What the heck is a Jetboil?
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Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
What the heck is a Jetboil? on 12/17/2013 22:03:41 MST Print View

Can I ask a stupid question? Sorry!

What does "Jetboil" mean to me?


Here's what I know; it's a pot. I know it has some kind of heat exchanger or something (what's that? a place that absorbs heat?) and it's simultaneously lauded and hated on here. The Titanium Sumo is something a lot of people like, but then they're non-titanium stuff seems to be a big red "Noob" sticker on a backpacker's forehead.

So, what's a Jetboil good for, what's it compatible with in the way of stoves, and do I ever want one if I already have my titanium pot?

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: What the heck is a Jetboil? on 12/17/2013 22:14:40 MST Print View

It's a line of stoves and pots, notably because the pots have heat exchangers built into them and, in smaller sizes, the pots twist-lock onto the stoves. Also somewhat unique is the neoprene cozy that is wrapped around the pot. The HX extracts enough heat to make that viable and the cozy let you seep pasta and rice in heated water without the flame on (saving fuel), eliminates the need for a pot grabber (a bit of weight savings) and keeps your food and drink hot for longer.

Especially if you are:

1) going out for many nights,
2) boiling a lot of water,
3) melting a lot of snow,
4) in colder climates, and/or
5) want your meal and hot drink quickly;

it is option to strongly consider. The stove and pot weight are good but not great. The savings come in time and fuel. Time is saved both not hunched over a stove and time not in your garage fiddling with your own scheme. You can buy a Jetboil off Amazon or at REI, try it once at home and be good to go.

Anyone can find/build a lighter pot/stove system.

A few of us can MYOG an equal or better heat exchanger.

But if you want a ready-to-go system for high-stove-use trips (so the fuel savings add up), I'd tell a newbie to get a Jetboil.

People I know who haven't bought a stove in 20 years and haven't tracked the recent options are totally thrilled by how much easier canister stoves are than white gas stoves were and how much time and fuel is saved with heat-exchanger pots.

I don't have one of their compact, 1-2 person systems, but talk to people who do. (Some posters had problems when getting pots hotter than boiling water). I use some of their larger HX pots for family snow camping trips. And, sometimes, on the kitchen stove to get a gallon of water boiling faster than standard kitchen pots (although I MYOG some of kitchen pots into HX pots, too).

Edited to add: if your goal is lowest possible base weight (no food no fuel), you'll go with a alcohol or esbit or wood-burning stove. But a canister stove is might nice when you want hot food NOW. A canister stove with an HX pot is even better at that. And, for multi-night trips, the fuel savings start to add up.

I see sort of a fuel-food trade off. Although I'll do no-cook trips for up to 9 days, the dinners do look depressingly like lunch and I know I carry more food weight when going no-cook because there aren't a lot of no-water-content, no-cook foods. Also, there's no way the wife or kids are going on a no-cook backpacking trip.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 12/17/2013 22:24:47 MST.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: What the heck is a Jetboil? on 12/17/2013 22:27:53 MST Print View

Fair question.
Expect biased polarized feedback.

It's a highly efficient water boiler, for singles and large groups.
The neoprene is a nice "cozy" to keep your hands from burning.
It's heavy, expensive and bulky by BPL community UL standards.
It's tough to clean for people that cook sauces and oils.
Many complaints on the piezo igniter breaking, and since this product is popular with newbies, they typically don't have a plan B lighter or match.
The dummy flag signalling that the water is now hot, was received as a cool feature by gadgeteers, and an insult by seasoned trail masters: "if you can't tell when water is boiling, and that boiling water is hot, you have no business going into the wilderness"

I REALLY REALLY wanted one. Didn't need one. but WANTED one.
I obssessed about it for about 2 years with the REI discounts and the ones for sale on this forum. Eventually the "gotta have it" consumer drive passed. Glad I did.

As with most gadgets, a person can start with the system analysis of requirements gathering. What is the goal you are after? since you are on this website, apparently weight, cost and functionality is primary, Lexus bragging status is null.

I'm not knocking the JB, I'm OK most of the time without a stove, and for winter I'm OK with a cheap $8 JOGR iso-pro off amazon, in a 750ml Ti kettle pot or the IMUSA walmart mug.
http://www.amazon.com/Ultralight-Backpacking-Canister-Ignition-silvery/dp/B004U8CP88

Many here have a cook setup that are even lighter, much more efficient, and cheaper than mine when they get into the MYOG soda can fuel stove and reflectix cozy.

