So I am a fan of ultra-light and compact backpacking for multiday excursions. I have used the MSR PocketRocket for a pretty long time now. It used to fit inside some lightweight aluminum pots I had, then I switch to the Sea to Summit X-pot and kettle which the cups and bowls nest inside of.
I've always wondered about the Jetboil systems, but they are HUGE in comparison to the gear I normally carry. I know they are super fast and more efficient with fuel, but is the extra space really worth it for a few minutes of cook time and a few grams of fuel? The equipment I have already worked incredibly fast as it is, I'm not even sure I would want it to cook or boil any faster.
I do want to try the system, but I really feel I would never carry it anywhere. Just looking for some insight and personal options/experiences with the Jetboil systems.
@speakingquitefrankly thanks for the info on the new system... it actually does look great!
I am considering purchasing the Jetboil Ceramic Cook Pot at the moment which looks very similar, with the addition of a cozy and an additional 0.7L in size. But weighing only 10oz and with a 2 minute boil time, at only $65 on REI... I think it might be time to try something new.
I have a Primus Express (pretty similar to your Pocket Rocket).
I used it in conjunction with a titanium mug on a Colorado Trail thru hike. One 8 oz canister lasted me just over half the hike (about 3 weeks). I kept the flame level relatively low, so that the flame was directed only onto the bottom of the mug, but didn't come up around the edges of thebottom of the titanium mug. I like the flexibility of being able to choose the stove and cook pot separately, which you lose with the JetBoil system. I think that stove type like the Pocket Rocket is just about optimum for long treks.
I would consider a Jet Boil if I were frequently going out in more extreme windy conditions, or on a shorter trip where the weight and bulk are less critical.
I have the PocketRocket and didn't really consider JetBoil systems until we backpacked with someone who used a JetBoil next to us while we cooked with our PocketRocket. For fun we sourced water from the same MSR camp bladder, so our water and outdoor temperature conditions were identical. When we used identical measured volumes and her JetBoil consistently and impressively beat our PocketRocket in boil times. At breakfast she would be sipping her fresh coffee from her JetBoil while we were still waiting on our PocketRocket to form simmering bubbles at the bottom of our titanium pot. It was clear that the JetBoil saved gas fuel over our PocketRocket, but until this fall I remained leery of JetBoil systems because of their size and weight.
Recently JetBoil introduced their compact and lightweight Stash model, which is supposedly '40% lighter' than other JetBoil systems. The advertised system weight (7.1 oz) matches the weight of our PocketRocket Deluxe paired with our similarly-sized titanium pot. I'm waiting on more product reviews, but for extended trips, the JetBoil Stash fuel savings would be a significant consideration for weight reduction.
@TerryM - Wow! I love that anecdotal research! I have used a Pocket Rocket for about a decade and really loved its size, weight, and adaptability with cookware. I have only had to replace it once and got the exact same version that I started with, but hearing these kinds of stories makes me wonder if I'll switch it up the next time around.
Thanks for sharing!
@TerryM - Jetboils are a pleasure for their all-in-one convenient well made design and ease of use and can make sense for a couples/buddies cook system on short backpacking trips and for car trips/camping and other outdoor activates (eg climbing because you can hang the stove) but they are a bit overkill for solo backpacking. We have an original 2003 JetBoil and 2019 Minimo and they are great for those uses (note: we do not climb). We also have the 1.8L Jetboil pot used on a 3 person trip which I don't particularly recommend because the JetBoil pot stand gizmo is not secure enough and tends to catch on the pot's fins..that pot would probably would work well on a remote burner stove.
For solo 3 season backpacking only the new JetBoil "Stash" system makes sense weight wise although I have not tried it personally. The chief advantage you get a competitively light weight one stop 800ml system that is very fuel efficient. Casual tests indicated maybe as little as half the fuel compared to the PR2. It does not have an integrated igniter which it should for the price imo. And it might not be that great for melting snow - I have not seen a test - because the fuel efficiency comes partly from having a lower BTU burner. It is apparently fast from room temp to boiling but pretty similar or slower to other stoves from near freezing to boiling. Note: I have not tried melting snow in my JetBoils. The Stash is not quite the elegant convenience fetish object that the traditional JetBoils are.
Fuel efficiency makes the most sense for longer trips. However the fixed sizes of canisters make fuel efficiency a bit of inconsistent advantage from a pure weight perspective. The Stash system is light enough that I think you pretty much always break even or come out ahead. With the other heavier JetBoil systems the advantage is less clear.
Generally, for solo use if you only heat water you can get away with a lighter stove and smaller pot. My personal favorite is the Soto Amicus igniter model and for minimal use I have a Toaks 650ml light which together weigh about 5.5oz bare where the 800ml Stash apparently weighs about 7.5oz including a couple of giblets. The Minimo is apparently 14.5oz with giblets.
As far as I can tell the Amicus performs similarly or maybe slightly better than the PR2 except the Soto slightly cheaper and there is an igniter version. The PR2 is definitely an improvement on the original Pocket Rocket. The PR Deluxe is a bit overkill unless you have aspirations to actually cook...it has a regulator which makes a long slow burn more reliable and it is supposedly better in the wind.
@OldGuyot truly grateful for the amount of effort and the insight you put into this! Extremely useful information that I will use in my quest to fine cuisine in the backcountry. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us! 🙂
You went through that pretty thoroughly, I just have a couple of thoughts...
I wouldn't miss the ignitor, because I always carry a full size bic. Arthritis makes the mini bic a tough sell. Not sure how much weight an ignitor adds, but for gram weenies it might be too much, if they're carrying an ignition source anyway.
The 3 or so extra ounces over my PR2/Toaks light 650 combo wouldn't be that big of deal on short trips, but once again, for gram weenies it might be a huge deal.
If the fuel consumption is actually a lot better, I might be better off over week-10day trips, because I could get by with 110 gr canister instead of 220, which also fits inside (apparently) both the 650 pot or the stash. I say apparently, because I have trouble finding 110 canisters in my area, but 220's are everywhere. I believe I've owned one 110 gr canister in my life. So for me, it's a tossup. I'm probably carrying a 220, which doesn't fit in either. I'll have to look to see exactly what the empty canister weight difference is between the two, but I can't imagine it's much. I do know my empty 220 canisters weigh 140-145 grams FWIW. I do calculate fuel usage before trips, and add a safety margin. I have a device to transfer fuel between canisters, so I'm not taking a huge amount of extra fuel.
Some of the reviews I've read say that it's not a very adjustable flame on the stash, but others contradict that. It doesn't matter to me as I only heat water for coffee or freezer bag meals anyway.
As I read more about it, it becomes more interesting. I'm still happy with my Toaks 650 and PR2, so it's hard for me to justify the cost "just to see" if I'd like it better. If I hadn't already invested in a stove and pot, I would have to seriously consider the stash, especially if I could find 110gr canisters.