JETBOIL SOL TI PREMIUM COOKING SYSTEM
TEST SERIES BY BRETT HAYDIN
INITIAL REPORT - May 26, 2011
FIELD REPORT - August 09, 2011
LONG TERM REPORT - October 11, 2011
bhaydin AT hotmail DOT com
Salida, CO, USA
5' 11" (1.80 m)
200 lb (90.70 kg)
42 in (107 cm)
36 in (91 cm)
I started backpacking in Wisconsin as a youth, being involved in the Boy Scouts programs. As a young adult, I worked at a summer camp leading backpacking, canoeing and mountain biking trips. I now generally take short weekend or day trips in rough, mountainous terrain, although I have extensive experience in the upper Midwest as well. I take one or two longer trips each year, where I typically carry about 40 lb (18 kg). I prefer to be prepared and comfortable, but I have taken lightweight trips as well.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Jetboil Inc
|Image courtesy of manufacturer|
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: www.jetboil.com
MSRP: US$ 149.95
Listed Weight: 8.5 oz (240 g)
Note: Listed weight does not include pot support, fuel stabilizer and measuring cup
Measured Weight: 8.8 oz (249 g)
Weight with all components: 12.1 oz (343 g)
Volume: 27 oz (0.8 Liter)
Listed Dimensions: 4.1” x 6.5” (104 mm x 165 mm)
Other details provided by manufacturer:
- Jetboil Thermo-Regulate™ technology - consistent heat down to 20° F (-6° C)
- 0.8 Liter Titanium FluxRing® cup
- Insulating Cozy
- Convenient, reliable push-button igniter
- Pot support and Stabilizer tripod included
- Drink-through lid with pour spout & strainer
- Bottom cover doubles as a bowl and measuring cup
- Compatible with all Jetboil accessories
The Jetboil Sol Ti Premium Cooking System is a compact and lightweight cooking system that the manufacturer claims is suitable for four seasons. The Sol Ti contains the stove, pot and cup all in one unit. I will need to provide the fuel canister and utensils of course! Included in the system are the stove, a canister stand, a pot stand, the "cup", a bottom cover and a top lid. When packed up, everything fits neatly, if not snugly, inside the cup.
The cup is what the manufacturer refers to as the pot in which the bulk of my cooking will take place in. The cup has a 27 oz (0.8 Liter) capacity, which is just fine for my solo hiking needs. The cup is constructed of titanium, making it strong and lightweight. It stands just under 6 in (15 cm) and has a diameter of 3.75 in (9.5 cm). On the bottom of the cup is a metal guard with cutouts in them. When used with the stove, this allows the cup to sit securely. When I look at the bottom of the cup I see a circle of raised folds attached to the cup. The manufacturer refers to these as "fans" that assist with the distribution of heat. The image to the left shows the fan.
|Bottom view of cup|
The cup has a neoprene sleeve with a handle that insulates it. This should allow me to grab the cup even with boiling water in it. The handle has some warnings printed on the inside and safety information telling me to use the stove outdoors only. Inside the cup, there are markings for measuring by 100 ml and by 4 oz. This will be especially convenient for preparing dehydrated foods!
The cup has a bottom cover made of hard plastic. Besides protecting the fans and bottom of the cup, I find it suitable to drink from as well or as a bowl. The cover also has markings imbedded in the sides, although at 50 ml and 2 oz increments. The top cover is a more flexible plastic and fits snugly on the top. It has small holes on one side that serve as a strainer and another larger hole on the other that I can sip out of. Right in the middle, there is a small hole. I do have the coffee press accessory and this hole allows me to use it with the Sol Ti!
The stove part of the system is a little more complicated to describe, but here goes. The stove screws onto a canister. Where the stove and canister meet is an o-ring that should be inspected prior to use. There is a valve to regulate the heat and the handle flips out to use (or in for storage). There is an orange plastic casing that holds an ignition switch. No more hoping that I brought matches or a lighter! The gas comes out a disk with small holes in it on the top of the stove. There is a white plastic tube sticking up from the disk that is the igniter. When I press the igniter switch, I can see a small spark fire from a wire coming out of this tube.
There is an aluminum housing that the cup sits in when cooking. When in use, this helps keep the whole unit secure. Also included in the system is a pot stand that is independent of the cup set up. The Jetboil Sol Ti can be used with other products and the pot stand is compatible with other pots and pans Jetboil sells. If I don't need it, I can leave it at home! The pot stand is a disc with four raised "legs." The legs fold out and then sit on top of the stove's aluminum casing thanks to slots cut into the legs. Once slotted on the stove, a small turn secures the two for use.
The canisters are sold separately and come in several sizes. The 3.53 oz (100 g) size fits inside the Sol Ti, but other sizes are compatible as well. The system includes an orange plastic stabilizer. It is triangular in shape and has legs that fold out. There are slots molded into the legs that fit onto the Jetboil fuel canisters. I have an MSR canister and the canister fits onto that as well.
|Various parts laid out|
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The Sol Ti comes with instructions in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and seven others! The instructions for assembly were straight forward and easy to follow. There was also a quick start guide in the same languages. This guide is specific to the Sol Ti (the other was for all Sol systems) and has recommendations for melting snow, boiling water and cooking foods/soups.
