As an avid climber and camper with a part-time job and full-time schooling, sometimes I arrive at a campsite at 11 PM (sometimes later) cold, tired and ready for some warm food. I don’t necessarily want to take the time to find wood and start a fire, especially if I am car camping. After many nights of eating cold soup and granola bars I decided that I needed something that would help me make a hot meal without having to make a fire. After I did a bit of research on small stoves and cooking systems, I decided to pick up a Jetboil Zip.
CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN
When the people over at Jetboil created this cooking system they did not cut any corners. They kept the compact camper in mind. The Jetboil is incredibly packable. Everything fits into the single cup. The bottom cover for the Jetboil also works as a second drinking and measuring cup. The 0.8 L cooking cup has a built in insulated cozy to keep your hands from burning while pouring or drinking. The lid for the cup has a pour hole on one side and on the opposite, a strainer.
Aside from what I noticed upfront there are a few other technical features that ensure the most efficient heating. The whole point of the Jetboil is to have an effective cooking system while maintaining the packability of the system. One of the main parts of heat transfer is surface area. Ideally you would have a big flat bottom cup or pot to maximize surface area against the heating unit. But carrying around a big pot would completely counteract the idea of having a portable cooking system. So what the engineers over at Jetboil did was create the FluxRing®. The FluxRing looks somewhat like an accordion made into a ring. Basically what it is is an aluminum strip that has been folded over and over to maximize surface area in the heating area. I only found one downside to the product but it has an easy fix. The last trip I took it was extremely windy. The Jetboil remained lit and still heated my water to a boil, just less efficiently. However, when I got home I took some scrap aluminum and built a windscreen with small air intakes on the bottom. It took me about 15 minutes to come up with a design and 20 minutes to actually make. I highly recommend doing this yourself if you plan on purchasing a Jetboil. The Jetboil is not some knick knack that your grandma found at a convenience store. It has been engineered and looked over time and time again to create a flawless, compact cooking system that will work for almost any situation. When it comes down to it I am pretty opinionated when choosing gear. I think in some facets corners can be cut but gear is not one of those facets. I need my equipment to be dependable and functionable. The Jetboil may not be my favorite piece of technical gear but in terms of cooking items, it is by far my favorite.
Water gives life. When camping boiling water gives life and then some. Being able to make hot water within a matter of minutes opens the door to a number of possible options. You can make pour over coffee or pine tree tea. You can cook noodles on the trail. If I’m going to be out on a long trip in a primitive spot, I’ll usually buy a few freeze dried meals to cut down on weight. With the Jetboil and a freeze dried pack you can have some hot grilled chicken and mashed potatoes in less than ten minutes. Also there are a ton of delicious recipes on the Jetboil website:
4 out of 5. I don’t think it is possible for a product to get a 5 out of 5. If it is, I haven’t seen it. I expect a lot out of my gear and I was very pleased with the Jetboil. If you were on the precipice of jumping in and buying a Jetboil, I would say go for it 100%. I don’t think I’ll go on another trip without my Jetboil by my side.