JETBOIL FRY PAN AND UTENSIL KIT
TEST SERIES BY DAVID BAXTER
October 26, 2007
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Seattle, Washington, USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
180 lb (81.60 kg)
Backpacking background: I have been hiking for four years, and backpacking for three. I get out on the trails or snow every weekend, regardless of the weather. My trips range anywhere from fairly short dayhikes to longer multi-day backpacking trips. In the winter I snowshoe or snow-climb in moderate terrain and occasionally participate in a glaciated climb. My typical winter pack is about 15 lb (6.8 kg) for a day trip, and 35 - 45 lb (16 - 20 kg) for a glacier climb with an overnight camp. In the summer my pack is around 25 lb (11 kg).
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Item: Jetboil Fry Pan
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.jetboil.com
Listed Weight: 10 oz (289 g)
Measured Weight: 10.4 oz (294 g)
Other details: The Fry Pan consists of the metal pan itself and an attached plastic cover on the bottom that both protects the FluxRing and doubles as a plate. Since the pan can conceivably be used without the plastic I measure the weight of each of these two parts.
Fry Pan weight: 8.6 oz (243 g)
Plastic plate weight: 1.8 oz (51 g)
The Fry Pan is a good sized, by backpacking standards anyway, frying pan designed for use with the Jetboil Personal Cooking System and Group Cooking System. The pan measures 8 inches (20.3 cm) across and approximately 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) deep. On the side are two swing-out handles approximately 5 inches (12.7 cm) long. When not in use these fold flush against the side of the pan. Unlike some other camping frying pans the walls of the Jetboil Fry Pan are curved, rather than vertical. The curved contours of the pan match the curvature of the available spatula. Jetboil does not mention what material the pan is made from. A snap-on plastic cover on the bottom of the pan functions to both protect the FluxRing and double as a plate. In addition the Jetboil spatula can be stored inside.
Here is a photo of the bottom of the pan, showing the FluxRing and plastic plate/protector. Also pictured is the Jetboil spatula (sold separately):
The Fry Pan is very well constructed. While I can see the marks where the FluxRing is bonded to the pan body through the top, the surface is flush and very smooth. There are no ridges or defects where food can stick. The handles seem quite sturdy and do not wobble vertically or horizontally, even when the pan is tipped. There is a tacky black rubberized coating over the handles to prevent slipping and, I assume, to provide heat insulation for bare hands. Also included is an orange plastic plate that sits below the Flux Ring and clips onto the upper rim of the pan. There is an audible click when it is attached and it stays on the pan quite well, both alone and when it covers the spatula.
The Jetboil Pot-Support is required to use the pan with the Jetboil stove. The Fry Pan sits very nicely on top of this support. The FluxRing of the pan is sized perfectly to fit around the support and keeps the pan from slipping off the stove. The FluxRing extends down around the flame in order to capture sideways escaping heat that would otherwise be lost to the ambient air, increasing fuel efficiency. While it doesn't appear to cover the flame as thoroughly as the Personal Cooking System pot it should function as an effective wind-screen. A side-on view of the assemble Jetboil stove, Pot Support, and Fry Pan is seen here:
I plan to take the Fry Pan on many backpacking trips and incorporate it into my meal preparation. It will be used for breakfast items, of course, as well as dinners such as stir-fry and whatever meals I can think of that require use of a frying pan. I plan to test the pan both with and without oils to gauge how "sticky" the surface of the pan is.
ANTICIPATED TESTING LOCATIONS
Currently I have several short overnight hikes planned in the near future as well as a snow climb and extended backpacking trip within the next four months. Most of these trips will be within Washington State and primarily in the Cascade mountains. I also will take the Fry Pan to the drier eastern WA area and the Pacific coast and assay their performance in these environments. I will also bring it along to Yellowstone in June. Primarily the elevations will be less than 5000ft (1524 m) with the exception of Yellowstone and the >6000ft (1828 m) Enchantment Lakes. Temperatures will most likely be above or near freezing.
This concludes my Initial Report. Please check back later for my Field Tests to see how well this pan cooks!
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I've used the Fry Pan on four trips thus far. The first trip was an overnighter to Sprite Lake in the Cascades, approximately 6000 ft (1892 m). I used the pan to cook pancakes for breakfast. It was cloudy and drizzly, with temperatures ranging from 65 F (18 C) to 40 F (7 C) at night. It was also used at Robins Lakes, 6100 ft ( m) in elevation. The fry pan was used to make scrambled eggs. Mostly sunny this trip with temperatures from about 35 F (1.6 C) to 80 F (27 C). The pan was used twice at Chain Lakes, elevation 5600 ft (1707 m). Temperatures were similar to the other trips. I made stir-fry for dinner, then used the pan for sausage at breakfast.
Every time I used the Fry Pan I also used the Jetboil spatula. I have eaten all of these meals using the Jetboil utensils, as well as many dried meal-in-a-bag type dinners.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Thus far I am pleased with the performance of the Fry Pan. The pan works quite well for cooking. My old pan is a simple aluminum one with removable grabber. When used on a Jetboil it tends to lean or slide, threatening to fall. The Jetboil pan stays put and feels very secure while cooking, even while scrambling eggs. The FluxRing nests around the pot support, keeping it firmly in place. It is still easy to vertically lift the pan off quickly, say if something burns. The FluxRing also aids in wind resistance. I could visibly see the flame flickering when using my old pan. The FluxRing extends further down around the top of the stove and prevents this.
