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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cooking Accessories > Jetboil Fry Pan > Test Report by Coy Ray Starnes

Jetboil Fry Pan
Test Report Series
Initial Report: June 8, 2007
Field Report: August 27, 2007
Long Term Report: October 27, 2007
frypan
Jetboil Fry Pan with folding handles and plate
image courtesy of Jetboil

Tester Coy Starnes
Gender Male
Age 45
Weight 238 lb (108 kg)
Height 6 ft (1.8 m)
Chest 44 in (112 cm)
E-Mail starnescr@yahoo.com
Location Grant, Alabama, USA

Tester Biography
I live in Northeast Alabama.  I enjoy hunting, fishing, canoeing, and most other outdoor activities but backpacking is my favorite pastime.  I enjoy hiking with friends and family or solo.  I hike throughout the year and actually hike less in the hot humid months of summer.  My style is slow and steady and my gear is light.  However, I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability.  A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9 kg) not counting food or water.

Initial Report
June 8, 2007


Product Information
Item Jetboil Fry Pan
Manufacturer Jetboil
Year of Manufacture 2007
URL http://www.jetboil.com/
Dimensions 8.1" x 2.2” (205 mm x 57 mm)
Listed Weight 10 oz (289 g)
Measured Weight 10.5 oz (298 g)
MSRP $49.95 US

Product Description
The Jetboil Fry Pan is a medium sized fry pan by home kitchen standards but fairly large by backpacking kitchen standards.  The website is not clear on the material used for the fry pan but in the FAQ section there is a section on why Jetboil uses hard-anodized aluminum so I assume the fry pan is made with it.  There is no non-stick coating on the fry pan. 

It has a built in handle which folds around the pot to supplement compact storage.  Jetboil describes the fry pan thusly.  "A long-time favorite for outdoor cooking, now updated and improved. This efficient fry pan uses Jetboil’s FluxRing® technology to heat the cooking surface quickly and distribute heat more evenly. Curved side walls allow easy flipping and stirring. Plastic bottom cover doubles as a preparation/eating plate. Handles fold flat for storage. Stores Jetboil companion spatula (sold separately) inside the FluxRing® cover."

Initial Impression
My initial impression of the fry pan is that it is a well made and well thought out product.  The plastic plate on the bottom which protects the FluxRing and will keep the spatula stored neatly in place is just one indicator of how well thought out the system is. The handles feels solid when positioned in the holding position, yet fold easily back in place.   I am most impressed with the FluxRing® technology.   According to the FAQ section on the website, this technology allows Jetboil products to be as much as twice as efficient as conventional stoves. This will save money and weight as it will allow me to take less  fuel on a trip and not use as many canisters overall.

Since it is not typically safe to use a windscreen with a canister type stove, the FluxRing is an ingenious way around this.  The rings are designed to trap the heat that is usually wasted up the sides of the cooking pot or pan.  Here is a close-up of the FluxRing  and the pot adapter needed to use the fry pan with the Jetboil PCS.
fluxring
Bottom of Fry Pan showing the FluxRing.  Pictured with pot stabilizer and burner unit.

Future Testing
I am looking forward to putting the fry pan to good use.  I will plan at least part of my meals around using a fry pan and spatula.  I especially look forward to frying up bacon and eggs while out camping which is a luxury I usually forgo. As the fry pan is not coated I will be reporting back on how well this works out and if I encounter any sticking issues or difficulty in cleanup.

Anticipated Testing Locations and Conditions
I will be making several short overnight hikes and a few longer hikes over the next 4 months. I will be testing in the southeastern US with trips into the local mountains of Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina as I try to get some relief from the heat by seeking altitude and cooler weather.  However, most testing would be done in Northeast Alabama. Elevations will generally be less than 4000 ft (1219 m).  

This concludes my Initial Report.  Please check back in approximately 2 months for my Field Report to see how the fry pan is doing.

Field Report
Aug 27, 2006
frypan 3
I'll take mine well done....

frypan 4
what happens to the fry pan when you burn a pancake

frypan 5
looks (and taste) much better with heat turned down low

Testing Locations and Conditions

I used the Jetboil Fry Pan on a three day 27 mile (43 km) backpacking trip in the Cohutta Wilderness in Georgia in early July.  On this hike the elevation was around 800 ft (244 m) at the river and we topped several ridges, the highest at around 2600 ft (792 m).  The high on all three days was around 85 F (29 C).  The overnight low temperatures were 66 F (19 C) and 61 F (16 C).  It rained on the second night.

