MSR Reactor Review: What You’ll Love

MSR Reactor review

The outdoors are constantly calling out to the adventurer in us, and it would be a shame to turn it down. With significant improvements in hiking and trekking amenities, outdoor life can now be tackled comfortably, and one can pay more attention to the expedition at hand.

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Fuel Efficiency


MSR products have always championed the outdoor cause with their superior construction and craftsmanship and with the MSR Reactor, you are all sorted for the harshest of climates.

The MSR Reactor backpacking stove is a high performance, fuel efficient stove system that is designed to withstand increased elevation, increased wind speed and decreased temperature. Thus, it makes for a trusty companion when you are venturing out higher and have a nagging suspicion that the mountain Gods aren’t exactly gonna be very kind to you.

MSR Reactor Stove Features

Here is some of the things that you would love.

Boiling time

The boiling time is insanely fast in both simulated and outside environments. It can boil 1 litre of water in under 3 minutes.


As conditions worsen – like increased elevation, increased wind speed, decreased temperature – the Reactor’s performance significantly improves in relation to competing stores. It is ideal for boiling water for 1-3 people. However, nothing can be cooked in it as the temperature rises too fast and even constant nearly stirring won’t really help much.

Fuel efficiency

It has an 80-minute burn time with eight-ounce MSR IsoPro canister and three-minute boil time for one liter of water. The burner is enclosed by a unique heat exchanger, for solid performance in windy conditions preventing wastage of precious fuel.

There is a wider burner size, and you have a metallic foam incorporating radiant heat.The reactor’s pots include a built-in heat exchanger, along with a perforated metal windscreen,occupying the bottom inch of the pot.

It sits on top of a convex burner, and blocks the wind while trapping the heat. You get a surface area that is as much as twice of a traditional flat-bottomed pot.


Do not expect to cook a proper meal on the Reactor. Even on the low flame, it heats up rapidly, or the burner keeps getting turned off constantly. If you manage to get the flame going, you’ll have to constantly stir it atsuper human speeds to prevent the food from burning.

So, it isn’t exactly great for cooking a meal. Also, the lid doesn’t double up as a plate or bowl.


The Reactor is not as light as one would desire on an alpine mission. The1 liter system weighs 14.5oz, and the 1.7-liter system weighs 19oz making it take up a considerable amount of space in the backpack. But considering that it functions so efficiently on bad weather days, it is almost worth the effort.



Being short and squat, the Reactor is not very prone to tipping over in strong winds.Even when filled completely and held at full extension for pouring, the Reactor’s handle hinge shows no sign of flex.

Interestingly, the handle makes for a good bottle opener too!

The reactor doesn’t attach to the burner, making it more portable and easier to remove from the heat source once water boils over.

Consider using one of several available universalleg/base units to prevent the Reactor from tipping just in case.


The big scary signs all over the Reactor are to be taken heed of seriously. Do remember that the size of the heating elements is as much as 5 times larger than other stoves on the market, so the Carbon monoxide output is about three times more. So, using it inside the tent is a strict no-no.


  • Highly efficient
  • Weather proof
  • Easy to use
  • Very fast
  • Storm-proof
  • Regulator maintains canister pressure


  • Not as light weight as would be desirable
  • Does not simmer

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Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)

Does the product package include a gas canister?

No, you must buy the fuel separately, but it is available everywhere including Wal-Mart and it does not have to be the MSR canister. It is a universal size connection. However, the MSR gas canister uses a blend of 80% isobutane and 20% propane while most others us a 70/30 blend. At higher elevations and colder weather the 80/20 mixture performs much better than the 70/30 mix.

The lid doesn’t latch with cloth, burner, and canister inside. How Do I do it?

This part is kind of awkward but easy enough. Put your cloth in first; then you fuel container face down. Then nestle your stove in the concave bottom of the burner part down and the bottom is facing up.Make sure the regulator knob is nestled in the pour spout- this should do the trick.

There is no gas flow in mine. Is it broken? If yes, how do I get it fixed?

Firstly check to see that the fuel canister has fuel. If it does, disconnect the fuel canister and listen for a little pop sound.If you do not hear anything, connect a different fuel canister to the stove. If the stove will still not light, do contact MSR. They are extremely comfortable to work with.

Final Verdict

If you are anticipating really bad weather, [easyazon_link identifier=”B000NGQ9GK” locale=”US” tag=”hikingcampingguide-20″]the Reactor should be your [/easyazon_link] cookware of choice.In case you do not opt for something lighter and more multi-purpose.

You can use the reactor for alpine climbing, mountaineering, and backcountry ski trips easily.You can also use it to boil water for more than two people – just choose the 1.7 or 2.5L pot options.

Few more modifications on the pot, burner and lid designs will make it more user-friendly,increase its efficiency and make the packaging more compact. It is a trusty instrument and does exactly what it claims.

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