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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Jetboil Sol Ti Advanced Cooking System > Test Report by Chad G Poindexter
I love backpacking! However, with only two years under my belt so far, I would still consider myself a little green to it all, so to say… Initially, I started out with heavy gear but since then I have gone lighter, although I still use a little of it all. I have gone from tent to tarp, canister stove to alcohol stove, sleeping bag to quilt and quite happily from synthetic to down. All of my hiking so far has been in the South East United States, and up to this point has been with friends or family.
The Jetboil Sol Ti Premium Cooking System (hereafter referred to as the "Jetboil" or the "Sol") is an all-in-one cooking system made with the solo hiker in mind (hence, the name Jetboil "Sol"). Jetboil has shaved ounces by including a small, thin and light cup made of titanium, as well as trimming down the plastic housing that surrounds the burner head. But that's not all! Jetboil has also incorporated their new Thermo-Regulate technology into the new Sol cook system which is stated to turn this cooking system into a "4-season upright canister cooking system!"
0.7 oz (19 g) ~ Drink-through lid, with pour spout and strainer (Bottom right corner)
3.8 oz (107 g) ~ 0.8L (27 fl oz) Flux Ring Titanium Cup (Top middle)
0.6 oz (17 g) ~ Neoprene Insulating Cozy with handle (Around cup)
1.2 oz (33 g) ~ Bottom cover which doubles as a bowl and a measuring cup (Top left corner)
3.5 oz (98 g) ~ Stove/Flame Burner Housing with a piezoelectric igniter (Top right corner)
1.3 oz (36 g) ~ Pot Support (Bottom left corner)
1 oz (28 g) ~ Fuel (Canister) Stabilizer (Bottom middle)
The Jetboil Sol arrived packaged inside a hard plastic container with all of the above listed items stowed away inside the Titanium Cup (in storage mode). There is a thin cardboard sleeve that fits around the Jetboil (inside the plastic container) with all the marketing information printed on it for easy viewing while hanging on a rack. As well, there are two sheets of instructions for using the Jetboil included inside the packaging (and fear not, the instructions are printed in 12 (twelve) different languages!) These instructions simply state how to assemble the Jetboil as well as how to fire the Jetboil up. However, the instructions are very specific as to what level of heat to use for different uses:
1) BOILING WATER: For fastest performance, use high heat when boiling liquid water.
2) MELTING SNOW OR ICE: When melting snow or ice use extreme caution. DO NOT pack snow into cup. To begin, add a small handful of loose snow or ice before lighting burner. If possible, add some water to the cup as well. Operate on a low setting until a visible amount of liquid water forms. If snow or ice doesn't immediately melt to cover the cup bottom with water, the cup may overheat and the fins may be damaged. Once there is a noticeable amount of water, follow normal instructions.
3) COOKING SOUPS OR OTHER FOODS: When cooking food, or heating anything other than water, use a low flame and stir frequently. If food burns to the bottom of the cup the cup may overheat and the fins may be damaged. Clean the cup after use to prevent residue from accumulating.
The Jetboil comes with the lid attached to the top, the bottom cover attached to the bottom and the insulating cozy wrapped around the cup. The stove, pot support and fuel stabilizer was found nested inside the cup. So, starting at the top...
The tinted lid is made of a somewhat hard, yet flexible plastic and actually has a slight rubbery feel to it. The lid features strainer holes, as well as a hole designed to either pour through or to drink through. The lip of the lid directly beneath this hole is slightly longer than the rest of the lip which should protect my bottom lip from being burned on the cup while drinking from. There is also a small tab found on the edge of the lip which makes removing the lid from the cup easier. The lid features and inner lip and an outer lip which allows the lid to securely clip onto the cup.
The titanium cup has a rolled lip at the top which not only strengthens the cup, but also allows the lid to securely lock onto the cup. There are indented markings for both millimeters (200, 300, 400, and 500) and ounces (8, 12 and 16) which are intended to be read from the inside, but can also be read on the outside of the cup if the insulating cozy is removed. And of course, found at the bottom of the cup is the famous Jetboil Flux Ring as well as the housing unit which actually locks the cup onto the stove. The housing unit also serves as a windscreen. The actual cup measures 4.5 in (11.5 cm) tall and the housing unit measures 1.25 in (3 cm) tall.
