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ADV ProductsMotorcycle Camping GearBest Backpacking Stove For The Adventure Rider

Best Backpacking Stove For The Adventure Rider

 Jetboil dominates the competition when these 3 conditions are met

Published on 01.08.2014
Jetboil packs its components internally in a tight, secure and durable package.

If you are like the typical adventure rider, finding free time to travel on your motorcycle is not easy. You have work and family responsibilities that require most of your adventure trips to be short-duration and close to home.

When you do get a chance to ride, you like to fill up your day with as many miles and points of interest you can squeeze in.  Usually, you plan more than you can handle in a day.

When you arrive at camp for the evening, the sun drops quickly in the sky as you barely manage to get your tent up before darkness sets in. You feel exhausted and all you can think about is satisfying your hunger and finally getting a chance to relax.  You have used all your energy on a full-day’s ride and the last thing you want to do is spend more time cooking a fancy meal.  You just want some delicious hot food in your stomach and you want it now!


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These Three Conditions are True for Most Adventure Riders:

1.) Your rides are short-duration and you don’t need to replenish fuel.

2.) You are content with quick and easy meals when camping.

3.) You want a camping stove that is lightweight, durable and efficient.

A good portable propane stove that can quickly produce a warm meal when you are tired is a valuable asset for any adventure rider who camps. The best backpacking stoves on the market are lightweight, durable and efficient, making them a popular choice for adventure riders.

A common mistake many adventure riders make when buying their first backpacking stove is to get enticed by some of the inexpensive models out there. After comparing prices, the best backpacking stove on the market may appear too expensive.  However, choosing the wrong backpacking stove can negatively impact your camping experience.

Problems You May Encounter With Inexpensive Backpacking Stoves:

Lack of Durability: Gear that is constantly being tossed around in panniers or compressed in softbags can easily break or distort enough to become unusable.  This can have dire consequences when you arrive at your campsite for the night only to find out that your portable propane stove is broken and you don’t have any way to cook dinner.

Difficulty Lighting: Sometimes weather can change quickly and you find yourself in extremely cold temperatures for the night or you need to camp at high elevation.  An inexpensive stove may have problems getting lit in these extreme conditions, causing you to spend hours trying in vain to get a hot meal going.

Inefficient Fuel Use: Every adventure rider likes to save money, but the long-term expense must be considered.  Inexpensive backpacking stoves burn less efficiently and may burn through more than twice as much fuel for the same amount of cooks.  This also creates the need to pack additional fuel, which increases weight and bulk.

Complicated Design: Many backpacking stoves are overly complicated with multiple parts to assemble before usage.  Some stoves require extra steps to light and constant monitoring to keep burning.  While other backpacking stoves may also require regular maintenance to keep them working properly.  These are unwelcome burdens for the weary adventure rider.

Poor Performance: Bringing water to boil can take over ten minutes with a cheap stove.  Often times a group of riders will share a stove and require multiple boils for everyone to eat.  Adding extra minutes for each boil can create big delays for the entire group to get fed. Sometimes those extra minutes can make you opt for trail mix and power bars instead.

Safety Concerns: Nothing can be more frightening than the risk of a fire.  Riding with liquid fuels that can potentially spill near a hot exhaust is a scary thought.  A cheap camping stove that leaks fuel through small cracks in seals can create a dangerous fire while cooking.  An unstable pot can easily fall and cause burns from hot metal and liquid spills.  Saving money on your backpacking stove may not be worth the extra concern for safety it creates.

Extra Weight and Bulk: The best backpacking stoves use lighter materials and are designed to pack up neatly.  Cheaper camp stoves can be heavy and bulky.  Any extra weight on the bike will negatively affect handling and is especially noticeable when riding off-road.  Bulky items will make packing more difficult and require more time and energy to get everything securely loaded in your luggage.

What Makes the Jetboil the Best Backpacking Stove for Adventure Riders?

You have probably heard of JetBoil stoves at some point.  The company has produced one of the most successful portable propane stove designs in recent times.  Their revolutionary efficient burning stoves reinvigorated a stagnant industry.  The Jetboil stove is the most recommended stove on AdvRider Forum and it is frequently seen at adventure bike camp sites worldwide.

