I recently became buddies with the new Jetboil Flash camp cooking system during a whirlwind SUP and surf trip up the California Coast with a friend. Two weeks of car camping with stops in Encinitas, Ventura, Santa Cruz and finally San Francisco with boards, bags and coolers in tow. Our space was tight in my tiny Subaru hatchback.
Of all the gear that filled my trunk to the brim, the Jetboil Flash was the MVP of the trip.
The Flash quickly proved to be the least of my concerns with packing. It disassembled quickly and succinctly, all components self-contained, the space-efficient profile fitting unobtrusively into my kitchen kit. The stove, stand and fuel nestle tightly inside the one-liter FluxRing cooking cup and there’s room under the lid for an extra lighter, though you won’t need one with the Flash’s built-in, push-button ignition.
Some luxuries feel extra key on the road, and hot water is definitely at the top of the list. The Jetboil Flash doesn’t just heat water, it takes a flamethrower to it, boiling 16 ounces in under 100 seconds. The hyper-speed came in especially clutch while waiting for the first cup of Joe (see also: french press accessory) and for hot showers after cold morning paddle sessions. What’s more, Jetboil’s new design works efficiently so the speed doesn’t cost much fuel. We boiled 9.5 liters with one 3.5-ounce can.
Other upgrades on the new Jetboil Flash include a redesigned lid that seals tight and pours fluidly, but not so fast that you lose your dinner if you happen to knock it over (we did plenty). On the underside of the cooking cup, a plastic case that doubles as a measuring cup protects the heating coils (super convenient). Also new for 2018 is the insulating jacket, equipped with a sturdy handle strap and a “thermochromatic” heat indicator that changes color based on the heat level (see also: rad). Combined, the contraption made for mindless convenience and reliability between our paddling exploits.
When my Central California dirtbag SUP mission finally came to an end, I returned home with tired shoulders, a broken board, a stuffed load of tattered gear and my Jetboil Flash, good as new with gas to spare. I won’t be leaving it behind any time soon. -Dillon Montarro