps in the 20s, and the wind blowing hard. The result: absolutely no drama and a pot of boiling water in less than five minutes. I'm not the type to obsess over boil times, so I didn't have the stopwatch out, but it was fast enough. When packed up, the stove is a bit heavier and bulkier than the jetboil, but I like the robustness of this stove. When it is cold and windy, I want reliable and sturdy and will sacrifice a few ounces. I feel confident this stove will provide reliable service for many years.
I originally purchased the Jetboil Personal Cooking System and later added on a Jetboil 1.5L pot to carry along with it. After much debate, I decided to purchase the MSR Reactor and now will never look back. There are already many reviews on this product, so I'll focus on comparing/contrasting it with the Jetboil because that seems to be the next best product.
The MSR Reactor system is perfect for a backpacker like myself. I don't cook elaborate meals on the trail. In fact, I don't cook at all. I heat water and add it to a high quality freeze-dried meal. Presto! This stove boils water FAST and is easy to use. It packs nicely and fuel efficiency is good. I just used it on a trip across the Chilkoot Pass in SE Alaska. A friend who came along with me had just purchased a Jet Boil. We both agreed the Reactor is a better choice. The only flaw I found was the handle. It popped off twice during cleaning but reattached with minimal effort. I wouldn't recommend this stove to anyone who likes to cook. But if you're looking for a stove that's easy to use and heats water fast, the Reactor is an excellent choice.
I use this stove for work and play. On river patrols both rafting/pack rafting or motorboating, along with backpacking in alaska, it is impressive in temperatures above 20F. I can make hot drinks while floating/motoring down a river (try that with a liquid fuel stove), cook meals twice as fast as other stoves (saves fuel) and tuck it away nicely in its self contained packaging. At altitude above 10,000, it loses pressure, liquid stoves would be better. In cold temps, don't even try, below 20F you have to keep the canister in your pocket and keep it warm through operation. For low altitude/warm temps, you can't beat it. Only downside to canister stoves is the empty canister is not refillable
This is an awesome backpacking stove and I have now converted all of my menus to things that I can cook in the reactor. I have used this on several trips with three people and use the 2.5L pot. It boils water so fast that if you don't pay attention you will boil out all of the water. The stove is very stable and I once left it out in the open in 30+ knot winds and the 2.5L pot never fell off. Simmering is a trick but you can get the heat down pretty low if you just set the control slightly past on. I have cooked chicken soup with the large pot almost full twice with no issues. For a week trip and three guys, I used 1.25 227 gram cans. A frying pan would be a great addition but I can get by without.
I've had this stove for a little over a month and have used it a few times. It boils very fast. Keep in mind that you probably want to purchase the smaller fuel canisters for this so it fits appropriatly inside when packed. The larger size will not fit. I have yet to use it in windy conditions so I can't really speak about that. But it has worked well the few times I've used it. It's also kind of cool how the element heats up. The design allows for a very even heat surface across the bottom of the pan... All in all a worthy purchase in my opinion (with my limited use).
I Boiled 1 liter of water at sea level in just 150 seconds! Very well built. Wind doesn't seem to bother it. Very stable. Great handle - strong and sturdy. Requires manual light and no temp control - just pretty much on full bore to boil water as fast as possible. If you are looking for a stove that is only for boiling water, this is the one.
It worked great on the summit of Mt Rainier and Mt Adams, but then after a few trips it stopped heating the water. MSR said it was a warranty issue, and said they would replace it. That was this summer. They don't have any of the stoves to replace/repair mine, and don't have any anybody sending them the parts to make new one. So I don't have a stove now. And it failed on a camping trip with my family, fortunately only an overnight trip and we were able to find water to filter.
Bought Reactor stove about 4 years ago. Have loved it. Stopped working on recent backpacking trip to CO; no gas flow at all to burner; just quit. Called toll free number at Cascade Designs/MSR after trip to see about repair/cost of repair. Was told likely safety flow valve had tripped inside burner portion. Was told to send it in: had new burner sent to me at no cost within 10 days. Company that makes great products and stands behind product. How refreshing! Thanks, MSR!!