Field Test Results
I am ecstatic with the performance of the fry pan so far.  Actually, I haven't been able to use it much due to the extreme hot weather lately, but it worked great on my Cohutta Wilderness hike.  I used it on two different occasions, once for cooking pancakes for breakfast and the other time cooking hashbrowns for supper.  Picking out what foods too take on this trip was a challenge as I usually just pick things I can cook with boiling water.  Most of the time, this would be oatmeal for breakfast and some kind of dried soup or noodles for supper.  I decided to start with something easy for my first trip and also skipped the bacon and eggs for breakfast due to the heat of summer.

There is a slight learning curve in using the Jetboil fry pan with the Jetboil stove and I had to learn the hard way how quickly the FluxRing equipped fry pan heats up.  I use margarine for my pancakes at home and was well aware that it requires close attention to keep from burning.  On the trail it requires this same attention but of course I am not quite as efficient in my wilderness kitchen as on the stove at home, mostly due to the stove being at ground level.  For one, it's hard to see exactly how big the flame under the stove is without kneeling down, then bending on down to put my eyes at almost ground level, not to mention the fact that my knees and back complain when I have to do this.  I prefer to remain sitting in my hammock while cooking and this turned out to be my downfall.  I all went down something like this.

We didn't cook supper the first night so for breakfast the next morning I sleepily assembled the stove and added the fry pan adapter.  I then mixed my pancake mix in its Ziplock bag and sat it aside, waiting.  Next I lit the stove and placed the fry pan on it and quickly squeezed some margarine (no exact measurements here) into the fry pan.  As soon as it melted, I poured in the pancake mix.  As I waited for the tell-tell bubbles to appear on top of the pancake, I relaxed and admired the creek flowing close by, thinking "Emeril aint got nuthin on me".  The bubbles soon appeared but with them was a slight burning smell.  I grabbed my Jetboil spatula and the fry pan handle and smoothly flipped the pancake over...almost.  It was stuck solidly to the bottom of the fry pan.  I managed to dig the pancake loose without tearing it all to pieces which is no easy task when you are perched over the stove in a hammock, but still easier than bending over from a standing position.  Once I got it loose I had to hold it balanced on the spatula, release the fry pan handle, grab the margarine and squeeze in a little more, flip the pancake back in and then quickly check on the flame which I knew needed turning down.  I turned the stove so low I thought it might not be lit but I picked up the fry pan just to be sure it was still going, which it was.  I could have used an extra hand during this process but unfortunately the extra hand was busy taking pictures of me and laughing...  Actually he offered to help but I stubbornly refused.  The second pancake was cooked without as much fanfare and I turned the stove off, relaxed and enjoyed my breakfast.  Cleanup was not the easiest due to the burnt spot but I took some sand from the river and used it to scour the burnt spot.  I managed to get the fry pan clean, and packed it away, along with the rest of may gear for a long days hike.

I used the fry pan again this same day for supper.  I could have just boiled some water for some instant potatoes and opened a packet of tuna for a quick easy meal but obviously, if I had the fry pan along, there was no reason not to expand my culinary prowess...  I saw something in the store aptly called "Skillets" (hash browns) which seemed like a perfect candidate for testing the fry pan.  Cooking the Skillets proved to be very easy.  The directions called for oil but I had margarine packed anyways so I decided to not pack oil.  I just put the required amount of water in my fry pan and brought it to a boil.  I added the margarine (again no exact measuring) and then the hash browns.  I stirred this almost constantly with my spatula until most of the water had cooked out.  This took about 10 minutes with the stove turned down very low.  I removed the fry pan from the stove and stirred in the seasoning.  I ate this right out of the fry pan once it had cooled enough.  I used my fork to eat the hash browns and some tuna from a foil packet.  Cleanup was much easier this time which was just as well because water was not handy.  I cleaned it with leaves and debris straight off the forest floor first then added a little bio-degradable soap and some water back in for a final cleaning with a clean leaf off a tree.  I did not use the fry pan for the rest of this trip.
   
Future Testing
After the hike in the Cohutta Wilderness summer arrived with a vengeance and I have limited my hiking to late evening walks down to the local swimming hole.  The lows for the past month and a half have been the upper 70s F (25 C) and even low 80s F (28 C) and with daytime temperatures over 100 F (38 C) for 14 consecutive days (18 total so far) and almost that hot the rest of the time, I basically gave up any serious hiking until cooler weather.  I am looking forward to fall weather so I can resume hiking.  I plan to cook some bacon and eggs on a short hike close to home as soon as the weather breaks.  I have a 3 day hike planned in late September but have not decided on what I will cook.

