/ NEW REVIEW: MSR Reactor Stove - With VIDEO

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A nice touch, 4 kbCharlie Boscoe tests out the MSR Reactor Stove.

"One immediately obvious element of the stove is just how simple it is. There is the burner, with a simple foldaway handle, the pot (plus lid) and that is about it."

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=5746

NottsRich on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to UKC Gear: Interesting review, thanks.

What works better in cold weather, the Jet Boil or this Reactor?
highclimber - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to NottsRich: I heard someone say the CO production by one of these is greater than the Jetboil. Not sure what they were basing it on, but I suspect they had read it somewhere.
needvert on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to highclimber:

I hear the CO situation was noted and MSR changed something in a later revision to make it better (how better, I don't know).


There is a jetboil and/or reactor thread from ages ago. I was trying to make up my mind as to which one. icesolo's post led me to the jetboil.
gethin_allen on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to highclimber:
The theory about these new stoves with heat exchangers being a higher CO risk was due to the heat exchangers being so efficient that they strip the energy out of the flame leaving incomplete combustion products, CO.

If therefore the reactor is more efficient at scavenging heat from the flame then, if the theory is correct, you would expect it to be a higher risk of producing CO.

In reply to NottsRich:

> What works better in cold weather, the Jet Boil or this Reactor?

Or this one http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=2993 ?

I was actually using the ETA solo again for the first time in ages a couple of weeks ago and immediately burnt my finger tips trying to take the pot off the stove once again, so I stand by what I said in the original review!

martinph78 on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to UKC Gear: I have a Primus Omnifuel with an eta powerpot and it boils a litre of water in 3 mins (and I mean properly boiling like an electric kettle).

I never could see the advantage of the jetboil over it, and can't with this reactor stove either to be honest. These "fastest ever" times are dubious at best as they always seem equivalent to my old omnifuel with the eta pot (which did make a big difference in boiling times over a standard pot). The bonus with the omnifuel or similar (apart from stability, larger pots, liquid fuel when needed, etc) is if it is cold or your gas is low you can invert the canister to get every last drop out.

If you have a gas stove already, I recommend upgrading it by just buying one of these to cut your boiling times by 25%:

http://www.primus.eu/templates/pages/product.aspx?ItemId=66905
NottsRich on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Martin1978:
> (In reply to UKC Gear) I have a Primus Omnifuel with an eta powerpot and it boils a litre of water in 3 mins (and I mean properly boiling like an electric kettle).
>
>
> If you have a gas stove already, I recommend upgrading it by just buying one of these to cut your boiling times by 25%:
>
> http://www.primus.eu/templates/pages/product.aspx?ItemId=66905

That's a pretty big claim! Seeing as I already have the Omnifuel, the ETA pot sounds useful. But I do like the idea of everything packing away into one pot, no pre-heating etc. I bought the Omnifuel for cold weather. Even at just below freezing it's clearly better than gas stoves. I was just wondering how well these Jetboil type stoves faired at lower temperatures. Do they work well down to -10C for example, or do they start to suffer at 0C just as 'normal' gas stoves do?

alastairbegley - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to NottsRich:
My jetboil was awful while we were trying to melt snow and cook dinner on a winter traverse of the cuillin ridge last year, and that was with swapping canisters to keep them warm. It was bloody cold when the sun went down though! If I went out in those temps again I would go for the extra weight of a liquid fuel stove without questioning it
martinph78 on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to NottsRich: I've never had any luck with gas at altitude or in the cold (zero degrees or below), but I did try with an inverted canister on the Omnifuel the other day and it worked. I put it in my freezer overnight. The canister was too cold to touch in the morning. Opened the valve, nothing. Shook it, nothing. Turned it over, a few spits of liquid and then it lit! I was amazed, and although it's not a real-world test, it makes me wonder how you'd do that with these reactor type stoves. I'd still take liquid on expeditions though.

As for the eta pan, Primus claim 30% better efficiency, and I've timed it and get between 20-25% better boiling times with it (both with the 1 litre and 2 litre pans). The 1 litre fits a 250 gas cylinder in with room for lighter, teabags, etc. Or the stove and a few small items at a squeeze. The 2 litre fits the stove and such inside it. It still took 30mins to melt 2 litres of snow at 6000m, but nothing seems to happen quickly at that altitude (and I've since learned about "feeding the pan" rather than melting the lot at once).

Hope that helps.
In reply to UKC Gear: For all those wondering about cold weather use on this stove - here's my experiences.

I've used a Jet Boil, and a Reactor extensively. Last year on expedition I used a Reactor at low temps and high altitude (-15 at least and above 6000m).

As with any gas canister design, you need to try and keep the gas warm prior to use, either in your jacket or sleeping bag, or at least off the snow in some way.

I've had great success with the Jet Boil (which is better for hanging IMO, and is what I would take big wall rock climbing) and also great success with the Reactor, which works slightly better in the cold IMO.

Both are great stoves, and both work well. I have seen friends make heat transfer systems for these sorts of stoves in the past, but this could be very dangerous and I couldn't recommend it publicly, however it makes a big difference in cold temps.

