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Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 – Overview and Performance Evaluation
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 – Overview and Performance Evaluation on 09/20/2011 15:57:04 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 – Overview and Performance Evaluation

christopher reeves
(ionstram) - F
Wow - now THIS is how a write-up should be done! on 09/20/2011 19:11:01 MDT Print View

Good grief - helluva write-up. This will take a while to digest. A few paragraphs in I thought to myself "This guy must be an engineer or a scientist" - so I googled his name. Sure enough, phd in biochemistry. . .

Talk about an over-engineered gear review. :)

Seriously - thanks for taking the time to do such a thorough article. MUCH appreciated.

christopher reeves
(ionstram) - F
How many hours did it take you to write this???? on 09/20/2011 19:16:09 MDT Print View

Good grief - how much time did you guys put into this article? This reminds me of the lab reports I had to produce in my undergraduate basic science classes - and those write-ups took dozens of hours.

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
gnat on 09/20/2011 20:12:11 MDT Print View

so if you need to boil 15 pints or less the gnat is a clear winner

my setup is :

gnat 48g
pot evernew eca266 55 g
aluminium foil lid 1g
titanium foil windscreen 8g
100g cartridge : 200ish g depends of brand

total 312g

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Good review on 09/20/2011 20:36:56 MDT Print View

Hi Will and Janet,

Thanks for a very comprehensive Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems review, I enjoyed reading it.

A funny thing is that two days ago, I posted a similar but much shorter and less professional review of the JetBoil PCS an GCS systems in windy conditions on the Australian forum my review can be found here

I found a similar results in windy conditions with the PCS system but the GSC pot with no windscreen it was a different story.

I would love to have those stoves to test.


Edited by tbeasley on 09/20/2011 20:37:51 MDT.

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
How long to boil 1.5L in standard test? on 09/20/2011 22:49:00 MDT Print View

Awesome article! Any chance you can time the Jetboil Sol burner + Sumo Cup boiling 1.5L in the standard warm/calm or warm/windy test? It looks like there was only 184 seconds from melted snow to boiling. I'm betting the standard test would be even faster.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Jetboil SOL Ti on 09/20/2011 23:48:51 MDT Print View

The Jetboil SOL Ti offers significant advantages over the Gnat, or another lightweight system.

The advantages aren't clear until you use the system.

I think its greatest advantage is the simplicity of the setup, and the aesthetic of its integrated pieces.

Obviously there are practical advantages as well.

In a trek to the Canadian Rockies this summer, my partner and I shared it for a week of foul weather. We boiled 30 pots of water on a single 100g fuel canister in conditions that averaged 45 degrees, windy, and rainy. Not fooling around with windscreens, and otherwise waiting long times for water to boil was great.

For the ease and efficiency of our system (8.5 oz of hardware and 6.5 oz of fuel + 2 oz each for a mug, bowl, and spoon), it was hard to beat for a 2-man cook kit.

On 7/23 I posted to my Twitter account after I returned from Canada: "...The stove I always hoped Jetboil would make. A fantastic burner for one or two alpinists."

I was excited to see Will's data validate my field experience.

Really, give this little stove a try. It's phenomenal.

And, when you compare it to a setup required for 2 people to share an alcohol, or Esbit stove for 30x0.7L pots of water (esp. in cold, wet, windy weather)'s almost hard to justify any other method of hydrocarbon cooking on efficiency, or ease of use considerations at least.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
But Carbon Monoxide hazards? on 09/21/2011 01:05:11 MDT Print View

Great article Will!

I agree the Reactor is FAST, and the Jetboils are efficient, but you would not want to use the Reactor in the vestibule of a tent in bad weather imho. But maybe I am paranoid?


Roman Vazhnov
(joarr) - MLife

Locale: Russia
Sumo Ti on 09/21/2011 01:32:53 MDT Print View

Great article! But what about Jetboil Sumo Ti, which should weight 12 oz with 1,8L volume?

