Opinion: The JetBoil only has two settings. On and off.
Fact: The JetBoil has an adjustable burner but the control is very sensitive. The knob turns a full turn and a half but the range of adjustment is all within the first 45 degrees (1/8th of a turn) from the off position. The flame will go down to about 1/5th power (estimated) before it goes out.
Opinion: The JetBoil is only for boiling water.
Fact: They do boil water fast. However, an optional pot support makes it universal for packable sized pots or pans. You can use JetBoil for making any meal within reason. It's just that freeze dried meals are the lightest using the least fuel. Hot spots can occur with any backpacking stove due to the cookware. We need light stuff. Heavy cookware can eliminate hot spots but we don't pack it due to weight.
Opinion: The JetBoil is too heavy for ultralight backpackers.
Fact: The JetBoil Sol Ti is 8.5 oz. MSR's Titan Kettle (4.5 oz) combined with a Vargo Triad alcohol stove (.75 oz) weigh 5.5 ounces together with a wind screen. At 5,200 ft elevation, the JetBoil (I used the Zip) boiled 2 cups of water in 2 minutes, 24 seconds consuming 4 grams of fuel. The MSR/Triad combo boiled two cups of water in 8 minutes, 10 seconds (in kitchen) consuming 12 grams of fuel. So the JetBoil will boil approximately 50 cups of water using one 100 gram canister (6.75oz for can + fuel) in 1 hour. The alcohol set-up will boil the same amount of water consuming 10.6 oz of alcohol taking 3hrs, 24min and 10sec. The Zip + fuel weighs 1 lb, 2.3 oz (15.3 oz if the Sol Ti is used). The MSR/Vargo combo weighs 1 lb, 1 oz with fuel. I ran the same test with the Titan Kettle and the Pocket Rocket (same fuel). Boil time was 2 minutes and 20 seconds (in kitchen) but it used 10 grams of fuel. That's 2.5 times more fuel than the Zip. The same test in 20 mph winds at 15 degrees Fahrenheit; the MSR never boiled water, the JetBoil was unchanged. JetBoil wins the weight game through efficiency almost every time.
Kirk and Eli are both right. In addition, the Flash weighs 14 oz and the Zip weighs 12 oz according to official specs but the Zip was 11.625 oz on my scale. The lid on Zip has a strainer feature (19 small holes in a cluster) for draining things like pasta. The lid on the Flash does not but it attaches to the pot more firmly. The Zip comes in black only (lid, cozy, bottom cover and burner but the flash has three colour options if you include the companion cup. Also the lid and bottom cover on the Flash are translucent matching the respective colour scheme. The Flash has the the updated wire lancet fuel control but the Zip still has the old style knob. The pot on the Zip has graduation marking in metric and standard (200, 300, 400 & 500 ml / 8, 12 & 16 oz) but the Flash has only one marking indicating "MAX SAFE FILL / 2 CUPS". The cozy on Zip has a small illustration showing the proper packing method.
Note: Neither of these have the "thermal-regulate" feature that Sol has.
I know this info is likely a little late to be any help to b-b4632460 but another shopper may find it useful.
I keep an Ultra Lite pack in my vehicle. It doubles as an emergency pack should anything ever happen with the vehicle leaving me to walk to civilization. My brother and I recently went on a day pack. Once while it was snowing, we went for a hike for most of the day. When we stopped for food, We used our pads directly on the snow to have a place to set our packs and to sit while we boil water and eat. My Ridge Rest (3/4) kept me insulated from the ground better than expected and when I picked it up, there was no snow stuck to it. I used it again with my bivy sack and 50 degree rated down bag. Again it was snowing and the pad was more than enough insulation from the ground. I put my jacket folded flat under my feet just to keep things level. Even though it was 31 degrees, the 50 degree bag had enough help from the pad and the bivy to keep me warm. I have tried a similar arrangement without the pad and sleep was impossible because the ground sucks the heat right out of you. The pad is bulky when packed but it deploys in an instant. At nine ounces, the pad can be strapped to any part of your pack without causing a shift in weight distribution.
Note: A survival situation may go on for any duration of time and happen in any sort of terrain. Not only is it advisable that a survival pack has a pad but the pad should not be inflatable. Tow months in the mountains and it will surely fail if it has to hold air in order to work. With no pad, you may freeze to death even if you have all the other survival gear.
This is the gateway from the Jet Boil PCS to the rest of the world. You simply fold out the pot support and it's tabs center the pot support on the wind screen. The stabilizer snaps onto two different sizes of fuel can and makes the stove harder to tip. With this you can use almost any pot you want as long as it isn't too heavy. If you pack it up like you are supposed to, the parts fit inside the PCS and are protected so they will not break. The way the pot support fits over the fuel can when folded up, keeps it from being bent. As for the stabilizer, it's hard to break as it is.
