Proven: Jetboil Sol Titanium Stove

My taste buds are paganistic and tone deaf; they respond primarily to blunt force trauma and sauces with the subtlety of battery acid. My stomach is much the same, especially in the backcountry — just fill it, baby, and fast. Even if my taste buds were sensitive enough to detect the nuances of fine food, they wouldn’t have time. Thus, the Jetboil, which boils in a blink, was a revelation, the lighter, faster Jetboil Sol titanium even more so.

I first heard about the Jetboil years ago from Nate Simmons at the Outdoor Retailer trade show. The question everyone asks at the show is, “What have you seen that’s cool?” and usually there’s a shrug and a 1,000-yard trade-show stare, but this time, before I even ask, Nate grabbed me, dragged me over to the Jetboil booth, and said, “You have to see this.”

The Jetboil cooking system, as most outdoor people now know, dramatically shortened boiling times by using a heat exchanger to ramp up efficiency and reduce heat loss. Seeing it for the first time was like a vision of the future, where the elapsed time from dropping pack at the end of the day to satiated burp would be mere minutes instead of significant fractions of an hour. I was mesmerized. I had to have one.

As you can see, I do. And now, years later, this Jetboil Sol of mine is pretty nappy-looking (and yes, in this case, it’s worth the extra bucks to get the far-lighter ti model). I suppose I could have cleaned it up before taking the pictures, but I like it a little grungy. And the essence of the concept of “proven” is that it doesn’t matter what it looks like so long as it works and keeps on working. And that the scars and stains and smudges arrive only over time and use, eventually creating character and personality that distinguish one identically manufactured object from another.

For many years, I felt a certain allegiance to the MSR Whisperlite, but that was primarily because I carried the finicky SOB with me all over the world, something that couldn’t be said of too many companions. Jetboil, on the other hand, completely transformed my outdoor eating and drinking experience. It simplified my cooking life, speeded up the cooking-eating-burping loop, and, most important to this caffeine addict, made it possible to have good coffee within two minutes no matter where I am. I’ve made awesome French press brews in tents, motel rooms, and on the side of countless roads. Once Starbucks invented Via, I gave up a little on quality and got a lot back in terms of convenience and cleanup. And next week in Salt Lake City, when I pry my carcass out of bed during the Outdoor Retailer show and go looking for the next cool thing, this Jetboil will be the trick that gets me up and running. I’m more than fond of the Jetboil — I can’t quite imagine life without it.

$149 LINK

{ 20 comments…read them below or write one }

  • Forrest

    I agree, I’ve had the Jetboil for about a year now and it has worked wonderfully. My only complaint is that there have been several occasions when I had to press the button to spark the fuel about twenty times in order for it to ignite but it always came through. A very good purchase. :D

    • steve casimiro Post author

      @Forrest: My experience with piezoelectric sparkers is that you should never trust them. Always carry a lighter just in case.

    • steve casimiro Post author

      @Carson: See above. Can’t fly with them. Can’t fly with gas, either, but it’s obviously easy to find when you hit the ground.

  • John

    Agreed. and with my Syncro weekender layout it goes from early morning tea in the van to dinner on the summit!

    likewise, I replaced my (grrr) Whisperlite with my jetboil when they first rolled out and it has never failed me. I completely understand your affection for such a proven solider :)

  • grampa

    Canisters are a “no fly” item; you need to get them locally after your flight. And dispose of any remaining before you return. If you’re hiking in a national or state park, forest, etc, I’ve generally been able to donate them to the local ranger or crew.

    • steve casimiro Post author

      Yeah, getting your hands on a canister in a place like Morocco…good luck. Or even if you’re flying in the States and arrive after stores close and want to get straight to a trailhead. That’s a definite drawback.

      As for getting rid of the used can, anyone who uses a canister stove should get a Jetboil Crunchit recycling tool, which lets you puncture the can and allow the remaining gas to vent. The empty canisters are recyclable. It’s $6 at REI.

  • Matt Minich

    Are their JetBoil pots that can be used on a flame as well? That has always been my problem – that the pots and pans are hard to use with anything but the JetBoil system. One of many reasons I’ll likely always be a Whisperlite devotee.

  • alex

    i’ve got a flash and an msr simmerlite – i use them for different purposes.

    Jetboil is for boiling water only – dehydrated meals, coffee, tea etc.

    MSR stove takes care of the rest when i’m able to live in a little more luxury – i.e. fried eggs and sausages in the am

  • David Sweeney

    The most important reason I love my Jetboil is that my wife loves it.

    When family camping she’s up way early and I like to stay in my sleeping bag. There’s no way she’s going to start the Coleman two burner by herself for her morning coffee. So, she gets her coffee and I get to sleep in. I use the Jetboil on lots of other trips but this is the biggest payback.

    I’ve worked in the outdoor biz for a long time now. Any time I bring home some new gear and the wife loves it or says “that’s mine” it’s a winner.

  • Zack Rizzo

    Right on the money.

    I was first introduced to Jet Boil on a backpacking trip to New Mexico almost six years ago. It’s served me on numerous trips since. From amidst the towering California Redwoods to thundering South Dakota plains storms, it’s performed flawlessly and has claimed a permanent spot in my go bag for all activities. Sometimes at the end of a long day the last thing you want to do is fool over the way you’re going to feed yourself for an hour. That’s why its worth it’s weight in gold to me. Great write up.

  • Matt

    @steve- any feedback on how the Sol does in cold weather or at altitude? I’m looking for a good winter mountaineering stove for lower 48 adventures. Thanks

    • steve casimiro Post author

      I haven’t used the Jetboil in overly cold conditions, nothing too far below freezing. Like all canister stoves, though, it’s mostly about keeping the can warm —putting it inside your clothes. As for altitude, on paper I wouldn’t recommend it except that so many I know going high are using it with great success. Jimmy, Renan, and Conrad used a Jetboil Sumo on their successful first ascent of the Shark’s Fin, 20,700 feet, as you can see in this post/video we did:

      The fact that those guys committed themselves to it on a such a big and high profile endorsement is a huge vote of confidence for its altitude performance.

  • Chris

    Jet Boil, as with the Whisperlite, is not a one cooker only solution. For traveling to far flung countries, the MSR lets me use any local fuels, whereas there is no chance I’d be able to get a gas canister. I also find the MSR more useful for 3 day or longer trips where I’d need to take a few gas canisters. However, Jet Boil is definitely the first choice for shorter trips where I know I can get a canister.

  • Daniel

    “And the essence of the concept of “proven” is that it doesn’t matter what it looks like so long as it works and keeps on working. And that the scars and stains and smudges arrive only over time and use, eventually creating character and personality that distinguish one identically manufactured object from another.” – Thats exactly how I fell about most of my gear, especially it seems, about my bike. LOL.

    Nice write.

  • Chris

    I’m getting a Jetboil Sol Ti for solo trips this summer to replace my ancient and sold Jetboil from the companies 2nd year. For bigger groups, I found the MSR Reactor is boil water as fast but utilizes more of the fuel in the cannister, and the pot is more appropriately sized for a three person team.

  • Fred

    Thanks for the article. I find the Go Bag Stove to be my favorite choice of stove for day hikes and overnight camping trips.

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