We got our hands on a number of stoves for TentLifes adventures into wild camping (no longer a campsite or showerblock in sight, anywhere). One of the market leaders and one of the stoves we really wanted to get our hands on was the Jetboil Flash. Why? Because they are arguably one of the best known brands in this sector and we have seen so many other people using them. They must be reliable, safe and easy to use – right? Lets see how a couple of wild camping novices got on with the Jetboil Flash.
We have a new friend, it’s name is Flash and from this point forward this is what we will be calling the Jetboil Flash, our pal Flash.
Flash is a one person cooking solution – simply put, screw the gas canister on the bottom, add the little tripod legs, put water in the other end along with your packet of food, turn on the gas, press the piezo ignition, hey presto ‘man makes fire’ and 5-10 minutes later you are eating a warming and hearty meal for one – DONE!!
The gas canisters for these stoves are something that you have to purchase separately to the stove. We opted for the 100g gas cartridge as it fits neatly inside Flash, allowing you to store the canister, burner and tripod all neatly inside, push the lid on and throw the compact little unit into you backpack.
Flash will fit onto larger gas canisters, but you won’t be able to store them inside the cooking cup so you will have to allocate more space or fit something else in there instead such as a couple of pouches of food.
Our Flash was wearing a rather snazzy black jacket around the cooking cup. Looking more like Ming The Mercyless than Flash, but this jacket has a little secret. Not only is it a thermal insulator for the 1 litre cooking cup, it also features an inbuilt colour-changing heat indicator so you can see when the contents is hotting up. The jacket also incorporates a handle, making it like a large drinking mug and it is apparently available in different colour schemes too.
To further aid the heat retention, Flash has a ‘drink-through’ lid so combined with the thermal jacket you can keep your drinks warmer for longer.
So why is this called the Flash, and how does this stove differ from others in the Jetboil range? The answer is “FLUX RING”, ooh that sounds serious!! In short, this new model has shaved a huge chunk off the boil time of it’s predecessor thanks to the ‘flux ring’ found in the base of the cooking cup (and the accessories you can buy for it). This fluxring dramatically increases the heating surface area and hence the thermal efficiency of the cooking system, making it heat superfast but anyway let talk about what we did with it whilst out camping.
FLASH meets Dartmoor.
We were wild camping for 2 nights in the Dartmoor area and would need to feed ourselves evening meals and breakfasts. We had a number of different food brands to try, Wayfayrer which are boil-in-the-bag (wet) and Trek N Eat which are freeze dried meals.
We were using the MSR Mutha Hubba tent, and if you’ve read that review, you will know the first night we ended up pitching in the dark. This also meant that we cooked in the dark too, and there is nothing like having a reliable bit of kit that works exactly as it is supposed to without any hassle whatsoever.
We used the water from the nearby stream, filtered it through the Katadyn bottle and filled up Flash. We popped in one of the Wayfayrer meals in and Flash quickly got the water up to the boil. A great feature of this stove is how controllable the heat is. We had put a little more water in the pot than than we needed to , so when the water started boiling the water began to splash over the sides. However, with a small turn the water was bought down to a controlled simmer and the food was warmed through as per the instructions (about 8 minutes) using the minimum amount of gas.
Flash is a sold as a solo cook system, designed to be fast and efficient for the needs of the individual. We popped in Mrs TentLifes Wayfarer Chilli Con Carne and began to heat it up with the boiling water. Mr TentLife wanted to try a Trek N Eat meal and used one of the other stoves we brought along and cooked our meals simultaneously and then eat at the same time.
After Mrs TentLifes wayfarer meal was warmed through, we put the lid on the pot and kept the water hot for a lovely post meal coffee. With the combination of the lid and the thermal jacket the water was kept hot for quite some time after the gas had been turned out.
Once the meals were consumed and coffees drunk, we effortlessly packed (in the dark) everything down and stashed Flash back in side one of the rucksacks and turned in for the night. Flash really doesn’t take up much room at all and is surprisingly light.
