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Jetboil Sol Review

   

Backpacking Stoves

  • Currently 3.8/5
Overall avg rating 3.8 of 5 based on 9 reviews. Most recent review: December 31, 2013
Street Price:   Varies from $99 - $120 | Compare prices at 7 resellers
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 less. It excels at alpine climbing and lightweight backpacking.
User Rating:     
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 (3.6 of 5) based on 8 reviews
Recommendations:  83% of reviewers (5/6) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Jetboil
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ May 12, 2011  
Overview
The Jetboil Sol is the latest iteration of the Flash. Overall we prefer the Flash because it is a better value. It has more capacity, can often be found on sale, and is cheaper to replace parts down the road.

There are three main differences between the Flash and the Sol. 1) The Sol uses a smaller 0.8 liter cup compared the the 1.0 liter cup on the Flash. 2) The Sol uses a new "Thermo Regulate" burner that gives "consistent heat down to 20 degrees F." According to Jetboil it only boils water a little faster: the Sol boils 16 oz of water in 2:15 while the Flash takes 2:30. 3) The Sol weighs 3.5 oz less than the Flash. Considering most of this weight savings comes from a 20 percent smaller cup, this does not seem like a big improvement.

Considering the Sol costs $20 more than the Flash and is smaller, we don't think its the best buy unless you think you will notice saving 3.5 ounces. What is the better system to buy if you don't mind dropping cash to shave weight is the Jetboil Sol Ti ($149, 8.5 oz, 0.8 L). This system is 40 percent lighter than the Flash, 50 percent more expensive with 20 percent less capacity.

Overall, all Jetboil Flash or Sol stoves take fast, light, and efficient to a whole new level. 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 back country friend. Key features include a one-liter insulated pot, piezo auto ignition, water temperature indicator, and a lock that secures the stove and pot in one stable unit. This is our top pick for minimalist activities.

This stove is less versatile, slower, and not as storm-proof as the MSR reactor ($40 more). If choosing between the two, get the Flash if size is the most important consideration. Otherwise, the Reactor is better for groups of two or more and functions significantly better in the harshest conditions. For a more durable, versatile, cheaper, but heavier stove consider the MSR Whisperlite ($40 less). The main difference between the two is versatility. The Sol is best at boiling water for two or less, while the Whisperlite creates culinary delights for larger groups. For lightweight backpacking also consider the Soto OD-1R, a tiny, hyper-light canister stove that be used with any type of cookware.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
This is one of the best stoves we tested. It's small, light, speedy, easy to set up, and stable. Many useful features make this our top pick for minimalist activities.

Our favorite feature on the Sol is its neoprene covered pot. This has a webbing handle, clip-in point, and coffee-mug-style lid. Slip your hand in and use the pot as a mug. Clip in a carabiner and you can cook on a big wall. Regardless of how and where you cook, the pot and the burner lock together, forming a one-piece unit that's secure and stable. We found the pot to be incredibly well insulated – almost too insulated. The coolest feature on the Sol: the large flame logo is also a water temperature indicator. As the water approaches a boil, the flame turns bright yellow. This helps you save fuel, especially if you are heating water for tea or coffee and don't need water to reach a complete boil.

Beneath the pot is a color coordinated and revised burner assembly. In our tests the stove boiled two cups of water, the maximum amount Jetboil recommends, in an average of 1:35 (much faster than Jetboil claims on their web site). The burner is capable of maintaining a reasonably good simmer in low wind conditions, something most canister stoves cannot do. A conveniently long control valve is easy to use and tucks away under the stove when not in use. All Jetboil stoves include a built-in igniter, which we believe is wonderfully convenient but not to be trusted in the long term (we've heard so many many stories of them breaking).

The burner assembly, pot support, and a 100g fuel canister all fit neatly inside the pot. Yes, that means your entire kitchen fits in a 4" x 6.5" package.

Dislikes
While the neoprene covered pot is pretty and fun, it's most assuredly not versatile. The deep and narrow design makes the 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 boil safely more than .65 liters of water.

We appreciate Jetboil's stylish and snappy approach to stove design but we also value durability. In the long haul, after five years of extended use and abuse, we predict the igniter will have long ceased functioning, the colored neoprene cozy will be brownish and tattered, and the plastic burner housing may have broken. The Sol is a fast and light stove. We recommend using it only for your more extreme exploits and trusting a more durable workhorse for casual camping and expeditions. A friend who has had two of these stoves has had both plastic igniters break after a few months. It is not a big deal, it just means that you then need to light the stove manually with a lighter. Our friend does not like the stove any less; a broken igniter just comes with the territory.

Best Application
Alpine climbing, backpacking, solo trips.

Value
The Sol is solid buy but not nearly the Value of the Flash, which is bigger and at least $20 cheaper (it can often be found on sale). Long term, the Flash replacement parts cost less than the Sol.

Other Versions
The Jetboil Flash, $100, can usually be found on sale and replacing the cup is much less expensive. What is the better system to buy if you don't mind dropping cash to shave weight is the Jetboil Sol Ti ($149, 8.5 oz, 0.8 L). This system is 40 percent lighter than the Flash, 50 percent more expensive with 20 percent less capacity. The Jetboil Zip, $80, is compact and lightweight.

Accessories
This stove is compatible with the light and compact Jetboil Hanging Kit ($30), which turns this into a hanging stove. The kit also works with other Jetboil stoves, including the Jetboil Group Cooking System. It also works with the Jetboil Coffee Press, which is a $20 accessory that turns your Jetboil Flash or Jetboil Classic into a reasonable effective French press. There is also the Jetboil Pot Support and Stabilizer that gives more stability to the setup while making it compatible with other camping pots.

