Uniquely, the Reactor has a radiant burner rather than a normal one. A pot with a heat exchanger on the base fits closely onto the burner, making for a windproof unit that traps all the heat against the base of the pot. The first Reactor model, which came out several years ago, was bulky and heavy with a 1.7 litre pot – fine for 2+ people but not for solo hikers. Now MSR has brought out a much lighter, more compact Reactor with a smaller pot that is more comparable in weight and size to other heat exchanger stove systems. The burner has no pot supports and only Reactor pots can be used with it. The one-litre pot weighs 231 grams. It has a flip-out handle and a see-through lid. The burner just fits into the pot, along with a 100-size canister, though it can be difficult to remove. The unit is quite stable without need of canister support as it’s quite wide for the height.

The Reactor is designed to be powerful and it is, with the fastest boil time of any stove tested. It’s reasonably fuel efficient too, though not as good as the other heat exchanger stoves. Unlike most canister top stoves the Reactor also works okay in the cold. I left it out overnight at a camp in the snow. In the morning the temperature was -4ºC and the canister was coated in frost. It still lit okay and whilst not as fast as the evening before still brought water to the boil without the canister needing to be warmed. Whilst the stove is great for melting snow and boiling water fast it’s not so good for simmering, though it can, with care, be turned down a little without going out. If you want power and reasonable fuel efficiency, especially in cold weather, this stove is a good choice. It is expensive though.

First published: Spring 2013


  • Overall: 4 out of 5

Pros: Powerful, wind resistant, performance in the cold

Cons: Not easy to simmer, can't use other pots, expensive

  • Details: BURNER DIAMETER: 85mm POT: 1 litre anodised aluminium COMPANY WEIGHT: 417g TGO WEIGHT: 418g GAS USED: 8g BOILING TIME: 2‰Ыќ 22' PRICE: Ј140 WEBSITE: www.msrgear.com
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