Emerging on the camping scene almost over 15 years ago, Jetboil revolutionized what a small backpacking stove could and should do. Since inception, this modern, iconic brand has made tweaks to their system along the way and gained many fans.
Sure, it possesses some gimmicks and lacks other features, but ultimately, it does what it is meant to do well. Some would say very well.
Since acquiring my Flash (1.0) two years ago, I’ve used it on several adventures, several times each time. My regrets have been few and far between. Namely those regrets have been not paying enough attention to it, while it is operating. Nonetheless, not on my shortlist of regrets are the two add-on features I’ve purchased since I originally got this stove.
I got the coffee press add-on last summer and it has yielded me some very excellent cups in the backcountry. The only issue being is that those cups could’ve been much better still. Since my last use, I’ve realized how easy it will be to make those cups better going forward – and the cause of their quality was in fact pilot error.
Fast forward to the present. I now have the pot support add-on. I have yet to test it, but right off the batt, it presented me with an issue. How do I pack this thing for my upcoming adventure?
After a bit of finagling, I have come to and revisited the inevitable conclusion that I made so many months ago. The Jetboil system is nothing short of amazing*.
Here’s why. IT’S REALLY COMPACT! But just how compact? How does a fuel can, coffee press and pot support inside the pot sound? Yep! You can do that.
Here’s the step-by-step how to
1) Gather your equipment.
2) Place pot support on top of fuel can
3) Put fuel can and pot support in jetboil pot
4) Put coffee plunger rods in next
5) then put plunger in, upside down so fins are facing up
6) Now slide burner in, upside down.
7) Cap it off and you are done!
And you’re done!
When backpacking, weight and space are very real and very defined restrictions that one needs to be aware of. At it’s svelte 390gm, it does not add much weight to your pack. And because of how it compacts down, it takes up minimal space in your pack. True, there are smaller/lighter stoves out there, but they aren’t fast water-boiling machines. In reality, you cannot get a better arrangement for a soloist adventurer.
And it gets better. Since appearing on the scene so many years ago, the team at Jetboil have updated their products along the way. The Flash got an upgrade a short while ago and has had an increase in its output; from 4500btu, up to 9000btu. (Note: this only shaves off ~1min from the boil time for a full litre. However, it only holds 500ml to begin with, so your actual boil time is 90secs for the Flash 2.0)
So, the big question – is the Jetboil overrated?
Some would say it is, but that’s because they are very nitpicky. The fact of the matter is, it does what you need it to, and what you need it to do is boil the %^&* out of a 1/2L of water really fast. Whether you want coffee from that 1/2L is another debate, but if you do, you will have coffee in a stupidly fast amount of time. Mmmmscaldy!
Once again – the fine points
1) You can fit a 110gm fuel can, coffee plunger and pot support inside the cup body
2) Boil time is around 90secs (~1m15-1m30 on the older system)
3) with the fuel can and add-ons, it weighs ~750gms
4) this setup will last you easily 3 days, if soloing.
It’s rare that I actually get to recommend the Jetboil system, but when I do, it’s like I’m a kid on Christmas morning. That’s the kind of enthusiasm I have for this stove. I love it. It’s clean, it’s fast, it’s light and most importantly, it’s simple. Backcountry life can be difficult at any time. Why add to that difficulty when you don’t have to.
* As mentioned above, I own a Jetboil. I automatically have a bias towards it. However, I know where it wins and fails because of how other similar stoves are designed. It wins on ease of operation, speed and compact-ability. Where it fails is how the cup attaches to the burner.
Having looked at other systems since I bought my jetboil, there is only one other system that I would consider, and that system is MSR’s Reactor 1.7. And that’s only because it can boil more water in nearly similar time as the Jetboil Flash. Nonetheless, the Reactor’s design has the reactor pot just sitting on top of its burner, rather than locking in. Reactor’s handle is also safer to use, folding up and into a standard pot handle when in use. Jetboil just has the fancy thermo-sleeve to prevent you from scalding yourself.