MSR Reactor vs. Jetboil tests
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Doug L
(mothermenke) - F

Locale: Upstate NY
MSR Reactor vs. Jetboil tests on 01/18/2007 08:20:30 MST Print View

If anyone's interested trailspace.com just posted some head to head tests between the new MSR Reactor and the Jetboil PCS/GCS in terms of speed, fuel consumed and performance in the wind.

The new MSR seems a bit heavy and unsuited to most lightweight backpackers, but may be ideal as a winter time snow melter. Here's the url:

http://www.trailspace.com/news/2007/01/17/integrated-canister-stove-showdown.html

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
heavy stove on 01/18/2007 13:01:32 MST Print View

Yikes! Similar weight, similar efficiency, similar boil times, no possibility of inverting the canister.

I'll wait for Roger Caffin's review before passing judgment, but all in all it's pretty amazing that MSR took 3+ years just to basically equal the Jetboil.

Rob Blazoff
(Genetic) - F

Locale: Out back, brewing beer in BPA.
reactor on 03/29/2007 07:33:05 MDT Print View

I saw the reactor in action yesterday. It took under 90 seconds for .5L of water to boil at 68F. This may be my winter stove of choice. I was impressed.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Rock $ Ice Jet Boil / MSR Reactor comparison on 03/29/2007 08:00:36 MDT Print View

You may want to check out the review done by R&I a few months ago comparing the Jet Boil to the MSR Reactor. It shows some very interesting data.

http://www.msrcorp.com/rock_ice_reactor.pdf

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
MSR Reactor vs. Jetboil tests on 03/29/2007 20:35:11 MDT Print View

Funny, the review on MSRs site said the Jetboil could not boil water in a 7MPH wind, can only be used with the Jebboil pots, and took 10 minutes to boil at 9'F (all wrong in years of experience with my Jetboil). One thing I like about the JB is using an MSR or Snowpeakpot with it, or rewarming a beverage directly over the flame.
At least the other site correctly said it COULD boil in an 8MPH wind.

I might sound biased, but I am also a fan of MSR, and use their Pocket Rocket when I don't want to lug the packed volume of the JB. And the JB is right at the limit of weight for something I might or might not toss in my pack for dayhikes.

The Reactor looks like the best option in the world for melting snow. But is the few minutes of time saved worth more than twice the cost, +6oz of weight, and loss of capability of using other pots? Probably not for me. And a critical flaw IMO, the Reactor burner does not attach to the pot so it can not be suspended in an alpine tent, easily held or served while heating, etc..

Edited by Brett1234 on 03/29/2007 21:05:55 MDT.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: MSR Reactor vs. Jetboil tests on 03/29/2007 21:45:21 MDT Print View

>Funny, the review on MSRs site said the Jetboil could not boil water in a 7MPH wind, can only be used with the Jebboil pots, and took 10 minutes to boil at 9'F (all wrong in years of experience with my Jetboil).


I agree with you, Brett; that's bogus. The flame is a bit exposed and it doesn't heat very well in a 30mph wind, but it doesn't take much of a windbreak to cut the wind down below 10mph where it worked fine. It boiled water and melted snow at +15F as long as I kept the cylinder warm with my hands.


>And a critical flaw IMO, the Reactor burner does not attach to the pot so it can not be suspended in an alpine tent, easily held or served while heating, etc..


I like being able to hold the JetBoil while it's heating water. It's especially handy in snow or where there isn't any good place to set it down.

Edited by Otter on 03/29/2007 21:47:40 MDT.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Douglas, me to on 03/29/2007 22:11:31 MDT Print View

I also like having the capability of holding a connected and externally cool unit while heating water. At brief rest stops I can dispense hot water into everyone's cups even as the remiaining water continues to heat. Then we can be on our way quickly. I just wish Jetboil would come out with a lighter burner assembly and lid; the pot and cozy are acceptably light, and they can't do anything about canister weight. Overall it is my most versitile pot/stove combo.

Edited by Brett1234 on 03/29/2007 22:12:01 MDT.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Douglas, me to on 03/30/2007 08:32:36 MDT Print View

The test on MSR's site was done independently by an editor at Rock and Ice magazine. I agree that the Jetboil can boil water in a wind as long as you have a windscreen. I've used mine for the past three years with very little problems.

