Jetboil Flash Cooking System Review

DSC06684-2.jpg
 

While integrated stoves aren’t the lightest backpacking option, they’re by far the most convenient and fastest stoves. Among integrated canister stoves, the Jetboil Flash is one of the most affordable and dependable options. The Flash is a solid budget buy with lots of nice extra features that make it very attractive for backpacking and camping trips. The Jetboil Flash is our top pick for integrated canister stoves on our 10 Best Backpacking Stoves list.

QUICK SPECS

  • MSRP: $99.95

  • Weight: 13.1 oz.

  • Liquid Capacity: 1 liter

  • Average Boil Time: 100 seconds for 16 oz. of water

  • Fuel Type: Isobutane Fuel Canister (100 gram size)

Jetboil Flash Photo Gallery

PROS

Boils Water Extremely Quickly - The Flash can boil 16 oz. (half full) of water in just 100 sec., which is amazingly fast and convenient when you want a meal or a hot drink in the backcountry. The faster your water boils, the less time you’ll have to spend waiting around for coffee in the morning or dinner in camp after a long day on the trail. The Flash could be a game changer for those who tend to get cold easily too, since it heats water so quickly. Why not make some hot tea to warm up on a break?

Great Value - Since this is a cook system and includes both the pot and the stove, the Flash is a really great value with an MSRP right around $100. It’s very efficient with fuel too, which adds to the long-term value by saving you money on fuel canisters. Jetboil does offer an economy model, the Zip, but it lacks a few of the perks that the Flash has and the pot is smaller (.8L), which may be a bit small to serve 2 people. We think it’s well worth the extra $20 to upgrade to the Flash. Other Jetboil cook systems, like the MiniMo and MicroMo, are about $50 more because they have regulators for simmer control, but if you’re really only going to be boiling water, the Flash is the best option. For more cooking control and 4-season use, the MiniMo and MicroMo are also excellent choices.

DSC06686.jpg

Push-Button Ignitor - The Flash’s reliable push-button ignitor makes it really easy and convenient to light. You don’t even need a lighter, though we still recommend carrying at least one small Mini BIC for emergencies. Just press the button and the stove fires up like a rocket, instantly emitting 9000 BTUs of heat. Over time, push button igniters do tend to wear out, but that will likely be thousands of convenient uses down the road.

Uses Fuel Efficiently - The corrugated metal heat exchanger at the base of the Flash acts as a shield from the wind. That protection means the heat created with your fuel isn’t swept away like it can be when using more exposed styles of stoves like the MSR Pocket Rocket 2. The Flash can boil about 10L of water with just one small (100 g.) canister of fuel, making it one of the most fuel-efficient backpacking stoves on the market.

DSC06688.jpg

Well-Designed Lid - The Flash’s lid is intelligently designed with a sipping spout you can drink from like a travel mug, and built-in strainer for draining pasta water. The lid fits securely enough for the pot to be inverted without falling off, which is nice for transferring hot liquids without worrying about spills.

Helpful Extra Features – In addition to being a miraculously fast little water boiler, the Flash comes equipped with lots of extra features that make it even more appealing. It’s wrapped in an insulating neoprene sleeve that makes it easy to handle when it’s hot. It also has a strap handle that isn’t super sturdy like the one on the MiniMo, but still functions well enough to be beneficial. The sleeve is fitted with a color-changing heat indicator that gives you a visual cue when the water’s close to boiling. Since the indicator turns orange, you can prepare to turn the stove off right in time to eliminate fuel waste and avoid boil overs. The plastic bottom cover also doubles as a bowl/cup with measuring markers that make it easy to add the perfect amount of water to your backpacking meals. See our Best Freeze-Dried Meals List and Best Lightweight Backpacking Food Guide for some of our favorite backcountry meals.

Packability - The Flash is well-designed with the ability to nest a 100 g. isobutane fuel canister inside the pot, along with the stove and pot support. With the whole cooking system consolidated, the Flash is reasonably compact and easy to find space for in a backpack. We’d love it if Jetboil came up with a spoon that fit inside the pot to make mealtime even more convenient, but the system is still great as it is.

Stable and Sturdy - Even without the plastic pot support accessory, the Flash is pretty stable, but we do appreciate that Jetboil includes the pot support for more surface contact when using small fuel canisters. The support isn’t necessary if you don’t want to carry it, but it’s nice to have the option of extra stability in windy conditions. And knocking over a pot of boiling water (or food!) in the backcountry is definitely something to avoid. Overall, the Flash (and all Jetboil models) is a very sturdy and durable cook system that will last for many years of adventuring if treated with care.

Compatible with Accessories - The Flash is compatible with Jetboil accessories, like the Hanging Kit, which makes it possible to use it for big wall climbing, skiing, and other extreme sports. Another popular addition is the Coffee Press, which makes brewing good coffee really quick and easy. We don’t usually make coffee with a press unless we’re near a trash receptacle though, since we’d have to carry spent grounds out of the backcountry to stay true to Leave No Trace principles. That being said, the Coffee Press is a cool feature that we really enjoy for casual camping. For backpacking trips, we’ve found Starbucks Via packets to be a good option since they are lightweight and have no waste (aside from the packaging).

DSC06658.jpg

CONS

No Simmer Control - The Flash doesn’t have a fuel regulator for simmer control, which limits its versatility for doing much more than boiling water. For those who want to do more cooking on the trail, the MiniMo is a better option, though it is more expensive and has a stouter pot shape that’s slightly tougher to pack (but better to eat out of). No regulator also means the Flash won’t work for sub-freezing winter trips, but if you mostly backpack from spring to fall, that shouldn’t be an issue.

Heavy - The Flash weighs 13.1 oz., which isn’t super light, but isn’t terrible for backpacking either. The base plate is now made of aluminum, which shaves off an ounce from previous Jetboil versions. We take the Flash on trips where convenience is paramount, but it’s a little on the heavy side for thru-hiking or extended ultralight trips. When we’re looking to go really light we bring the Snowpeak Titanium Mini Solo Cookset paired with the BRS Ultralight Stove, which has a combined weight of only 7.5 oz. While that setup is close to half the weight of the Flash, it’s not nearly as convenient, sturdy, efficient, or reliable. But, when we’re covering lots of miles and tackling big elevation gains, we think the UL option is the way to go.

DSC06689.jpg

BOTTOM LINE

The Jetboil Flash isn’t the smallest or lightest cooking system on the market, but its convenience and ridiculously fast boiling speed more than makes up for those downsides. The Flash is offered at a fair price and is a great value since it will last for a very long time, being so sturdy and well-made. (We have a similar Jetboil model that’s been on all kinds of trips for 8+ years and it still works perfectly!) We might opt for a stove and pot that are a bit lighter on really rugged and difficult trips when weight seriously matters, but we love using the Flash whenever it’s practical and we highly recommend it. With so many handy extras, the Jetboil Flash Cooking System is pretty tough to beat.

Want to see how the Flash stacks up against the competition? Check out our Best Backpacking Stoves guide where we compare the latest and greatest stoves and give first-hand advice on products we’ve tested in the backcountry.


More Information

If you enjoyed this review, you'll probably like the CleverHiker Gear Guide as well. Here are some popular resources to check out.

 


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means we may receive a modest commission if purchases are made through those links. This adds no cost to our readers and helps us keep our site up and running. Our reputation is our most important asset, which is why we only provide completely honest and unbiased recommendations.