Just used this in 35mph winds while melting snow. Amazing. Prime with a cup or so of water. Boil and add snow. Melts and boils fast. Won't let you down.
I use this stove to cook larger sized meals that require more water. I found the temperature control very difficut to maintain lower heat in order to keep the water from boiling over the top. The stove constantly flames out when trying to lower the heat. I also found the stove top heavy. The stove has to be perfectly level otherwise there's a good chance it will top over.
I have had the MSR Reactor for a couple years now with no regrets. The stove was purchased to heat water for Mt. House pouch meals, coffee, tea, Ramen noodles, rice and such. Have all other prep work ready because boil time is 3 blinks. The Reactor will not simmer or keep things only warm but it weighs so little I bought a MSR Pocket Rocket together with a USGI mess kit for meats, vegetables and basically have all types of meals to be fried, browned, and the rest beyond the Reactors capabilities. Winter and strong gales will not slow down your Reactors capability where other stoves would need a windscreen. Again here it is king of the mountain. All my "kitchen" goes into a canvas GI mechanics bag and is slick to find and use.
In the past, I have always relied on my tried and true Brunton liquid fuel stove. It was powerful, but was lousy in the wind and was a pain to light. So after reading some reviews, I decided that I wanted to go with the MSR Reactor. Best decision ever! Got the stove out of the box, set it up on the deck and fired it up. The Reactor boiled a full liter of water in just about 40 seconds! I couldn't believe this. My buddy's JetBoil is an awesome stove, but not even that could keep up with the mighty Reactor. Only possible complaint I have found so far is that the Reactor doesn't have an intigrated ignition like the Jetboil. And if that's it... I'm not going to complain at all! Bottom line: Buy this stove. It's awesome. The end...
Yes the stove is bulkier than my primus or whisperlight, although it does include the pot. But the quick lighting, and absolutely stunning boil times (one liter 37F creek water at 7,000 ft, less than 2.5 minutes!!) blows other styles away. This shows me a highly efficient heat transfer, with minimal loss. This means less fuel used. And, I used this in 15-35 mph wind, it never blew out.
I worked at the Philmont Scout Ranch in '09 and '10. My partner staff member had this stove, and used it often for boiling water for coffee or hot chocolate. It was especially useful for boiling water for dehydrated meals.
This is an amazing stove for a particular niche application. But I don't consider it a general purpose backpacking stove: it's heavy, bulky, only works with its special Reactor cookware, can't be turned down to a simmer, and it's expensive. For summer trips to a nice streamside campsite, I bring my little Snow Peak Gigapower instead.
Bought this stove for snowshoe camping trip at 9000+ feet with ambient temps well below freezing. This is my first Iso/Butane stove and felt very comfortable cooking inside our vestibule. The stove boils water extremely fast, but takes a bit longer when starting with snow. The stove is very quiet and it is hard to tell if you run out of gas, but not a real problem. Used just over one canister of gas for two people's liquid needs and eating all dehydrated food over two nights. Would be nice if the pot were smaller for packing though.
I waited for this unit to become available and held off on buying a Jetboil. It was worth it. I think it's hard to satisfy every single desire in one product, so know what you are trying to do rather than expecting unreasonable results. That being said, this thing kicks serious butt. You will save time boiling water but then you'll spend that time gawking over it, really. The other reviews say most of the pros 'n cons but one thing I didn't see anyone say was this: Use it in conjunction with a vacume bottle or thermos, don't let that extra heated water just get cold, save it. Often, there is extra hot water, such as when your friend decides they didn't want tea after all. Have the vacume bottle ready when you start to cook. I bring one on almost any trip because there is no replacement for water thats already heated, no matter how fast your stove is. A nissan bottle or something like it keeps things hot for many, many hours. Sometimes we use the pouches of food that are pre-hydrated, save the hot water used to heat them and do it again at the next meal with very little fuel use, or something along that line of thinking. This unit shows it's true colors when the user uses their brain. A methodical approach really helps in this case.
