Okay, for those of you who use camping stoves I can promise you that the range of Jetboil Cooking Systems are something that you need in your life! It is a phenomenal piece of kit and I have owned 2 in the last 10 yrs; had my original not been stolen I would still be using it today, of that I have no doubt.
My name is Dave and I am…. A Jetboil addict!
I am going to be up front and declare that I love these stoves and will not go anywhere else when looking for a camping stove; I suppose you could say I am biased however that is not a bad thing as have seen numerous colleagues use them as well. This review although enthusiastic does focus on the good and the bad points of the Jetboil Cooking Systems.
For those that are not aware of what they are then great, you have come to the right place. I will elaborate on the generic Jetboil cooking systems and then post over the next few weeks several reviews of specific models and accessories I have experience of and that I can speak about with authority. I have nearly 14 yrs of military experience and I – as well as those serving alongside me – have used every model of Jetboil Cooking Systems over a decade and in some really tough conditions. I will be drawing on this unique perspective to make sure you have all the facts.
So what exactly are Jetboil Cooking Systems?
When you are finished with the burner it all folds down so that is can be put inside the cup that allows for easy storage and for the protection of the burner itself. The Jetboil uses some pretty smart and innovative designs in order to do this more of which I will discuss later. The end result of this really efficient design is that you use a lot less gas which saves you money; the more you use it the more you save.
So let’s now look at some of the features
The downside is that if you want to use it for cooking you have to be VERY careful or use boil in the bag rations. The high temperatures on the bottom of the cup cause pretty much most things to stick if you don’t watch it like a hawk. The added downside is that as it’s a cup, cleaning it can be a little bit annoying if your lunch is stuck to the bottom. Added to this if you do cook in the cup you kind of have to clean the cup there and then as you need it to store the burner inside for transportation.
That’s being said the cup is well insulated and you are able to hold it without burning your hands after a minute or 2 of the water boiling. The lid has a hole which allows for easy drinking and keeps your contents warm for longer.
The water temperature on the side of the cup is a handy thing to have as you don’t need to continually watch it to see when it starts to boil and saves you actually boiling water for tea/coffee etc which means you can drink it straight away. I have heard from colleagues that the cozy can sag over time however I have not seen this issue with mine, it may be how the stove is looked after rather than a design issue.
One point to note though is that it is a good idea to place the lid on the cup prior to boiling rather than snapping it into place as its difficult to get off again without burning your fingers if it boils over.
Depending on what Jetboil you buy, the cups come in various sizes from 0.8 – 2.2 litres. All of the designs and sizes have the same insulated cup cover and most new versions have the water temperature indicator as standard which lets you know the water is boiling. There are also various designs for those who can’t make their mind up from simple colours to camo. All of the cups securely attach to the burner by a bayonet type connection which is easy to use and ensures the cup stays put.
The cool science bit that makes the Jetboil unique!
The burner is a clever piece of engineering and one that has caused a few other manufacturers to copy some of the features. The main part is the corrugated ring – known as the FluxRing – this helps the burner transfer heat to the cup more efficiently than other stove designs. This is the main reason that the Jetboil can boil water so quickly and any accessories that have a FluxRing attach to the burner securely.
The Piezo igniter has been an Achilles heel for several older versions of the Jetboil as they have failed over time with continued use however; this is not something I have seen personally so it again may be down to how individuals look after their stoves. Jetboil have now fitted their newer models with an advanced igniter which should address these shortfalls. Even if it does fail the Jetboil is easy to use with matches or a lighter should you be caught out.
The control valve is long and stops you burning your fingers if you leave it too long and it boils over. There is not a great deal of movement in the valve from minimum to maximum flow so it does require a bit of finesse and getting used to but you are able to adjust the flame to keep the flame size just as you want it.
What if I want to cook my sausages in the morning?
Most Jetboil cooking systems now come with a support for pots, this allows you to do more than boil water in the cup and means you can cook in a pot. This way don’t have the issues of a dirty cup to store the burner and gas canister. The support is not the best and you have to be careful as a large pot would easily fall off if it does not have anything in it. This is not a problem if you have your sausages, eggs and bacon sizzling away. The FluxRing is visible on the picture to the right.
