It’s very early, very damp and you’re very hungover from an evening of campfire revelry. The only thing standing between you and death is the chance of a cup of tea emerging through the zipper of your tent, proffered by one of the very loud voices outside who all seem to be conspiring to keep you and sleep apart. You realise with self- and general-loathing for the world that a cup of tea won’t miraculously appear and so you have no choice but to crawl, – slowly so as not to upset the demons in your head – towards your porch where a system so simple to use to make a cup of tea in a field lays waiting.
That’s when a jetboil comes in to its own. When you need it to be simple, quick, and reliable. With a system of parts which a child could work out how to assemble, it excels at cooking small meals in a confined space and of course at making life-saving tea.
The Jetboil Flash is essentially a 1-litre pot with a neoprene cover so you can pick it up without burning yourself, and a stove strapped to the bottom of it. The clever bit is how Jetboil integrate the whole thing to improve cooking efficiency.
The Flash is supplied with a bunch of components which all nestle inside the 1L pot when not in use. This is a great space-saving design and even more clever when you realise that you can also fit a 100g gas canister in there too.
The Pot itself is a matt finished grey metal with a complicated heat sink welded to the base of it. This increases the surface area that can absorb heat from the gas burner below, increasing the rate at which things heat up and minimising wasted gas, which is very important if you’re only carrying a small canister. The other neat trick on the Flash is the heat indicating window on the neoprene cover. This changes colour when your water gets to near boiling point, so that if you have drinkable water you don’t need to waste loads of energy getting it from 99C to 100C and boiling (it requires a lot of energy to do that).
The burner itself is approximately an inch wide with a piezo-electric (push start) button that works perfectly. Users of the original Jetboil PCS will note that this is much more protected from accidental damage than the original.
The gas canister simply screws in to the base of the burner, and although all the weight of the stove is taken through the screw thread, Jetboil have designed the burner unit with a plastic structure which, on certain gas cylinders, helps provide some anti-wobble to the top-heavy system.
Also, with safety in mind and consideration of that top-heavy nature, the Jetboil Flash is supplied with an orange plastic stand which clips in to the 3 most popular sizes of gas canister and makes a huge difference to the stability of the whole thing.
The 1L pot is supplied with a translucent lid through which you can see how your water or meal is doing. This doubles as a drinking lid which both protects your lips from the hot pot and limits the amount of tea you can spill in your hungover stupor. The pot is also supplied with a plastic protective cup which covers the heat sink when it’s not in use. This has measurements for ‘1-cup’ on it, which could be useful if you were cooking American style. I suppose it could also be used to drink from if you wanted to share your tea with a friend.
Lastly, the Jetboil Flash comes with an adaptor so you can use the burner to cook with other pots.
This is a neat idea if you want to minimise the number of stoves you take on an expedition, but I have to say that in reality removing the 1L pot from the burner base is an absolute sod. It’s a twist and lock affair, but the matt metal finish of the pot seems to bind to the burner and make this a real hassle.
SUMMARY: Jetboil Flash is an updated version of the multi award-winning personal cooking system and some real thought has gone in to its design. It’s simple to use, very quick to cook and pretty compact. I keep mine in the car where it gets used to make tea and serve as my ‘quick’ stove. Great piece of kit.