I had done a bit of research on the Jetboil Flash before taking it out for a test run. There were some mixed reviews so I was interested to try it out for myself. Some of the reviews stated that it did not perform well in windier conditions while others focussed on the fact that it has a spectacular boil time. I’m certainly no expert with stoves; I simply need to trust that it will do what I need it to, when I need it to. With this in mind, I took it on a trip up to the Cairngorms with me recently to test it properly.
The Flash Cooking System is designed specifically for boiling, rather than cooking, so if you are looking for the best system for a quick cuppa or simply to fill up your freeze dried meals then it’s certainly worthy of consideration. However, if you also want to cook properly by controlling heat for simmering, for example, then you need to look elsewhere. For my solo trips this is ideal for my needs. It weighs in a 426g for the full set (burner head, cooking cup, insulated cozy with handle, measuring cup and canister stand) and it all fits perfectly inside the cup with a canister in there too. As a stove that prioritises speed and power to decrease the boil time it is probably quite interesting to see how it compares, performance wise to other stoves. In this review I don’t have any timings, weights of gas before and after or any scientific evidence to support my claims, I just used up in the mountains across a few days as I would normally.
The Jetboil Flash will undoubtedly draw comparison with stoves like the MSR Windburner but they are very different and it is important to understand that in order to pick the stove that will suit your needs most. The Flash beats every stove I’ve ever tried in terms of boil time. The advertised 100 seconds (for 500ml) wasn’t achieved during my outings but I was camped at over 1000m in cold, windy conditions so I didn’t expect it to. However, once it was up and running it was still a lot faster than I was expecting. The benefit of this across multiday trips is obvious, less weight from carrying extra gas canisters and that has to be a good thing. If you want a stove that copes brilliantly in the wind then the Windburner should be towards the top of your list. The Flash struggled hugely, even in my tent vestibule, it could not stay lit without me building the usual makeshift windbreak with various bits of non-flammable kit. I was genuinely disappointed with how little wind the Flash was able to stand up to.
However, there is still a lot I liked about the Flash. I like the fact that it is quick and easy to use. There’s no fiddling about getting it set up so you get just get the water on for a quick drink or more importantly to get your hot food ready. The push button igniter is a winner for me and one of the things the Windburner is missing. The compact design works well with everything fitting nicely inside the cup and the small plastic bowl covering the bottom FluxRing for transporting it. The whole system heats and cools really well so you’re not waiting around for ages.
Without doubt my favourite feature is the colour changing indicator on the Jetboil symbol surrounding the cup. Just having the insulated cosy with a good handle on the cup was helpful enough but the heat indicator displayed through the Jetboil symbol was fantastic. If you’ve ever spent time hunkered over a pot waiting for it to boil you’ll know why it’s so good. Rather than constantly trying to see through a steamy lid or lifting up the lid to see if it’s started to boil or alternatively, waiting too long and seeing it boil over, with this you simply sit back and watch the colour change. It is such a simple idea but it a little stroke of genius at the same time – one of those ideas that make you wonder why all pots don’t have this on them.
Overall, this is a great stove for the right conditions. If you need a compact, lightweight stove for boiling water quickly then consider the Flash. It’s perfect if you’re able to use it in sheltered areas such as a bothy, large shelter or the back of the car/van. If you need it to work in all conditions out in the hills then I’d look elsewhere as the Flash doesn’t stand up to the wind well enough.