User Review: Jetboil Flash Cooking System
Price Paid: --
I am going to rate this 3.5 stars for one single reason, otherwise I would rate it closer to 5 stars.
The Piezo igniter is exposed when separated from the container. The insulation is thermally protective ceramic (it has to be).
Drop this stove once on rocks or a hard surface upside down and you will need matches or a lighter to ignite it for the rest of the life of the stove unless you get it repaired (always have matches and a lighter in a pocket stashed in your pack with this stove and every other stove). Several users reviews have noted this and current owners should take care when handling because of this.
Simple (forward thinking) Solution: a raised metal flange welded around the rim of the burner would protect the flange better, or a small sparking tower nearby the spark wire (that would take the impact force of most impacts).
Don't get me wrong. JetBoil has taken the heat exchanger idea and welded it to the bottom of their container, geniuses. Every other camp cook company since the dawn of camping can now beat their collective heads on a wall somewhere in the world. This makes Jetboil a very lightweight and effective remote boiling solution.
The Jetboil hanging kit even makes it ultra portable, but if the weather gets hairy you may want to consider using the Ortik Heat-It for serious hanging stove survival.
Must have accessories:
1. Coffee/tea press (get it and ditch the third party press and save space and weight)
2. Pot adapter (you do want to eat for more than one at the same time right?) If you camp singularly never mind.
The Flash comes with a thermally actuated indicator that lets the user know the contents are still hot (another bright idea). It is the ultimate camping dummy light on your camp container. Hot spills should be a human experience of the distant past right? My wife disproved this theory by pouring her first cup of tea without the lid pressed firmly in 15 seconds. I promptly slapped my head in disbelief.
This stove is ridiculously easy to use; a three year old could assemble it and start the stove. Think about that, it could be a curse in disguise.
All in all, this is a seriously lightweight sampling system costing close to what other stoves alone cost. So think of the container thrown in for free and the price may just be convincing.
Good luck with your stove decision.
Update: December 12, 2009
Longterm use revision:
After abusing this little stove by cooking with it repeatedly outdoors and in my basement when the gas was disconnected for the last two months, I have much more to talk about.
See my Blog: soon to be posted on repairing the piezo starter with simple tools in about 10 minutes! This stove's piezo starter can be repaired easily, and it is worth noting that Jetboil probably designed this in, as many companies aren't planning for the longevity of their products these guys are obviously making stoves thoughtfully. I feel this feature alone is worth the upgrade to the 5 star rating.
I have to admit to extended and repeated cooking without using the pot bracket. (it's next on my list as a must have items) so the piezo starter's wire melted and broke at the ceramic collar. (This is most people's concerns with this stove) but there is little to worry about once you read my blog on the repair!