When it comes to the new Jetboil Sol, there’s a whole lot more to it than just boiling water.
Before we start, be aware that there are two versions of the Jetbol Sol, an all aluminum version (the “Jetboil Sol”) and a version with a titanium pot with an aluminum heat exchanger (the “Jetboil Sol Ti”). I’ll have a brief weight comparison and some general remarks at the end, but this review focuses on the aluminum version of the Jetboil Sol.
OK, let’s start the review. The Jetboil Sol is nice small package.
Inside that 800 ml pot will fit a universal pot support, a 100 g class canister of gas, the burner, and a set of canister legs. That’s a really nice package considering all that it contains.
Let’s go through the package. First of course is the lid.
The lid has been lightened up considerably from previous versions. The lid still has a central hole for your coffee press and a “slotted” area so that you can pour off the water from, say, pasta. And of course the lid still has a drinking hole so you can drink your morning cup of Joe straight from the pot.
Let’s unpack a bit shall we? Pull off the lid, and you’ll see the universal pot stand.
With this pot stand, you can use any pot, pan, or kettle with a reasonable size and weight (just like on any other small backpacking stove). Gang, that’s nice. Those eggs you saw earlier? They were prepared in an MSR Blacklite pan supported by the Jetboil universal pot stand.
This is a really cool feature. Let’s say on 90% of your trips, you’re just cooking for yourself. Great! Just grab the 800 ml pot that comes with the Jetboil and leave the universal pot stand at home. Doing some group cooking? No problem, use any pot (even one not from Jetboil), and off you go. Just remember to bring the universal pot stand attachment. Frying up some fish? No sweat. Use the universal pot stand and your favorite fry pan (uh, maybe not cast iron since it would be so heavy). Maximum versatility!
Underneath the pot stand fits a 100 g class canister of gas.
Any standard threaded canister of gas will work, but Jetboil recommends that you use Jetboil brand canisters.
Tip: Jetboil brand is pretty widely available, but in out-of-the way areas, it’s important to know you can use other brands of canister gas.
Underneath the canister, we find the burner.
They’ve done some nice things to lighten up the burner over previous versions. The design of the burner allows it to have some pretty good cold weather performance based on the reports I’ve reviewed — far better than previous versions of the Jetboil. Of course you’ll still want to use good technique when out on the trail in cold weather. See Stoves for Cold Weather for more details. Nice upgrade: The piezoelectric ignition is much improved. I experienced no failures in my testing. Nice!
And last but not least, under the burner we find the canister “legs” (canister stabilizer).
The canister legs (stabilizer) provide additional support so that your Jetboil won’t tip over.
The canister legs have two sets of notches. The inner notches fit the following 100 g class canisters: Jetboil, Snow Peak, and Optimus. The inner notches do NOT fit Brunton and MSR 100 g class canisters. The outer notches fit every 200 g and 450 g class canister I’ve ever tried including: Glowmaster, MSR, Brunton, Jetboil, Snow Peak, Optimus, Primus, and Coleman (pretty tight).
Tip: To prevent disappointment, bring the canister legs with you when you buy gas. If you “try before you buy,” you’ll never be caught short. Of course you could always just buy Jetboil brand canisters.
Now, that we’ve unpacked everything, let’s take a look at the pot itself. The pot attaches securely to the burner by means of a slot and dimple set up.
Slide the dimple into the slot and turn to lock into place. Turn clockwise to lock. Turn counterclockwise to unlock.
And when locked in place, that pot isn’t going anywhere.
The pot comes with a strap that is meant to help secure the pot as you hold it by the cozy.
The strap is not intended to be used as a handle. Is this a useful feature? I’m not so sure that it is. I didn’t find myself using the strap. I know a number of people who have cut the strap off just to get it out of the way. Hey, Jetboil, we might need a little re-think here.
Inside the pot are some nice volumetric markings
Tip: If you fill the pot beyond 500 ml, be really careful and use a low flame. The Jetboil is a very powerful stove, and you can easily have a boil over. A boil over could cascade boiling hot water on your canister which could cause the stove to have a potentially dangerous flare.
The pot also has this interesting feature: A heat sensor/indicator.
When above 170F, the sensor changes from a gray color to an orange color.
Now, take a look at this flame shot.
Notice that you can’t really see that much of the flame. Why? Because there’s a frame and a heat exchanger there. That heat exchanger is what gives the Jetboil it’s noteworthy efficiency and speed. But that’s not all that frame and heat exchanger give you. You get something else thrown in for free: improved wind resistance. Now, don’t think you can go cook in a howling gale, but the Jetboil really does do a lot better in wind than most gas stoves. Most gas stoves are really vulnerable to wind; a little wind may cause your gas consumption and your time to boil to really jump up. The Jetboil on the other hand handles light wind with only a slight degradation of performance — which is far better than the typical canister stove. The wind resistance of the Jetboil is one if its least known but most valuable features.
