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Alcohol Stove vs Jetboil Sol Ti - weight savings, is it worth it?
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Jeffery Giddens

Locale: Virginia
Alcohol Stove vs Jetboil Sol Ti - weight savings, is it worth it? on 07/15/2012 18:54:46 MDT Print View

I'm curious what the weight savings are on a alcohol stove kit vs the Jetboil Sol. I just started my research on alcohol stoves today. I may be wrong, but I don't really see a durable solution that saves you a significant amount of weight. The Jetboil Sol Ti weighs 9.9 oz. By the time you get a WB stove, wind shield, Ever new UL .9L pot, and an alcohol container, I think you're close to 7 or 8 oz. With all of the "bells and whistles" that the Jetboil has, is there really a better alternative that can save you enough weight to be worth the trouble?

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Alcohol Stove vs Jetboil Sol Ti - weight savings, is it worth it? on 07/15/2012 19:10:31 MDT Print View

It depends.. (always does)
Here is one scenario :
2 days walk.
JetBoil Ti 280 g, 100g of fuel (new can) 195g tot 475g (16.5 oz)

Caldera Cone (500ml pot, burner and cone) 130g. Fuel for two days (for me...) 140 g (inc spare fuel and container) tot 270g (9.5 oz)


(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
It's worth it to me.... on 07/15/2012 19:29:12 MDT Print View

Jetboil Ti 9.9 oz + empty canister 3.3 oz = 13.2 oz

The three setups below;

SP 900, GW, windscreen, lid, empty bottle = 6.2 oz

SP bowl, Ti esbit wing, windscreen, lid = 3.1 oz

Heiny, lid, GW, windscreen, empty bottle 3.6 oz

Savings of 7 to 10.1 oz carry out weight, is that significant enough?

Plus you can use alcohol to start a camp fire. My personal preference is to just bring the SP 900 and use rocks to make a stand and fire under.




alcohol on 07/15/2012 19:43:55 MDT Print View

any cannister is better than alcohol after about 5 days (if do 2x boils per day) due the alcohol wt being 2x the isopro fuel wt. Theres a chart here somewhere, but you can do math yourself.

Alcohol is really for relatively short trips, or ease of resupply on longer ones, and ability to carry exactly what fuel is needed. I personally like that its basically silent and compact as well.

If you are going out for 4 days, bring alcohol
If you are going out for 10 days or more, bring the jetboil.
In between, figure out whats best for you.

Jeffery Giddens

Locale: Virginia
Point taken! on 07/15/2012 20:20:01 MDT Print View

Thanks guys! It looks like an alcohol stove it is.

KC, the GW, is that a manufactured stove, or did you make it yourself?

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
RE: GW on 07/15/2012 20:56:00 MDT Print View

GW for gram weenie, sorry for the abbreviation. I agree with above, if you are hiking for 10 days or in groups of 3-4 or more the jetboil is great. I usually hike solo or with 3 max, 4-5 days, 40-60 mile trips.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
alcohol bans on 07/15/2012 22:11:59 MDT Print View

Don't know where you hike, but here in SoCal alky fires are banned with open fires, leaving canisters the lightest option when open fires are banned.

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
RE: on 07/15/2012 22:14:31 MDT Print View

I hike in the Sierra

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Alcohol vs. Jetboil on 07/15/2012 22:15:34 MDT Print View

You can put together a durable alcohol setup for about half what a JetBoil + empty canister weighs. In theory the superior fuel economy of the JetBoil pays off on trips of 5+ days, but the reality is a bit more complex for two reasons:

1) Just because the JetBoil theoretically makes back the weight in fuel savings over longer trips, you only realize the weight savings if you happen to have a canister that contains roughly this amount of fuel you need.

Example: At about 5g/pint, the JetBoil will only burn 50g of fuel over 5 days @ 2 boils daily. The standard 8oz canister starts with ~220g of fuel, so you really need to have one on hand about 1/3 full to come out ahead. If you take a full canister for that 5 day trip then you'll never make back the weight in fuel economy. Even a full 4oz canister won't make that 110g of fuel back in 5-6 days at 10g fuel burnt/day.

2) All of the discussion so far has referred to the 'starting weight' of a cook set up (ie. "5oz alcohol kit + 10oz of fuel is heavier than a 10oz Jetboil setup + 4oz of fuel). This fails to consider that the most weight of the alcohol setup is consumable, so it's going to decrease much faster than the JetBoil setup. Even if the alcohol is a bit heavier on day 1, it's likely lighter for days 3-5 and have a lower 'average weight' over the course of the trip.

Example: Your alcohol setup weighs 5oz and you're taking 10oz of fuel. 'Starting Weight' is 15oz, but you're burning 2oz/day. Therefore you start Day 2 at 13oz and Day 5 starts off at just 7oz. So the weight drops from 15oz to 5oz by the end of Day 5 for an average of 10oz.

A Jetboil setup with 10oz of stuff and 4oz of fuel starts lighter at 14oz, but it will still weigh 10oz by the end of the trip for an average carried weight of 12oz. So it's lighter on Day 1, but heavier for most of the trip.