The Jetboil Sol Ti Cup ($69, 6.3 oz, 0.8 L) shaves another 1.5 ounces off the Sol Aluminum Cup by using titanium.

The Jetboil Sumo Cup ($49, 12.5 oz, 1.8 L) is over double the size of the standard Jetboil Sol Cup. It is just the right size to store an entire Sol or Zip system inside.

Chris McNamara's Recommendation
The Flash or the Sol are my favorite stove for big wall climbing. I used the Flash on El Capitan once without the hanging kit and once with. It is definitely a lot better with the hanging kit in a big wall situation…but also works without it. The stove was light, compact, and did everything we needed it to. I can't imagine a better stove for big walls where space, ease of setup, and takedown are so important. The MSR Reactor would have been a little over-kill, especially since it is harder to handle in a hanging situation.

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: December 31, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (3.6)

83% of 6 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
6 Total Ratings
5 star: 33%  (2)
4 star: 33%  (2)
3 star: 17%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 17%  (1)
Sort 8 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Aug 6, 2013 - 03:25pm
The Jetboil Sol does one thing really well, it boils water fast! Compared to other stoves that I've tried in the past, I've been impressed with how quickly I can get a pot of hot water ready with my Jetboil. If you're just using it for heating up water to pour into pouches of dried food, or heating water for cocoa/coffee/tea, the Jetboil is great.

Using the Jetboil pot with the stove to cook in has some problems. The stove/pot combination is so efficient that it makes 'boil-overs' a common problem. Of course, the flame can be controlled, but scorching is another common problem. If you want to cook over the stove, or simmer your food, the Jetboil Sol probably isn't the ideal backpacking stove.

Finally, as has been mentioned before, the igniter doesn't seem to hold up very well. Mine lasted only a short time before failing- so take extra matches if you rely on this stove.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
May 27, 2011 - 06:10pm
 
tom Carter · Climber
Have used the Flash since they first came our 2002?

You are right about the igniters.

Always seems funny to me that the times are given (to boil) but the water temps aren't?

Or am I missing something?

Keep it simple!!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   May 26, 2011 - 04:15pm
Alpine Raven · Climber · Eugene, Oregon
I just got back from a ski tour, Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite, May 11-15, 2011. As there were 6 of us, we took 2 MSR white gas stoves. The tour "leader" insisted that we take stoves that were proven to work in cold and altitude and, in case one malfunctioned, we had enough fuel to go with 1 stove. I tried to talk him into the new Jetboil Sol. No Go. I brought it anyway as I needed to see how it worked in the cold and at altitude. I set up my Sol with a 230g Jetboil Fuel gas canister next to his MSR and I practically had water boiling before his was primed. Even with the smaller volume cup of the Sol, I would boil 2 cups of ice cold water for hot drinks, then boil 2 more cups for the dehydrated food before the MSR could get a pot of water boiled. Temps were in the mid-20's when I used the Sol; altitude was 10,500' then dropping to 9,000'. We did cross Donahue Pass at 11,000' but did not use the stove at that altitude. The first night I slept with the 230g in my bag to keep it warm. Other nights I just kept it in the tent. It did not seem to make a difference. We even got a foot of fresh snow while camping on Highway 120 near Olmstead Point. We had boiling water in the tent (vents open) in no time while it was snowing out. The MSR had to be used in the vestibule as it flares up. Melted a hole in the vestibule. Now he is considering a Jetboil.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 31, 2013 - 03:07pm
For 4 years I used a Jetboil stove with no issues, purchased in 2008. Last year 1 minute after igniting the stove on a new Jetboil large canister, the stove exploded. Luckily nobody was seriously injured although the consequences could have been dire if the exploding stove had hit somebody on it's launch into the atmosphere. We picked up the remains of the stove/canister from 30 ft. down the beach and I returned it to the store I had purchased it. They sent it off to JetBoil for analysis. After numerous inquiries and telephone calls, emails and messages to JetBoil over three months I was not given any reasons for the explosion. They sent a replacement which I had no interest in using, but an explanation for such a serious failure in the stove was not forthcoming nor did they seem to have done any analysis on the returned stove. Internet research showed there had been a recall on a faulty gas valve on a stove around the time I had purchased it. JetBoil's customer service and response was beyond abysmal. Their concern for the safety of their customers was in my experience nonexistent. Poor product design (check out the ongoing negative reviews of the easily warped plastic cover on their larger pots and the failing igniters on the JetBoil Flash), very poor customer service!!

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 30, 2013 - 07:43pm
Jack · Backpacker · tulsa oklahoma
been using this for about a year now, I love it! Starts in one click every time and boils water in close to a minute!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
May 27, 2011 - 04:50pm
 
harpo · Climber · South Lake Tahoe
Can someone directly compare the Sol to the MSR Reactor or the older Jetboil Flash for how all three stoves work in winter conditions?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
May 20, 2011 - 04:37pm
 
harpo · Climber · South Lake Tahoe
You say the reactor is more storm proof than the Sol. Could you go into more detail about that. The Sol is supposed to have better cold weather performance than the Flash. How does cold weather performance of the Sol compare to the Flash and the Reactor? I currently have a Flash for summer light weight applications and a Reactor for a winter stove; I am happy with both for these purposes. If the cold weather performance of the Sol is comprable to that of the Reactor, could I replace both the Flash and the Reactor with the Sol and use the Sol year round?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   May 12, 2011 - 09:06pm
BES1'st · Climber · USA
Looks just like the 1 I chose over my white gas stove.

I used it with 6-8 blue canisters between
3 people around 27 days and 250 miles.

The ratings are based upon the assumption it's basicly
the same, and it looks like it is.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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JetBoil Flash Sol Stove
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