I have had the reactor for several years and have clocked in a lot of backpacking miles with it. I use it for primarily boiling water for freeze dried meals and coffee. It locks in, is extremely easy to light and use. It does get extremely HOT. I learned the hard way on a recent trip in the mountains of VA. Boiled water as usual but left the stove on with an empty pot and it melted the pot - totally my fault. This unit is totally worth the extra weight. It's expensive but you definitely get what you pay for with this unit.
I've only had this thing out for a few weekends so far, but it really does deserve all the praise received. It pretty much does one thing incredibly well, i.e. boiling water. No performance issues with varying altitudes (up to 10k), temps (as low as the 20s), and in gusty winds (so long as the pot is on the burner).
I originally reviewed the Reactor for MSR prior to its distribution and have now used it several years. it has never failed to impress me. I have not used it in arctic conditions but seemeingly it excels in everything short of that. Nothing like it has come out since nor is anything on the horizon it appears. Great job MSR!!
It heats water incredibly fast. But, bring more fuel than you think you'll need. Comparing this to my pocket rocket, it brings water to a boil much faster and can simmer much better. But I was surprised at how fast 2 people burned through the fuel. Much more than I used with the pocket rocket for the same number of meals.
I bought this to boil water on backcountry adventures with my kids. This thing boils water so fast it is scary! The biggest problem I have had is when I was out in the backcountry with a larger group, I ended up boiling everyone's water! This system is so fast, it is hard to believe. If you are going to be out in the cold it is a good idea to keep the fuel canisters in the tent or even in a sleeping bag because the reactor does need good pressure from the fuel canister to work properly. My favorite piece of gear.
This thing is the best water boiler around. It's design is great and is perfect for freeze dried food. I haven't tried real cooking with it, but I think that might be a little harder. Not sure.
This stove replaced a Peak 1 stove I purchased in the Army twenty years ago. It finally died while backpaking in the Grand Tetons. I wanted to stay with the canister type fuel and was going to buy either a whisperlite or Jetboil system. I settled on purchasing this while playing with it in the Salt Lake City REI (huge and awesome). I am glad I did. The replacement stove I had just purchased a week earlier (another Coleman Peak-1 Style foldable stove) just wasn't cutting it - it took too long to boil a quart of water. This stove consistently boiled water (hyper-boiled is more like it) in 2.5 minutes! Even in windy conditions, it performed AWESOME. I love how everything packs into the stove and easily slipped in my rucksack. Now I just need a waterproof, windproof lighter.
I have been using this stove for 11 years. I will use it this year as well. It is faster than a Jet-boil, more stable, and...if you are paying attention, it will cook meals. Our secret? For any first night meal, we stop at our local restaurant and get an order of chicken tika masala, freeze it, and then heat it up at the end of the first trail day. Just keep stirring it! This kind of gourmet food can be traded out, almost ounce for ounce, with your friends wine. The stove has never let me down.
If you are looking for a way to boil water faster than you thought possible, this is the stove for you. If you need to cook food in a pot other than soups this isn't the right stove for you because you will burn the food. There is no way to simmer anything. Even on the lowest setting it boils water rapidly. We used this on a 6 day backpacking trip in the Sierras with 5 people to boil water for dehydrated meals and drinks. For the entire trip we only used slightly more than 1 fuel canister!!
A great stove. Quick set up and your water will be done within few minutes. The pot holds enough water for 3 cups of coffee or tea. We also use this while hiking to boil water for our cup of noodles while we rest and enjoy the view that we have conquered. Love the clever storage set up. Everything you need including the small butane will fit inside the pot so it is completely self contained. We have enjoyed this in Yosemite and the local beach camping in Malibu. Definitely a must have.
I purchased the MSR Reactor eight months ago after researching the available options pretty thoroughly. Based on the on-line reviews and conversations with store personnel, I expected the stove to perform well. My experience, if anything, has exceeded my expectations. This is truly a first class stove!
