Jetboil or Alcohol Stove?

2:56 a.m. on March 14, 2008 (EDT)
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I am wondering what the majority would recommend based on this dilemma: should I go with a Jetboil or some sort of alcohol stove, White Box or Trangia or homemade? Obviously if I just get a Jetboil I can make my own alcohol stove, but I am not sure I want to spend the money considering I am not a truly hardcore backpacker. I've already got some good links as far as making an alcohol stove goes, just wondering what the consensus is here as far as which is better for general use. Thanks!

5:47 a.m. on March 14, 2008 (EDT)
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I would say that this is a very personal choice. Also both stoves have different strengths. If your "general use" involves much time above tree line then definitely get the jetboil. Alchohol stoves do not work well in wind. If your mostly a "in the woods" hiker and you go out for 3-4 days average then I wouldn't bother getting the jetboil.

One more thing to consider is the amount of meals you will cook. Because the alcohol stoves are less efficient, the more meals you cook the more fuel you need. If you cook 3 meals a day and a cup of tea at each one you are going to need a bunch of alcohol and it may be a wiser choice to go with the jetboil. If you are like me and just make coffee in the morning and one meal at night you will be fine with the alchohol stove.

Like you said------ "Obviously if I just get a Jetboil I can make my own alcohol stove"

Or you can just make an alcohol stove and if you don't like it you can get a jetboil.

Happy Hiking

11:31 a.m. on March 14, 2008 (EDT)
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Good advice Jeffrey, and yeah I am mostly an in-the-woods hiker that doesn't really cook that much and when I do it is fairly minimal and at lower elevations. The Jetboil is so damn sexy, but for now I will probably go with alcohol. Thanks a bunch!

11:46 a.m. on March 14, 2008 (EDT)
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Teckwolf,
There is a very active Yahoo Group called Backpacking Stoves that is mostly about alcohol stoves (1001 variations on homemade versions, or maybe it is up to a million versions by now - everyone has their own variation).

But a good site for detailed stove discussions is Zen Stoves http://zenstoves.net/StoveChoices.htm While my opinion is that there is some erroneous information on the site, most of the discussion is very good, especially in the comparisons of different stoves. In the alcohol section, he links to a number of stove construction projects, ranging from the old and revered "Pepsi can stove" to more efficient, interesting, and complicated to build variations. Some people seem to make a lifetime hobby of inventing the better mousetrap, er, um, I mean, better alcohol stove (witness the Yahoo group).

Frankly, though, much as I like my superlightweight alcohol stove for a quick cup of tea when on a backcountry ski daytour, a small, light canister stove like the Pocket Rocket or a white gas stove like the Primus MFS or MSR Simmerlite is much more efficient and dependable in the long run. I have a JetBoil, but in practice, it really is no more efficient or better in any other way than the Pocket Rocket (their pot can be used on any other canister or liquid fuel stove and is no more efficient, really, than the GSI or MSR anodized aluminum pots). There are differences among canister stoves and among liquid fuel stoves (mostly due to size of the burner), but it all comes down to petroleum fuels (whether compressed gas, white gas, or kerosene) put out a certain amount of heat, and alcohol puts out about half the heat (using proper stove alcohol - rubbing alcohol/isopropyl is even less efficient). You can't change basic chemistry. Some stoves are better made, lighter, more compact, cheaper to buy, easier to maintain than others - look at the Gear Reviews section of Trailspace.

12:21 p.m. on March 14, 2008 (EDT)
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I absolutley love my jetboil pcs stove.

little weight and takes up a lot less space than a stove and cookware.

I just came back from a backpacking trip last thurs thru sunday and I only used one jetboil fuel can!

That included cooking all my meals and boiling water for a water bottle to put in my sleeping bag on an unusually cold night.

The ability to fit a mountain house pro pack inside the jetboil cup and be able to prepare it and eat it, without getting burned or creating a mess, is truly a great idea.

1:22 p.m. on March 14, 2008 (EDT)
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I appreciate the replies and advice. For now I have decided to go ahead and get a new tent and save buying a stove for a later date. I'll probably go ahead and make one for now, see how I feel about the alcohol, and undoubtedly buy a Jetboil sometime in the future just because of all the rave reviews I have read. Thanks again.

3:23 p.m. on March 14, 2008 (EDT)
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shop around for the jetboil. I found mine for $59.95 when everyone else wanted $79.95.

Unfortunately, the place I bought mine is now selling them for $79.95 again.

8:36 p.m. on April 24, 2008 (EDT)
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Up front, I'll say that I've never used a Jetboil, but one of my friends has one so I'm familiar with them. Before buying a White Box alcohol stove two years ago I strickly used an Optimus Nova multifuel stove (or a campfire). I immediately fell in love with the WB stove and have used it exclusively ever since. I've used it in moderate wind, and temps down to the high teens. Any fears I had about alcohol not getting hot enough, or not pressurizing were quickly laid to rest. This little stove just plain works! It's also very solid, and not as susceptible to crushing like a homemade Pepsi stove is. There are no moving parts to lose, break, or replace. Operation is simple enough that a two year old could learn it (not advise)!

I use a 20oz pop bottle to carry fuel, and figure a full bottle represents 20 meals. It won't simmer, but for boiling water, or quickly heating a pre-cooked meal it's perfect. BTW, the friend with the Jetboil I referred to earlier, also bought a WB stove after I wouldn't quit raving about mine. He now loves his too.

November 22, 2014
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