Jetboil - worth buying?

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PeterHS
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Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by PeterHS » Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:00 am

Hi all,

I am wondering about investing in a Jetboil for camping on multi-day hikes. In other words, I want something fast, compact and lightweight.

What's your experience? How good are they? Which model do you find most useful? If you don't, what alternatives do you use - and why?

Peter

ant
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by ant » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:21 am

I owned a dragonfly for years, and I still advocate MSR type stoves as the work-horse for big expeditions.

But gas camping stoves have come a long way from the puncture-type, candle-jobs.
I now use a Jetboil almost exclusively for trips less than 3 days. It boils water as fast as your kettle at home, it is really lightweight and really small.

I used it to make coffee every day on my 6 month states trip, and it is what we'll take into the Hex next month... :-)

Ant

Warren G
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by Warren G » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:39 am

I was about to post an almost identical situation to Ants': I have both a Dragonfly and a Jetboil but I find myself using the Jetboil far more for all the reasons he mentioned. it is grossly unfair to compare the two stoves to each other as they excel at vastly different needs. Do yourself a favour and whichever stove you decide on tie a lighter to it so you never found without one- never trust your life on a pezo lighter. Both my stoves have this and it doesn't affect packability.

MSR and Kovea do competing products, but JB has patents on all the important bits, making it impossible to beat. Just expensive
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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:42 am

Jetboil are like Apple, their adherents swear they are the best thing ever but you really have to buy into the entire ecosystem for it to make sense.

If you actually want to cook meals then I'd get a Dragonfly/Primus. You can use any pot you want, of any size you want with the stove and it simmers properly. You are also not stuck using canisters that you cannot take on aircraft and may be difficult to find at your destination. You can burn any fuel and they work well at altitude. They are bulkier and heavier but basically will never, ever let you down. You can also always know how much fuel you have left in the canister.

Jetboil and the competing MSR Reactor/Windboiler range are great for boiling water (though they now seem to have a simmer option on some of the new Jetboils coming out next year). The pot shape sucks to cook in. You can buy a sensible shape pot for the Jetboil at least but it is stupidly expensive (R1500!). They are also almost all top heavy and unstable, requiring a hanging kit or careful management. They will suck when the cylinder gets cold or at altitude where the liquid fuel doesn't sublimate easily. Jetboil have a solution for this with an inverted cylinder stove or where the cylinder is mounted remotely from the stove. You can only use their proprietary pots with their stoves. You are never sure how full your cylinders are.

Kovea make some interesting stoves with remote cylinders and you can use any pots. They wont be as fast as the Jetboil/Reactor/Windboiler but has it ever been so much of a drag to wait 3 minutes rather than 2.5 minutes for the boiling water. I see now that they make stoves that can use both canisters and liquid fuel too. I don't know where you can buy them any more though.

So for expeditions and general camping, I'd take the Dragonfly/Primus. For hiking in warmer, low altitude conditions where weight is at a premium canister stoves are better, if you only want to boil water and not really cook on the stove.
Happy climbing
Nic

Old Smelly
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by Old Smelly » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:35 am

The Reactor and Windboiler are a step above the rest of the canister stoves and will work when it is too cold for the others. They do a great job of boiling water. If it is a system you are after then you can't do better (price being out of the discussion)

The multifuel stoves are more versatile (such as Dragonfly) and there is an MSR that does both gas and fuel, as well as the Kovea that does both.

If it is simplicity you are after and something light then you can't do better than a pocket rocket - which will also allow you to cook with any pot and gives good control.

So yes - try figure out what you want and go from there.
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mokganjetsi
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by mokganjetsi » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:49 am

Jetboil etc are undeniably fast but not convinced the few minutes you save on boiling time is worth it; guess it's a personal thing; maybe it's just because I already have a normal stove and a dragonfly. I prefer the versatility of a normal cooking system though. For travel / trekking long distance the multi-fuel stoves have obvious advantages.