Extremely Fast:  The Jetboil’s patented FluxRing® technology provides more efficient heat transfer from the burner to the boiling pot.  The Jetboil can bring .5 liters (16 oz) of water to a boil in 2.5 minutes or less.  For pure speed, there are few stoves that can come close to the Jetboil. Imagine the feeling of rolling into camp knowing that a hot cup of hearty beef stew or Ramen noodles is just minutes away.

Most Efficient: Not only is Jetboil one of the fastest boiling stoves, it is also the most efficient portable propane stove on the market.  The Jetboil sips fuel at a miserly pace, allowing you to camp for roughly 10 days on their small canister if you boil .5 liters of liquid 2 times per day.  You can make each canister last even longer if you camp at sea level and lower the flame setting.

Easy to Light: Just turn the fuel nozzle on and push the flame ignitor button to start the Jetboil stove.  Jetboil fuel canisters utilize a cold weather isobutane/propane mix that provides higher vapor pressure for operation at low temperatures. The Jetboil Sol models have a special thermo regulator that allows them to function in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The Jetboil Sol will operate at even lower temperatures if you keep the canister warm near your body and shake it well.

The burner also has good wind protection to maintain efficient heating during breezy conditions. The stove has proven to even work even at altitudes as high as 26,000 feet, far higher than any adventure rider will ever need.

Lightweight: The lightest Jetboil model (Sol Titanium) weighs in at a feathery 8.5oz. The entire cooking system weighs just over a pound when including a full fuel canister and accessories.  Even if you opt for the less expensive (heavier) Jetboil model, the weight increase won’t be noticeable on the back of a motorcycle.

Compact Design: Your camping stove and fuel can be some of the bulkiest gear on your bike. With the Jetboil stove, you simply insert the 100g fuel canister, tripod stand, pot support and burner inside the boiler cup and the lid snaps on to create a secure storage container. This compact package can be stored easily in your luggage, taking up an area of just 4.1″ x 6.5″ (104 mm x 165 mm). When you replace your old camping stove with a Jetboil, you will notice it’s much easier to close your drybag.

Easy to Use: Everything about the Jetboil stove is user friendly. Assembly and operation is simple and intuitive. Just turn on the fuel and push the button to start, then adjust the fuel level to your desired temperature.  No pumping or priming required.  No mess or maintenance.  The boiling pot is easy to clean up after you are done. When you own a Jetboil stove, assembly, cooking, cleaning and repacking is hassle free and you have more time to relax by the campfire telling stories about the day’s adventure.

Highly Durable:  If you ride off-road, you need to strap down your drybags tightly to ensure they don’t move around in rough terrain.  Anything inside is likely to get crushed if it is not designed to take the abuse.  The Jetboil is made of strong materials, giving it the durability it needs for serious off-road riding.  You can feel confident that the Jetboil stove will provide years of reliable service, even if your packing skills leave something to be desired.

Safest Cooking System: One of the most important but least talked about benefits of the Jetboil is safety.  The Jetboil, in our opinion, is the safest backpacking stove money can buy.  To start with, fuel canister stoves are much safer than liquid fuel stoves which are more likely to have flare ups or fuel spills that can cause dangerous fires.  The Jetboil uses sealed butane/propane type canisters that cannot spill.  The fuel canister fits inside the boiler cup when being transported, giving it extra protection against puncture.

The Jetboil includes a tripod base that snaps to the fuel canister, making the entire cooking system very stable on its feet.  The fuel canister, burner and boiling pot all lock securely together to ensure that nothing slides off and causes a fire.  Even if the entire system is knocked over, the snap-on lid will prevent any gushing of scalding liquid from causing harm.  In addition, the Jetboil insulating cozy allows the boiling cup to be handled when hot without risk of being burned.

Contents Stay Hot: It can really be annoying when you are enjoying a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning and you can’t seem to drink it fast enough before it gets cold.  The Jetboil stove includes a snap-on top with drinking spout and an insulating cozy. With the Jetboil, your hot beverage of choice will continue to stay hot for a very long time.

