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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Jetboil Personal Cooking System > Owner Review by Jeremy R. Laporte

JETBOIL PERSONAL COOKING SYSTEM
BY JEREMY R. LAPORTE
OWNER REVIEW
January 15, 2009

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Jeremy R. Laporte
EMAIL: jeremyrlaporteATjeremyrlaporteDOTcom
AGE: 27
LOCATION: Idaho Falls, Idaho, U.S.A.
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 163 lb (73.90 kg)

I grew up in France by the sea, camping and backpacking for as long as I can remember. Three years ago I moved to Idaho U.S.A. discovering new environments: wilderness, arid lands, forest, mountain, and snow. I also started to learn rock climbing, ice climbing and mountaineering. Because of many contacts I had with the military I thought they had the best gear available but I recently befriended some hikers and became aware of lightweight backpacking. I'm slowly migrating to that style and learning more about the various environments surrounding me.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: JetBoil
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Year of Purchase: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.jetboil.com
MSRP: US$ 99.95
Listed Weight: 15 oz (425 g)
Measured Weight: 15 oz (425 g) without gas canister and accessories

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

Manufacturer description:
"The Personal Cooking System (PCS) is a complete food and beverage multi-tool you can hold in your hand and weighs about a pound. Lights with the click of a button, and within two minutes you’ve got two cups of boiling water ready for coffee or a quick meal. Pack components, fuel and accessories into the Nalgene-sized cup for convenient transport.

•1.0 Liter FluxRing® cooking cup with insulating Cargo Cozy
•Adjustable burner with push-button igniter
•Insulating drink-through lid
•Insulating measuring cup bottom
•Fuel sold separately "


The Personal Cooking System (PCS) comes with the following elements:

PCS Components



Burner Base: The burner itself which is attached to a proprietary isobutane/propane gas can. It has a piezo igniter to start the stove without matches or a lighter and a button to regulate the flow of gas and the cooking.

Cooking cup: Aluminum 1 liter (1 US quart) cup with 2 cups (500 ml) level graduation inside. Interior dimensions are 3.75 in diameter x 9 in (9.5 x 22.9 cm), exterior dimensions are 4.1 in diameter x 7.1 in (10.4 x 18 cm). Neoprene (black) cozy sleeve for insulation, 1/8 in (3 mm) thick. FluxRing™ which is a heat exchanger.
Please note that even though the cooking cup has a capacity of 1 liter or about 4 cups, the manufacturer recommends not to fill it up over the 2 cup (500 ml, 0.5 liter) line to avoid boiling over.

Lid: made of plastic, has a hole to let the steam get out and a sipper hole.

Cup: This item has two uses. During storage it goes at the bottom of the cooking cup to protect the FluxRing™. During cooking it can be use as a drinking / measuring cup with a 1 cup level graduation inside (250 ml).

The burner base goes on the gas canister, the cooking cup slides on the burner base and the lid goes on the cooking cup once the liquid is in it.

Ready to boil water
Ready to boil water



For storage the burner base and the gas canister go inside the cooking cup while the lid closes the top of the cooking cup and the cup goes at the bottom of the cooking cup to protect it.

Stored PCS
The stored PCS

FIELD USE

Location: Mountains of Eastern Idaho
Location description: Mountain, snow, forest
Weather condition: snow storm -30 F (-34 C) to summer weather 90 F (32 C)
Altitude 5000 ft (1500 m) to 13,000 ft (3,900 m)

Because of the cup the PCS is mostly used to boil water. It does this really fast and according to the manufacturer consumes less gas than other stoves. I use the stove whenever I go on day hikes or longer. It is great to prepare a hot drink or to boil water for a freeze-dried meal. Many freeze-dried or dehydrated meals call two cups of water so I just have to pour the water in the cooking cup up to the 2 cup line, boil it and then pour it in the foil pouch, and put the pouch in the cooking cup to get a hot meal quickly and without burning my fingers.

Once I poured a can of stew in the cooking cup but the stew was so thick that it was cooked at the bottom of the cup but not at the top.

I tried once to cook on a metal plate which is not normally possible because the piezo igniter prevents putting a flat plate on top of it but my plate had a weird shape so I was able to put it on the stove. It was not a really good idea because the plate was sitting on the burner and became red hot and the piezo didn't like it either. When I bought the stove I noticed a little crack in the plastic covering the piezo but it was not a problem until I tried putting the plate on the stove. The heat may have cracked the plastic even more and after that the spark was occurring in the middle of the piezo instead of the top so I had to use matches to start my stove the rest of the trip. Back in town I bought a JetBoil's PCS repair kit (which included piezo and O-ring) and replaced the piezo. I also bought JetBoil's pot support and stabilizer accessory kit: it includes a plastic stabilizer which clips at the bottom of the gas canister and a pot support in aluminum which goes over the burner so pots and other mugs can be used as cooking vessels, as on a regular stove.

The stove with accessories
PCS with some accessories



I got to use the stove in high altitude and in cold conditions and haven't had much problem with it. Sometime the stove is noisy with a loud roar. The only issue I had with it was the last time I used it, a few weeks ago. I was snowshoeing at about 6,000 ft (1900 m) in a snow storm, it was extremely windy and cold. I stopped for lunch and prepared everything to boil my water. I tried to protect the stove by putting it close to some boulders and putting backpacks around it to cut the wind. I could start the stove without any problems but one or two seconds later the flame would die while the gas kept flowing out. At first, I thought my canister was almost empty but it was not the case. I ended up having to hold the whole PCS by the sleeve and surprisingly by holding the stove in the wind without protection from the elements I was able to boil a total of 6 cups of water in a short amount of time.

Also I used a spork to eat inside the cup once and it scratches the aluminum. Finally the bottom of the gas canister rusted a little bit because of humidity inside the cup while the PCS was stored and left a rust circle at the bottom of the cup.

SUMMARY

I'm very happy with the stove, it doesn't take too much room in my backpack, is not too heavy (even if some other models are lighter) and is great to prepare quickly water for a hot drink or freeze-dried food. The Cozy sleeve allows me to hold my cup even with boiling water inside without burning my hands and the lid helps keeping the liquid hot and I'm able to drink it without making a mess.

The stove is not really made for anything other than liquids. Accessories that must be purchased separately are needed to use the PCS for anything except boiling liquids. I rarely use my PCS that way.

The PCS is a good stove but it's a niche product. There are lighter weight stoves if I want to go light, if I want to really cook food the cup is not appropriate and needs to have accessories or a bigger stove. But if I just want to boil water extremely fast, that I care for the room in my pack but not too much on the weight, then the PCS is the answer.

THINGS I LIKE

Ease of use
Self-contained
Boils water very fast
Piezo ignition

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

Difficult to know when a gas canister is running low (this is a problem with most canister gas stoves though)
Needs accessories to use something other than the cup
Cup scratches easily
Canister rusts
Not made for any kind of cooking except boiling

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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