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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by Hector » Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:35 pm

I used to take a whisperlite on all big trips and ended up using it a grand total of: Never. The jetboil (or equivalent) is just too convenient. The only two scenarios I'd consider taking a multifuel stove now are: extreme cold, or a long-term remote basecamp or trek. Having said that I've used a Jetboil without hassles to about -10degC (as an aside, altitude is no problem for butane stoves - its only cold that is the issue). For normal cragging and any climbing/camping in SA I'd only take a jetboil or equivalent.

Jetboil is crazy-expensive and many of the add-on features are total gimmicks (and they had that really terrible lid design on the last model-but-one). But the core stove is bomber - I've abused mine for 6 years. It looks mank but still grafts. The fiddly little pot adaptor allows you to use any pot (it is a silly piece of overpriced steel though). The only competitor I've used is the Reactor and I was impressed. I'm sure there are other good alternatives.

Hopefully Elon Musk invents a battery soon that rivals hydrocarbons in energy density and we can all replace our gas stoves with clean and safe electric ones!

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henkg
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by henkg » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:05 pm

Ditto what Hector said.

Propane/butane gas has somewhat better heating values than benzene. So unless your expedition is at altitude or in icy regions, you get to carry less weight with a gas stove. Add to that the better energy conversion from the JB and you shave another few grams off your pack.

My Jetboil (Zip I think) goes everywhere even to non climbing/hiking camps. Add the coffee press and I'm happy.
You may still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not. Cat Stevens

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:26 pm

henkg wrote:Propane/butane gas has somewhat better heating values than benzene. So unless your expedition is at altitude or in icy regions, you get to carry less weight with a gas stove. Add to that the better energy conversion from the JB and you shave another few grams off your pack.
Since we're being pedants and talking about grams here, I can carry a tiny fuel bottle for the stove and the rest in a lightweight plastic bottle rather than those bulky and comparatively heavy gas cylinders. Wonder how that works out in the end...

At least JB let you use normal pots with their stove (with a 9USD adapter). With the MSR version you're stuck with their pots, which are poorly shaped for actually cooking in.
Happy climbing
Nic

Warren G
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by Warren G » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:46 pm

Remember the Jetboil is about fuel economy and convenient packing- efficiency. They use half the fuel of a pocket rocket- I have done this experiment. many years ago I did a full cook off experiment with the stoves, then extrapolated out the long term economics of the various stoves: pocket rocket is by far the most expensive stove to cook off daily. After 5 months of daily use the dragonfly becomes the most economical, but it takes that long to beat the economy of the jetboil. JB clearly designed their stoves to serve two people on a regular weekend (2 diners, 2 oats breakfasts, 4X2 coffees in between) on a single 100g gas. go away for a weekend with a pocket rocket and see how you go.

Using the issue of flying with the gas as a problem is not solved by choosing another fuel based cooking because you still won't be allowed on board an air craft with the butane etc needed for other stoves. I have put gas cylinders in my check in luggage more times than I will ever admit.
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by SNORT » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:56 pm

I, in my latter years have gone on to Alpine climbing where stove efficiency is everything and the MSR reactor wins hands down as it is the fastest stove for melting snow. Hot water is your no. one priority. I have one and have used the jetboil extensively.

If you are a largish group and weight is not too big a deal a very cost effective, safe and stable system is a good old cadac gas bottle if you can find an old small 3kg one. The gas costs a tenth of the camping cooker types and it will last you a week or more as it is the equivalent of around 10 medium jetboil cannisters. It is also of course much more stable with pots and the like. I carried one up to Tafelberg when I went there with Margaret (my wife) and 3 my small kids and even carried a heater attachment. Scores a lot of points with your bokkie on a cold night.