Nice Touches: Jetboil is a well-thought-out product that includes many special touches like the ability to pour hot water smoothly from the boiler cup. The bottom plastic cover doubles as a measuring cup and protects against the hot surface of the FluxRing® fins when detached from the burner.

There are also a number of accessories available that are compatible with all Jetboil stove models.  The French Press makes brewing hot gourmet coffee easier than ever.  Jetboil also provides some of the best support in the industry, routinely replacing failed components for their customers without any fuss or hassle.

Common Consumers Concerns About the Jetboil Stove

How does the Jetboil compare with other quick boiling camping stoves?
There are two other products that have fast boiling stove designs similar to the Jetboil. The MSR Reactor 1L Stove System has an advantage with faster boils, but is less efficient with fuel, bulkier, more expensive and heavier than the Jetboil. The Primus Eta Express is another stove that offers good value for the money.  The Primus holds more water than the Jetboil, but we feel it falls short because it is heavier, bulkier and less efficient with fuel use.

Cooking raw foods with the Jetboil can be difficult.
The standard Jetboil cooking systems are designed to boil water and heat liquid based foods very efficiently.

Cooking raw foods like bacon or fish can be tricky because of the concentrated heating design and small cooking surface area. For most adventure riders that just want to cook freeze dried food, soups and oatmeal, this is not a problem. But if you must cook raw foods, the Jetboil can be converted for use with a fry pan with the pot support accessory. You can use the Jetboil Fry Pan attachment or bring along an old frying pan. For the gourmet cooks out there, check out these Jetboil recipes to see what can be cooked with the standard boiler attachment.

It’s not big enough to boil water for two or more people.
The Jetboil stove boils water for two people in just 5 minutes.  This will require two boils, but is still extremely fast.  If you need to boil water for more people, it is still efficient.  You will probably be better off with the lightweight and low bulk of the standard unit, even if you occasionally cook for a group.

Boiler cup too hot to touch even with insulator.
Some owners of the new Jetboil Sol models have complained that the insulator cover is thinner than other models.  The thinner insulator can be too hot to touch if you try to pour hot water from the container while the flame is still burning. For safer operation, it is advisable to turn off the flame and let the Jetboil cool shortly before handling it.

You have to buy special Jetboil fuel canisters to fit inside the boiler cup.
If you want a fuel canister that is designed to fit snugly inside of the boiler cup, you need to buy the Jetboil brand canisters. Standard backpacking stove fuel canisters will work with the Jetboil attachment, but won’t fit inside the boiler cup for storage.

The Jetboil stoves are too expensive.
The price difference between the least expensive Jetboil ($80) and some other cheaper fuel canister stoves is nullified when you include the cost of cooking pots and the ongoing expense of using more fuel containers with a less efficient stove.

Jetboil Product Reviews

“The Jetboil SOL TI is the best stove on the market if your chief concerns are a compact water boiler with absolute maximum fuel efficiency. It’s more fuel-efficient and lighter than the Primus EtaExpress and MSR Reactor and better in wind than the Primus (but not the MSR). ”

 Gear Institute Website

“There might be no better canister stove on the market than the Sol Ti. It is fast, lightweight, and convenient, though it is worth considering whether the weight savings over a non-titanium model justify the increase in price.”

 Blister Gear Review Website

“Pros:  Compact, light, fast boil time, stable, insulated pot, many accessories. Cons:  Small pot size, not versatile. Best Uses:  Fast and light activities where you’ll be cooking dehydrated meals for two or less. ”

 Outdoor Gear Lab Website

“Good wind resistance (but benefits from wind protection).  Excellent cold resistance. Pressure regulation maintains burner output. Wide range of optional pots and accessories.  Included pot support allows burner to be used with conventional pots.”

 Backpacking Light Website

Jetboil User Reviews

“…  I loved the MSR multi-fuel because it ran on gasoline and I always have gasoline. I hated it because it always smelled like gasoline (makes sense, really). I replaced it with a JETBoil; the cheapest model.  Damn!  The thing is fantastic.  Heats faster than a magic trick and I don’t miss the gas smell.”

 Voltar’s user comment on ridedualsport.com forum

“… The Jet Boil was superb in all weathers and quickly boiled water. I had coffee in minutes anywhere I wanted and would not be without it. I was skeptical at first, but after using it for awhile I reckon it’s well worth the money.”