Edited by joarr on 09/21/2011 01:34:37 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
boil boil bubble trouble on 09/21/2011 03:26:20 MDT Print View

maybe the jetboil h8ters will vanish now ... i resigned up for the site just for this article ... stellar

i believe someone calculated the sol AL is only 1 oz or so heavier than the Ti once everything is added up at a cheaper cost

some bum named ueli using an old school jetboil in the himalayas at bivies ... he is supposedly a gram counter ... there must be a reason ... maybe the lack of oxygen has his brain addled ;)

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Jetboil SOL Ti on 09/21/2011 04:03:20 MDT Print View

"The Jetboil SOL Ti offers significant advantages over the Gnat, or another lightweight system."

Well, depending on the circumstances.
If you are using a tarp and have no protection from wind then an integrated stove has a clear advantage.
However if you are using a tent, then you have a sheltered vestibule in which to cook and a conventional stove is fine, no windshield required.

I use a Gnat (in a tent vestibule) which in winter I pair up with a MYOG remote canister adapter and in this configuration it will work at much lower temps than any canister-top stove.

Gnat on stand in snow

I'm not a Jetboil 'hater', it's horses for courses.

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Choose the right fuel on 09/21/2011 06:11:00 MDT Print View

"If a canister containing n-butane is used below that temperature (31.1F or -0.3°C), the n-butane simply does not volatilize and stays as a liquid in the canister."

NOT TRUE: the proportion of n-butane to propane (or iso-butane) in the gas mixture changes very little at different temperatures. A canister that contains 70% n-butane/30% propane by weight will give off a gas mixture that is 30-35% n-butane at all practical temperatures. Read BPL article "The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters". It is mainly the pressure that is affected by temperature.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
stoves! on 09/21/2011 08:59:23 MDT Print View

Epic nerdiness. Love it. And extremely useful.

Any reason a Jetboil couldn't be mated with a Brunton stove stand for remote, inverted canister use? I need a good snow melter and am over white gas.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: inverted Jetboil/remote canister on 09/21/2011 09:47:41 MDT Print View

Here's a great read on Jetboil stoves with adapters posted on another thread:

The short answer is no-- there is no preheat tube, so you get flares and dangerous operation.

John Coyle

Locale: NorCal
Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems on 09/21/2011 09:50:35 MDT Print View

Articles like this are why I have a subscription to BPL. Good job Will and Janet.

I bought the original JetBoil when they first came out. I found it fast, wind resistant and efficient, but a little too heavy for my taste.

I don't like conventional sit on top canister systems due to poor performance in wind and instability.

I settled on the Caldera Cone Sidewinder for the .9L Evernew/REI pot as my "go to" cooking system, but you have my attention with these new integrated stoves.

Brad Walker

Locale: SoCal
Mix/match on 09/21/2011 10:24:20 MDT Print View

What happens if you plop a Jetboil pot on top of the Gnat?

Jason Livingston
Awesome Article... on 09/21/2011 10:25:32 MDT Print View

I loved the article. I think it was a fair look at the current state of the integrated canister stoves on the market.

My only beef would be the amount of wind speed used in the test. You tested the stoves at only 5 mph. In my backpacking experience, especially in the mountains, I usually am dealing with 10-40 mph winds. My understanding is that as the winds pick up, so does the loss of efficiency. Again, in my experience, this is where the Reactor shines due to its ability to be near completely wind resistant (except for the radiant heat loss coming off the pot). This could account for the more fuel being used by the Jet Boil when compared to Reactor as more wind is introduced, correct?

Thanks for the effort you put in to this test. It was an excellent read!

Edited by jasonlivy on 06/06/2012 13:55:26 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Stoves, convenience and weight on 09/21/2011 10:52:14 MDT Print View

Great write up, going where the rest of us don't have the time and resources to even get close to comparisons like this.

I've been through a gamut of stove and fuel comparisons in the last year. Stove/fuel choices strike me much like sleeping pad choices--- a matter of comfort and convenience for the weight and how much you are willing to put up with.

My personal gamut from light to heavy:

An Esbit titanium wing stove and an Evernew 450ml titanium mug with some aluminum roaster pan sections for lid and windscreen. Okay for a hot drink and some hot water for instant oatmeal or soup mix. Boiling isn't necessary, just hot water. This is the lightest and most compact in my gear locker. Easy to use in moderate conditions for day hikes or Spartan overnight trips.