Edit add:
The JB stove only works with the JB mug, and other JB products such as the JB frying pans. It's not interchangeable with another product. They are made to fit with each other, to achieve that heat optimal combo.
CORRECTION: Per Hikin Jim's blog, if you buy a JB adapter to JB stove, you can use non-JB pots and pans.

This next paragraph is not unique to JB, but it's a big pain for JB users. When the JB pot with soup or sauces boils over, the spill over gunks up the fins on the JB stove and it doesnt work any more and takes a lot of time to clean it.

In reality, if they boiled only water, then took the mug off-line and added the soup sauces, the mug would not have over boiled. So it's really the user error. but since JB attracts the newbie demographic, and newbies make mistakes, newbies blame the product.

Edited by RogerDodger on 12/17/2013 23:20:27 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Hmm... on 12/17/2013 22:38:08 MST Print View

So, the Jetboil has to be used with an associated canister stove as a pot-stove system, or can I throw on a JB pot on my regular canister stove?

My current rig is a Snow Peak GigaPower stove (wish I had bought a Fire Maple, but this one's fine) and an MSR Titan Pot, I think it's 800ml. Whole system is very light and easy to cook on. I decided to keep it simple with no Piezo lighter.

So I can/do cook with this, is a Jetboil's heat exchanger mind-blowing enough to consider alongside this system or will the gains be negligible? (I know that's subjective; voice opinions!)

:) thanks for the great info so far, my questions are melting away. Pun intended.

steven franchuk
(Surf) - M
Re: What the heck is a Jetboil? on 12/17/2013 22:47:28 MST Print View

the purpose of the heat exchanger is to bring a given mount of water to a boil in less time with less fuel. On long trips you would need significantly less fuel than a regular stove (without a heat exchanger). So you would save weight by not carrying as much fuel.

The problem is that the Jetboil stove, heat exchanger, and pot combination weighs more than most other stoves.

So depending on what you cook, how many people are in the group, and how long the trip is the using a Jetboil stove may or may not reduce your pack weight.

There are companies out there than make heat exchanger pots that will work with most stoves. Fire Maple is one such company.

Edited by Surf on 12/17/2013 22:53:11 MST.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
JetBoil canister on 12/17/2013 22:51:55 MST Print View

The JB stove itself (not the canister) is designed to interlock like a perfect puzzle piece with the JB mug. it doesn't just rest on top, it couples with it in harmony, for that extra efficiency. But we are talking here a difference of 40 secs FROM MY EXPERIENCE. The metrics geeks will kill me because their lab stats vary.

You can use your own non-JB pot/pan with a JB stove, you need to buy a JB adapter, and then you are really losing the efficiency edge. it's just another blow torch stove.

So what is your goal? weight saving?
you save on fuel, and carry more hardware weight.

However, with a canister, you will carry a can, not knowing exactly how much is in there, and unless you completely geek out, and "drain" and burn off fuel at home on purpose to have JUST ENOUGH can fuel/weight for the trip... I think you will most likely take a brand new full canister with you.

Edited by RogerDodger on 12/17/2013 23:25:56 MST.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: What the heck is a Jetboil? on 12/17/2013 23:00:46 MST Print View

Also let me drop a plug here for the BPL resident expert and obsessive stove fanatic: Hikin Jim.
Check out his blog reviews, from the features to the nano grams of fuel burn.

http://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2012/03/new-jetboil-sol.html

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
My Goal on 12/17/2013 23:02:54 MST Print View

Yeah, if I were looking to save as much weight as possible, I'd go alcohol so I could pre-measure my fuel easily. Not looking to drain canisters.

My current system is "light enough" but if I were getting a gain in either weight savings or fuel efficiency of more than... I don't know, 30% in either category (or a cumulative 30%) then I'd consider spending another $50+ for a Jetboil for certain trips where weight or speed are a priority.



Mostly, though, this thread is a fishing expedition so I can understand the system better and answer some unanswered questions. I don't necessarily need to narrow down which is best given a certain spread of variables. That's a different kind of thread, in my opinion.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: My Goal on 12/17/2013 23:13:51 MST Print View

For some people, they want the home kitchen stove top experience. push a button on and off. boil water. done. The JB provides that all in one package, nice design. lots of "pimp my cookset" add-ons, spatulas, can hole-puncher, can stabilizers.

