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Hands-on Gear Review
Cons: Small pot size, not versatile
The Flash is Jetboil's tried and true basic model. The Flash does not have the bells and whistles of some of its brothers and sisters like the Jetboil Sol Ti, but it has all you need to boil water fast. It wins our Best Buy Award because at $100 it provides great bang for your buck, and is much cheaper than most other integrated canister stoves. The Flash is fast and efficient at boiling water, and we really like the color changing heat indicator on its cozy that lets us know the water is ready before it boils over. Key features include a one-liter insulated pot, piezo auto ignition, water temperature indicator, and a lock that secures the stove and pot into one stable unit. It does not work well in cold or windy conditions. If you are anticipating harsh conditions on your trip we would suggest the MSR Reactor or the MSR Windburner instead.
RELATED: Our complete review of backpacking stoves
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
A great budget choice for a variety of activities from big walls to back country missions, the Jetboil Flash will boil water fast and efficiently.
While the neoprene covered pot is attractive and fun, it's most assuredly not versatile. The deep and narrow design make this stove best suited for boiling water. With a great deal of additional stirring we were able to successfully make a pasta meal for two. This, however, was painfully laborious. It's also challenging to safely boil more than .75 liters of water in the included pot. The Flash now comes with an additional pot supporter plate that is meant for use on the burner if you want to use a frying pan or different pot on the burner. We're guessing this is the result of too many people melting their pots by trying to cook directly on the burner without any space for heat to escape. We still don't think it's a good idea to cook anything other than water on the Flash. The burner is capable of maintaining a reasonably good simmer in low wind conditions, something most integrated canister stoves cannot do. A conveniently long control valve is easy to use, will help you not scald your hand if your pot is boiling over, and tucks away under the stove when not in use.
The integrated igniter is great, and we wish that the Editors' Choice winning MSR Windburner had one of these, but we have heard that they almost always inevitably fail after regular use. Jetboil claims that the new Flash has an "advanced igniter" which may be their attempt to address this problem. We like the cozy with its flame shaped heat indicator panel on the side, but it is well documented that Jetboil's cozys sag over time and the handles are wimpy. The MSR Windburner's cozy is much more sturdy and the handle is extremely burly. Where the Jetboil exceeds over the Windburner is in the pot-to-burner coupling. The burner and pot connect with a comforting slide and click sensation on the Flash, but with the Windburner the attachments feel shallow and there is not a secure, reassuring click when they are joined.
The Jetboil Flash does not work well in windy conditions; we have watched it blow out completely in about 20 mph winds. We have also watched it flare up in gusts of wind, singeing the pot cozy. Otherwise, the Flash performs its function well and is a great budget choice to take on all kinds of quick backcountry missions, whether you're melting snow in Alaska, making coffee on a big wall, or boiling water for dehydrated food on a backpacking trip. This stove will be your smallest and warmest backcountry friend.
The Jetboil Flash is a very efficient water boiler and was neck and neck with the other integrated canister stoves in its class. The Flash's pot is incredibly well insulated – almost too insulated. The coolest feature on the Flash, the large flame logo is also a water temperature indicator, turns bright yellow as the water approaches a boil. This helps you save fuel, especially if you are heating water for tea or coffee and don't need water to reach a total boil.
The Flash's fuel efficiency goes out the window in windy conditions. It simply blows out in 20 mph. If the Flash goes out and you are not paying attention, you will loose precious fuel while its valve remains open. Be sure to put your Flash somewhere sheltered if you will be using it out in the elements - or get yourself a hanging kit so you can cook inside your tent.
Windy conditions aside, the Jetboil Flash does not sully its name. In our testing we boiled half a liter of water in 2 minutes, 46 seconds. It is not the fastest of the integrated canister stoves, but it's pretty darn fast, and we do love those flames that tell us the boil is coming and helps us avoid scalding our hands trying to turn it off when it's boiling over.
The Jetboil Flash weighs in at 13.2 oz, lighter than both the Windburner and the Reactor. Broken down by components, the cup is 1.2 oz, the pot is 7.9 oz and the burner is 5.1 oz. We think this combination can add up to weight savings over other stove systems where you need to carry a heavy pot.
Integrated canister stoves are inherently unstable because their base is only as wide as the canister they sit on, and they all are quite tall and can get blown around in the wind. Jetboil has included a canister stand to address this problem, but let's be honest, we never bring it along when we are trying to go fast and light. The Flash is somewhat unstable, but more stable than the Windburner, which is the tallest of the integrated canister stoves. We also find the Jetboil more stable than the MSR Reactor because the pot and burner can connect together, making it easier to move around - whereas the Reactor's pot and burner do not connect.
The burner assembly, pot support, and a 100 g fuel canister all fit neatly inside the pot. Yes, that means your entire kitchen fits in a 4" x 7" package. The Jetboil Sol has the smallest packed size of all the integrated canister stoves, but also has the smallest capacity pot. The MSR Reactor is the bulkiest.
The Flash is a fast and light stove. We recommend using it only for your more extreme exploits and trusting a more durable workhorse like the MSR Whisperlite for group camping and long expeditions. If you are going solo or with a partner the Jetboil Flash will boil up enough water for two. It is more fuel efficient than a small canister stove like the MSR Pocket Rocket so you can potentially save weight by taking less fuel on short trips. We talk more about this in our Buying Advice Article.
We think the Jetboil Flash is the best value of all the integrated canister stoves, and it wins our Best Buy Award for its low price tag of $100. It offers great bang for your buck and you will be happy with your purchase.
The Flash is a great deal for a good product. It is an excellent little companion for any short backpacking or alpine mission - as long as you like food that only requires boiling, such as freeze dried astronaut food and Ramen noodles. One thing to note is that the Flash is not the most durable of integrated canister stoves. Jetboil's cozys are known to loosen up and sag eventually, and the built in igniters stop working. This is not a big deal, it just means that you then need to light the stove manually with a lighter. We do think that the Jetboil Flash has lots of great features, such as the heat indicator, and comes in a compact, lightweight package.
Flash Lite. It has many of the same features, but has a been outfitted with a redesigned lid, cozy, burner, and shroud. You might be wondering where the "Lite" comes in. The new Flash Lite has a .8-Liter cup to help shed those ounces. With its new redesigned features from the Flash, Jetboil has managed to shed a total of 3oz! At $100 this lighter weight cooking system doesn't set you back anymore than the Flash.
Jetboil Coffee Press
— Jessica Haist
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: February 10, 2015
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