 Mike Wright’s user comment adventurebikerider.com forum

“…Boils very quick, built well. Just make sure to keep the sleeve grip thing away from flames! Somehow i toasted mine. But the great news, is Jetboil sent me two replacement sleeves for free! Jetboil is a great company! You’ll love owning this, no question about it.”

 Jakee’s user comment on amazon.com website

“The Jetboils worked perfectly all the way up to [Everest] Camp Four at 26,000 feet! I personally was so impressed that I took a Jetboil to Pakistan on my climb of Broad Peak (K3).”
 J.J. Justman, Senior Guide, Mountain Link on Jetboil.com website

Our Analysis of the Jetboil

Overall, we think the Jetboil is very good at what it does best, boil water and heat liquid based foods quickly and efficiently.  It meets the needs of the adventure rider because it is lightweight, durable and efficient with fuel. The Jetboil may be a bit narrowly focused for some though.  If you take long tours and need to replenish your fuel in remote areas of the world, you are probably better off with a multi-fuel liquid stove. If you like to get fancy with your cooking, then the Jetboil has some limitations.  But for most adventure riders, the Jetboil excels at what you really need without adding a lot of extra bulk for things you rarely use.


So Which Jetboil Stove Model Should You buy?

The Jetboil stove range in price from $80 – $150.  All of the Jetboils are high quality stoves that perform well. The best Jetboil for you will depend on how much you value individual features like lighter weight and better performance.

Jetboil Sol Titanium Cooking System ($149.95) — Buy it Now!

This is the best backpacking stove Jetboil offers, made of ultralight titanium alloy.  If every ounce of weight matters and you love the look of titanium, then this is the model for you. Includes thermo regulator for use in freezing temps.

Cup Volume: 27 oz (0.8 Liter)
Weight: 8.5 oz (240 grams)
Dimensions: 4.1″ x 6.5″ (104 mm x 165 mm)
Boiling Time: 16 oz (0.5 Liter) = 2 minutes, 15 seconds
Auto Ignition: Yes


Jetboil Sol Aluminum Cooking System ($119.95) — Buy it Now!

All the same features and performance as the Sol Titanium but made with less-expensive slightly heavier aluminum. If you don’t mind gaining 2 oz for a savings of $30, this is the model for you.

Cup Volume: 27 oz (0.8 Liter)
Weight: 10.5 oz (300 grams)
Dimensions: 4.1″ x 6.5″ (104 mm x 165 mm)
Boiling Time: 16 oz (0.5 Liter) = 2 minutes, 15 seconds
Auto Ignition: Yes


Jetboil Flash Personal Cooking System ($99.95) — Buy it Now!

Slower boiling speed and less efficient fuel consumption when compared to the Sol. Does not work as well in freezing temperatures as the Sol models.  Larger water volume.

Cup Volume: 32 oz (1.0 Liter)
Weight: 14.0 oz (400 grams)
Dimensions: 4.1″ x 7.1″ (104 mm x 180 mm)
Boiling Time: 16 oz (0.5 Liter) = 2 minutes, 30 seconds
Auto Ignition: Yes


Jetboil Zip Cooking System ($79.99) — Buy it Now!

Slower boiling speed and less efficient fuel consumption when compared to the Sol. Does not work as well in freezing temperatures as the Sol models. No built-in ignitor.

Cup Volume: 27 oz (0.8 Liter)
Weight: 12.0 oz (345 grams)
Dimensions: 4.1″ x 6.5″ (104 mm x 165 mm)
Boiling Time: 16 oz (0.5 Liter) = 2 minutes, 30 seconds
Auto Ignition: No

Author: Rob Dabney
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3 thoughts on “Best Backpacking Stove For The Adventure Rider

  1. Pingback: Rescue Mission in Guadalupe Canyon » ADV Pulse

  2. Pingback: Field Tested: Sea to Summit X-Set 11 Collapsible Cook Kit - ADV Pulse

  3. Nice advertisement, but if you happen to be on a decent adventure, you’re not likely to have unlimited access to jetbboil cans – kerosene is everywhere..