Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cheapo Pocket Rocket vs Jetboil

Below is a post I made to in May of 2012.  Its edited only slightly, but will become relevant in a few days when I make an updated post reviewing the Olicamp XTS pot.

I dearly love my Jet Boil.  I love it because it boils water so fast it scares me. Recently, I bought a used JetBoil cup for $12.00.  The thinking at the time was that I could carry both of them and use one to drink coffee out of while boiling water in the other for the rest of breakfast (it takes a bit of coffee to get me going in the morning).  But I was inspired by a post in the don or's section of Hammock Forums to go and get one of those cheapo pocket rockets to see if it peformed at least as good as the JetBoil did.

Seven and a half bucks for an evening's entertainment----I'm a cheap date.
The review linked above gives all the specifics, so I won't go into them here.  This post is just to compare the cheapo to the JetBoil in a side by side test where all things are relatively equal to see how it performs next to a relatively well know product.
Side by side comparison of components of each stove package:

The cheapo has a higher enter of gravity, so its a bit tippy. There's no locking ring for the pot as there is with the JetBoil cup.

Both stoves assembled and lit.  The JetBoil's flame is more concentrated, the cheapo's is higher and wider.

Both cups were filled with the exact same quantity of water (one 16.9 oz bottle of store bought drinking water) and were put on the stoves within seconds of each other.  Pic shown is immediately after placing the full cups on the stoves.

I didn't use a stop watch for this test.  This was more of a race than anything else.  I generally average about 2-4 minutes to a full boil with the JetBoil.
Danged if I wasn't surprised when the cheapo reached a full boil before the JetBoil did:

It beat the JetBoil by about 10-15 seconds.  Not that I'm in any hurry when cooking on the trail but when we're talking coffee in the morning, time saved might save lives.
The principal drawback of a JetBoil is its limited ablity to simmer.  Its almost a full on/full off proposition.  So I dialed the cheapo back a bit to see if it would simmer and it settled right down to just a couple of small bubbles coming off the bottom.  Dang.  This thing could keep a whole pot of coffee warm all morning long---------

And then I dialed it back up again to see how much control I have over it

Now I have a problem.  I've got a stove I paid all of $20 for that not only boils water faster than my $100 JetBoil, but gives me the ability to simmer and otherwise regulate the heat.  Apparently, the bigger flame makes the flux ring perform better---or the flux ring is a bunch of hoo-ha in the first place.  Might help get a DeLorean into the future, though.
And it might help the JetBoil frying pan I have.  The JetBoil tends to make things hotter in the center of the pan.  The Cheapo will likely spread the heat more evenly. I was kind getting tired of bacon cooked crisp in the center and cold on the ends.
It gets worse.  When its all packed up inside, the cheapo has room left over where the JetBoil doesn't.

I think if I use the canister stand, I can partially solve the tipping problem.  There's room in the cup for it, that's for sure.
For safety, the JetBoil has an edge.  But I live and hike in the Texas coastal plain---it doesn't start getting hard to find a level surface until about 200 miles from here.  It is possible that the JetBoil will have better fuel usage performance,  but that's going to take a little bit more testing and two fresh canisters.  Quality and workmanship might make the JetBoil better able to handle use and have a longer useful life as well, but I can buy 12 cheapos for what I paid for the JetBoil.

1 comment:

  1. Saw your post over on the Hammock Forums. Thanks for taking the time to share.