No longer wild camping virgins, we arose the next morning and the first though on our mind was coffee. Yes the woods were nice, but did we tell you we like coffee? We were lying, we love coffee a lot and don’t particularly like to wait too long for it. We instantly grabbed Flash out of the rucksack and we soon swilling down a few mugs of hot refreshing coffee surrounded by nature, and 2 young doggos waiting for their breakfast.
Breakfast was handled in a similarly effortless fashion to the evening before, Mrs TentLife warmed through her Wayfarer breakfast pouch using Flash and Bear Grylles had some Trek N Eat scrambled eggs using the other stove. Following this we packed up our camping gear and headed off for a long walk to find some waterfalls and then a suitable pitch for our second night.
There were 2 of us camping and we were testing a number of different stoves and different types of meal. This was a learning curve for us both and important for us to report back our findings to our readers. As far as Flash is concerned, we have found that boil-in-the-bag wet meals are a great and efficient way of keeping yourself nourished with hot food and warmed with hot drinks whilst using the minimum amount of gas.
As mentioned earlier, we treated ourselves to a pudding on the second night. So with one fill-up of Flash’s cookpot, we were able to warm up Mrs TentLifes scrummy Wayfarer Chicken Tikka and then turned out the gas. Whilst we ate our main meal we put her desert pouch of sticky toffee pudding in the hot water and placed the lid on. We didn’t even bother to heat the water back up, we just used the residual heat and along with the lid and thermal jacket it was ready to eat once the chicken tikka was gone. After our pudding, we even used the same hot water to make a couple of coffees too. So that’s, one main meal, 1 pudding and 2 coffees all from heating up one pot of water – now that’s efficiency.
What else can we say?
Having a piezo ignition to light the gas is really handy. It’s great just being able to turn on the gas and light the ignition.
Mrs TentLife (maybe we should call her Bear Grylles) has even used Flash to light the other stove (no piezo) we were testing because clever Mr TentLife had gone off into the wild (back to the carpark) and taken the ‘Fire’ ferro rod, spark, fire making thingy with him. Always have more than one source of ignition/spark where possible, and never be solely reliant on any piezo ignitions. But Flash is oh-so-handy, with it’s push button piezo to get the party started, no matter how much you like making sparks with your ferro rod (Fire Steel).
Flash is fitted with a gas regulator, meaning that no matter the weather temperature or the amount of gas remaining in your canister you will always get a consistently reliable flame. We haven’t tested this out yet as we were fortunate with the weather and Flash has so far refused to consume loads of gas, so we still have plenty left for our next wild camping trip (North Wales I believe).
It’s lightweight and the pack size is small, especially when using the 100g canisters as everything fits inside and it really doesn’t take up much room in your backpack.
You can use larger gas canisters with Flash, say the 400g type. You won’t be able to stash the larger canister inside the cookpot, but maybe you could put some of your food in their instead so as to optimise backpack space. The larger gas canisters will fit fine onto the supplied orange plastic tripod to help with stability when cooking, but be aware that it will be higher than when using the smaller canisters and you will need to make sure Flash is on flattish ground so it isn’t prone to toppling over. Also, it’s base is protected by a small cup that doubles up and a small bowl or measuring cup.
If you are smart with your choice of food (wet over freeze dried) Flash isn’t greedy on the gas at all and you can make use of the boiled water again. We were quite impressed, I weighed the gas canister on our return and even after all those meals it hadn’t even used half of it’s contents. Definitely good for another trip or 2.
All in all, the Jetboil Flash is a brilliant combination of size, weight, convenience and reliability. It seems to have excellent built quality, ideal for stash and dash backpacking and wild camping. Hot food and drink on the go, we would suggest it would also be great just to take along on a winter walk for some soup or a tea/coffee – just think of an excuse and make a date with Flash!!
We will be writing a review of the meals we have tried and will add the link here shortly.
Where to buy:
As we said, we were testing the Jetboil Flash 2 or the Jetboil Flash 2018. The previous version of the Flash has a different styled base so make sure that when you are buying, you have checked which version is being sold. There are bargains to be had, so be informed and savvy with your gear purchases.