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Jet Boil Review
One of the most difficult elements of ATV camping is SPACE, SPACE and SPACE! You don't have much space on the ATV to bring everything you want to bring. There's only so much real estate for sleeping bag, tent, tarp, clothes, drinks, ice, spare parts and food. Food! Great....I've got food...but where am I possibly going fit a stove to cook it!!
MRE's and similar dried foods still need water to be heated. The question is...How? That trusty coleman stove and some white gas or propane isn't going to cut it. Well, unless you want it to strap it to your helmet!
In steps, Jet Boil.
On a recent trip to the Dusy-Ershim Trail, we had to figure out how to camp for 4 days on ATV's. Space was at a MAJOR premium. Steve and I ran into each other at REI to pick up some final items. I already had a small propane one burner stove, but Steve had nothing. Since Steve was in charge of coffee, and not wanting my wife to kill him, Steve and I noticed Jet Boil among all the smaller backpack type stoves. It seemed like a cool item, but would it work as well as its name?
Over the course of 4 days, the answer was a resounding YES! Jet Boil turned out to be worth every penny. As many of us have discovered on our search for "SMALL", it seems the smaller the device gets, the more expensive it becomes. Jet Boil wasn't any different, but for the money it delivered.
Setting up the Jet Boil was a piece of cake. The unit comes all together, stacked inside of the main cook 'cup'. You simply pull the main burner out of the cooking pot/cup.
Then pull the Jet Boil fuel out of the bottom. Once you have those two pieces out, you're ready to start assembly for cooking.
Once assembly is complete, you just need some water. No need for match...the Jet Boil features it's own self-lighting mechanism, which works flawlessly. But many units have that, so it's no extraordinary feature. What sets the Jet Boil apart from the rest...is SPEED!
The Jet Boil is fast...there's no two ways about it. It was amazing how fast the Jet Boil attacked the water to bring it to a boil. We really put the Jet Boil to the test, as we were camping at 9,100 feet in elevation. It didn't matter, Jet Boil didn't seem to care about the lack of oxygen at 9,000+ feet. We were ready to put our MRE into heat way ahead of all the standard propane burners. It wasn't even close.
Additionally, Jet Boil boiled the water so fast, it seemed to hardly use any fuel. Initially, we were a bit concerned the Jet Boil would gobble up it's relatively small fuel cannister too quickly for our 4 days in the mountains. But the Jet Boil handled all the meals over 4 days and countless cups of coffee. We never even needed our second cannister.
The Jet Boil clearly kicks ass on water for reheating MRE's and making coffee. But what about using a pan? The one area of concern was that the Jet Boil could be difficult to keep steady with a pan. Since our main focus was coffee, we didn't really concern ourselves with this during the purchase. Upon returning home, we were extremely pleased to discover that Jet Boil does have an optional stabilizer for cooking with a pan. While I haven't tested it, based on the engineering of this unit, I would be shocked if this didn't do the job.
In all, if you don't have a cooking device for ATV camping...GET THE JET BOIL! You won't regret it. If you already have a single one burner propane stove, but are underwelmed with it's performance and still find it inefficient with space, then get a Jet Boil. For ATV camping or backpacking, the Jet Boil is the perfect product that not only works well, but works better than expected. I personally give the Jet Boil 4.5 out of 5 stars.