Like many other GenXers, I buy stuff. Lots of stuff. I consider it my duty to keep the economy moving. As a result, I recently made several purchases. First, a Jetboil Stash and second, a Soto Windmaster stove. I have officially stimulated the economy but now it is time to see if it was worth it!
I'm pretty ultralight and usually have a base weight around 7-8 pounds. I freakin' love that I usually completely forget that I'm even wearing a backpack for hours at a time on the trail! My usual cook setup is a 2.3 ounce 700 ml toaks, a 0.4 ounce esbit stove, a 0.7 ounce toaks titanium long spoon, and a 2.3 ounce collapsible cup. Then 1 ounce of fuel per day. Works great, zero anxiety about running out of fuel as I can always just count my cubes.
This is all great until I have to go places with rules about "No open flames" that get picky. Technically, alcohol stoves and esbits are both considered "open flames" despite the fact that you can blow it out with a single breath. Yah, it is stupid and don't get me started. Sadly, pretty much everywhere in Colorado falls into that category of stupid so I've started my dive into gas stoves and decided to investigate options for a few trips this summer. One of the trip is probably a 4 day solo loop hike. The other one is a 4-5 day hike where I'm taking my 16 year old nephew and want to make it easy for him so I'm planning on carrying the stove and cooking for us both.
So... time to do some testing and then do some math! So first, for some testing. I verified my water started at 68 degrees +/- 2 degrees. I made sure that all parts were dry and air temperature before starting to ensure that residual heat didn't impact the numbers. I did do the test outside but the wind was next to nothing and fairly consistent. I used a larger, 230g mixed gas container that never went below 80% full to make sure pressure wasn't a factor. For each test I measured out exactly 2 cups of water and ran each test twice and took the average. No clue how accurate my scale is but it is consistent and has 1 gram resolution.
I turned all stoves to max flame for the tests. I went back and tried them at rough half blast but had the same results on the first two I tested and stopped. Also, tests were performed at basically sea level or at least under 1000' elevation.
I tested all of these with no lid and no insulation wrap so this is actually slightly slower and less efficient than what it could be. Please don't get me started on how longer cook times would mean more air exposure and so this hurts the BRS/JB stove more than the others. I tested it and it was almost the identical. Maybe it would matter a bit more in cold weather but in 70 degree temps it was negligible. I kept the top off so I could easily monitor the temperatures with a thermometer. When the middle of the pot, about half way down reached 205 degrees on each of these, I reached or the gas.
|weight in grams|
|Jetboil Stash Stove||58|
Now for the pot weights with handles:
|weight in grams with handles but no lid|
|Toaks 700ml Ultralight||63|
Now for the juicy stuff... how fast and efficient they were:
|Stove||Pot||Time in seconds||Fuel burned|
|Jetboil Stove||Toaks 700ml Ultralight||280||8|
|Jetboil Stove||Jetboil Stash||143||5|
|Soto Windmaster||Toaks 700ml Ultralight||138||8|
|Soto Windmaster||Jetboil Stash||80||4.5|
|BRS 3000||Toaks 700ml Ultralight||330||9|
|BRS 3000||Jetboil Stash||165||6.5|
So, first off, let me say that holy crap, the Soto Windmaster is like a dragon breathing when on high heat! 80 seconds to boil 2 cups of 70 degree water in the Jetboil stash pot! The times on these are not exact as I was more concerned with turning off the stoves fast than stopping my watch but they are all +/- 5 seconds.
So time to do some more math! Note, your math will be different but for me, I use 1.5 cups water in the morning for oatmeal/biscuits and gravy and about 3 cups for coffee. Don't judge! I drink 2 large cups of coffee when I backpack and the "cup" is actually around 16 ounces and filled to around 12 ounce mark. No water for lunch but for dinner, it is basically the same drill again, 1.5 for food, 3 for hot cocoa. Again, no judging here... So yeah, I drink 9 cups per day! For fairness, I'm going to drop that number to 7 effective cups as I don't boil coffee or cocoa water so not burning the full fuel.
So, for the 4 day trip coming up, I'll be needing to heat roughly 28 cups of water. For the 5 day plus nephew trip, assuming he follows habits like mine, we're talking roughly 70 cups. My guess is my nephew will drink less or no coffee so we'll call it more like 60 cups.
So, one of the issues with gas for me is you can never carry just as much as you need. It is almost always too much or too little. Basically, you have the choice of 100g or 230g containers plus some dead weight for the can. Let's math this out again and see where my trips fall fuel wise.
So for different setups the fuel looks like:
|Stove||Pot||Fuel per cup||Stove weight||Pot Weight||Fuel for 28||Fuel for 60|
|Jetboil Stove||Toaks 700ml Ultralight||4||58||63||112||240|
|Jetboil Stove||Jetboil Stash||2.5||58||132||70||150|
|Soto Windmaster||Toaks 700ml Ultralight||4||86||63||112||240|
|Soto Windmaster||Jetboil Stash||2.25||86||132||63||135|
|BRS 3000||Toaks 700ml Ultralight||4.5||25||63||126||270|
|BRS 3000||Jetboil Stash||3.25||25||132||91||195|
The thing to remember when looking at those fuel numbers is anything 100 or less is really 200g, the rough weight of a 100g fuel can. Anything more than 230g is really 388g, the weight of a 230g fuel can. Anything more than that and srsly, just no...
With that in mind, for these two specific trips, the Stash pot ends up looking like a winner. Without the more efficient Stash pot for the 28 days, all the burners would be bumped up to the big can but with them, they all work on one small can. For the 5 day trip with my nephew, again, the Stash pot is the winner. Technically, I could probably get by with the Toaks pot and the Jetboil or Soto burner but not a fan of cutting it close.
For the 28 day, on paper, the lightest option is the BRS stove plus Stash pot but 91 out of a 100g is cutting it kind of close for my tastes and I would probably go with one of the other stoves. For the 60 cup trip for 2, again, the BRS would be lightest on paper though any thing that gets me down to the last 10-20% of a can scares me.
Even though it isn't the very lightest, in the end I'll almost certainly take the Soto Windmaster stove and pair that with the JetBoil Stash pot. While it is around an ounce heavier, the extra wind resistance is important in both of those places I'll be going. Plus, since the Soto has a built in ignition system, I can get away with only taking one lighter instead of 2 and save a half an ounce.
The once or so I'll pay will be worth it for the convenience, the speed of cooking (especially with two eaters), and the peace of mind with close numbers and wind. One last note, I hadn't seen it mentioned anywhere but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the 230g fuel cannister tucks nicely into the Stash pot! There isn't room for the stove or handle but the lid fits on it perfectly.
Also, I felt the need to write this as I had seen several poorly researched articles on the Jetboil Stash. In all honestly, it probably still isn't worth the price but being able to boil 2 cups of water in under 90 second with 2/3rds the fuel of other pots can be handle in some situations and these are two of them!