Fuel efficiency seems good. I am able to cook several items on the Fry Pan and still have plenty of fuel for boiling water. The pan also heats up very quickly, faster than my old one. This may be due to the FluxRing capturing more of the heat. This should distribute the heat more evenly, and it does seem to, but the pan still has a strong hot-spot directly over the flame. Even with it turned down very low items cook much faster in the center. Scrambled eggs have to be constantly shifted around the pan to keep the bits in the center from burning. Omelets are difficult.
|Eggs on the fry pan|
The pan could benefit from a non-stick coating. Even with generous use of oil I have plenty of food sticking to the pan. At home this would not be a big deal, but high in the hills it makes for annoying scrubbing of dishes. Stir fry items came away clean, but eggs and pancakes really required some elbow grease to get it clean. The eggs in particular became so fused to the surface I packed the pan out dirty and washed it at home. It took some scrubbing in my sink, and a fair amount of dish soap, but it came off eventually. The pan appears no worse for wear from the scrubbing, nor any worse than other cookware lacking a non-stick surface.
|Pancakes on the Fry Pan|
I have dropped the pan once on rocks with only scratches, no dents. I did nearly lose one of the handles though. While stored in the stretch pocket outside my backpack one of them came off. They are attached to metal hinges on the pan with the tension in the two halves of the handle pushing into these loops to hold it in place. To remove them one pinches the handle together and it slides out. It makes for easy cleaning certainly. I hope this will not be a common occurrence.
I have also eaten from the integrated FluxRing cover / plate. It works quite well and is easy to clean. The edges are slightly raised and work well to contain the food. Since the pan was too small to cook my entire powdered-egg omelet I prepared half and used the plate to store that while I cooked the rest. Very handy! It also does a good job protecting the spatula, which nests inside.
The spatula works well. It is contoured to the curve of the Fry Pan and is very effective in getting food out of the pan. It is also thin enough to get under the edge of an omelet and flip it. So far it is holding up to rigorous use, but after the first egg-scrambling I noticed a lot of plastic damage to the underside of it. In fairness I was pretty hard on it scraping out dried egg from the pan. It is not nearly as sharp now but still sufficient to cut through softer items. I do not recommend using it for scraping the pan surface. Jetboil has also chosen to imprint their logo into the spatula. While it looks stylish, this slight recess in the surface attracts food and is one more thing to clean.
The Jetboil FryPan is the best frying pan I have used for the Jetboil stove. Others tend to slide around or feel wobbly. This pan is rock solid. It seems more fuel efficient as well. It does lack a non-stick coating, which is annoying. I plan to keep using it on future trips, especially for pancakes now that huckleberry season has arrived. Check back in two months for my final review.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Over the past two months I brought the Jetboil Utensils along for the following trips:
-Spider Meadows / Buck Creek pass five-day loop. Elevations ranged from 2000 ft (610 m) to more than 6000 ft (1829 m). The trip was mostly on trail with some off-trail glacier travel. Temperatures went from about 35 F (1.7 C) to 70 F (21 C). The middle day of the trip was rainy and foggy, but the rest were dry.
-Marmot and Jade lake. Elevation from 3000 ft (914 m) to 6000 ft (1829 m). This trip was sunny the hike in but rainy and cold for the hike out. Temperatures were between 30 F (-1 C) and 60 F (15.6 C)
While I have not brought the frying pan on every backpacking trip lately, primarily due to weight restrictions, I have continued to enjoy it. It is very nice to have an alternative cooking method to boiling. My primary use has been for making pancakes, especially when huckleberries were ripe. I have also made stir-fry and both omelets and scrambled eggs.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Some questions I asked myself over the testing period include:
-Is the pan more fuel efficient than a standard frying pan on the Jetboil? Yes. I can fry longer with this pan than my standard pan. Primarily I believe this is due to flame setting. The Flux-Ring captures more of the escaping heat enabling me to use a smaller flame for cooking, reducing the amount of fuel burned. I'd estimate I can squeeze an additional meal out of a small fuel can with this pan.
-Does the pan fit on other stoves? It will fit on most canister-fueled backpacking stoves. As long as the supports on that stove fit within the Flux-Ring it works. It did not fit on my white-gas stove though.
-Is the pan durable? Yes. No serious damage is visible on the pan, only cosmetic scratches. I have even dropped it once or twice.
-Are the handles sturdy enough to lift a full pan? Yes. I have not had them bend once. They are also insulated well enough to handle a hot pan with bare hands.
-Does the pan sit well on the stove? Yes. The Flux-Ring nests around the reqiored Jetboil pot-adapter and holds the pan in place. It does not fall off when scrambling eggs and doesn't require one to hold the handles of the pan, though that does help. Jetboil recommends using their set of little folding legs beneath the fuel canister for extra stability, but I found it to be well balanced even without these. They are sold with the Jetboil pot-adapter, which is required for using the FryPan on a Jetboil PCS.
-How sticky is the pan? Without using oil or butter food will stick very tightly onto the surface. This can be very irritating when making eggs. I tend to end up with a ring of eggs on the outer edges, where the oil did not lubricate the surface well enough. It is no worse than other pans though.
-Does the snap-on cover work well? It does. I find it especially useful for holding recently cooked items when I am cooking for more than one. When I make pancakes I put them on this before passing it around to share. While I prefer eating from a bag or the Jetboil pot, it does make a useful plate. Towards the end of the test period it did begin to slip off the pan when packed. It appears the tabs on the top are a little worn out.
-Is it easy to clean? It depends on what was cooked. Eggs can be a pain to clean. I carry a small scrub-pad now to help if I plan to use the pan more than once. For tough stuck on food I found myself packing it out dirty and scrubbing it in my sink at home.
Likes and dislikes:
I like the following about the Jetboil Fry Pan:
-Complements the Jetboil stove well
-Snap on cover/plate is handy
-Lack of a non-stick surface makes cleaning a chore
-Snap on cover can fall off in a backpack
-Curved sides reduce useful cooking area
This concludes my testing of the Jetboil FryPan.
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Read more gear reviews by David Baxter