One downside of the burner is its ability to remain lit in high winds greater than around 20- 25 mph if left unattended. This is not a major issue as I have always sat with my stove between my legs in order to get some of the escaping heat; I have never had the flame blow out when sitting like this, regardless of the wind strength. Jetboil have thought of this though and have designed a windscreen that covers the burner on some models which stops a lot of the wind from blowing out the flame.
If you sat in front of the stove or shielded it then it should remain burning away with no problems without the windscreen; to be fair this is the same for any camping stove really, regardless of make or model. Another way to get around the wind issue? Jetboil have designed a hanging kit which means you can hang some models of Jetboil from somewhere like your tent roof or inside a shelter or vehicle out of the wind. I am not a fan of naked flames inside a tent however if you are happy to do this then it is worthwhile investment. The hanging kit is only available for the smaller Jetboil Cooking Systems and it can also be used to just hang your Jetboil from a branch to keep it out the way; these really are one of the best accessories you can buy. Highly recommended (Amazon – 100% of reviews 4 and 5 stars), an absolute must have!
So how long does it really take to boil water?
Well I am afraid I have to give a bit of a politicians answer; it depends! There are several factors that come into play, mainly water temperature, volume and altitude. Jetboil quote anywhere from 2 – 3 minutes depending on age and model of their wide range of Jetboil cooking systems; to be honest those times are actually pretty accurate.
One thing I have learned, never put a full cup of water on to heat up if you only want enough water for a cup of tea. I have seen around 1 minute 20 secs in the past when I only want a normal cup of tea (around 300ml). Regardless of the conditions it has always been quicker than other stoves that are being used alongside my Jetboil. I am normally half way through my tea by the time everyone else is just getting their water boiled. You will find you quickly develop ‘Jetboil face’, it’s that look of sympathy you have for others who use inferior stoves that take forever to boil water.
The whole package
Jetboil cooking systems weigh a little more (depending on model) than most others stoves but make up for it in less gas used, its compact design and for the smugness you will have when others are cursing their own stoves for taking ages to boil water. It all breaks down and can be stored in the cup which can be as small as 4.1″ x 6.5″ for the smallest model (MicroMo) and 6.5″ x 8″ for the largest model (Joule). The MicroMo weighs in at around 340g and the Joule at 790g which is pretty light even if you are on a long expedition.
The one thing that I feel really sets Jetboil cooking systems apart from other integrated canister stoves is the accessories that are available. Jetboil have the following accessories
- Additional Cozy’sin various designs
- Spare cups(0.8, 1.0 and 1.5 litre sizes)
- 5 litre FluxRing cooking pot
- 3 litre FluxRing cooking pot
- 5 litre FluxRing Pot (releasing early 2016)
- 8″ & 10″ FluxRing frying pan
- 3 x bowls totalling 1.8 litres – All fit inside cup alongside burner and small canister.
- Coffee Press (2 sizes)
- CrunchIt – Allows your empty gas canisters to be safely disposed of in the recycling
- 20lb Propane tank hose – give you a lot of extra fuel capacity
- Fuel canister stabilising legs – Worth their weight in gold, these are a must buy!
- Hanging kit
- Utensil set
- Numerous replacement parts
The quality of Jetboil Cooking Systems are second to none with a really good evolution and pedigree that you will be hard pushed to beat. Yes, it is a little more expensive than other stoves but it performs way better and has a huge line of accessories and spares available.
A word of warning, when buying any of the Jetboil Cooking Systems there is an overwhelming temptation to buy lots of accessories to compliment your stove; they really are that good! When you buy a Jetboil you are investing in a very versatile and worthwhile piece of precision engineering that will suit all your needs from hiking locally to the middle of the Amazon rainforests. Heck, I have even use it in the house. Well I did. Once. Until my wife said I was “worse than a child.” She just doesn’t appreciate good quality engineering when she sees it…
I want one, where can I buy them from?
So hopefully I have convinced that you need one of the range of Jetboil Cooking Systems in your life and you are now ready to invest. So where do you buy one from? The cheapest Jetboil Cooking Systems on the internet are here or you can have a look at my store, oh and dont forget to buy your gas canisters.
If you like this article then please share or leave a comment below, I am intrigued to see what others have to say about the Jetboil Cooking Systems line of products, so please get commenting now, I promise I will reply.