Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the Jetboil Group Cooking System. Jetboil have looked hard for innovation, which is itself commendable but how did it fare in use?
First of all, I really liked the clip-on plastic ‘Stabiliser’ for the gas canister. It’s a great idea and I think we have all known that rising feeling of terror as our dinner wobbles on the brink of doom after a long day on the hill. The Stabiliser makes a big improvement to the stability of the cooking system.
Once lit, the burner creates a reassuring hot and uniform flame that heats the centre of the burner into a bright red glow. The pizo ignition button and gas control value were both well made and functional.
The 1.5 litre pot is where the innovation is. The bottom of the pan has a built-in heat exchanger, which Jetboil call a ‘FluxRing’. Heat exchangers have been around for a long time and although they undoubtedly increase cooking efficiency, they do add weight. The pan is also surrounded by a neoprene ‘Cozy’ that is designed to insulate the contents of the pan. The handles were reassuringly stable.
What I disliked about the Group Cooking System was the Pot Support that sits between the burner base and pan. It just didn’t seem to fit the burner properly and consequently wobbled around. On top of that the ‘FluxRing’ on the base of the pan made it more difficult to balance the pan on top of the pot support without getting the pot support arms caught up in the FluxRing.
On the Jetboil website they state a boil time for 1 litre of water in 4 minutes. I tested this in my kitchen and using a nearly empty gas canister (this makes a difference) and it took 10 ½ minutes to boil 1 litre of water.
I’m not sure about the plastic lid for the pot. After boiling a litre of water the lid had got fairly hot and seemed harder to fit properly once it had all cooled down. I wondered if the temperature had deformed the plastic in anyway. Certainly a plastic lid isn’t a versatile as a metal one that can also be used as a frying pan.
Finally, when putting it all away I had difficulty removing the gas canister from the Stabiliser; I yanked a little too hard and snapped one of the legs off.
Overall, I liked what Jetboil are tying to achieve with the Group Cooking System. There are some interesting and innovative features that all aim to make the cooking process easier and more efficient. However, in practice I wasn’t so impressed with how the system worked and it felt as though as was having to deal with the consequence of well intentioned but over designed equipment.
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