By RYAN DIONNE
When you’re starving and don’t have much time to cook a meal, the Jetboil Group Cooking System is a good choice. It’s a stove ideal for a small group of backpackers who need an easy-to-use system that heats up fast, breaks down easily and requires minimal extra supplies.
I’d heard quite a bit of hype about the cooking system that supposedly boils water faster than any other and uses less fuel, but that made me skeptical. After all, I like my Primus backpacking stove that’s easy to start, doesn’t weight much and has served me well for years.
But with its “FluxRing” and F-22-like flame-throwing burner, the Jetboil proved itself on more than one occasion in my tests.
The lid doubles as a plate, the pot has a cozy around it as well as a spring-loaded handle that make it easy to grab when hot, and the inside of the container has lines marking .5 liters, 1 liter and 1.5 liters. All nice touches.
Besides that, the burner screws onto a standard isobutane/propane fuel canister, and it has a push-button spark ignition system to get the flame going without a match. A pot stabilizer locks in place — as it should — to prevent the pot from tilting while you cook.
Weighing about 1 pound, and with most of the necessities fitting inside the pot, the entire system isn’t too clunky to throw in a backpack when on the trail.
But not everything fits in the pot. One of Jetboil’s claims to fame is that the fuel, pot stabilizer, fuel canister stabilizer and burner all fit inside the 1.5 liter pot with the lid in place. That works if you have a 100-gram fuel canister. But a larger fuel canister will not fit inside.
That said, because of the stove’s efficiency, a 100-gram canister is said to boil 12 liters (about 406 ounces) of water.
And it does boil pretty fast. At about 12,000 feet above sea level with windy, 35-degree conditions, it boiled 1 liter of water in 11 minutes (compared to 15 minutes with my Primus stove).
Then at about 5,400 feet with calm, 70-degree conditions, it boiled the same amount of water in 6 minutes compared to 8 with my Primus.
While it may have been a fluke, the Jetboil did puff out once in the wind while my Primus stayed strong.
But with a lid that doubles as a plate, its burn efficiency, and its all-around versatility, the Jetboil is a stove to consider for camp or for the trail.
- Pros: Push-button igniter; Spring-loaded pot handles; Capable of simmering soup or stew
- Cons: Fuel control valve harder to access than other stoves; Doesn’t boil significantly faster than my test stove
- MSRP: $120
- Contact: http://www.jetboil.com
—Contributor Ryan Dionne is based in Boulder, Colo. He writes a blog on the outdoors and gear at http://explore-it.blog.com