Jetboil Flash

The Jetboil Flash is one of the most striking looking stoves. Its undoubtedly the prettiest stove in my collection, but does it offer any significant increase in performance compared to other gas stoves?

Jetboil flash 001

I really wanted to like this stove, after all I'd just spent good money on it – even if I did get it cheap on Ebay! According to the manufacturer 'Flash™ adds more enjoyment to your favorite outdoor adventure. Like all of Jetboil’s innovative systems, Flash is an all-in-one design, combining burner and cooking vessel in one compact unit. Everything you need is stacked and stored inside the 1.0 litre cooking cup. The system lights with the click of a button and within two minutes provides two cups of boiling water for cocoa, coffee, instant soup or a gourmet freeze-dried meal. The newly designed burner secures the igniter, protecting it from bumps along the road.

Flash™ is designed to be one of the safest cooking solutions out there. The cooking cup clips onto the burner, preventing accidental spills, and the fuel canister tripod ensures overall stability. The insulating cozy has a colour-changing heat indicator that signals when contents are hot.

Features:

  • 1.0 Litre FluxRing® cooking cup with insulating cozy, featuring Flash color-change heat indicator
  • Adjustable stainless steel burner with push-button "through-cup" igniter
  • Drink-through lid and insulating bottom cover/measuring cup
  • Tripod base for added stability
  • Available in Gold (orange), Violet (purple), Sapphire (blue) and Carbon (black)'

Jetboil test 001

Somehow this didn't seem to be my experience. It didn't seem to boil as fast as my other heat exchanger stove the Primus ETA Express and I found it slightly awkward to detach the pan from the burner. I decided to test it against my other canister mounted gas stoves – the Primus ETA Express which like the Jetboil has a heat exchanger for fast boiling and fuel economy and the superlight Snowpeak Gigapower 'Starter Kit' which includes a titanium mug which can be used both to boil the water and to drink out of. It is possible to drink from the Jetboil pan but it is a bit like drinking from a bucket. The small plastic measuring cup that protects the heat exchanger can also be used as a drinking cup but it does feel too wide and shallow. The Jetboil and Primus both have Piezo igniters, the Gigapower needs matches.

Jetboil test 012

I started by weighing all 3 stoves on my kitchen scales. The jetboil does not come with a windshield but as the others do (altho the Snowpeak one is a bit of a Heath Robinson creation) I included them in the figures. I did not include the weight of the gas cartridge.

  • Jetboil 475g
  • Primus ETA 450g
  • Snowpeak Gigapower 300g

No surprises there. The Gigapower is designed to be ultra lightweight and the 25g between the other two is not significant. So far so good. The real test however is how long they take to boil. I filled each with 250ml of water – the size of an average mug. This was done in my kitchen, it would presumably take longer outside but it was the comparative times that I was most interested in. I timed how long it took to reach a good rolling boil.

Jetboil test 005

As expected the Gigapower took longest – 2 mins 21 secs. The Jetboil was much faster at 1 min 34 secs but the Primus raced to boiling in just 1 min 6 secs – a clear winner. I couldn't get anywhere close to the 2mins for 500ml that the manufacturers claim for the Jetboil, it took mine 3 mins 10 secs in a warm kitchen. It did turn a very pretty yellow when it heated up!

Jetboil test 010

So there we have it. I had the right gear in the first place! The Primus ETA Express is faster, slightly lighter and will hold the larger, and proportionately much cheaper, 250ml gas cartridges. The burner can be used with any pan which makes it more versatile than the Jetboil which needs an adapter to work with any other type of pan. The ETA lid can be used as a frying pan which is just about big enough for an egg or a couple of sausages (veggie of course!). It works fine for 1 or 2 people. The Jetboil is a solo stove. It is much faster than my Gigapower but the latter's light weight and compact size mean it will remain my choice for solo brews, especially as the Jetboil really needs a separate mug.

I'm afraid the Jetboil Flash has only its looks to commend it. I'm not saying that its a bad stove, just that others are faster or lighter.