The MSR Reactor stove is well worth the price. There are several reasons for this. First, I admire the fact that the piezo igniter has been left off of the stove. Someone at MSR must have realized that these gadgets are problematic. I’ll give MSR points for honesty. I had bought a Jetboil and returned the Jetboil the same day because of the fact that the piezo igniter on it failed after only two uses. I went home with the MSR Reactor and have no regrets. Another reason I am pleased with the MSR Reactor is that is has a larger pot than the Jetboil (and no, you don’t have to remove the warning sticker on the side of the pot). The larger pot allows me to actually cook something rather than just boil water. Another impressive attribute is the speed in which it’ll boil a liter of water: 3 minutes flat at 70 degrees Fahrenheit – 800 feet above sea level. The construction of the stove is impressive and solid. It sips fuel very conservatively. If you’re not going to need to hang it from your tent ceiling to melt snow and you can afford to haul a couple more ounces of weight, go for it. I own a lot of gear and this is one of those items that rates.
I've had one of these for maybe 7-8 years now. It is absolutely the best at boiling water--haven't timed it lately, but it often seems to be boiling in about 60 seconds! Note: This stove is not for "cooking"--simmering your dinner. It's for boiling water unbelievably quickly and efficiently. I have a Dragonfly that I use when I want to simmer. Don't buy the Reactor if you want to simmer your meals--but it cannot be beaten for boiling water quickly and efficiently.
I bought the Reactor after experiencing it with friends on a couple of snow camping trips in the Cascades as well as some spring/summer trips. The efficiency in boiling and melting snow is amazing. It's light, robust, and easy to use. I also have a Jetboil Flash, which works well but the boil time in my experience is much longer than the Reactor. I would consider my small volume Flash for solo trips in the summer but for snow camping, the Reactor is essential.
Clean, Compact, Simple, Powerfull.
This is my 4th campstove, going back to a folding sterno model in the early 70's. Easily the fastest, most compact and efficient stove I've ever used. Spent 4 days backpacking in the Sierras. So fast, I would put the water on to boil, open the Mtn House, remove the O2 packet and pour the instant coffee into my mug, and the water would already be boiling.
If you just need to boil water for hot drinks or freeze dried food, you can't beat this stove. I have used it on half a dozen trips. It has been highly reliable, very easy to light, and it boils water REALLY FAST. My backpacking companions were amazed by it.
I took it to 10,000 in the Pecos Wilderness, NM. It performed incredibly. Quiet, easy, fast, consistent and efficient. The best use for one match ever! I wished I didnt get a hole in the bottom of the pot, because there is only one pot that works with it. Bummer. It still functions as a great regular stove for other pots though it gives me a crick in the neck holding them over the stove and it has no simmer. Still, best stove ever!
Just completed Sections 15,16 and 17 of the Colorado Trail. The stove worked great the first day out at 9000 feet but as we climbed to 11,000 feet and camped it seemed to loose power. Pot heating times increased from 3 minutes to 6 and 7 minutes. One 4 oz. canister heated 12 pots of water.
While I was a fan before, after a recent camping trip with four other stoves ... this thing deserved a review. Everyone else put their stoves away and took turns using this stove - it was faster to do 3 cycles of boiling water from the Reactor than a single cycle from the other stoves.
Used stove in Adirondack High Peaks for 3-Day trip. Stove worked great until the fuel canisters became cold due to temps of 0 degrees and less. Could not get stove to light until fuel was adequately warmed. Once lit - stove performed exceptionally. Uncertain if stove will/can burn other fuels known to function well at temps below zero. Still a tremendously simple and functional stove. Highly recommended.
Kudos to the REI member who demo this stove to me and changed my mind to move a canister stove. Wow!!! You can’t be this for fast and easy. I worried needlessly about wind, altitude and cold temperatures with this stove, no problems here. Surprisingly how excited you can get boiling water after 15 miles and 3000 feet of elevation gain. You definitely want to get everything ready before you fire up this stove.