Now, the astute among you will note that I haven’t mentioned one component: The protective cup that fits over the bottom of the pot. Personally, I leave the cup at home, and that’s why you don’t see it my photos out on the trail. The heat exchanger is nestled up under a frame and is fairly well protected without the cup.
The protective cup has some measurement markings and could be used as a measuring cup, but the inside of the pot also has markings, so I don’t think the cup adds anything. The cup is a little small to really be useful for drinking. In short, I’m not really very enthusiastic about the cup. Use it if you like, but I typically leave it behind.
OK, we’ve reviewed the components. So, how does it work?
Pretty darned well as a matter of fact. I got boils for 500 ml of cold creek water down in the two minute range. Now, that’s a fast boil.
But that’s not all there is to a Jetboil, oh no.
While the Jetboil Sol’s flame is a little tricky down in the low range, I found that if I fiddled with it a bit, I could get a decent simmer and that I did not get burnt food in the bottom of my pot.
I was also able to prepare some pretty nice omelettes on a Jetboil Sol.
Now, I don’t want to over-hype the Jetboil Sol. The Jetboil Sol is not a gourmet cook’s stove. Yes, I was able to do some real cooking with the Jetboil Sol, but that valve really is tricky down in the lower range of the stove. However, if you’re willing to fiddle with it a bit, you really can cook with a Jetboil Sol.
All that to say: The Jetboil Sol is a lot more than just a fast water boiler. The Jetboil Sol is a versatile and complete cooking system.
Now, as I mentioned, there are two versions of the Jetboil Sol, an all aluminum version and a version with a titanium pot with an aluminum heat exchanger. The versions are pretty similar except that the mostly titanium version is lighter and doesn’t have a heat sensor on the cozy.
Jetboil’s site lists the all aluminum version as 10.5 ounces and the mostly titanium version as 8.5 ounces, a two ounce difference. However, Jetboil’s site compares “apples to oranges” in that a different set of components is used to compile the weight of the aluminum version vs. the mostly titanium version. I wanted an “apples to apples” comparison, so I did my own weight comparison:
|Item||Jetboil Sol Aluminum (grams)||Jetboil Sol Titanium (grams)||Jetboil Sol Aluminum (ounces)||Jetboil Sol Titanium (ounces)||Difference|
- Actual Weight. The aluminum version weighs about 11 ounces on my scale vs. 10.5 ounces reported on Jetboil’s site.
- Weight Difference. When a comparison is done using identical component lists, the weight difference between the aluminum and titanium versions is just over one ounce.
The MSRP of the all aluminum version is $120.00. The MSRP of the mostly titanium version is $150.00, a $30 difference. I leave it up to the individual to decide whether or not the weight savings are worth the incremental cost. Do be aware that the heat exchanger on the mostly titanium version can be damaged if overheated. See Titanium JetBoil Sol — Caution for further information.
These weights are quite a bit less than the first generation of Jetboil stoves. Still not light enough? If you like canister gas stoves, check out the Ultra Light Kitchen, or if you want to go really light, check out An Ultralight Alcohol Stove System
The Jetboil Sol (Aluminum Version)
What’s good about it
- More wind resistant than most upright canister gas stoves
- Versatile — can cook almost any type of food and use almost any type of pot, including non-Jetboil pots
What’s bad about it
- The flame adjustment on lower end of the range is really wonky. You really have to fiddle with it to get the flame you want. The flame sometimes blows out on low.
- The burner is a little heavy at 3.6oz/102g. Some burners these days weigh less than 2oz
- The strap on the cup is pretty useless
- At MSRP $120 (aluminum version) and $150 (mostly titanium version), the stove system is fairly expensive
The Jetboil Sol (aluminum version): Highly recommended.
Thanks for joining me for this review of the aluminum version of the Jetboil Sol.
Would you like to see the stove in action out on the trail? My trail reports with more photos and details are available on my blog:
Date available: Currently available.
Manufacturer’s Website: Jet Boil
MSRP: $120.00 (all aluminum version), $150.00 (mostly titanium version)
Listed Weight: 300g/10.5 ounces
Actual Weight: 312g/11 ounces
Materials: Aluminum (pot and heat exchanger)
Packed Dimensions: 16cm x 11cm (6.3″ x 4.3″)
Size/Model tested: Aluminum version. Max capacity, 800ml (27 fl. oz.). Practical capacity, 500ml (about 2 cups).
Requirements: A standard threaded canister of gas (sold separately).
Warranty info: Call Jetboil customer service at (888) 611-9905 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Colors Available: Gray