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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Jetboil Personal Cooking System > Owner Review by Adam Rotche

JETBOIL PERSONAL COOKING SYSTEM
BY ADAM ROTCHE
OWNER REVIEW
March 15, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Adam Rotche
EMAIL: arotche AT gmail.com
AGE: 19
LOCATION: Blacksburg, Virginia, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 146 lb (66.00 kg)

I've been backpacking for seven years, mostly in Virginia and North Carolina. In the summers I have travelled to hike in New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah, though the majority of my backpacking is done in the Appalachians. I do weekend trips as often as possible, and a few week-long trips per year, though I am working up to thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in a year or two. I have encountered all types of weather from several feet of snow to high heat and humidity. I consider myself a lightweight backpacker though I am less strict on shorter trips.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Jetboil, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.jetboil.com
MSRP: US$99.95
Listed Weight: 15 oz (425 g)
Measured Weight: 15 oz (425 g)
Volume: 1L
Product Description: The Jetboil Personal Cooking System is a lightweight and highly efficient cooking device that is highly compact. The system includes a one-liter cooking cup complete with a unique 'Flux Ring,' a heat exchanger designed to increase efficiency, and an insulating cozy; an adjustable burner that features a push-button igniter; an insulating, drink through lid; and an insulated measuring cup bottom. To operate it, screw the burner onto a fuel canister (not included), and twist the cooking cup onto the burner. Fill it with water, put on the lid, and simply press the igniter button. Jetboil does sell its own branded fuel, but the stove works with any isobutane canister with a Lindal valve.

FIELD USE

I have used the Jetboil Personal Cooking System on two different backpacking trips totaling eight nights, one to Grayson Highlands State Park, and the other to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Grayson Highlands State Park is mountainous terrain ranging from 3500ft - 5000ft (1060m - 1500m). It is located in the Southwestern part of Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains, and is fairly representative of the area. On this trip, I only used the stove to boil water for cooking Backpacker's Pantry meals, and didn't actually cook food in the stove. I was only cooking for myself. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, crossing the North Carolina - Tennessee border, is similar in terrain with many mountains and ridges, though elevations in the park get over 6000ft (1830m). The trip I took to Grayson Highlands was in May of 2009, so temperatures were mild, reaching highs of around 70F (21C), and lows around 30F (-1C). Rain showers hit me throughout the day, though not during meal times, and there wasn't much wind. The temperatures were warm enough to keep me happy. In the Smokies, weather was more extreme. The trip was in early March of 2010, and due to the high elevation, there was up to four feet (1.2m) of snow. Temperatures ranged from highs of 55F (13C) to lows at night of 26F (-3.5C), and wind was really blowing up on the ridges. On this trip, I used the stove to cook rice, pasta, lentils, oatmeal, and to boil water for coffee and tea. I was cooking for two people at a time.

Performance: The Jetboil Personal Cooking System exceeded all of my expectations. It is extremely fast and extremely efficient, which is very convenient. It advertises the ability to boil two cups (475ml) of water in 90 seconds, and it truly can. Because it boils so quickly, the stove is super efficient with fuel and uses very little. This is great because it allowed me to save both money spent on gas and the weight of carrying extra. However, such a fast and efficient stove did pose a problem for me; I accidentally let it boil over the first several times I used it. This really isn't the kind of thing that can be set up before walking off into the woods to dig a cat hole. It requires vigilance in watching the water boil. The saying that 'a watched pot never boils' is complete nonsense, in this instance. In my opinion, this is a small price to pay to having a quick and convenient cooking time.
Another really nice thing about the Jetboil is how compact it is. The fuel canister (make sure to buy the appropriate size) and stove both fit nicely into the cooking cup, and when it's all packed up it's hardly bigger than a Nalgene. Needless to say, this is very handy.
One last tribute to the convenience of the Jetboil is the push-button igniter. It eliminates the need for matches and lighters, and was very reliable in my experience.
The only downfall of the Jetboil is stability. While the Flux Ring technology does a great job at keeping the wind's greedy fingers from stealing away all of the heat, it is susceptible to being blown over. The whole setup is very tall and skinny, and it's really important to set up on a flat surface. After having a spill on the Grayson Highlands trip, I bought the Jetboil Pot Support and Stabilizer, which is essentially a tripod that hooks to the bottom of the fuel canister, and solved the problem completely. It's not entirely necessary, but makes for a better cooking experience.

SUMMARY

The Jetboil Personal Cooking System is a fantastic piece of equipment for backpacking, and I highly recommend it. It is efficient, fairly lightweight, compact, and completely reliable. To date, it is my favorite piece of equipment I own, and I wouldn't consider trading it in for anything else. For optimal performance, consider getting the stabilizer to accompany it.

THINGS I LIKE

It is efficient.
It is lightweight
It is compact
It is reliable
It is relatively wind-proof
Push button ignition

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

It easily boils over

SIGNATURE

-Adam Rotche

Manufacturer Photo

Image provided by manufacturer

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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