By Colin Montgomery
Backcountry travel requires athletes to be pack-weight conscious. One of the weight-focused questions frequently arises is how many fuel canisters to bring for the cook stove.
So we did a JetBoil Deep Dive using a JetBoil Flash stove and asked these three questions:
- How many water boils/many meals are achieved by a small fuel canister (3.5-4.0 Oz.)?
- How many water boils/many meals are achieved by a medium-sized fuel canister (8 Oz.)?
- Do the liters of water boiled advertised by the fuel canister manufacturers match what we found?
- Does JetBoil brand fuel outperform other fuel canister brands?
We judged performance by the amount of water boiled, time to boil, and cost. We conducted this test using a brand new JetBoil Flash Lite Stove boiling 500ml of water at a time.
We tested 3 fuel canisters: JetBoil Brand 3.53 Oz
MSR Brand 3.9 Oz
MSR Brand 8 Oz
Our testing occurred at room temperature of 75 Degrees Fahrenheit and at an elevation of 6,130’. JetBoil tests their fuel at 1500’ with water at 68 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Both the temperature and elevation affect the temperature at which water will boil. By doing our test at elevation the water boils faster than it would at sea level. Higher elevations make water boil faster whereas colder temperatures cause water to boil slower. The water boiled was on average 64.4 Degrees Fahrenheit before the stove was turned on.
Data charts are below. Here are the takeaways:
- MSR ISOPRO 8 0z. canister has the fastest boil time and boils the greatest volume of water per dollar
- MSR ISOPRO 8 0z. cannister also boils water roughly 15% quicker than the MSR ISOPRO 3.9 Oz. cannister and Roughly 10% Faster than JetBoil Four Season Mix 3.53 Oz. canister
- MSR ISOPRO 3.9 Oz. and JetBoil 3.53 Oz. boil roughly the same volume of water per canister as reported by the manufacturer
- JetBoil Brand fuel not worth the additional cost
- If a typical freeze-dried meal requires 2 cups of water~.5 L of water. The 3.53 Oz. JetBoil canister can make 22 meals, an MSR 3.9 Oz. 24 meals, and an MSR 8 Oz. 51 meals
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