This stove is epic! This is not your primus or pocket rocket type stove, if you need to boil water at 13,500 Ft on the side of a mountain in a snowstorm this is your stove. I have boiled well over 1000 liters on this stove over the last few years. If you are looking to simmer soup mid-summer car camping this is not your stove. You can cook on this stove but it is difficult. It wants to do one thing, boil water as efficiently as possible as fast as possible and in any weather conditions. I’ll grab a pocket rocket for summer camping, but this is my go to. In the dead of winter average elevation of 9k I can get 4-6 days off one medium canister. That’s boiling for coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner and one more boil before bed. If I don’t do a good job of keeping gas container warmish in the winter I may only get 3-4 days. Mid-summer I can get almost 10 days or more straight off one medium canister, but I’m not boiling a liter before bed also. This stove has saved my team and my sanity a few times. Pushing onto winter summits with bad weather, can’t stop to rest on the summit because we are getting blasted by weather, so we drop 500 vert and huddle behind a boulder pop this guy out and boil water for everyone and sneak some cider or hot coco packets in there. Talk about a huge booster to help everyone get of the hill. I have been with buddies in these conditions and they used their jet boil, I’d almost have my second Nalgene boiled by the time they had the first one done. This stove has been tossed in and out of gear bags for years, hardly ever cleaned, used to start camp fires on wet days, and has got me through some super cold days and nights. Earned its keep time and time again.
Our group of 4 used this stove in the BWCAW for over 10 days in early May to boil water. Without regard to the tempuratures outside (20 - 65), or the weather (sun, wind, rain, snow and sleet) this stove worked flawlessly. It boiled water faster than any stove we have ever used. It was also very easy on the fuel. It is not very often that a product works better than advertised, but this stove does.
Purchased this as an addition to my JetBoil - really glad I did! In very cold & windy situations, the Reactor performed 3X better. In early May I spent a night at Camp Muir in 12 degree weather. The Reactor boiled a 1.7L pot of water about 3X faster than my 1L JetBoil. At lower elevations and calm weather they are very similar, but when you're in a spot, the Reactor is a huge winner.
We used this stove for three nights at 9000ft. just to boil water for meals. The air temp. ranged from about 30 to 35 degrees fahrenheit and the wind was 5-10 mph. We used the stove without building any kind of wind break and it took exactly 3 minutes to bring the water to a boil. We did have the water above the "fill max." line though. All in all the stove worked great!!
Boils water faster than my high powered microwave. Great for solo trips or a group. My fav. cost saving trick: heat water for a pouch of dehydrated something & get it started, then cook instant mashed taters or minute rice in the pot; serve the mtn house over the rice or taters.
I bought this stove based on some of the best review Ive seen to date.
This is a great stove. I took it out twice in 3Ft of snow this year. I was able to melt snow to boiling before my other travelers were able to boil just water. It is fast and efficient.
I first bought this stove in 2009 when I wanted to move from liquid fuel to gas. I was thrilled with it, most especially the speed at which it brought water to a boil. Used in on many backpacking trips including the JMT (John Muir Trail). While it is a little over the edge (in size) for solo backpacking, I continued to use it even on solo trips because I loved the reliability, speed, and ease of use. That changed on my last trip, a two week trip through southern Utah's canyons. On my second day out my stove refused to light. I had just weathered a 16 hour rain/hail/and snowstorm. My stove was outside, but protected under my backpack cover. Dried it out, etc. but it never recovered. MSR gives a lifetime warranty so just to show you how much I like the stove, and consider it's failure just a freak thing, given the choice between a full refund or a new stove I took the new stove. Adventures await, we'll see how it performs!
Amazing product from MSR. It simply does what it was designed to do, boil water fast. We've even begun to take it with us on day trips in the car; it's nice to be able to have a cup of coffee or an instant meal instead of stopping at a chain restaurant. I returned a JetBoil that just couldn't perform in a breeze, the Reactor works regardless of the weather.
I took this stove with me on the C&O, granted not a tough trail, but a good place to test gear out.
I purchased this stove for use on backpack trips when used as the sole stove for 3-5 people. I've now had it on several trips and it has performed well. It is extremely fast at boiling water, taking typically between 2-3 minutes for a full 1.7 liters of water. Also, it doesn't take acrobatics and burnt fingers to get the pot off of the stove as it just lifts right off. The stove has two weaknesses. First, it has no igniter. This means that you need to carry an extra lighter with you. Second, you cannot control the heat generated, as there is only one speed, on and off. I've adapted to that by only boiling water in the stove. It works great with many foods that are packaged so that you can insert the package in the boiling water until hot and then eat out of the package. I fear that cooking in the stove would burn anything at the bottom if not constantly stirred. All in all, it still is my preferred stove for group backpack trips.