9 comments on “Jetboil Flash”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    Hilary wrote: Its undoubtedly the prettiest stove in my collection.

    That's because the colour matches your bike. 😛

    I can vouch for Primus. Our Primus ETA Power stove is superb and boils very quickly indeed, although it's very noisy. Its only disadvantage as a cycle touring stove is that the pan can't be used on the normal gas or electric cookers you often find in hostels. Presumably your Gigapower mug could be, if you wanted to save your gas canisters. But does it not burn your mouth when you drink from it? I've always kept away from metal mugs for that reason.

  2. Hilary wrote:

    That's because the colour matches your bike.

    Yes, you're absolutely right Patrick! 😀 I was hoping for other merits as well!

    I've never stayed in a hotel with a cooker. I usually carry a little electric water boiler that you suspend in a mug for this purpose. Anne Mustoe swore by hers.

    Aluminium mugs certainly burn your mouth, stainless steel is OK but I don't like the metallic taste. Titanium is superb for the purpose as it stays hot at the bottom where the liquid is but quickly cools at the top where you drink. It also has no taste. If you want to heat water in it it needs to be single walled – the double walled ones apparently explode! If used as both pan and mug the high price is justified but its highly extravagant if just used as a mug. (Altho you can get a pretty blue version of that too! :lol:)

    Sorry, I've just realised you said 'hostels' not 'hotels'. Don't they usually supply pans as well?

  3. Patrick wrote:

    I'm thinking of the Danish hostels we stayed at – actually the campsites too. They all have communal cooking places but not all have pans. I haven't been in a British hostel since about 1962!

  4. Kern wrote:

    I am curious about the Primus gas cartridge. We have always carried liquid fuel ("white gas" or naptha) for our stove. Are the gas cartridges widely available in Europe? They are certainly less messy that handling liquids.

    (I also noticed the colour coordination.)

  5. Hilary wrote:

    Kern wrote

    I am curious about the Primus gas cartridge

    Screw on gas cartridges are quite widely available in Britain but slightly less so in the rest of Europe where the non removable pierced cartridges are more widely available. To use them on these types of stoves you need an adaptor like this.

  6. Garry wrote:

    In Ireland you can get the pierced cartridges, the clip on Campingaz ones and the screw on ones with the Lindal valve. The latter are less available in France I hear. I've two gas stoves, one Campingaz type for pierced canisters and one screw on really light foldable Chinese one with an ignitor. It's really good.
    I read a comparative review of Eta Power, Jetboil and MSR Reactor stoves. The Jetboil is the most economical on gas, but slower than the other two.
    I have white gas stoves as well. A Svea 123r which will only work on white gas or petrol, an MSR Dragonfly which will burn virtually anything, a similar Chinese stove and a Chinese stove like the Coleman Feather. This is a really good design. I also have a Trangia type one.
    I have a gadget problem!! I'm an alcoholic for gadgets!

  7. Hilary wrote:

    Interested to hear that the Jetboil is the most economical on gas, that's definitely a point in is favour. The MSR Reactor is hideously expensive.

    I've always fancied a Svea 123. They were THE stove in the 1970s. I used to have the larger Optimus 8R which was fairly scary – more like a petrol bomb if you weren't very careful.

    Trangias are lovely and simple if a little slow and bulky. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only stoveaholic! 😀

  8. LINDY wrote:

    My husband and I recently went camping with some friends whom were decked out with all the latest gadgets and gear which make camping alot more comfy and easy. Amongst it all they had the Jetboil. Well I reckon I almost wore it out. It was freezing where we were and the timber was wet from dew so boiling the billy was quite the chore until they brought out their Jetboil and "presto" hot water straight up. I was fascinated by it and totally fell in love with it. My friends purchased it from America. Can anybody tell me where in Australia they may be sold from or a contact no# for the business pls so that I can purchase a couple pls. I reckon awesom christmas gift.

  9. Hilary wrote:

    You could try Ebay – either the US or UK version. Prices are generally good and some sellers will ship worldwide.

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