Sometimes, you just want a quick spot of tea, but the thought of unpacking a stove, hooking up the fuel, finding the pot, and then boiling up the water seems a bit much. Enter the Jetboil. It takes little more than three minutes to whip it out of a backpack and have boiling water at the ready, including set up and ignition time.
The beauty of the Jetboil cooking system is that it combines a 32-ounce (1 liter) capacity cooking cup (with lid and base) wrapped in a neoprene cozy with a burner assembly that stows inside the cup when not in use, and an isobutane/propane fuel canister that also stows inside the cup when not in use. A built-in Piezo ignition means no messing around to find your matches or lighter either. All-in-all, the Jetboil is quite possibly the most fuel-efficient and compact cooking system we have ever used. And, at 15 ounces, it is also one of the lightest.
Why a neoprene wrap around the cup? Well, for one thing, it insulates the cup supremely well improving water heating efficiency. For another, the cup removes easily with a simple twist and the neoprene then turns into a potholder that prevents your hands from being bruned while handling the cup for either drinking or pouring.
While the neoprene/cup combination is dandy, it is the Jetboil's FluxRing that is the key to the fuel-efficiency secret. The FluxRing is nothing more than a ruffle of aluminum that sits at the base of the heating cup -- think the metal baffles on an engine's radiator. In essence, the design takes a ton of surface area, folds it up into the FluxRing, and then locates all that surface area under the cup and in the path of the stove's flame. More surface area means far more efficient use of the flame and less fuel gets used to heat the same volume of water.
Does it heat up water more quickly? Yes and no. In our unscientific tests using several competitors' stoves and a stopwatch, the Jetboil did manage to send two cups of water to a boil in slightly less time than any other stove -- between two to three minutes depending on the water temperature, wind and outside air temperature. Was it enough to make a difference? Not really. What was significant, however, was the amount of fuel that was used. Jetboil used significantly less fuel per burn than any other stove, meaning less fuel to tote and a lighter load in the long run. Love it! We managed between 11 and 12 liters of water boiled or up to 24 separate two-cup servings of water boiled with each Jetpower (Jetboil's brand) canister.
If we have one nit to pick, it is that the Jetboil isn't particularly stable if you fill the cup over the two-cup mark, which Jetboil doesn't recommend doing, but sometimes two cups of liquid just doesn't cut the mustard. Yes, it will boil; yes, it will simmer; and yes, it is the perfect stove for one or two. Pack along another Jetboil if more than two are planning mealtime. And no, it won't handle a fry pan so forget the flapjacks.
SNEWSÂ® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested retail: $79
For more information:www.jetboil.com or 603-863-7700