This is exactly what I was looking for in a stove. It's wind proof, efficient, quiet, and it will have your water boiling before the match goes out. Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it does boil water in a very short time. I was actually surprised the first time I used it - the water went into a rolling boil way before I expected it to. I really like the way the stove and large MSR fuel canister fit inside the pot. I've used this stove quite a lot since I purchased it and it always performs flawlessly. I also have an MSR Pocket Rocket which is also a very good stove, but I always use the Reactor now instead.
This this is awesome. It's light, easy to clean and boils water ridiculously quick. My only issue is that when I first got it there weren't many attachments (i.e. frying pan, large pot etc) which was okay for backpacking but wasn't handy for car camp trips. Now that there are attachments they are too expensive. Otherwise this stove is worth the money.
I'm more than a casual backpacker but not avid.I guess light weight is relative to what you carry now. It's not much different than my whisperlite with fuel. It took a bit to get it to simmer, but I want it to boil water fast. One liter is enough for dinner and dessert for 2. With a new canister only 2.5 min. boil time for 1L at 40F.
I finally got the data point I was waiting for to make me love this stove. This weekend hit -1F and although I wasn't cooking at 4 in the morning, it was still less than 10 when I woke up (8000ft). It lit, melted snow and boiled water in minutes. I didn't time it, but I was rarely waiting on the stove, by the time I got my food and everything ready the water was hot. The last thing I want to do on a freezing morning is tinkering with a stove pumping a priming. I want it to light and boil water as quickly and easily as possible and this stove delivers. I was also skeptical of it being a canister stove but it burned 100% of the fuel. A couple of tricks for cold weather, keep the canister in your jacket or bag or when you start warming water, add a little to a dish that the canister is sitting in, and it will kick it up another level. As for weight, I count every gram and for the winter it's worth every one. It still won't make it on my 3 season trips though.
I took this stove on a two night backpacking trip with friends. We had five adults and seven kids so we were busy at meal time. Once they saw this stove in action, I was boiling water for everyone! It is hard to believe how good this thing works. Not only is it faster, it also seems to be more fuel efficient.
Not really designed for the solo adventurist but should work wonderfully as the cook system for a small group (2 to 3 people). That negates the negative aspects of the product, bulk and weight. If you're mostly boiling water and speed and consistency of performance is needed, then the Reactor is hard to beat.
When you're wet, cold and hungry, the last thing you want to do is go through the routine of finding firewood and rubbing two sticks together. MSR has come out with a new technology that makes this stove immune to wind! Everything is self-contained in the 1.7 liter pot. The handle flips over (yet it's still sturdy!) and the see-through lexan lid comes off, giving you access to your 8oz MSR fuel canister and catalytic heater. Spin the heater on to the canister, open the fuel valve and hit the piezo igniter. Within seconds your water is warming up. You can have hot water in record time. For what it is, it does it well. MSR reps are talking about larger and smaller pots with this technology in the future. I'll keep my Reactor until the solo model comes out. The only improvement I can think of would be to add a pot cozy. If you want hot water and want it fast, this is great... especially for 2-3 people. If you want compact, there are smaller options out there, but not as fast.
I love this stove, it is the fastest to boil water of any setup I have ever used. A fuel canister and the stove/ radiator all stow right into the pot. This served me well in the smokies backcountry, and seemed to get up to temp in the same amount of time whether it was 50F or 15F.
This is an amazing stove. The technology is great, with a great flame spread out over a wide area. It heats incredibly fast. But the whole setup is big, big, big. I am looking forward to trying this out at lower temps, I hope it can be a replacement at times for white gas stove.
I already own a few stoves (Windpro and Gigapower) that treat me well, but I was looking for something that would be more efficient and reliable for trips when gourmet cooking wasn't required.