The website has a wealth of information on it. Not only are there more images, but the website provides more information about the technologies used. The company developed a proprietary system to allow the stove to work effectively down to temperatures of 20 F (-6 C). This will be great since temperatures in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are still quite cold overnight. Waking up and making a pot of coffee may have gotten easier for me!
TRYING IT OUT
I have several upcoming trips to test out the Sol Ti, but I do like to test out new gear at home to work out any tricks before I am in the field. Assembling the stove was intuitive even without the instructions. Starting the stove was a little more difficult than I thought it would be. It took several tries to find the right level of gas to have the ignition switch work, but once I did the stove worked great.
I filled the cup to 500 ml (17 oz) and started the stove up. It took 2 minutes and 6 seconds to boil the water at 7,400 ft (2,260 m) where I live. Grasping the cup, the cover kept my hands from the heat and it was easy to handle. I think this system should work fine in the field!
The Sol Ti is a sharp looking system for cooking. It is compact, lightweight and easy to use. Because this system is smaller, some of the accessories I own will not store in the unit itself. The tradeoff is a smaller, lighter unit.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Since receiving the JetBoil Sol Ti, I have taken the stove on four backpacking and/or car camping trips. My first trip was a three day trip to the Goblin Valley State Park area in Utah. While the temperatures were warm and the sun was plentiful, the wind was incredibly outrageous. We ended up hiking in some slot canyons to try and escape the wind, which was successful, but relaxing at our campsite it was again miserable when we were exposed. In all, I hiked about 20 mi (32 km). I used the stove for coffee and breakfast in the mornings.
Another trip was an overnight to the San Juan National Forest in Colorado to hike Redcloud and Sunshine Peaks. I encountered snow a little earlier along the route than I expected but managed to find a good spot to camp in the trees. Temperatures were from 35 to 50 F (2 to 10 C) and clear skies. Other than the hike in, I was on snow for much of the 12 mi (19 km) hike. I ate dinner and breakfast with the stove.
|Pasta for dinner|
Next, I took a three-day hike in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness in southern Colorado. I set up a base camp at 11,700 ft (3,570 m) and hiked a couple of peaks from there. My total mileage for the weekend was 25 mi (40 km) along a mix of snow (crampons used), scree, tundra and subalpine terrain. There was a lot of class 3 scrambling as well. Temperatures were between 35 and 75 F (2 and 24 C). It was sunny with small amounts of rain at times. I cooked four meals with the Sol on this trip.
My last trip was a five night car camping trip in Salt Lake City, Utah. My family attended a trade show in town but camped at a campground. Temperatures were quite warm; 55 to 90 F (13 to 32 C) with only one rain storm. I primarily used the stove to make coffee, but I did make one meal using the pot attachment, pictured at right.
I also took the stove on one day hike ascending a peak. I used the stove to cook a lunch midway through the hike.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Overall I have found the Sol to exceed all my expectations. It wasn't without a learning curve, but more about that in a bit. Up until now, I have used the Sol primarily in conjunction with dehydrated meals. To me, the stove is exceptionally well suited to this style of cooking. Between the pot and the bowl, I have every combination of measurements I have needed to rehydrate meals. Because the water boils quickly, I can also make a hot drink while I wait for my meals to "cook."
So far, the Sol has proven reliable at quickly boiling water. My average time has been 2 minutes and 5 seconds, but I have boiled water in as little as 1 minute and 42 seconds at 11,800 ft (3,600 m). Even in cold weather, as low as 35 F (2 C), the Sol boils water in about 2 minutes. I haven't had to use the stove in extreme winds, so I cannot comment on its performance there. One thing I have noticed is that even if I fill the stove up to the top line, the water will boil over if I am not watching. When the water boils over, it is difficult to turn the stove off without getting splashed, unless the water extinguishes the flames first. In either case, I find it is best to pay close attention at about 1 1/2 minutes!
The piezoelectric starter was a little problematic early on for me. I found it extremely difficult to rely on it to start my stove; at times it took a dozen tries before I could get an ignition. It was on my last trip that I finally managed to get it down. I happened to talk to a Jetboil staff member and described my challenges. He explained to me that there is a "perfect orientation" of the wiring that ensures near perfect reliability. First, the wire should be pointed towards the center. Second, he told me I could bend the wire up or down to find a reliable distance; he assured me it shouldn't break if I am careful. In any case, there is extra wire I can pull through if it does. When I went back into camp, I inspected my wire and sure enough, it was skewed to one side. Once I pointed it dead center, it has been a one-click-start every time!