The 4 in (10 cm) tall neoprene insulating cozy is a sleeve which simply slides over the top of the cup and then covers nearly the entire cup wall. It is black on the inside and gray on the outside. There are a few things that are printed on the gray-colored side of the sleeve such as the Jetboil name and logo as well as "Sol TI". There is also a diagram of how to pack up the Jetboil and an illustration of which heat setting to use for boiling water (high heat), cooking foods (low heat) or melting snow. There is also a black handle which measures approximately 3.75 in (9.5 cm) long and 1.25 in (3 cm) wide. The handle is made of hypalon (which is a chlorosulfonated polyethylene (CSPE) synthetic rubber noted for its resistance to chemicals, temperature extremes, and ultraviolet light) and has the Jetboil flames printed on the front-side and warnings about only using the Jetboil outside due to the fact that the Jetboil produces Carbon Monoxide printed on the back-side of the handle.
The stove unit is the power-house of the Jetboil Sol. It consists of a housing unit on the top which seats and locks the cup securely into place, the actual stove with a wire-handled flame adjuster and the orange housing unit in which the stove itself is seated into. There is a "+" and a "-" sign on the stove which indicates which way to turn the handle to adjust the flame either higher or lower. There is also a push-button piezoelectric igniter found in the orange housing unit. As well, this is where Jetboils' Thermo-Regulator resides, which is stated to provide "consistent heat down to 20 F (-6 C)."
Included in the Jetboil Sol Ti Premium Cooking System is an optional pot support. This is a round metal plate with a hole in the center in which the stove's burner head fits into. There are 4 arms on the pot support which swivel 1/4 of a turn. To store the pot support inside the cup, I simply swivel the arms so that they are parallel with the pot support. To use the pot support, I swivel them out so that they are perpendicular to the pot support. By swinging the arms out, the pot support can then be locked onto the stove unit. Of course this piece is not necessary to use with the actual Jetboil system, however, the pot support allows other cook pots to be used with the Jetboil stove.
Found on the bottom of the Jetboil system is a plastic bottom cover. This cover can be removed and used as a bowl or a cup if so desired. It too has markings for both millimeters (100, 200, 300, and 400) and ounces (4, 6 and 8). There are 3 locking clips which are found on the top of this piece that lock onto the bottom of the housing unit on the cup which holds the bottom cover in place.
And last, but definitely not least, is the fuel stabilizer. This contraption folds up into the shape of a triangle for storage. To use, I simply fold out each of the legs. There are small rubber grips at the end of each of the three legs which provide a little more traction for those surfaces that may be a little wet or slippery. There are two sets of notches on each leg. The inner set of notches will fit a 4 oz (113 g) fuel canister and the outer notches will fit an 8 oz (227 g) canister.
Immediately, I was impressed with the overall size of the Jetboil Sol. I will say that when it is packed up, it is slightly larger than other cooking systems I use that are of the same volume, but this is due to the housing unit found on the bottom of the Jetboil cup. This simply makes the packed system a little longer, but not enough for me to be unhappy with the overall size.
After reading in the instructions of how heat can at times damage the fins and now seeing this, I am just a bit curious to see if this is a typical result from simply using the stove, or if this is a warning sign. I plan to contact Jetboil about this just to see what they say and will be sure to follow up with what they say in the field report for this test. Until then, I will continue to watch both the fins and the cook pot as well.
I really like the included pot support. This will allow my wife to carry another titanium cook pot I have as her cook pot/mug but still allow us to both use the Jetboil stove. So, I definitely look forward to seeing how well that set-up does.
The insulating cozy seemed to be quite thin and I had concerns as to how well it would actually keep the cup full of boiling water from burning my fingers, however, after an initial test burn, I found the sleeve to be adequate in keeping my fingers safe. I am not so sure that I will like the handle though as it is slightly small and will not work if held like a handle on a coffee mug. By doing this, the entire sleeve wants to slide right off the top of the cup which is not a good thing with a pot full of boiling hot water!
I immediately found that the piezoelectric igniter is not very reliable, so I will definitely be sure to have a back-up plan for lighting the stove in the field. Initially, I do attempt to light the stove using the piezoelectric igniter, but after time I get tired of listening to the fuel simply blowing out and wasting away.
The lid locks down good and tight which is great for transporting the Jetboil system in my backpack and eliminates the need for an additional stuff sack. On the other hand, I have found that simply laying the lid on top of the cup when actually heating water makes it much easier (and safer) to remove.