I bought the 1.5L Pot and the pot stabilizer system as an add on to my Jet Boil PCS. The pot is wide enough on the bottom to be able to fry in like a pan but still deep enough to make things a little challenging if you want to flip an item.
It does not lock into the stove like the PCS pot but you use the pot stabilizer which opens the Jet Boil up to the rest of the world of cookware choices. The whole system fits inside the pot as a single unit but I like to carry my PCS pot when I carry the GCS pot. I have used the GCS pot with other stoves and the real offenders of the "Burnt Spot" are transformed into well mannered simmering machines. If you own an ultra light stove of some kind but you discovered it's tendency to cause a hot spot, you don't have to throw it away to get the kind of performance Jet Boil is famous for. Just buy the GCS pot which is available by it's self. It will even improve the fuel efficiency of the any ordinary stove. You will also need to buy the pot support/stabilizer if you are upgrading an existing PCS. The insulating sleeve and the lid will keep the pot's contents hot for longer which is good if you're re-hydrating food. In my own collection, the pot compliments my MSR Pocket Rocket and my EtaPower 2.1L cook system. I think Jet Boil should package all of the components from the GCS, PCS, Coffee Press, Frying Pan, Extending Utensil Set and hanging system all in one complete package. That way someone like me can choose which parts to bring based on the trips demands. (If they do, I haven't seen it but I would buy it knowing what I know now.)
Every manufacturer wants you to buy the fuel with their name on it but canister fuel is universal as long as it uses the right orifice on the canister. I hear many references to proprietary fuel limitations. There are none.
Use Coleman, MSR, Snow Peak, Primus, Jet Boil, Optimus canisters Etc. It is all Isobutane. The only variable would be if it packs inside the unit like it was designed to.
I have an EtaPower 2.1L cook system, Jet Boil PCS with 1.5L cook Pot with the Stabilizer and pot support and an MSR Pocket Rocket. The EtaPower and the Jet Boil have their own pots of course, and the pocket rocket is used with my MSR Titan Kettle which is the lightest(8.5oz:stove, case & pot). In the wind the MSR is weak even on full, otherwise it is about the lightest minimalist canister setup rivaled by only 10ths of an oz if any. The Jet Boil is the Second Lightest(15.4oz) if carried without the 1.5L pot. In the wind the unit is performs perfectly even at a simmer. The EtaPower is a workhorse. It laughs at wind and boils water faster than reported times but is the heaviest(2lbs. 7.6oz) The Jet Boil is the best packed unit with any 110g fuel canister inside, all as a single unit. The EtaPower packs as a unit but it is tricky to get a fuel canister inside and not damage the Teflon. The MSR Kettle holds one 250g canister but the stove is in it's own plastic case. Jet Boil uses the smallest, 110g, fuel canister not including the MSR brand canister due to it's flatter/wider shape. Snow Peak canisters are identical in shape and content to the Jet Boil brand fuel canisters but they are the cheapest canister I've seen. The Small fuel capacity seems limiting but the Jet Boil PCS just sips fuel and it's little canisters last as long as the larger 250g does with the Pocket Rocket. The EtaPower on the other hand can be turned down somewhat and it uses very little fuel when used with the heat exchange pot but not as efficient when used with the pan because the pan has not heat exchangers and will not work with the wind screen. Still the PCS is the most fuel efficient unit. All three systems have a good range of energy output. The best simmering unit is the EtaPower if you are sensitive with the controls because the pot disperses the heat over a wide area. The PCS is the second at simmering (yes I have cooked and not just boiled with it) with it's heat exchanger and radiant output, the bottom of the pot stays hot evenly. You need a long utensil like the ones made by Jet Boil to reach the bottom of the pot in order to keep food from sticking and burning. The MSR Pocket Rocket is the worst at simmering if you consider the hot spot in the center of the pot. Some packing deserts must be made in the pot and the MSR was the only one that would burn the bottom without cooking the food. On one occasion I took the 1.5L pot out with the MSR Pocket Rocket and the rice I made was not burnt. In fact the wind resistance of the stove was improved with the Jet Boil GCS pot. That is another point for Jet Boil if you ask me. Above and beyond all other systems I have seen, the Jet Boil is the only unit that can be used while on the move (yes, I use mine to boil water while walking). The other systems do not have an coffee press that work with the included pot. If I wanted to I could buy a coffee press/pot combo and use it on any stove except for the Reactor by MSR and I don't own one of those.
To conclude; the every stove has it's place. Some are lighter and cheaper. Some are said to only boil water(I think the blame is on the chef). Some are heavy large or expensive. But few can fill as many different niches as the Jet Boil PCS. The only thing Jet Boil leaves me to dream of are a little crazy like a pressure cooker pot that fits the PCS or a bread oven insert.
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