Last month, over 4,000 hikers and 15,000 visitors descended on the small town of Damascus, Virginia, for the annual Trail Days Festival. This multi-day event celebrates the Appalachian Trail community, providing hiker workshops, food, gear repairs, and plenty of entertainment, including the hiker talent show. (What happens at the talent show, stays at the talent show.)

Trail Days Crowd

We’ve been attending this festival for many years, providing free maintenance and repairs on MSR products in the gear tent located in the main campground. It’s always a great time meeting the thru-hikers and geeking-out over gear. We find that we help and learn in equal proportions.

This year, MSR’s Stove Category Director Steve Grind attended and was asked one question far more than any other:

What’s the difference between the MSR PocketRocket and the MicroRocket stoves?

Here’s the answer:

We designed the MicroRocket stove for those who are serious about moving through the backcountry with the absolute lightest and smallest pack possible.

The MicroRocket is our smallest and lightest stove, weighing about 14% less than the PocketRocket stove, without sacrificing boil performance. In addition, the MicroRocket stove features improved pot stability. And it comes with a handheld MSR Piezo Igniter.

The MicroRocket’s improved stability and smaller packed size are thanks largely to its ingenious redesigned pot supports. Creative engineering allowed us to shorten them, increasing their rigidity for a stable platform for cookware. It also allowed for a folding design that’s key to the MicroRocket’s streamlined, ultra-compact form.

MicroRocket stove packed (left) PocketRocket stove packed (right)
MicroRocket stove packed (left) PocketRocket stove packed (right)

The WindClip™ windscreen on the burner head is present on both stoves. With the burner surface separated into three areas, wind can blow one or even two sectors, and the stove will remain lit, minimizing wasted fuel.

MicroRocket (Left) PocketRocket (Right)
MicroRocket stove (left) PocketRocket stove (right)

Here’s a side-by-side spec comparison of the stoves:


*MSR IsoPro™ Fuel

MSR Piezo Igniter
MSR Piezo Igniter

In short, the PocketRocket is one of the most popular backpacking stoves on the market still today. It’s reliable, fast and compact. With the MicroRocket, we simply took a proven design and made it even better, engineering the ultimate solution for thru-hikers and anyone truly moving as fast and light as possible. To see more about the MSR MicroRocket stove, watch:

Another reason we keep going back to Trail Days is the joy we get from seeing so many MSR tents in their natural habitat.


Do you have a question for one of our engineers? Ask below in the comments and we might just answer it in a future blog post!