This leads into a discussion of 'starting weight' vs. 'average weight' but it's really up to nature of your trip. If Day 1 is really hard then starting weight matters more and vice versa. On a recent 6 day trip I hiked on Day 1 but then packrafted on Day 2 and Day 3, so I didn't actually hike many miles until Day 4. While a JetBoil would have had me carrying less on Day 1, by taking alcohol I was able to carry quite a bit less weight for the main hiking portion of the trip on Days 4-6.

Alcohol also have a number of other nice intangibles besides weight:
- No spending $8 on a canister every few hikes - $10 for a gallon of alcohol can last a season.
- No library of half used canisters at home waiting for the perfect trip
- No tossing metal canisters in the garbage frequently
- Zero risk of mechanical failure - you could make a crude stove out of natural materials (ie. bowl shaped rock)
- Quiet

Edited by dandydan on 07/15/2012 22:18:17 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Alcohol vs. Jetboil on 07/15/2012 23:01:58 MDT Print View

Nice post, Dan. I just learned something.

jason quick

Locale: A tent in my backyard - Melbourne
Alcohol convert on 07/16/2012 05:35:29 MDT Print View

+ 1 on the benefits of alcohol stoves.

...nothing beats the practical simplicity borne from the silence of an alcohol stove.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Alcohol vs. Jetboil on 07/16/2012 05:36:42 MDT Print View

Just make sure you are including your pot in your alcohol weight. I own the Backcountry Boiler II so similar weight as Jetboil Sol Ti. So the main advantage is the fuel weight on shorter trips and backup ability to burn wood.

Troy Hawkins
(ollyisk) - F - MLife

Locale: Germany
compactness of alcohol set ups on 07/16/2012 06:06:09 MDT Print View

In addition to everything already mentioned, typically speaking, alcohol stoves take up less pack volume than canister stoves if that's a concern. The TiTri Caldera Cone Sidewinder is a fully-realized cooking set up and it fits into most pots (it fits into my .9L short pot including fuel) with plenty room to spare for additional kitchen wares.

I couldn't fit my canister stove + canister into a pot unless I was carrying a much larger pot than I needed (read: even more weight).

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: compactness of alcohol set ups on 07/16/2012 06:33:33 MDT Print View

I'm a big fan of both and a couple things factor into which one I take.

1. Group Size. If I'm going with 2+ people the Jetboil can just be a lot easier and faster. I can easily handle the cooking needs of 5 or 6 people with one Jetboil (Requirement is only boiling water for meals). Can't imagine doing that with an alcohol stove setup.

2. Weather conditions. If the weather is going to be cold and windy, I'm taking the Jetboil. Sure you can make it work with an alcohol stove and I have done it many times. However when the temps are below freezing and the wind is howling, I much prefer the quick boil time of the Jetboil.

As I get older and more experienced I have started factoring in ease of use and simplicty into my evaluation process. Not all about the weight. Does carrying an extra pound or two really effect your performance? Maybe it does for some, but I can't tell any difference.


Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Alcohol vs. Jetboil on 07/16/2012 07:39:24 MDT Print View

Dan. Good post.

Andy Anderson
(ianders) - F

Locale: Southeast
Jetboil on 07/16/2012 08:58:08 MDT Print View

If you like good coffee, the Jetboil along with the french press accessory is worth its weight in gold!

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Alcohol Stove vs Jetboil on 07/16/2012 09:41:45 MDT Print View

I find that I supply the stove (or stoves) for each of my trips. If it's just one or two of us then alcohol wins. As soon as you get to where you need to boil multiple quarts of water for a meal the Jetboil always comes along.

I usually go with 3-4 friends and the only time we really get to sit and chat is while we're eating our evening meal together. That means it's really nice for everyone to be eating at the same time - not half the group eating while the other half waits for water to boil. The Jetboil virtually eliminates that lag - we just leave the first meal in the coozie a little longer.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
jetboil on 07/16/2012 16:54:15 MDT Print View

like others have said: solo, under 4-5 days, alcohol is lighter. I went for a jetboil for ease of use and simplicity. I also wanted 1 UL stove that would work for all 4 seasons. Its not the very lightest, but its light and its a great setup.

Eileen Duncan
(eileensd) - MLife

Locale: The Sierra or the SF Bay Area
Partially used and empty fuel canisters on 07/16/2012 20:40:43 MDT Print View

"No library of half used canisters at home waiting for the perfect trip"

Boy can I relate - I have a huge Rubbermaid container full of partially used canisters waiting for the "perfect trip." It's so wasteful! As someone who would really like to reduce the amount of trash I produce, this one of the main reasons why I now try to use my alcohol stove whenever possible. I've used the same two Platypus bottles for years :) Reduce, reuse!

"No tossing metal canisters in the garbage frequently"

This brings up a different topic - where to dispose of used canisters? I've dealt with them in various ways (I seem to recall taking them back to REI in the distant past!) and I know it depends on where you live; but I wish the information was easier to find, and I wish proper disposal was more convenient. Regardless, reading this made me bristle... do you really toss them in the garbage? Is this your only option? I'm moving soon, and I hope I have a better option than throwing them away. I don't know what to do other than shake my head when I think about our landfills... hopefully we're each taking advantage of the "best" way available to dispose of empty canisters.

Edited by eileensd on 07/17/2012 15:50:05 MDT.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Partially used and empty fuel canisters on 07/16/2012 21:26:50 MDT Print View

I know REI sells the device that can be used to aid in crushing empty containers. Once crushed they should recycleable with any metal recycling center.