The last thing worth mentioning is the weight. According to Jetboil this unit is 8.5 oz (240 g), but this is only for the cup (with the insulating sleeve), lid and stove. Adding in the extras such as the fuel stabilizer and the measuring cup brings that weight up even more (obviously). Saying that, this system is not quite the lightest set-up for a cook system of this capacity. However, in this case it is the features, such as being compact and having such a quick boil time, that attempt to balance these scales. In light of this, in the next few months I look forward to seeing if the features of the Jetboil Sol will actually outweigh the actual weight of the system for me...
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Over the course of the last couple of months, I have carried the Jetboil Sol Ti Premium Cooking System on four day hikes and a single overnight hike. During these hikes I have used the Jetboil Sol 10 times in which I boiled water for meals, as well as boiled Ramen Noodles right in the pot. Of course though, I have also used the Jetboil numerous times at home, just because I enjoy watching it bring water to a boil...
I also carried the Jetboil Sol with me on an overnight trip along the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. I used the Jetboil to prepare both my dinner on the first night as well as breakfast the next morning. The elevation at which I prepared both of my meals is 2,949 ft (899 m). The temperature was approximately 85 F (29 C) when I prepared my dinner, and approximately 65 F (18 C) during breakfast.
HOW IT BOILS DOWN, THUS FAR
During these last couple of months, I have found that the Jetboil Sol has a few strong "ups," but also quite a few more notable "downs."
A few other notes worth mentioning...
One other thing worth noting...
Since our temperatures have been no lower than 60 F (33 C) since I received the stove (and will not likely be any where near freezing before this test series ends), I decided to mimic my own below-freezing temperatures so that I could see how well this Jetboil would perform in cold weather. Jetboil boasts that thanks to the thermo-regulator found in this system, this stove can properly function down to temperatures as low as 20 F (-6 C). So, I wanted to check it out the best way I knew how...
To do this I bought two brand new 3.5 oz (100 g) Jetboil Jetpower fuel canisters and stowed one in our refrigerator freezer over night and left the other one out at room temperature.
The next morning, I started with the canister that I left out at room temperature and used it to bring 2 cups (16 fl oz) of water to a boil. Using this canister, I was able to light the stove using the piezoelectric igniter, however, it did require about 15 strikes before the stove lit up. Once the stove was lit, I placed the cup with 2 cups (16 fl oz) of water on the stove and turned the flame adjuster knob all the way up so that the stove was on full-force! Then, at 1 minute and 48 seconds later the water was at a full rolling boil. I immediately turned the stove completely off, and reweighed the canister and found that the stove used 0.2 oz (5 g) of fuel to accomplish this boil.
Next, I grabbed the canister out of the freezer and tried to work fast so that the fuel canister would not warm up. I already had everything ready, so I quickly screwed the canister onto the stove and began pounding on the piezoelectric igniter. However, this time, I could not get the stove to light. Finally I gave up on the piezoelectric igniter and grabbed a match. Using a match, the stove sputtered into life. Then I immediately placed the cup with 2 cups (16 fl oz) of water on the stove and turned the flame adjuster knob all the way up again. Using this canister, the water came to a full rolling boil at 2 minutes and 16 seconds, at which time I immediately turned the stove off and reweighed the canister. During this boil the stove consumed 0.3 oz (7 g) of fuel.
THINGS I LIKE:
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During this phase I used the Jetboil cooking system 4 more times while on the trail. I carried it with me on 1 day hike (1 use for lunch), 1 overnight Cub Scout camping trip (2 uses for hot cocoa night and morning) and on 1 overnight trip that didn't quite make it all night long (1 use for dinner)...
Other than on these times, I also experimented with a few steam baking projects using the Jetboil (with various size pots) while at home.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
On both my day hike and the Cub Scout camping trip, I simply boiled water in the Jetboil Sol cook pot which I used for either my cocoa or for my just-add-water freezer bag meals. For these uses, the Jetboil continued to work the same as throughout the previous testing phases, meaning easy to use and quick to do its job. For the simple task of boiling water, the Jetboil has presented hardly any issues for me. The only real issue I have experienced during this process (throughout the entire testing process so far in fact) is simply placing and removing the pot from the pot support as it seems to stick rather than slide in and out smoothly.
Like I said, I let my son do all the work (of course though I watched over/assisted him as needed). He unpacked the system and attached the stove to the canister without any questions. I did have to show him how to open the legs on the pot support and attach it to the stove unit. Once this was completed, I let him continue on. He lit the stove with a few strikes from the piezoelectric igniter, set the cookpot on and got to cooking. Once the water came to a boil I helped him adjust the flame to bring the water to more of a simmer so that we could cook the noodles. (I say all of this to make a point at expressing at how easy it is to operate.)