Despite this the tests done by Rock and Ice where done just with the stoves, no wind breaks, in order to test the stoves base line performance. I agree though that no matter what type of stove I'm using if it's windy I'm going to use some type of wind screen.

In regards to the boil times at cold temperatures the tests where done without warming, insulating, or submerging the fuel canisters. Basically at 9 degrees F the canisters where simply attached to the stoves and turned on. In my personal experience the Jetboil would not boil water in this situation. This is an easy fix though, just warm the canister in your coat or place it in a dish with an inch of water in it. Again this was not done to test each stoves baseline performance.

Edited by chadnsc on 03/30/2007 08:39:55 MDT.

Rob Blazoff
(Genetic) - F

Locale: Out back, brewing beer in BPA.
Re: Douglas, me to on 04/29/2007 07:25:16 MDT Print View

While watching the Reactor on Thursday, I heard a story regarding Jetboil that made me appreciate Reactor even more. A boilover happened with the Jetboil. The control knob is under the stove and cookpot on the Jetboil. If a boilover happened in the kitchen, I would lift the pot off of the stove and then turn down the heat. Can't do that with Jetboil. You can with Reactor.

Edited by Genetic on 04/29/2007 07:29:40 MDT.

Dan Cunningham
(mn-backpacker)

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Re: Re: Douglas, me to on 04/30/2007 10:15:17 MDT Print View

Rob - my buddy boiled over his JB 3 or 4 times on a trip to Joshua Tree while making coffee. Every time the stove went out - but that's probably not always the case.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: Douglas, me to on 04/30/2007 11:23:23 MDT Print View

"Every time the stove went out - but that's probably not always the case."

This has happenned in my store while I was demoing the stove to interested customers. On both occasions, the stove went out. However, this isn't exactly a selling point with customers, and I really wonder about folks who claim they use the JB in their tents. Boiling water on the floor doesn't seem very appealing to me. (But then I DON'T cook inside a tent any more since I'm not living in a snow-bound environment in middle Tennessee winters.)

James Watts
(james481) - F

Locale: Sandia Mountains
Not replacing the JetBoil yet... on 05/01/2007 01:23:28 MDT Print View

This new MSR stove is pretty interesting, but certainly not anything that would replace my JetBoil. As Brett and Doug alluded to, the critical flaw as I see it is that this isn't truly an integrated canister system, it's just a stove that uses a special pot. The greatest appeal of the JetBoil PCS (that the GCS doesn't share) to me is the fact that the system is integrated both when stowed and when cooking. This allows for more flexibility while cooking, making it easy whether you're sitting in snow or standing by the trail making a quick brew (or hanging from a wall on a tiny ledge, etc etc).

As for boiling over, the JetBoil will boil over fairly quickly if you aren't paying attention, but I've never had a problem with it. When cooking in a tent or bivy, I'm generally not distracted when dealing with a lit stove anyhow, for obvious reasons.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: heavy stove on 05/01/2007 04:00:04 MDT Print View

> I'll wait for Roger Caffin's review before passing judgment, but all in all it's pretty amazing that MSR took 3+ years just to basically equal the Jetboil.

The Part 3 of the carbon monoxide series should be coming out ... soonish ...
I can confirm that the Reactor is awful hot at full power, but it has some problems elsewhere. BIG problems, which will become apparent when the article is published. (Yeah, I'm being coy, but the article should be out soon.)

If you want a heat exchanger stove which works in the snow and is generally well behaved, have a look at the Primus EtaPower.