Long Term Report
October 27, 2007
frypan 6
preparing breakfast pancakes in the Smokies

Long Term Test Locations and Conditions
My main testing during the Long Term Phase was on a 3 day hike in the Smoky Mt. National Park.  On this hike the weather was absolutely perfect.  Highs were in the mid 70s F (24 C) and the low both nights were around 40 F (4 C).  There was no rain and what little fog we saw was in the valleys below us.  Elevations varied from about 3600 (1097 m) to 6595 ft (1736 m), but both camp sites where all cooking took place were at the higher end of these elevations.  

On my overnight hike here in Northeast Alabama my campsite was at roughly 1200 ft (366 m) and the overnight low was 46 F (8 C).  The rain had just passed so the woods were damp but due to the extreme drought recently this was appreciated.

Long Term Test Results
The Jetboil frypan has continued to impress me.  Other than cooking bacon and eggs, I don't have much new ground to cover since I cooked similar meals on the Smokies hike as on my previous hike in the Cohuttas. 

Simple Rice Meal
I used the frypan for a stir-fry rice and vegetable supper on the first night.  This was a precooked rice dinner so I basically just heated my food and ate it.  Cleanup was super easy with a handy wipe and I didn't even need water other than for a simple rinse after wiping it out.

Pancakes
I had pancakes for breakfast the next morning.  My only problem was some sticking while cooking the pancakes.  Interestingly, one hiker in our group was using the same Jetboil stove and frypan and he cooked at least 5 pancakes before he encountered some slight sticking.  I was adding a little oil in my frypan between cooking each pancake and he was not so I concluded that I was over oiling my pan.  I also let another hiking partner cook his pancakes for he and his dad, so in total, the frypan cooked pancakes for 3 people.  He experienced the same sticking problems only worse.  His last few pancakes were more like scrambled eggs.  It did not help that he took over the frypan right after I had already had some sticking problems and the bottom of the pan was already covered with stuck on and burnt pancake mix.  On the plus side, despite the less than attractive looks of the pancakes, everyone enjoyed eating them so the sticking problem did not affect taste.  Cleanup was a bit more involved but I managed to clean the frypan spotless.

Bacon and Eggs
frypan 7
frypan 8
bacon in frypan
bacon nearly done
frypan 9
frypan 10
egg #1
bacon, 2 fried and 1 scrambled egg...who's hungry?

With the cooler fall weather I finally got a chance to use the frypan for my all time favorite meal.  I packed rather late in the evening and it was a short hike to my campsite.  I cooked the bacon and eggs for supper so I did not have to worry about food spoilage overnight.  I cut my bacon strips in half at home and packaged them in a Ziplock bag and put 3 eggs in an egg tote.

Upon arriving at my campsite I set up camp quickly and then set about cooking supper.  I fried up the bacon first and used the grease to fry my eggs in.  I managed to flip my first two eggs without busting the yoke but by the third all my grease was gone and I did manage to break its yoke so I just finished cooking this one more like a scrambled egg.  In hindsight, I think it would have worked better if I had used thicker bacon with more fat.  I also had to hold my frypan handle when turning the bacon and especially the eggs to avoid knocking the frypan off the burner.  I did sustain a few grease pops despite keeping the stove turned low.  Oh, well, this happens at home in the kitchen so I caulk it up as the nature of the beast...

Cleanup was a bit of a challenge this time.  I scrapped most of the last scrambled egg bits out of the frypan with my spatula and ate before turning my attention to cleanup.  I had packed some Wet Ones which I used after using some leaves.  I still had some stuck on food left so I took my knife and whittled a stick down to a flat (as opposed to pointy) but sharp tip.  This worked well but took awhile.  A final wipe with a clean Wet One and a rinse with clean water had it back in pristine condition.  

Final Thoughts
This is a very nice frypan.  It does require careful attention to flame adjustment on the stove, which if not done correctly will result in some sticking.  For meals less prone to sticking it worked perfectly.  My best success was cooking stir-fry type meals.  The bacon and eggs also worked out nicely despite one busted yolk and quite a messy job of cleaning the greasy frypan, spatula and fork.  In the future I may just skip pancakes... I don't eat them often at home because they seem to leave my hungry in a few hours and they are just more hassle than I feel they are worth.  I will use the frypan for my favorite meal (bacon and eggs) on shorter hikes and probably stick to easier menus on longer multi day hikes.

I would like to thank BackpackGearTest and Jetboil for letting me test the frypan.  It was fun and a great addition to my cooking arsenal.   




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Read more gear reviews by Coy Ray Starnes

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