While most of my meals have been rehydrated, this has not been the only duty! I have also used the Sol to make pasta for my family (tortellini) as well as a chicken pot pie recipe I found. With the pasta, I had to use a larger pot then the Sol comes with. Thanks to the enclosed pot support, I was able to boil the water and cook the tortellini perfectly. The pot pie recipe was cooked in the included pot and involved simmering and temperature control over a 10 minute period. I found the stove easy to operate in this regard. Finally, I also used the Sol to heat a ready to eat sandwich for lunch. They taste better warm and since the stove is light I thought I would experiment. The image to the left shows the stove heating the package. Other than some water spilling over, the experiment was a success!
|Ready to eat and hot sandwiches!|
The stove has remained quite stable thanks to the stabilizer tripod. The legs make it easier for me to find a spot to perch the stove on. I really appreciated the support when I cooked the pasta, where the pot was full to the brim!
I do want to mention that I did purchase the utensil kit and the coffee press. The coffee press is not listed as compatible, but while I was at a local retail store, I experimented with it and thought I would give it a try. It is possible to use the coffee press; the diameter of the press aligns with the diameter of the pot. However, the aluminum stay is just a bit too long for the Sol. This makes it difficult to drink from, unless I bring along an extra cup. So while not listed as compatible, I am able to make it work and enjoy fresh coffee in the mornings! Also, the utensils work great with the Sol. The spoon and spatula can reach into the corners to scrape out the last morsels.
Finally, I do want to mention that the packability and light weight of the system has really made my backpacking experience easier. Having all of the components in one place - pot, stove and fuel - is a real plus in my book. It was so convenient that I took the Sol on a day hike for a warm lunch!
I am really enjoying the Jetboil Sol Ti as my primary stove over the past two months. The stove fits my style of cooking and I have even started to experiment with new meals.
Things I love:
- Packs light and compact
- Quickly and reliably boils water
- Piezoelectric lighter has actually become reliable for me
- Easy to clean and keep clean.
Things I don't:
- Water boils over the pot lid quickly after reaching boiling point.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Since my last report I have used the Sol on three more backpacking trips. This has resulted in an additional three more nights of backpacking use for a total of thirteen nights and nineteen days. Collectively, I cooked twenty one meals with my stove.
For my first trip, I took an overnight trip to the Mt Massive Wilderness in Colorado to hike to the top of this 14,421 ft (4,396 m) peak. Conditions were below average for the summer with overnight lows of 40 F (4 C) and highs at about 65 F (18 C). It was quite windy at times, and there was also a slow drizzle for most of my hike down to camp and then out to my car. The round trip took me 14 mi (23 km) through subalpine forests and rocky summits.
Next, I made a quick overnight on Mt Huron in the San Isabel National Forest. My friends and I camped just under 12,000 ft (3,660 m) with clear skies and temperatures dipping to 35 F (2 C). Again, there was varied clear terrain in forests and over rocks, but this time there was ice to hike on in the morning. This trip was shorter at 6.75 mi (10.9 km).
Finally, I took a trip to Mt. Columbia in the San Isabel National Forest. I camped at about 10,500 ft (3,200 m) near an alpine lake. Morning temperatures dipped to 20 F (-7 C) and the daytime high was about 50 F (10 C). There were some strong winds at times with a mix of clear and cloudy skies. There was a small amount of snow where I camped, but the trails had slightly more accumulation.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Jetboil Sol Ti has performed flawlessly the past two months. Now that I have mastered the piezoelectric starter, the stove starts reliably without a match. Even on a brisk 20 F (-7 C) morning the stove started right away and I had water boiling for coffee in just over two and a half minutes.
I have continued to experiment with various recipes that I could modify for the Sol. Of course, mac and cheese was easy but I have also cooked a stew, several pastas and a chili recipe. One thing that I did notice over the past two months is that the neoprene coozie does not fully protect my bare hand. I was never burned from the pot, but the pot did get uncomfortably hot while I was cooking the stew. To remedy this, I simply put on a glove and everything worked out alright.
The temperature is very easy to control with this system. I found that while cooking various meals, simmering was possible. Other stoves I own are difficult to adjust, but with this stove I found it simple to play with.
I am really glad that I purchased the utensil kit separately. I mentioned in my field test that the utensils do a great job of reaching into the corners. I came to appreciate this more over the testing period when I couldn't find them and used a substitute. When it comes to cleaning the stove, the utensils are a great addition to have! Cleaning the stove is really easy regardless.
I have used the fuel canister I first purchased and still have some left in my second. Because the stove is so efficient, I have found I don't need as much fuel as I would normally carry. Depending on my meal plan, I can also save weight by using the bowl as well.
Despite being packed, stacked and dropped, the system is in great shape. There are no cracks, chips or other signs of wear. The neoprene coozie has a few stains, but overall is in great shape.
I have really enjoyed the Sol Ti cooking system. Since I generally hike in small groups or solo, this has been the perfect fit for my backpacking needs.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
Things I love:
- Compact and lightweight
- Fast boil times
- Temperature control is great
- Markings on containers are quite helpful!
Things I don't:
- The neoprene coozie is a bit thin
This concludes my report for the Jetboil Sol Ti Premium Cooking System. I would like to take the opportunity to express my sincere thanks to Jetboil for their generosity as well as the folks at BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to be a part of this series.
Read more reviews of Jetboil gear
Read more gear reviews by Brett Haydin