The trump card that liquid fuel stoves long held over gas canister stoves was their ability to perform in low temperatures, whereas gas canisters tended to fall flat when the mercury dropped.A while ago it looked like liquid fuel stoves might send classic canister stoves the way of pagers, MySpace and disposable cameras – the kind of thing you’d no longer see often, and when you did, you’d more often than not be in touching distance of a fixie-riding hipster.
But then MSR developed the Reactor, and the tide seemed to turn back in favour of gas.With its inbuilt pressure regulator, the MSR Reactor presented a gas canister option that had the low temperature performance of a liquid burning stove system, but without its heavy weight.
It’s been around for a number of years now, and it makes our Winter Outdoor 100 based on the fact that it’s still one of the best options on the market.As well as being able to function in colder temperatures, the Reactor system also excels when exposed to wind thanks to its built-in heat exchanger. In fact, it’s able to work almost just as well in exposed conditions as it will when it’s calm.
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The Reactors biggest selling point in my opinion is that it’s Simple and Efficient. The stove not only just screws onto a canister, making setup a breeze, but it also has a built in windshield, meaning you don’t have to set one up (which would also increase the footprint of the stove). The pot has an element also on its base making the heat transfer even more efficient even in windy conditions.
Simple and Efficient: The stove and canister fit inside the pot. The setup takes less than a minute. It lights instantly. No windscreen worries. It boils fast. Footprint is tiny.
Weight: Not the lightest, but far from heavy. It’s also very compact. Once the 1.0L pot comes out I believe I’ll have a perfect daytrip and single night setup.
Hype: No hype, it’s definitely worth the price.
Caveats: Canisters do not work as well as, say, White Gas in the winter. The pot can’t be put down on muddy or snowy ground as the base element will get clogged.
Specifically, the Reactor system is ideal for alpine climbers and adventurers heading out for serious but speedy climbs and expeditions; those who will be staying in temperatures not too far below zero and using the stove to boil snow or make simple meals.
It’s an ingenious but incredibly simple piece of kit. You’ve got a highly efficient burner, a pot with a handle and lid that sits neatly on top without attaching, and that’s the gist of it.I should point out that it comes in a number of different pot sizes, with 1-litre, 1.7-litre and 2.5-litre options all available.