Editors' Choice Classic: MSR Reactor Stove

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MSR reactor stove Rock Climbing gear

The benchmark for cooking efficiency

“Simply put, it’s the best stove for the vertical alpine.” Big wallers, alpinists, and guides have been singing the praises of the Reactor and its “unparalleled efficiency, smart nesting of burner/pot/canister, perfect size for a small alpine party, and ideal performance in strong winds” since it came out in 2007. The Heat Exchanger Pot nestles around the burner for maximum stove-pot contact and minimal wind interference, which makes it very fast and efficient. One guide who has more than 2,000 alpine meals under his belt said, “My only complaint is that sometimes I don’t even have time to get my dinner pouch open and poured into my bowl before the water is boiling!” 

The biggest change since it hit the market seven years ago was a 2008 update in the manufacturing process of the original one-liter pot, which shaved about two ounces, but recent accessory additions of a hanging kit and a French press adapter (called “absolute godsends” and “pure genius” by fans) mean this little cooker now does even more. Some stoves might have slightly faster boiling times than the Reactor’s 3.5 minutes (one liter), and others might have the ability to use more types of fuel, but none of those setups has the time-tested performance in all types of conditions that the Reactor has had with our testers. With the addition of two more sizes—1.7 liters and 2.5 liters—this stove has earned its place in history. 

$190–$220; msrgear.com

Further Reading:
Editors’ Choice Classic: The Climbing Gear Hall of Fame