Before going on a backpack trip last year with a basecamp at 12800 ft, I decided I needed to get a more reliable stove for high altitude. I've never liked my white gas stoves because of the hassel of having to prime and pump them and then it being questionable whether or not they would start. While I like the cannister stoves, they don't preform well much above 11,000 ft. I finally decided to bite the bullet and try the Reactor. What a great stove! It always boiled a liter of water in under 3 minutes. The cannister never lost power even when almost empty. The wind never bothered the flame at all. By half way through the trip, my companions had all abandoned their stoves and we used my Reactor solely. It's a bit heavier, although once you factor in a pot for the other stoves, it's about equal. Plus its so efficient you use and carry less fuel. Now with the larger pot you can purchase separately, you can do meals for the group. This is by far the best stove I ever had or seen used in the outback! Good job MSR!
I’ve been using at sea level for some time but had the opportunity to use it at 9k’ this week on Mt. Adams. Easily boiled 1.5 liters three times faster than my climbing partner’s Jetboil could boil a liter. Surprisingly fuel efficient and quiet to boot. Buy one!
This is the best stove I have ever used. It boils water insanely fast. It is easy to use. It works in the cold and at altitude, unlike other canister stoves like the Pocket Rocket. The only downside is it can't do anything besides boil water.
I tried this stove in this evening, Houston is kind of windy, guess what, it was so fast to boil water even faster than the kitchen gas stove. It is bulky but it also can be used for stir fry, I recommand this stove to everyone.
If you are packing freeze-dried food, this stove is for you. Stove + 1/2 liter of water = hot breakfast + coffee in less than 2 minutes. This stove will absolutely boil a liter of water in 3 minutes. I love this stove!
We used this stove while backpacking in yosemite. All you have to do to light it is to get a flame near the burner. It was very compact making it space savy in the pack. I would recomend this to anyone.
20 Degrees at 9200ft, 30 mile an hour gusts, snowcamping, you get the picture.
I don't do the camp kitchen thing, the 1.7L can heat up 3 MRE entrees by boiling the water at the same time or rehydrate your food. the coffee press is also a plus!
Bulky?yes.Pricey?yes.Light? Not really. But nothing is better in the wind! Not even close. Cooks faster than any stove!And unlike other reviews I can get mine to simmer just fine.
- Good for one or two people - Very fast boil - Cools and packs up quickly - Good in wet, wind and cold - Very few moving parts to be broken or bent - Worth the money
It is a great device. It boils 1L of cold water in 2.5 mins and consumes a little fuel. All the staff is packed into the pot, no need in any additional package. 5+
Have used the MSR reactor on 3 backpacking trips. Works great even in very windy conditions. Only draw back is there is not a larger pot for the stove.
Absolutely the best camp stove for backpacking. Easy to set-up, quick to heat, and it works in every type of weather than has been encountered so far.
Used it on several warm weather hikes with fantastic results. Had some probelms with fuel pressure in cold weather. Boils water very quickly!
The Reactor is aptly named. At full tilt, which doesn't take long, it makes a totally cool "Mr. Fusion"-type noise. I used this stove several times at 7000 ft in the Sierras over a 4 day period. Compared it side-by-side with a Jetboil, and the Jetboil was no competition in terms of boiling time and in pot capacity. However, it's not as compact as the Jetboil. I have used MSR stoves for over 20 years (my XGK still kicks tokhes after 20 years), and all my peers were "jetboil, jetboil, jetboil." The popularity of the Jetboil allowed me to realize that I need a stove most to do one thing: boil water. So, I decided to get MSR's version of the Jetboil and was not disappointed. The only thing I would say remotely adverse is that the user must be wary of its stability; its base is the fuel cannister, and the pot is not bayonet-mounted like the Jetboil. Also, out of the box, there were warning tags galore, so I read the instructions and scrupulously followed them. Those tags and the ominous noise it makes at work help me treat the stove with respect (the stove's radiant burner gets RED HOT), much like I would treat a firearm, die grinder, biscuit joiner, etc.
Upgraded to this from my Whisperlite Internationale, and probably one of the better purchases I've made. Recently took it on a short 3 day backpacking trip, the other two members brought a Jetboil and a MSR Windpro, respectively.
