Saturday, 7 January 2012

Jetboil Flash - update of a great piece of kit

Jetboil have had a lot of success with their Jetboil stoves, and now with several on the market and selling well they are looking for ways to improve designs, and lower the weight. The jetboil flash does 50% of that! 

First off in terms of weight it's no different to the original Jetboil PCS (now called Jetboil Classic). It's exactly the same weight, with exactly the same power output, and boil time. For those of you who aren't familiar with Jetboil, the concept of the system is a small, lightweight, efficient stove unit. It can boil water very efficiently and quickly (under 2 minutes). The stove unit attaches to the cup (called the companion mug), and makes a very stable unit. A number of accessories are available for the system including a hanging kit (which isn't brilliant), a coffee press, and a stabiliser set (included with the Jetboil Flash). The stabiliser consists of a small tripod type affair that attaches to the bottom of the gas canister to stop the stove from over balancing, the set also includes a metal attachment for the top of the stove that turns the Jetboil into a more traditional stove that can have a pan or mess tin on instead of the companion mug. 
Jetboil Flash (left) Vs PCS (right)

After you finish cooking you can pack everything away inside the companion mug which saves space, and means you aren't scrambling around for everything when you want to make a brew! 

So whats new with the Flash? The Flash has a couple of new features which I feel are a real improvement on the original PCS. The first change is the gas regulator valve on the side. On the PCS this was a small knob that could be really fiddly, especially in gloves. This has been changed to larger wire frame, glove friendly adjuster - a significant improvement on the original. The second (albiet minor) change is the lid and bottom cover - these have been adjusted to an opaque plastic, this is a useful change as you can look into the stove and see how you cooking is progressing. The third change is a good one - the igniter on the previous unit was quite far away from the burner, this meant that in wind you often had to result to the backup lighter to get it working, on the Flash the piezo igniter is closer to the burner which seems to provide a much more consistent ignition! The final change is the sleeve of the unit. The sleeve now features a heat indicator that turns yellow when the contents of the stove are hot, in practice this means you can keep the lid on the stove until the sleeve turns yellow, removing the lid then will reveal the boiling water, and because you had the lid on the whole time the efficiency is maximised. 
Jetboil Flash with stabiliser

Overall I'm happy with the Flash and glad I got one when my PCS needed replacing, don't go out and buy one if you have a working PCS, as the new features are that significant, but if you want a jetboil, definitely get this one over the Jetboil Classic! 

Jetboil really is one of my favorite pieces of kit, it's lightweight, it's efficient, and it does the job I want it to do quickly, no messing around! The flash is an improvement on the original and comes with the stabiliser (previously £15 with the PCS) so that's an extra bonus! Worth shopping around for too it can be found at prices between £60-£112 so a big difference between retailers! 

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