Also, many people complain that the JB does not have much of a simmer option. Either blow torch boil water ASAP or OFF. the middle area between OFF and ON has improved but still far from easy rolling boil. It's called JET boil, not SLOW Boil.

Edited by RogerDodger on 12/17/2013 23:14:29 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: My Goal on 12/18/2013 00:07:57 MST Print View

Max, if you have a stove you like, great. If you don't have a HX pot, start there. Any general-purpose HX pot in combination with your existing stove will put an extra tool in your toolbox. By effectively upping the heat output of your stove, you'll be able to boil more water and melt more snow with the same fuel in the same time. What was plenty for 2-3 people now can serve for 4-5 people. That's significant weight savings that we social miscreants rarely consider - one less stove and pot in a party IS weight savings.

So for me, and my typical trips, I have small, simple pots for 1-2 person trips, and a larger HX pot for 4-5 person or snow-camping trips. Basic on short trips with small groups, there isn't much fuel to be saved. With larger groups or longer trips, fuel (and time!) savings get to be significant.

I guess that's why I don't have one of their small stove systems (and I have a LOT of stoves and pots, probably the square root of Hikin' Jim's inventory) - like you, I have good solutions for small trips. And a bigger HX pot was the better solution for big trips.

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
speed on 12/18/2013 00:21:30 MST Print View

I used to have a jet boil flash. I sold it here when I got my Kovea Spider, as I already also had a Snow Peak giga power.

From my experience, the jetboil boils water much faster. It's also really great for when you're tired and lazy as it's really easy/quick to set up.

I'm happy with my Kovea, though. It's a really sweet stove, and simmers great, which the jet boil can't. Plus, I can use it in the winter in the PNW in inverted mode.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
jetboil on 12/18/2013 01:03:54 MST Print View

the jetboil has a few advantages

- wind resistance ... while not as windproof as a MSR reactor ... it is decently wind resistant which means you dont have to fiddle with wind screens

- fast boil ... it boils water fast ... this may be useful if yr cooking in exposed areas or melting small amounts of snow

- integrated ... the jetboil and reactor are the stoves of choice for climbers as you dont have to worry about the pot falling off ... you can be hanging in a portaledge, or on an uneven ledge and still cook stuff pretty easily

- uses less fuel ... this is true of any heat exchanger pot ... now whether you boil enough to make it worth the extra weight is a different question ... but for people who spend alot of fuel melting snow at altitude, the amount saved may be significant

disadvantages?

- weight ... of course with the newer AL/TI Sols this is much less of an issue ... the BPL SOTM report recommends the jetboil now, theyve also worked out the figures

- melting fins ... issue with the TI jetboils ... just buy the ALs ... or buy it from somewhere with a no questions asked unlimited warranty

some people claim it "only boils" and doesnt simmer ... my first gen jetboil simmers fine, no idea on the new ones ... i can cook stuff slowly ... its no better or worse than any other cartridge stove

the price of the jetboil ZIP is very competitive with any other commercial cartridge setup ... and the weight isnt that far off either if you take something like a pocket rocket, aluminum pot and windscreen ...

theres a reason why jetboils are so popular ... they work

heres some bum named ueli using an older gen jetboil while soloing in the himilayas .... he only does 8000m peaks in a single day push ...



;)

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: What the heck is a Jetboil? on 12/18/2013 02:21:07 MST Print View

Grasshopper,

If you don't know what it is, then you don't need one.

J R
(JRinGeorgia) - F
fast boil on 12/18/2013 03:52:27 MST Print View

Aren't there probably about a bazillion websites and youtubes that already cover this?

The JB offers a pot, stove, and windscreen in a single "system" design. Plus cozy. Plus measuring cup. Connects together during operation. Everything designed to fit in the pot. Pot can be used as a mug and comes with sip-thru lid. Matching accessories like coffee press, larger/smaller pots, frypans, utensils. Convenience of getting a single matching cook system in one box rather than dealing with assembling a cook kit yourself. Plus reliable and easy, not what some would view of UL cook kits as finicky and complicated.

