If you’re into subtly sautéing vegetables and herbs to tease out flavours or gently simmering sauces to reduce and intensify them, and other such culinary carryings on, then, frankly, the Jetboil Flash is not for you.
But if your idea of camp cooking is to simply heat something up as quickly as possible or add boiling water to a dehydrated dish, then you’re going to love this stove, with its jet rocket–like output and frighteningly fast boil times.
But the Jetboil Flash is more than just a fast-working kettle with hefty amounts of firepower. The design of each element of this stove is meticulously thought through, and the result is a highly efficient piece of backpacking equipment that not only ensures you can start eating seconds after setting up camp but is also stupidly easy to pack away and stash in your backpack.
For all these reasons and more, we rate the Jetboil Flash as one of the very best camping stoves currently available, but to trail test it properly, I have been using one on multiple hiking and backpacking escapades over the last year. Here is what I found.
Jetboil Flash review
Jetboil Flash review: availability
The Jetboil Flash camping stove is available now at Jetboil UK for a recommended price of £139.99. At Jetboil US, it retails for $124.95, while in Australia, the Flash can be yours for AU$ 279.99. See the price widgets at the top and bottom of this Jetboil Flash review for the best prices in your area.
Jetboil Flash review: specifications
- Fuel source: Butane-propane cartridges
- Water boil time (500ml): 100 seconds
- Weight (with pot and feet, but no gas canister): 398g / 14oz
- Dimensions (stowed): 10.5 x 18cm / 4.1 x 7.1in
Jetboil Flash review: design and features
As with all Jetboil stoves, which have been creating steam in campsites around the world for 20 years, the ingenious FluxRing is the crux of the design, protecting the burner flame from the elements and delivering concentrated heat to the base of the tailor-made cooking pot with intense efficiency. The Flash is the fastest stove in the Jetboil range, bringing 500ml of water to the boil in 1 minute 40 seconds from a standing start. Once the pot is locked in place, virtually no energy is wasted whatsoever, and the water (or other liquid of your choice) within is warm in seconds and excitedly bubbling very soon after.
The Flash comes with a 1L cooking pot with a FluxRing attached to the bottom. This pot also features a sleeve (complete with a material handle), which insulates the container – so the contents stay hotter for longer, even after you’ve turned the heat off – and allows you to handle it without burning your hand. The pot has a lid with vents and a precision pouring outlet, plus a thermochromatic, colour-changing heat indicator on the side, which looks good but is a bit redundant, really (if the Flash has been on for more than a few seconds, then it will inevitably glow red because the contents will be well on its way to boiling point).
The stove element itself is lovely and simple: you simply screw it into any isobutane-propane threaded cartridge (widely available in camping shops, garages and general stores in outdoorsy areas), open the valve by twisting the handle anti-clockwise and spark it up by pressing the Piezo ignition button. From there, the pot can be attached to the stove ring and you will have hot water in seconds.
The whole ensemble can be stabilised by affixing the included three-legged stand to the bottom of the gas canister. Climbers and others who really struggle to find any remotely flat terrain can even suspend the entire stove by using the hanging kit, which is sold separately.
When it comes to packing the stove away, the whole lot (including a small, 100g gas canister) fits inside the cooking pot, and a plastic cover (which doubles up as a bowl or cup) slides over the FluxRing to protect it.
As mentioned, the Flash comes with a 1L cooking pot as standard, but you can purchase various other attachments that work with this stove, including a coffee press, FluxRing cooking pot and FluxRing frying pan.
Jetboil Flash review: in use
I have been using various iterations of Jetboil stoves since they first hit the market in 2003, causing quite a stir at the time with their lightning-fast boil times. I was blown away back then by how easy the stove was to use and how quickly I could get a meal ready once I reached camp, and that feeling remains with me now.
Every time I spark up the Flash – and I’ve used it hundreds of times in all sorts of scenarios, from riverbanks during camping and canoeing trips to making quick brews on the summit of mountains – the speed at which it starts steaming takes me by surprise.
There have been times when I’ve wished it was a little less ferocious but for boiling water and heating things up. At a push, you can cook some pasta, put it aside and heat a sauce up, but beyond that, it really is limited to one-pot creations. However, in my experience, this level of fast functionality covers the vast majority of my cooking requirements when I’m backpack camping, bikepacking, fastpacking and kayak/canoe camping.
And the way in which the whole set-up, including a 100g gas canister, fits neatly inside the cooking pot is brilliant too – it makes it easy to pack and carry, and there’s even room for some tea bags to go in as well.
On my Flash, the Piezo ignition button has stopped working, which is a bit annoying and means I have to remember to pack a lighter (which invariably sears some of the hair off my knuckles every time I use it – perhaps not such a bad thing!). Occasionally, it can be a bit fiddly to get the FluxRing seated properly on the stove, but it usually only takes a couple of seconds to fix this, and overall, I’ve been massively happy with the Flash. It’s certainly my stove of choice for almost every overnight outing I embark on, and I often take it on day trips and picnics, too, so I can make a quick cuppa wherever I am (it’s lighter to carry than a full flask).
Jetboil Flash review: verdict
For ease of use, convenience of carry and speed of application, there really is no other camping stove on the market that can hold a candle to the Jetboil Flash – so long, that is, you’re happy with a one-pot cooking system entirely based around boiling water or quickly heating other liquids such as soups and sauces. For me, this covers almost all the bases I need when I’m backpack camping and enjoying other overnight escapades (aside from car camping when I bust out a two-burner set-up).
The Flash is a phenomenally efficient and fast stove for boiling water, so I can get a cup of tea and a freeze-dried meal sorted in a matter of seconds, which is so important when you make camp, especially when you’re cold and tired – it can genuinely be an absolute game changer in some circumstances, transforming the experience from bleak to blissful.
Jetboil Flash reviews: also consider
If you’re looking for a camping stove that enables you to use any cooking pot and simmer food a bit more gently than the Jetboil is capable of, the Soto WindMaster 4-Flex stove is an excellent choice. This system also breaks down smaller than the Jetboil Flash, but of course, you still have to pack a pot to use with it.
Both the Jetboil Flash and the Soto Windmaster are premium products (well worth the price if you use them regularly), but if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly stove, check out the Campingaz Twister Plus PZ.
For car camping adventures, when weight and carry space are not an issue, and you want to cook some slightly more sophisticated two-pot meals, then the Campingaz Camping Chef DLX Stainless Infrared Gas Stove is a good option.