I rarely use the term “must have” when it comes to backpacking. My load out for a backpacking trip is constantly evolving and changing to become lighter and more efficient. In order for a piece of equipment to become a staple and earn a consistent spot in my backpack, I must be unable to identify any negatives to using it. The Jetboil Flash is a permanent fixture in my backpack.
I received the Jetboil Flash as a gift from my best friend and backpacking partner about a year ago and have used it on several different trips. Having been a minimalist style backpacker, historically, I would pack an isobutane/propane canister, a pocket burner and a lightweight pot. At first glance, the Flash appeared gimmicky, a large logo next to the word Jetboil are scrolled along the side of the insulated cozy. At 15.25 Ounces it feels extremely light in the hand. The inside of the cooking cup is marked with a two cup indicating line. The Flash also includes one cup measuring cup that doubles as a bowl, a stabilizing stand for your fuel canister and a lid for the cooking cup that has a sipping cut out, and a straw hole. The stove burner, canister stand and a 100g fuel canister (which will yield about 40 minutes of burn time) all stow inside the cooking cup making it a reasonably compact system once everything is packed up. The measuring cup/bowl also secures to the bottom of the cooking cup. The burner has a reliable push button spark igniter and twist style flow control valve in which the wire knob folds in for compact packing.
Definitely not a gimmick.
Anything about the Jetboil Flash that is gimmicky stops with the self advertisement on the cozy. Oh, and the large Jetboil logo on the side of the cozy, that has a purpose too, it changes to a bright yellow color to let you know that your water is hot. This thing is efficient. I do not use that word lightly. It will boil two cups of water in less than three minutes which means that if your are using one of the dehydrated meal packs (i.e. Mountain House, Backpacker’s Pantry, etc.) it will take more time for your food to mix with the water and hydrate that in will for your water to heat up. The lightweight, soft cozy is insulated enough to allow even the most sensitive of hands to hold the cooking canister filled with boiling water. What’s more is that once your water is heated and you’ve poured it out, this thing takes only minutes to be cool enough to be ready to pack back up and throw in your backpack.
Click below for a demo of the Jetboil boiling water
Now, as a disclaimer, I do not recommend using any backpacking stove in your tent. In fact, aside from burning your tent down as a logical risk, burning isobutane/propane mixes creates carbon monoxide (that same carbon monoxide that is so dangerous that you are required to have alarms to warn you of it’s presence in your home). That being said, on multiple trips, in a pinch while being stuck in storms, rained, hailed and snowed upon with 20-30 mile an hour gusts, I have used the Flash in my tent (I have a tent with a good rain fly and good ventilation) to cook food. As a byproduct, the max 10,000 BTU burner creates a lot of ambient heat. I will say it again, I have used it in a pinch to cook food, not as a heater. DO NOT USE THIS AS A HEATER. THAT WOULD BE DUMB. DUMB STUFF CAN KILL YOU.
There are few better things than a hot meal after a long day of backpacking through the woods or sitting on the side of a mountain glassing with the biting cold nipping at your body. Having used all different types of dehydrated food and homemade meal packs I can confirm that eating a hearty beef stew back at camp is far better than munching on granola and an apple. I can safely say that there is not a cooking system on the market that makes this easier than the Jetboil Flash. We have come a long way from boiling water over a campfire and I’m comfortable saying that I’m not planning on going back anytime soon.
Jetboil Flash Specs:
Push button igniter
Burner cover serves as measuring cup (1 cup) and bowl
Color changing indicator
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