This was the fourth time that I have used the Jetboil for actually cooking in. As mentioned above in my field report, when I was boiling my ramen noodles I had a hard time getting the flame low enough to simmer without completely going out. This time when my son cooked the noodles for our mac and cheese we experienced the same problem, although not quite as bad. Being that this cook pot is more than twice the size of the Jetboil Sol cook pot, the boil was a little more manageable, but not by much. Even with my son constantly stirring the noodles, some still managed to burn to the bottom of the cook pot.
When cooking the noodles, I had turned the stove down almost as far as I could without extinguishing the flame. However, as he cooked, I noticed that the flame on the stove was constantly getting lower and lower as if it were trying to die out, so I had to slightly turn it up a few times just to keep the stove lit while the noodles were cooking. As I said above, the temperature when we cooked was around 80 F (26 C) and the canister I was using was still half full so I am not sure why the stove was doing this.
I also gave the Jetboil a run at steam baking. I did a few tests here at home (outside of course) and we had planned on steam baking some just-add-water muffins for breakfast on our near overnight trip. For the first at-home test I used the Jetboil Sol cook pot and the pot support. I flipped the pot support upside down and placed it in the bottom of the Jetboil Sol pot and then filled it with water up to the pot support. I mixed the muffin mix with water inside a Ziploc bag and then set the entire bag inside the Jetboil Sol on top of the pot support. Next, I put the lid on the pot and fired up the Jetboil. I set it at the very lowest flame setting that I could manage without the flame going out, but I had to constantly monitor the flame and make slight adjustments to keep the flame going. I managed to keep everything going for approximately 15 minutes, however, as I removed the pot from the stove system the very last bit of water was evaporating inside the pot. Once I realized this I was quick to act to remove the contents and to cool off the Jetboil Sol cook pot. Thankfully none of the fins were damaged, but there is a slight burnt look to the bottom of the pot now as well as some small burnt looking spots inside the pot. However, from what I can tell so far, it has not affected the way that the stove or the pot works, but rather, just some cosmetic damages...
After this I decided to try a larger cook pot so that I could add more water and theoretically provide a longer cook time. For this I attached the pot support to the stove and used my 1.8 L (61 fl oz) cook pot. I used some rocks from my drive way to line the bottom of the pot and to provide support for the bag of muffin mix to sit on. Then I filled the pot with water just to the top of the rocks and repeated the process of maintaining a low flame for approximately the next 19 minutes. In the end, the muffins were done but maintaining the flame proved to be a long and tiring process.
So, at this point I have found that while the Jetboil does a wonderful job at boiling water, I am not so happy with it to use to actually cook with. The stove has worked very well for me when I need to turn it up and use the flame on a high setting, but the low settings are not low enough, and even so, the flame is way to finicky.
A few other things from my field report:
The lid still has the film over it but not as bad as before. I continue to scrub the pot and lid down with hot soapy water once I return from a trip or after using it, so maybe it is just taking some time to be gone...
Sometimes it takes a bit of patience, and effort, but the piezoelectric igniter has worked most of the time. It did not work when I used a canister that I had in the freezer and it did not work when I boiled ramen noodles. When boiling the ramen noodles water boiled over and made it's way down onto the stove, and on the igniter.
I have not found the hypalon handle to be very effective. It gets quite hot when using the stove and it cannot be used to support or lift the pot. I feel like the handle would be better off left off. The insulating sleeve has provided adequate protection from a pot of boiling water, as well, I have found it easier to just pick up/hold the pot by gripping around the insulating sleeve rather than the handle. And of course, by leaving off the handle, it would also be lighter!
Speaking of the insulating sleeve, after the ramen noodles boiled over and "soiled" the sleeve, I washed it once in warm soapy water. Immediately, the gray outer cover started separating from the black inner. I let the sleeve dry and have decided that to keep the sleeve from completely separating I will not do this again. Since then I just run it under some running water and then squeeze the water out and let it dry. To date, the layers are still separated some and would not take much effort to completely separate.
The Jetboil Sol cooking system has proven to be very fun system to use. In the end there are things that I like and things that I do not like. And while I definitely plan on hanging on to it and using it again on occasion, it has not given me reason to replace my alcohol systems as a full time cooking system.
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