Cheers

Cody Karel
(cojjack) - F
both good on 06/15/2009 17:49:51 MDT Print View

I worked in a retail chain that sold both stoves. I had a lot of feed back on the Jet Boil, and most of it good. The only bad comment I heard was the Jet Boil has some plastic/neoprene construction and during boil-overs and flare-ups these parts were melted. Also not covered under warranty. I hadn't heard as much feed back on the Reactor stove with it being so new. I did however talk to one guy that climbed Mt. Raineer and said everyone at Camp Muir (basecamp) was so impressed they shut their stoves down and only used the one stove. I have read reviews in backpacker magazine reguarding decline in performance of the Jet Boil compared to original testing. I also was very impressed with the technology of the little brass valve on the underside of the stove that allows the Reactor stove to repressurise itself (thus allowing for better performance at higher altitude and lower temp). It was said the Reactor boiled water on Raineer with the canister frozen to the snow. Basically we have two really good stoves and I believe the Reactor will most likely perform better in more extreme conditions. But if fast and light is what you're after the Jet Boil is for you. The difference in cost just shows us what is true for all gear. The equipment geared for more extreme conditions usually has a more extreme price tag.

Edited by cojjack on 06/15/2009 18:05:59 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: both good on 06/15/2009 18:02:18 MDT Print View

> I also was very impressed with the technology of the little brass valve on the underside
> of the stove that allows the Reactor stove to repressurise itself (thus allowing for better
> performance at higher altitude and lower temp).

This is vendor marketing spin at its worst.

The pressure-REDUCTION valve on the Reactor does absolutely nothing of the sort. All it does is to prevent a canister at very high temperature from over-loading the burner. In effect, it is there to prevent a stupid novice from opening the valve too far and creating a fireball.

> It was said the Reactor boiled water on Raineer with the canister frozen to the snow.
Possible with an isobutane canister. Since isobutane boils at -12 C (or thereabouts), the snow at 0 C was probably pumping some heat INTO the canister. But don't rely on it always happening!
This could also work for a short while with a propane/butane blend, but not for the whole canister. Not advised.

Cheers

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
PRimus ETA PackLite system on 06/15/2009 23:24:23 MDT Print View

As I posted above, I think the best current stove system may be the Primus ETA PacklLite system. VERY high efficiency rating (80%) and farly light for two people (12 oz. W/O the gas canister).

Eric

Cody Karel
(cojjack) - F
Re: Re: both good on 06/16/2009 14:09:15 MDT Print View

I did some research reguarding the pressure-REDUCTION valve and contacted MSR product developement to get the information staight from the horses mouth. I was told the reactor is designed to run on a low pressure fuel system. The valve actually drops pressure in the [correction] system from initial attachment and keeps it consistantly low throughout the life of the canister. This results in improved performance no matter what the fuel level is. It also accounts for the supperior performance in low pressure situations (temp, & altitude). The valve was not designed to be a safety feature but probably does result in a safer functioning stove. Regarding isobutane canisters in freezing conditions, the boiling point of isobutane is -11.7 degrees C, but a stove designed to function at low pressure would still prove superior.

Edited by cojjack on 06/21/2009 20:39:56 MDT.

Don Montierth
(Chumango) - F

Locale: East TN
Pressure Reducing Valve on 06/18/2009 17:09:21 MDT Print View

The valve would reduce the pressure of the gas from whatever the canister internal pressure is to a constant downstream pressure (i.e. to the burner) but it would not reduce the pressure inside the canister.

IIRC Camp Muir is at about 10,000 ft, which would allow the canister to work somewhat lower than 12 F, the boiling point of iso-butane being about -6 F at 10,000 ft.

sam orsello
(.sam.) - F
just to add... on 09/01/2009 23:43:41 MDT Print View

i dont have any technical data, or really even a good understanding of the dynamics on how the reactor works but i will add that it dose indeed work. i used the reactor for five nights at over 20,000 feet cooking and making water for three people in temps from about 30f to -30f. on this paticular trip we had brought it as just a summit stove and an optimus nova as our primary stove, ive used the optimus for years and loved it, it simply didnt compare to the reactor and i sold it to a fellow at base camp. the rest of that trip was all the reactor. i also used it for all last iceclimbing season and this summer alpine climbing and cant say how impressed i am with it

Erik W
(Erik.W) - F
Fuel usage @ 6000M+ on 10/05/2009 11:19:05 MDT Print View

Sam, Do you have any sort of guess as to fuel/water efficiency while at altitude? Or maybe just, "we went through 1 large primus can every 2 days for the 3 of us while over 6000m."