JB is really designed to do one thing - boil water. Fast. Thus the name, "jet" + "boil". Heat exchanger plus unique shape/design to maximize efficiency for boiling water. Overall a weight penalty, but convenience outweighs that for some. However, on a longer trip, just as a canister stove might be more weight-wise than alcohol, JB multiplies that advantage and could be more lightweight on a long haul than some UL setups when considering fuel carry. Plus, you can go longer on a canister, so what might be a 2-canister trip for some canister stoves could be just 1 with JB.

Its also brings "design" to the backcountry cook kit. Some think its cool looking.

I don't know about putting the JB pot onto a different stove, those heat exchangers may be designed to work only with the JB stove, and you don't want to melt the fins or burn up the cozy. But you can put a different pot on the JB stove.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Jetboil fuel efficiency? on 12/18/2013 08:03:15 MST Print View

I'm not sure that I buy into the thought that a Jetboil conserves fuel, vs. other systems. I geek out over these things when I'm bored, and I've done numerous patio tests, and also casual field tests when car camping. I'm convinced that my SP giga stove with integrated wind screen, my JB Sol (aluminum version), and my new 1.0 L. Reactor all boil 2 cups of water with roughly the same fuel comsumption (between .20 and .25 oz. per boil). The difference is speed--the Reactor is really fast, the JB pretty fast too, and the SP Giga is slower. All 3 systems are good in the wind, and they all slow down in cold conditions. But they all still use the same amount of fuel to achieve a boil. Although I've not had the chance to fully test it, I'm thinking that the Reactor is the clear winner in high wind, and at altitude (>9000')

Then there's the issue of simmering with the JB stove burner. I think the newer stove, with its regulated output, does a pretty good job. I can reduce the flame output to a very low heat, moreso than with the original JB stoves. I can remove the integrated wind screen on my Snow Peak and simmer things nicely. Likewise, by using the JB pot support with a separate pot, simmering is easy.

But you can't simmer with the Reactor at all, since the heat output is so intense. 4 years ago I made a pot support to position a separate pot above my Reactor burner. It blew the circuit on the stove somehow (which can only be re-set by MSR), and I returned it to REI. MSR decided that I was a trouble-maker, and my pals at REI asked that I don't fiddle around so much, and that I should stick with the manufacturers' directions.

As for using the JB cup on other canister stoves, I think that the burner-to-pot-bottom distance must be considered. JB apparently has this optimized for their system. If you increase that distance, which will happen for most non-JB stoves, likely the efficiency will be reduced.

Weight is now the major factor for me, dictating which system I'll take on a given hike. The weights of my 3 systems, complete with a 4 oz. fuel canister and a MYOG cuben drawstring bag to hold everything, are as follows:

Snow Peak Giga------14.7 oz.
JB Sol--------------------18.1 oz. (without the stupid base cup)
MSR 1.0 L. Reactor--22.1 oz.

One last thing I should mention: when I did my muy frio patio cold weather tests a week ago, the JetBoil Sol seemed to actually do slightly better than the other 2 setups in -10*F conditions. Maybe this is due to its regulated output? Who knows...?

Edit--for spelling, before -B.G.- nails me.

Edited by Zia-Grill-Guy on 12/18/2013 08:09:53 MST.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
What the heck is a Jetboil? on 12/18/2013 08:15:57 MST Print View

Max, JetBoil's are stoves. (Now that I got that dumbness out of my system...)

All the previos posts were pretty good pros/cons for the JB.

They are fairly heavy. I borrowed a couple from different people a few years back, but I cannot recommend them to an experienced hiker. Just too much weight for the utility you get out of them. They are simple to use, and, you get good fuel usage. But, like all canisters, they fall off with milage. For longer 1 and two week trips, they do not make a lot sense, unless you cut back on your fuel usage.

Heat exchangers make sense for cutting back fuel usage. You can get good heat exchanger pots for any stove. When all is said and done with the calculations, testing and playing around, the heat exchangers only look like they add to the heat absorption surface of a pot. Or, you can think of a pot with heat exchanger as a larger diameter, with the same capacity, pot. But, having a heat exchanger will NOT boost fuel economy if your heating system is already at max efficiency. Boiling water on medium or high heats with a HE will decrease the time spent boiling water. But, it will not save fuel over a high efficiency low heat/windscreen system. Cooking on slower heats is still needed to minimize overall fuel usage. Basically, the HE only works on excess heat from your stove. If you have little or no excess heat, then HE's cannot work. If *time* is what you want to optomize, HE's are wanted. JB's excell at fast boil times on high heats. By splitting the difference, you can have good efficiency (saving a bit of fuel) and good heating times (around 5 minutes) with a JB. You cannot do both save time and get good fuel economy at the same time.