Alcohol stove with aluminum flashing windscreen and MSR Titan Kettle ti pot. A step up to a more practical stove for boiling water. I've pretty much given up on alcohol stoves because of the weak flame and fiddling with wind screens and liquid fuel. Still a good choice when considering weight. If I were to go with alcohol for a primary stove, the Caldera Cone would be my choice. The Rube Goldberg pop-can-and-tin-foil stove setups are just weak.

Butane canister stove and ti pot. Having lived with Esbit and alcohol stoves, I have come to live with the extra weight of a canister stove for the convenience provided. After then end of a long day on the trail, I want to get dinner going. Likewise getting breakfast in the morning: I want my coffee! All said and done, the small light little blowtorch stoves crank out the hot water. Some are more conducive to gourmet cooking, which I don't practice. IMHO, canister stoves are great for groups where fuel carrying can be shared with no extra containers to buy and they crank out lots of hot water in a hurry. Watching four people stand around waiting for a meal or morning coffee while an Esbit or alcohol stove isn't pretty. I have a Coleman F1 stove that has served me well for years. It boils a liter in about 3 minutes and it fits in my Titan Kettle with a canister and lighter. If the F1 needed to be replaced today, the Soto micro regulator looks like the best choice to me.

Jetboil Flash. I have to say I have never used a more convenient stove: screw the canister on, add pot with water, push the igniter, and away you go. It is stable and quick. I did discover the boil-over/control valve issue: if it boils over, getting the bayonet locked pot off the stove with hot water is not a good option and getting to the control valve handle with boiling water cascading down the side is just slightly less adventurous. Using less water is the manufacturer's recommendation, or you better keep a close eye on the progress of hot water. It does have the color-change temperature indicator on the side of the cozy. All in all, you get the convenience and efficiency of a coordinated system. Surprisingly, the Flash isn't more expensive than buying a good quality pot and stove.

The one thing that annoyed me about the Flash design is that the igniter sticks up above the edge of the pot mounting flange, so you need to be careful with packing. You can't stash the stove with the burner head upside down in the pot or the igniter would be damaged. I put the folding stove base on top of the burner head to protect the igniter. I would always have an alternate means of lighting the stove with any piezoelectric setup. Other than that, it is a big package and it isn't the lightest option.

So the Jetboil looks like a keeper for group outings. I think it is too big and heavy for solo use and I'll continue with my F1 burner and pot combo when I go alone. Most of my trips are overnighters, so I don't need extreme fuel efficiency and space is a consideration.

Edited by dwambaugh on 09/27/2011 20:24:38 MDT.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 – Overview and Performance Evaluation on 09/21/2011 11:14:43 MDT Print View

Excellent report!

Not that I will use these often. But I can see them being useful between 10 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit. For frigid temps below that I'll stick with my MSR Windpro so that I can invert the canister.

I've discovered that I like wood stoves now. I think they are fun. But if I don't want to bother with wood, my alky stoves are convenient and much a lighter system for my weekend hikes.

But I agree; these systems have evolved to the point that they should be considered.

Edited by mad777 on 09/21/2011 11:17:00 MDT.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Wood Stove and JetBoil on the same trip on 09/21/2011 11:25:44 MDT Print View

I too like heating water on a wood stove. On a trip this past May there were four of us. I used my Antig Outdoors wood stove to heat my water and the other guys used a JetBoil Flash. Obviously their water boiled long before mine did. All you have to do is to start with the wood stove about 8 minutes before they fire up the JetBoil and you can all eat together.

I don't do anything hot for breakfast but the other guys do and that's where the convenience of the JetBoil was really nice. I'm more of a "get up and go" guy in the morning so I make a yogurt shake (PackIt Gourmet) and eat a protein bar and I'm ready to hike. The coffee drinkers really liked having their coffee almost instantly thanks to the JetBoil.

If someone else is willing to carry it in a group environment I will admit to enjoy having a JetBoil along!