Also a good idea to leave them in a stash if you have one.
Cadac 3kg.JPG
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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:55 pm

Warren G wrote:Using the issue of flying with the gas as a problem is not solved by choosing another fuel based cooking because you still won't be allowed on board an air craft with the butane etc needed for other stoves. I have put gas cylinders in my check in luggage more times than I will ever admit.
Sure but I can find petrol, diesel, ethanol, meths, kerosene, paraffin, benezene and all the other liquid fuels easily where ever I am going. The cylinders not so much.

@SNORT: You carried one up to Tafelberg? Holy crap, you are some kind of masochist! Then again, I've done the gas bottle carry up to Hoare more times than I want to think about so we are in the same boat.
Happy climbing
Nic

PeterHS
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by PeterHS » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:04 pm

Thanks to all and i really appreciate the many useful points - especially the one about tying a lighter to the stove!

I long regret losing somehow through house moved and divorce my old Optimus Primus stove. It was 30 years ago but with a good pressure produced masses of heat. One just had to make sure the collar was sufficiently pre-heated before pumping the fuel! I've seen many a 6' flame ensuing and not a few burned tents ....

I now have a Kovea that collapses down the size of a cigarette packet. It is light and compact (very) and is pretty good. It suffers a little in wind but that can be alleviated by placing in the best shelter I can find.

For me, the jury is still out on the Jetboil and its ecosystem (nice phrase, Nic, from a fellow PhD ecologist .....).

Persuade or dissuade - though it's very much horses for courses .....

P

Old Smelly
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by Old Smelly » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:26 am

I am not sure if you are thinking of the same pocket rocket as I am Warren (see pic below)
msr_pocketrocket.jpg
msr_pocketrocket.jpg (71.18 KiB) Viewed 2986 times
But of course I have used it for a whole weekend or two! I understand you did a test but I must say I have not found it to be inefficient but rather the opposite!

What I held back on previously so as to not be too prejudicial is that fact that I have seen Jetboils NOT work in the cold, whereas the Reactor has worked in exactly the same circumstances...

but that was my experience...still if the jetboil is the same price as a windboiler I know where my money would go.

Here - try this SNORT...

https://gearjunkie.com/review-volcano-grill-fire-pit
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

PeterHS
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by PeterHS » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:22 am

25 lbs for the Volcano, Old Smelly ..... I can think of a few in rescue who would be able to carry (one especially!) but that's too high a proportion of my body weight! P

simonL
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by simonL » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:48 am

Hi all
It’s been interesting reading all the posts in this string. As the representative of JetBoil in South Africa - I feel I should clarify a number of points so that Peter (and others in his position) can make an informed choice. As you will see below, not all Jetboils are equal and it’s important to understand the differences so that you purchase the correct unit for your intended purpose.

1. the issue of cooking "speed" : yes JB's cook quickly - but that's not really the real issue. The real issue is that they cook quickly and very fuel efficiently. There are many stoves out there that can boil a litre of water as quickly as a JB - but very few (none?) who can do it with so little gas. This is because most JB's are designed with a low output (approx. 4500 BTU) - and it's the Flux Ring system on the pots that allow it to boil so quickly on so little power. This economy thing has two important aspects :
a. it means that you can carry less fuel & therefore less bulk & weight on your trip. As Warren pointed out, just one 100g canister will generally do a 2 person party 2 - 3 days (I for one would prefer to stay at home rather than carry a 3kg Cadac cylinder around like Snort)
b. with the increasing cost of gas, this economy has real impacts on your pocket (as Warren & Snort pointed out). Due to the efficiency of these stoves, one pays off the upfront capital investment far more quickly than most other systems.

2. the issue of cooking vs boiling : the original JB's were designed with a focus on boiling because a lot of people choose to use freeze dried meals to prevent the whole "washing up in the wilderness" epic. However if cooking from scratch is something you want to be able to do with your hiking stove; JB has two options.
a. the "pot support kit" can be fitted to any Jetboil & then you can use any pot on it. Admittedly if you use a regular pot; the lack of a heat exchanger flux ring will cause the stove to cook slower - but that will make it easier to avoid burning stuff on the bottom of the pot.
b. you can opt for the JetBoil MiniMo which has been designed specifically with cooking in mind. It has a "flatter / wider" pot and a very controlled simmer so that cooking is a breeze.
It’s probably also worth mentioning that if good coffee is important to you –Jetboil has a coffee press system to fit each of their units; but if using a regular stove / pot system; one will have to carry a coffee maker separately which adds to your bulk & weight.