I have been using the reactor 1.7 litre stove and pot system for a while now. Its simple to use cooks very fast but will also allow you to simmer food slowly. Gone are that days when you need pot lifters or your shirt to lift the pot off or to lift the lid. The handle is always attached and never gets hot and the lid has a convenient rubber stopper so you can handle it when things are lumpy and steaming inside. you can even strain off excess liquid through the holes in the lid. This is a great stove any time; it is practical car camping but comes into its own when you are carrying it with your other gear in a pack. The stove and a standard size isopro container will fit inside the 1,7litre pot and the lid will close snug on them with the handle to secure it, so they don't rattle. MSR even provide a little cloth pad so your pot is protected. In the past i have used a jet boil. It also packs up well and has a simple lighting mechanism but it it much smaller and so wont really cook a meal of any size and it won't simmer. In case you are wondering; the Reactor with a 1.7 litre pot is only 62grams heavier than the jet boil and you don't burn your fingers every time you use it.
I do a lot of back country and love this stove. It is the best by far and worth the weight.
This system is truly exceptional in hearing water to boiling in about 2 minutes.
the usual msr quality. however, seemed to drink the fuel rather than sip.
I bought this several years ago, I have never owned nor tried a different type. I take it on winter weekend trips, no more that 2 days out usually. I like the fact that the heating element is hidden. It does not matter if it is windy, this baby still keeps going, because there is no flame "and" the pot completely covers the heating element perfectly...it is so energy efficient! I just barely give it enough juice to heat the element up, that really is all that is needed. The bottom of the pot is designed to capture the heat. I usually will boil 2 cups at a time and I am amazed on how fast the water is boiled....less than 2 minutes!! I usually don't let it come to a boil, so I can drink my coffee. So, I may have this on for about a minute, maybe a hair longer. I swear by the time I open some freeze dried food, the water is ready to go. I don't cook anything in it, just boil water. I saw in Backpacker Magazine where this got top choice. Yeah, it may weigh more, but you don't have to worry about holding something up to it to keep the wind from interfering with the flame. I take care of my equipment and this thing looks as new as the day I bought it. Everything packs like a puzzle nice and neat inside the pot, I even tuck a lighter in mine. I would highly recommend this product.
If other similar products use the word JET the MSR Reactor could appropriately be called the ROCKET. It doesn't just boil water quickly it smokes it!!! I was looking for a windproof lightweight replacement to my other MSR stoves both liquid and gas fueled primarily for sea kayak weekend island hoping on Casco Bay. The reactor was absolutely the best choice I could have made. When I first set it up I had my doubts because it looked to me to be a mini catalytic tent/cabin heater but within seconds of putting the pot on the flame smoke (steam) started spewing out of the see thru lid. Several seconds, not minutes, later I had a steaming pot of hot water. As with backpacking space, weight and size are all primary consideration for a weekend camping trip in a relatively small kayak with a skeg box. Since virtually all of my trips end up on relatively windy beaches another primary consideration is the ability to set up fast and not be bothered with wind screens and fuel hassles. Since everything you need including a stable platform, even in the sand, is included in the package this stove really fits the bill. Since I use almost entirely dehydrated food boiling water quickly is what it's all about. The only down side I saw was the inability to use my occasional fry pan with the burner. I'm assuming that MSR is working on an adapter to allow the stove to be used with conventional cook gear as we speak and look forward to review it when it becomes available. For now I am one happy kayak camper...thank you MSR.
Well this thing was a real surprise. I have two other MSR products and I've been impressed by both but I wasn't expecting this stove to be as good as it is.
...Let it snow...
While some hardcore alcohol stove users may scoff at the approximately 8 oz overall cooking kit differential (stove + pot + fuel); I think it is well worth the extra few ounces to carry the Reactor. (Note that I assumed a 2 ounce per day alcohol fuel consumption, which I think is way low but that is what some claim they can get by on the ultralight web sites. I found the Reactor uses about 2 oz. of fuel per day also, but the base weight of the stove and integral pot make the whole unit about 8 oz. more. However....if you boil a full liter of water or more per meal like I do, then the fuel weight consumption ratios skews to the Reactor's favor...alcohol use jumps to around 4 oz per day...and you'll make up the 8 oz. differential in 4 days on the trail, ending up even.)