Our favorite things: the oh-so-simple Jetboil stove

Recently, John Holyoke posted the Coleman stove as a holiday gift suggestion on his “Out There” blog, so I thought I’d go ahead and post the “Act Out with Aislinn” version: the Jetboil stove. Because instead of cooking up grub on my tailgate after a long morning sitting in a treestand (like John), I’m tromping through the woods, typically trying to get from point A to point B, and I’m not about to get weighed down by a two-burner contraption.

Photo by Heather Leonard. BDN reporter Aislinn Sarnacki using her Jetboil stove to cook alfredo pasta on a beach on Isleboro, Maine, during the summer of 2010.

But first, if you don’t know about “Our Favorite Things,” read the explanation below.

“Our Favorite Things”: Welcome to the holiday season, a time of frantic gift buying, tree trimming and sweater wearing. It sounds tiring, but the BDN Outdoors is prepared to help. Well, with the gift part. (We won’t decorate your tree or help you dress.) Throughout the merry month of December, BDN Outdoor Editor John Holyoke and I will wrack our brains to come up with appropriate gifts for any outdoorsy person. But instead of creating the typical gift guide (the lastest, high-techiest version of this or that) we will simply reach into our own backpacks and pull out some of the items we can’t seem to get along without when we’re in the Maine wilderness. Please feel free to contribute to this conversation by posting gift suggestions in the comment section at the bottom of this post.

The Jetboil stove

I own (and cook alfredo pasta in) the solo Jetboil stove, which is listed as the “Jetboil Sol Advanced Cooking System.” This would be a great gift for someone who likes to backpack or even just tent out away from their vehicle.

Here’s a breakdown of the product description:

• $119.95 –  If you’re buying this item as a gift, make sure you’re buying it for someone you like. This is a quality piece of gear, and it doesn’t come cheap.

• “Designed to fuel your backcountry passion” – Made for carrying in a backpack in the woods.

• “Ultra-compact 10.5 ounces” – Lightweight and won’t take up much room in your backpack. The fuel can packs right into the cooking cup, along with the stove burner. All you have to do is connect the fuel canister to the stove burner, and the stove burner to the cooking cup, and it’s set up.

• “Jetboil introduces advanced Jetboil Thermo-Regulate™ Burner Technology to deliver consistent heat output down to 20˚ F.” – This stove won’t work as well during the Maine winter when the temperatures dip below 0 degrees F. For winter camping in Maine, a liquid fuel stove will be more reliable and efficient (The Jetboil is considered to be a canister stove.) Liquid fuel stoves are most commonly run on white gas and need to be primed. BDN reader Erica suggests the MSR Whisperlite ($79) or Dragonfly ($129.95) models from personal experience. But if you’re planning to use this stove during the spring, summer and fall, it’ll heat your meal right up.

• “Integrated burner base and 0.8 Liter FluxRing Cooking Cup.” – Wicked sturdy. Just set the burner (connected to the fuel can) on the ground, and the cup fastens right to the top.

• “Insulating cozy” – You won’t burn your hands on the cooking cup when you pick it up to eat.

• “Convenient, reliable push-button igniter” – You don’t need to use a match or anything. Just push a button and the fire starts! I like simple –especially when I’m hungry and just want a warm meal — and this is simple.

• “Drink-through lid with pour spout & strainer” – You probably won’t spill anything on yourself if you use this.

• “Bottom cover doubles as a bowl and measuring cup” – This saves room.

• “Compatible with all Jetboil accessories” – If you want to spend more money, check out some extra gadgets at jetboil.com.

If the person you’re buying this gift for travels and camps with other people, consider getting them the Jetboil Sumo Group Cooking System, which is the same thing, just bigger. But before you make your final decision, make sure to check out the Jetboil Helios, which is can hold an even larger cooking cup or frying pan.

If you simply can’t afford a $119 stove (or perhaps that’s just an inappropriate amount to spend on the person you’re buying a gift for), the MSR Pocket Rocket, selling new for $39.95, is another great piece of gear — and it fits in your pocket!

If you don’t have anyone on your holiday gift list who would want a cookstove, stay tuned to the BDN Outdoor page. John Holyoke and I will be posting “Our Favorite Things” gift ideas throughout December.


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Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.