3. the altitude / cold temperature issue : canister stoves are not susceptible to altitude - but their performance is susceptible to temperature. The lower the temperature the less inclined the liquid is to vaporise and so in conditions below 5 degrees C; most gas stoves will start to "slow down". This can be "fixed" by heating the canister a bit (hands around it, stand it in warm water etc.) However JB has a couple of fixes for this problem:
a. the MiniMo and the Sumo (and the soon to be released MightyMo) both have regulators which increase the amount of flow as the pressure in the canister drops off. This regulator allows these stoves to only start losing performance at -6 degrees C and will continue to perform well beyond -15 degrees C
b. if real expeditionary performance is required – the JetBoil Joule is the beast to buy. This unit has an inverted canister and generator pipe which means that the gas does not have to vaporise in the can – it feeds liquid into the stove. As a result this unit only starts to lose performance below -12 degrees C and has been used successfully as low as -30 degrees C. The Joule also comes with a large 2.5L pot with is brilliant for snow melting.

4. the cost issue : JetBoils are expensive; but when compared to a number of other top brands they actually offer pretty good value for money. This is because all Jetboil systems INCLUDE the pot set. This is generally overlooked because most of us think in terms of using the old pot under the kitchen sink. The reality is that a good pot / or pot system starts at no less than R500 and can cost in excess of R1000 depending on what you want – and that’s for units that do not have the integrated heat exchanger / flux ring. So next time you price a good stove – remember to price the pot / system that you plan to use with it.

5. Finally – the proof is in the pudding: every single person that I know (myself included) who owned a fuel stove in the past and has bought a Jetboil – has pretty much just stopped using the fuel stove. The Jetboil system is just so convenient & easy to use; it just becomes the stove of choice.

PeterHS
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by PeterHS » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:09 am

SimonL,

Thanks so much for your input too. I'll be interested in reading any follow-up comments. All very informative.

Are you offering a good discount to fellow climbing.co.za members? I suspect most of us can get 10% off as MCSA or City Rock members, more perhaps if rescue members too.

Just a thought ....

Peter

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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by mokganjetsi » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:15 am

compelling views on the Jetboil! guess i'm in denial because i alread have 2 stoves :?

btw, buying MSR gas cannisters is insane - their products are superb but they're really milking it with the gas cans. you can buy cadac cannisters (screw in) for half the price.

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henkg
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by henkg » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:57 am

simonL wrote: every single person that I know (myself included) who owned a fuel stove in the past and has bought a Jetboil – has pretty much just stopped using the fuel stove. The Jetboil system is just so convenient & easy to use; it just becomes the stove of choice.
Exactemont, me too.
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simonL
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by simonL » Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:29 am

Hi all

Gas canisters - we have recently brought Providus canisters in all sizes to the market at much better prices. They are available to all outdoor stores - ask for them.

Pricing & discounts : while we do give a recommended price to retailers -it's up to the stores to offer the discounts they choose. I know that some retailers do give MCSA members a set discount

cheers

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:09 am

One other thing no one has mentioned, as outdoorsy people we are mostly quite environmentally conscious. Those non re-usable gas canisters are a massively wasteful thing, especially the smaller ones. They can be recycled and I hope that all of you do.
Happy climbing
Nic

Old Smelly
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Re: Jetboil - worth buying?

Post by Old Smelly » Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:30 am

Where is Simon to tell us about the little tool that you can use to safely pierce the can and crush it while hiking - that is a space saving device!
jetboil-crunchit.jpg
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http://www.treehugger.com/culture/jetbo ... -tool.html
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