The Jetboil Flash, the brand’s update to the ever-popular backpacking stove, boils water quick. Here, we review the updated Flash, with design improvements for 2018.
The original Jetboil Flash cooking system has been a staple in my backpacking kit for years. It’s a tried and true camp stove recognized among backpackers for its reliability and convenience.
Jetboil released an update to the Flash this year, improving output and efficiency. It can boil water in under 100 seconds and costs $100.
In short: Jetboil once again provides a reliable stove option for backpackers and campers. The improved stove efficiency was welcome, with a can of fuel lasting much longer than expected.
Jetboil Flash Review: Updated Stove
When Jetboil released the new Flash earlier this year, I took it as a gimmick. What was there to redesign?
I got my hands on Jetboil’s new Flash in time for a 10-day surf mission up the California coast. At the end of the trip, I boiled 9 liters of water using the 3.5-ounce fuel canister.
Notably more efficient than the previous model, the updated Flash provided the whole trip’s coffee and hot meals. It felt like the fuel canister was going to last forever.
The Flash’s claim to fame is its ability to boil 16 ounces (2 cups) of water in under 100 seconds. It took me between 97 and 105 seconds on three separate timed tests at varying temperatures.
That speed is due largely to the increased output (from 4,500 to 9,000 BTUs) and the Flash’s redesigned heat exchanger. The combo is faster than any similar heating system on the market.
Its heat exchanger shields wind better across weather conditions. I tested it at least a dozen times in wind up to 14 mph and temperatures from 35 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
The push-button igniter has failed only twice, and the flame stays reliably lit. That said, there is no shield included in the set, and higher winds are liable to necessitate one (see also: tinfoil).
Jetboil Flash Components
Just like with the old Flash, assembling the new model is easy. Latch the cooking cup to the burner, screw the burner to the fuel can, and clip the fuel can to the stand. If you break 20 seconds, you’re taking your time.
Jetboil Flash Update
Once put together, the entire system can be lifted as one. This is an especially useful feature for those of us who tend to misplace things around camp. And the system packs up just as easy.
Despite its thinness, the Flash’s insulating jacket keeps heat well. It comes equipped with a spiffy “thermochromatic” sensor that turns from black to orange to indicate heat.
One downside is that it sags substantially when lifted by the handle with a full load. But the handle strap is burlier than the jacket itself and does well to protect your hand from heat.
Some advice: Worry more about the plastic lid when it comes to temperature. It fits snug and has yet to spill on me — yes, I’ve kicked it over — but gets deceptively hot at the boiling point. The heat exchanger and burner also get hot (naturally), but revert to a touchable temperature from full bore in less than one minute under moderate conditions.
The tripod stand is made of light plastic and is, frankly, a little dinky. But it clips on to provide a stout base on flat ground. I was able to set it up on a cobblestone beach with a formidable tilt (around 15 degrees) and boil 16 ounces of water without tipping, though a good gust of wind might have done the trick.
Using the Flash, Jetboil’s Latest Stove
After mealtime, all the parts stow under the lid of the cooking cup to create a self-contained, 7.1-by-4.1-inch carrying vessel that weighs 13.1 ounces. And for all the times it comes in handy, the Flash is worth that much space in my kit.
The Flash best serves things like hot water, oats, and coffee. So you may want to pair it with a stove that can handle more if you have room.
Camp stove systems like the Primus Primetech and Jetboil’s HalfGen Basecamp work great to expand options for bigger meals. That said, you’d be surprised what can be whipped up in a Flash with some creativity. Sweet potato pudding and bacon are both entirely doable.
And now that I have two of these babies, I might bring both along next time. But for the record, the new one gets priority.