Fuel efficiency means maintaining heat at some level for some period of time. Low heats are usually a bit more efficient than high heats. It doesn't really matter what type of fuel. Hitting the pot with heat causes heat loss through the air, minimally. Slower heats cause less. Like a grinding wheel, light pressure over time will produce better results than a single sharp impact on the stone.

JB's do not do real well at low heats. They loose the efficiency of the HE and they loose the efficiency of slow heats. So, they are often touted as they do not simmer well. Not quite true. They simmer fine. There is just no real advantage to carrying the extra weight if you go this way.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Jetboil fuel efficiency? on 12/18/2013 08:22:52 MST Print View

heat exchanger stoves saves fuel ... the real question is will it offset the added weight

BPL did tests a few years ago ...

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/2011_sotmr_integrated_canister_stoves.html

the jetboils were found to be the most fuel efficient roughtly 20-30% less fuel used vs a "normal" stove like the gnat, the reactor a bit less so ... even in calm windless conditions ...

note that this number jives with the prolite gear video where they tested out an olicamp (fire maple) heat exchanger pot ... on a soto stove ... and found a 20%+ less fuel used

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBFt-c33pyA


;)

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
I know it's a stove... on 12/18/2013 08:26:09 MST Print View

Wicked. Amateur mastery of the concept achieved. Thanks guys.

Also, ha! Re-read the OP, doubters. I'm asking what a Jetboil is from the ultralighter perspective, not the consumer perspective or the marketing perspective or the lazy american perspective ;) I do demonstrate some mastery of the concept. But yeah, I guess I asked for it with my title.

Thanks for all the info- I think I'm looking for a large XC pot for group winter trips.

Edited by mdilthey on 12/18/2013 08:28:34 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: What the heck is a Jetboil? on 12/18/2013 08:27:34 MST Print View

Heat exchangers make sense for cutting back fuel usage. You can get good heat exchanger pots for any stove. When all is said and done with the calculations, testing and playing around, the heat exchangers only look like they add to the heat absorption surface of a pot. Or, you can think of a pot with heat exchanger as a larger diameter, with the same capacity, pot. But, having a heat exchanger will NOT boost fuel economy if your heating system is already at max efficiency. Boiling water on medium or high heats with a HE will decrease the time spent boiling water. But, it will not save fuel over a high efficiency low heat/windscreen system. Cooking on slower heats is still needed to minimize overall fuel usage. Basically, the HE only works on excess heat from your stove. If you have little or no excess heat, then HE's cannot work. If *time* is what you want to optomize, HE's are wanted. JB's excell at fast boil times on high heats. By splitting the difference, you can have good efficiency (saving a bit of fuel) and good heating times (around 5 minutes) with a JB. You cannot do both save time and get good fuel economy at the same time.

theres less of an advantage at "moderate" flame levels ... but there still is an advantage ...



At high flame, the Jetboil is about 1.55x more efficient than the Brunton Crux or Snow Peak Giga Power stove. At a “medium” flame for both stoves, the Jetboil is only about 1.25x more efficient than the Crux.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/jetboil_stove_review.htm

in the 2011 SOTM test the jetboils at FULL flame were more efficient that the gnat at moderate flame in windless conditions



http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/2011_sotmr_integrated_canister_stoves.html

;)

Edited by bearbreeder on 12/18/2013 08:33:52 MST.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: What the heck is a Jetboil? on 12/18/2013 08:37:36 MST Print View

With regard to using a JB "cup" with other stoves -

JB1

JB2

The stove is a Snow Peak GigPower. The kit weighs 15.5 ounces with a nearly full (197 g) canister. Searching BPL for jetboil hack will turn up a number of threads.



This thread shows the "cross-over" point for "weight efficiency" for a Very specific situation comparing a hacked JB cup versus a Esbit system. For a OEM cup the cross-over would occur sooner.

A lot depends on trip duration and your attention to the minor details.

Edited by greg23 on 12/18/2013 11:10:11 MST.