JetBoil Zip Review

ZIP_ZIPCOOKINGSYSTEM-001

JetBoil Zip.

Base stats
– BTU:  4500
– Weight:  12 oz
Stove comparison chart

It’s not the size of the BTU, it’s the efficiency of heat transfer.

The JetBoil Zip has been around a while, and is the lowest cost JetBoil out there.

I already have the JetBoil Sol Aluminum and have been loving it.  But for my wife’s emergency pack, I wanted a JetBoil as well.  Looking at the various models, the JetBoil Zip was the least expensive, so at the risk of missing some features, I picked one up on Amazon.

The Zip is really not that different from the Sol, except that it’s missing the piezo igniter and the fuel regulator.

Is this a problem?  Not really.  You can use a lighter with the Zip to ignite it, and the regulator isn’t particularly valuable if you’re just boiling some water in reasonable temperatures.

Overall, I think the Zip is a great buy, and while still not cheap, much lower cost, with all the advantages of any other JetBoil.

I clocked the boil time at for about 0.7L of water at 2:41.  Certainly enough to get a good 15 boils out of it.  Which is plenty good enough for 5 days of 3 water boils per day.

The gas canister stabilizer, the stove piece, the cap, and the protection cover/cup are all it comes with, but that’s really all you need.  The stove adaptor is a waste anyway as you wouldn’t really use a JetBoil as a stove unless it was a real emergency.  It’s just not really designed for cooking.

Boiling water in colder temperatures (heck, even cooler temps) will mean that you won’t get all of the fuel out of an LPG gas canister, but it’s more than adequate for emergency water boiling use.

With well over 30 stoves, from alcohol, to white gas, to kerosene/diesel, to butane, to LPG, as well as some wood burning stoves, all lined up in my garage and well used, there’s no question that there isn’t a stove on the market right now that compares to a JetBoil (zip/flash/sol) or MSR Reactor, when it comes to total weight (including fuel) to 1 week’s usage.

Alcohol stoves are lighter, but a week’s worth of fuel will make the weight considerably higher than a JetBoil and 100 gram canister.  multi-fuel stoves are the heaviest of the lot.  And while wood burning stoves are lighter when you get to two weeks, the problem with those are supplies needed to clean them, time required to clean them, and inefficiency in setting up, boiling, and putting away, which makes through hikes just a little more of a hassle.

I talk to a lot of folks who are just getting into backpacking, and when talking about what stove to get, they have this image of doing a fair bit of cooking.  They want something that can simmer, and imagine scenarios of good heated food.

Now…some of these folks really are into that, and so I don’t want to steer anyone wrong here, but most of the folks who think they’re going to do cooking, end up just doing dehydrated food, instant ramen, oatmeal, and the like, and other than that, just hot beverages.  Very much like the person who imagines doing a lot of off-roading and getting a Jeep Wrangler, only to look back after years in the Jeep and realizing that at the end of the day, it wasn’t needed, and not really worth the inconvenience of driving a Wrangler on regular roads every day.

So, I’d really think about it before purchasing something that can cook or simmer. If you’re absolutely sure you’re going to, get a MiniMo or ETA EF or some other stove.  But I can honestly say that the majority of new backpackers I talk to end up just boiling water.  Typically, backpackers with a few trips under their belts prefer to just boil water and then pour it into the dehydration bag, or a bowl with the ramen and oatmeal in it.  This minimizes cleanup time significantly.

If you think that you’re likely going to want to spend more time relaxing, exploring, or just doing things, rather than tending a pot to cook, but you don’t want to overspend, get the Zip.  The efficiency of boiling water means that your fuel will go a lot further with a JetBoil than most other LPG stoves.  and the simplicity of design and light weight means that backpacking with this stove outshines most other water boiling stoves out there.

——

SIDENOTE:  if you’re on the hunt for the lightest water boiling stove setup out there, you’ll probably see a lot of folks talking about alcohol stove setups.  It’s true that alcohol stove setups can be lighter than a JetBoil.  Just remember, the fuel adds weight.  An LPG canister on a JetBoil can last about 20 boils in that tiny little can.  Denatured alcohol doesn’t have the same mass to heat efficiency.  The lightest alcohol stoves are so minimalist, that they also don’t help fuel efficiency, so sometimes you need 2+ oz to boil 2 cups of water.  The more efficient alcohol stoves like the trangia 25-2 or 27-2, make alcohol incredibly efficient, but they’re also larger and heavier than the JetBoil.  Some folks will tell you that their home made setup is super light and super efficient.  But….at the end of the day, if you’re going for a backpacking weekend, I’m willing to bet that for 10+ water boiling efforts, the LPG will prove lighter in total (including fuel) than anything you can do with an alcohol stove.

SECOND NOTE:  Having said that, if lightness is not your concern, it is worth noting that alcohol stoves are safe for the environment, and produce much less trash than LPG stoves.  So….really depends on what you’re going for.

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5 thoughts on “JetBoil Zip Review

    • Thanks for the comment. I agree that the Caldera Cone is pretty amazing. I like all the stoves I have, including my alcohol stoves (Trangia, Caldera, Evernew, DIY stoves). There’s hardly a stove out there that I don’t think has ideal usage scenarios, and good reasons for using them.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Load-out: Mid-weight “warm-up” pack | Camping Stoves and Other Gear Reviews

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