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Jetboil Flash Review
Cons: Small pot size, not versatile
Bottom line: This basic model still has all the frills, and is a great value if you want to boil water immediately.
A tried and true basic model, the Flash has all you need to boil water fast. 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, piezoelectric ignition, water temperature indicator, and a secure connection between burner and pot. It does not work well in windy conditions.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
A great budget choice for a variety of activities from big walls to backcountry missions, the Jetboil Flash will boil water fast and efficiently.
The Jetboil Flash was the most fuel efficient stove in our test in windless conditions. It barely squeaked ahead of the Windburner and Jetboil MiniMo. The Flash's pot is well insulated and we think this helps. The Flash's fuel efficiency goes out the window in windy conditions. In our 8 - 10 mph wind test, it used more than four times the amount of fuel. It simply blows out in 20 mph. If the Flash goes out and you are not paying attention, you will lose precious fuel while its valve remains open. Be sure to put it 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.
The coolest feature on the Flash, the large flame logo, is also a water temperature indicator. It 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 Jetboil Flash has a trail weight of 13.1 oz, lighter than both the Windburner and the MSR Reactor and is about 1 oz heavier than the MiniMo. Bringing the plastic accessory cup along adds another 1.2 oz. We think this combination can add up to weight savings over other stove systems where you need to carry a heavy pot.
Like most of the other integrated canister stoves the Flash does not simmer particularly well. This stove is made to get liquids hot quickly. We awarded it a 5 out of 10 for simmering, while the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 and Primus Classic Trail took the cake for their simmering capabilities on the trail.
In our testing, the Flash boiled 1 liter of water in a middle-of-the-pack 6 minutes, 7 seconds. It was the slowest integrated canister stove, and was markedly slower than the others in the 8- 10 mph wind test.
Ease Of Use
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. 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 all the canister stoves had one of these. Our testers have heard of and experienced many problems with these in the past. Jetboil claims that the new Flash has an "advanced igniter" which may be their attempt to address this problem. We've used it over 100 times with no problems so far. We really 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. Like all Jetboil stoves, the pot-to-burner coupling is inspiring. The burner and pot connect with a comforting slide and click sensation.
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.
The Flash is a great choice for backpackers (or car campers) who eat a lot of dehydrated and instant food and want a stove system as simple as their diet. Since it's the cheapest integrated canister stove, it's also a good choice for big wall climbers on a budget. If you are anticipating harsh conditions on your trip, we would suggest the MSR Windburner instead. Backpackers who are looking for a lighter solution that works with a variety of cookware should check out the MSR Pocket Rocket 2.
We think the Flash is the best value of all the integrated canister stoves and a good value overall.
The Jetboil 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 coozys are known to loosen up and sag eventually, but these can be replaced at a low cost. We do think that the Flash has lots of great features, such as the heat indicator, and comes in a compact, lightweight package.
— Jessica Haist & Ian McEleney
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