Anyway, what is exciting - I think - is the new Joule Stove, as this has a form of heat transfer system built in - check out the UKC report here:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/news.php?id=5666

One last thing. I would take either the Reactor or the Jetboil on any alpine route over a liquid fuel stove every time personally. Unless getting gas canisters is an issue, which it can be in remote places. Also liquid fuel is cheaper, which is a concern for some.

Hope that is useful.

Jack
In reply to Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor: I would echo what Jack says - I've not used them much in winter but have used my jetboil a fair amount in Scandinavian winter conditions. Of course the gas doesn't work as well at say -15 but it works ok enough to make getting out the Whisperlite seem too much hassle for over nighters at least.

Keep the canister in your sleeping bag over night, and you'll be fine making tea in the morning even at it goes towards -20 http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_3bhSo6922y4/R54sYdmGjxI/AAAAAAAAAbg/LBNr2b_O9aE/s1600-h/breakfast.JPG
radson - on 29 Aug 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

Yeah we had Jetboils and reactors on Broad Peak last year. The Reactor was our goto stove. Just quicker to get to the boil.
ice.solo - on 29 Aug 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

reactor: more powerful, less wind affected, better for melting snow, but heavier and dangerous in a tent.

jetboil: safer, better for cramped conditions, lighter.

i think the trade off in winter is that a jetboil is safe inside a tent, so burns more efficiently because its in a warmer place. if i was sat at a table or in an open vestibule of a tent, then reactor.

i like that the jetboil cup is easier to drink from, but the msr pot is good for collecting snow.
i still use the msr pot with a bigger exped set up with a liquid stove (a soto).

as it goes ive broken a reactor and its impossible to see how. after 5 years serious abuse of a jetboil its never missed a beat - even the ignition (original version) is still ok.
wilkie14c - on 29 Aug 2013
In reply to ice.solo: I too have to second your preference for the JB and like you i'm also still on the original one with the original igniter. My partner did the Atlantic solo row 6 years ago and Lyon gave him 3 Jetboils for the trip. He bust the igniter on the first but continued to use it with a ciggie lighter. The other 2 remained in the boxes the whole way, 3 months at sea in a saltw*ter enviroment is testament to the robust and simple design I think. Forultra light bivvy stuff then I swing to the versitile pocket rocket and titan cup/pan combo.
This looks very interesting though and I look forward to having a play with this and the new jetboil.
all said and done though I was camping in to Mojave desert a fornight ago and made brews on a coke can stove I made from 2 sprite cans and ran it on HEET <a petrol antifreeze> with a kettle made from a big sweetcorn can. Stick that in your MSR and smoke it! ;-)
Kelcat - on 29 Aug 2013
In reply to UKC Gear: I've used my reactor a lot in the Alps up to 4200m, never had a problem. I prefer it to the JB cos I can squish an (army type) ration pack into it, heat it up & still have enough water for a flask left over. Agree with ice.solo though - wouldn't dream of using it in the tent!
JIMBO on 29 Aug 2013
I use the reactor and in cold weather and take a hand-warmer (the type with the metal snap coin to get going) and put it in the well under the canister... works a treat and you can reset it if needed for a longer expedition.
NottsRich on 29 Aug 2013
In reply to UKC Gear: Thanks for the information everyone, really useful.

Do the Jetboil, Reactor and ETA Solo all use the same gas canister type, or are the attachment methods different?

The Joule Stove is an interesting concept, but looks a lot more bulky than the alternatives. Would be interesting to see one in the flesh.
In reply to NottsRich:

> Do the Jetboil, Reactor and ETA Solo all use the same gas canister type,

Yes, the standard screw on that you buy in any camping or hardware shop. The JB and Primus need one of the diddy ones though to fit inside though, not sure about the Reactor.
planetmarshall on 29 Aug 2013
In reply to UKC Gear: I have a reactor, and it does one thing very, very well indeed - and that's boiling water (or melting snow). It is, however, next to useless as a general purpose camping stove as it basically has two heat settings, 0 and 11.
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lanc23 - on 31 Aug 2013
Can I go completely off topic and ask where this video is filmed? As it reminds me of the Albert Premier hut in the Alps??
jon on 31 Aug 2013
In reply to Martin1978:

> If you have a gas stove already, I recommend upgrading it by just buying one of these to cut your boiling times by 25%:

http://www.primus.eu/templates/pages/product.aspx?ItemId=66905

Will this just sit on top of any stove or does it need to actually attach to the stove? Would it sit on top of an MSR Pocket Rocket, for instance? I know I may be showing my ignorance a little.
Mr Fuller on 31 Aug 2013
In reply to jon: Pans like this can sit on top of a normal stove like a pocket rocket. They do not screw on. I have the Optimus equivalent pan (cheaper than the Primus) and used it, until the stove exploded, with my Pocket Rocket. The stove, not the pan, was the problem! The pan makes a MASSIVE difference to boil times and efficiency versus a normal pan.
Charlie Boscoe - on 02 Sep 2013
In reply to lanc23: Correct!

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