|Average boil time||
4 min 30 sec
Jetboil fans rejoice! Satisfying simmer control plus…
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Jetboil for testing and review)
Jetboil fans rejoice! Satisfying simmer control plus a new pot size/shape make this complete/modular canister stove worthy of adding to or upgrading your kit. The versatility of accessories such as the pot support also elevate it to a fully stand-alone stove for most applications.
Given its size (1 L), base weight (14.6 oz) and weight-saving options, it can serve a solo backpacker or small group alike. The ease and speed at which such an all-inclusive unit boils water has made it my preferred stove in all but the most extreme ounce-counting forays. But ask any cold, starving adventurer that has ever struggled or dallied in getting a meal prepared in the backcountry, ease and speed win hands-down over weight-savings.
A review of the Jetboil Grande Coffee Press and Pot Support is included.
- Shorter/wider pot increases ease of use and stability
- Regulator/valve with 4.5 full turns of simmer control*
- Boils 1 liter of water without spillover, pot has measuring gradations
- Adaptable to lighter-weight components/removable handles and cozy
- MUCH quieter than other Jetboil stoves
- Accessories include coffee press and pot stand
- While still finicky at times, built-in piezo igniter is most dependable I’ve tested yet and a nice convenience
- Because of extended simmer control, the value must be opened a full 1-1.5 turns to ignite
- Connection points/rivets in handles exposed, can burn skin if not careful
- Lid hard to remove when fully seated & does not pour well
- Stated Weight: 14.6 oz / 415 g
- Volume: 32 oz / 1 L
- Dimensions: 5″ x 6″ / 127mm x 152mm
My measured weights—a detailed breakdown (all in ounces):
- Stove: 4.6, Pot: 7.3 (5.6 stripped of handles and cozy), Lid w/ support: 1, Cup: 1.7, Pot support: 1.2, Coffee Press: 1
- Total Unit (without coffee press or pot support): 14.7
- Total Unit with coffee press and pot support: 17.8
- Minimal weight (stove and stripped pot only): 10
- My preferred kit (stove, pot, other lid, other cup): 13.9
A Word of Caution:
Completing a backcountry stove review properly is a task…consider just one facet: burn times and fuel consumption rates under a full range of conditions, which can yield enough data to fill a page. Plus, there is a lot of knowledge to impart to someone that may be new to the many options available in backcountry stoves.
For the purposes of keeping the focus on the new and unique attributes of the Jetboil MiniMo, I will not go into depth about all the pros and cons of canister stoves, along with warnings of how to properly use them. For everything you ever wanted to know about canister stoves and more, I highly recommend reading Bill S’s Jetboil Joule review.
Also, I do not advocate any modifications, adaptations, or processes outside of the manufacturer's recommendations. As such, heating water from a kayak and other similarly illustrated concepts is generally not a safe practice and should not be attempted by anyone.
The Jetboil MiniMo is a new addition to the line, based off of tried-and-true models such as the Flash and Sol. Jetboil appears to have quelled consumer demand in producing the first model capable of more than just boiling water. Additionally, they redesigned the integrated pot to make it shorter and wider.
While still having a 1 liter capacity, stability is slightly improved and it facilities better spoon angles in scraping that last bit o’ Mac & Cheese. Not having eaten directly from the pots of previous versions, I cannot say that this design makes eating significantly easier or that it’s the biggest highlight.
Flame Control/Regulation and Range of Cooking Options:
What is, then? I would venture that the highly improved fuel regulation and flame control are the MiniMo’s best attributes. More often referred to as “simmer control", this is certainly what Jetboil has touted and yes, the MiniMo does deliver. There are a few drawbacks to this added ability, but let me first cover the basics.
The valve adjusts a full 4.5 turns, as seen in the video I’m providing below. Also of note, the flame ALWAYS goes out with a full turn yet to go, so the range is really limited to 3.5 rotations. This is somewhat of a drawback, because to ignite the stove, you have to open the valve at least a full turn, usually more.
But what you get with such a range is the ability to cook almost anything. Boiling water and cooking noodles is a no-brainer, which I cover next. But my first real test was to fry a steak…easily done (sorry for the boring video but it's here if you want to see it).
And a big pan of bacon...
For the final exam, a friend made his signature red curry. For this we stir-fried vegetables and simmered a large pot of regular rice. Again, the veggies were pretty easily accomplished but I was most impressed by the rice. On a good day at home, I still manage to burn the rice at the bottom of a pan. But perhaps in large credit to my friend’s expert skills, the MiniMo cooked that big pot of rice. We turned it down to the lowest flame we could manage and it ended up tasting like it came out of a rice cooker, with nothing stuck to the bottom. Very impressive.
Boil Time & Fuel Efficiency:
The pot’s integral heat exchanger base combined with the stove’s regulator and wide burner head provide swift and efficient heat transfer. Under ideal conditions (sea-level, no wind, using refrigerator-chilled water), the MiniMo achieves a roiling boil of a ½ liter of water in under 2 minutes (test repeated 5 times with ¾ full MSR Iso fuel canister). In averaging the weight difference of the canister under these tests, each boil burned around 4 grams of fuel. Given such parameters, I would say that boil speed and fuel efficiency under normal conditions place it above most all competitors.
Additionally, if you’ve ever been in hearing range of a Jetboil, you knew so by the roar of its engine—it’s the Harley Davidson of stoves. Well, not so much with the MiniMo, which can burn so quietly you won’t even know it’s lit. Even at full blast, it’s still relatively quiet.
Setup/Ease of Use:
Well, for me, these criteria are what really sets a Jetboil stove apart, even from other canister stoves (though several now emulate the modular design). And let’s be honest, all canister stoves require a minimal amount of effort to set up and ignite, when compared to other types (alcohol, wood, and multi-fuel primed stoves). This is the main reason for their rise in popularity and domination of the market for the past 15 years.
But having exclusively used a MSR PocketRocket/MicroRocket for nearly my entire backpacking career, I appreciate the savings of just 10-20 seconds in the faster setup of the Jetboil MiniMo. OK, that doesn’t sound like much but given the repetitiveness of this very basic piece of gear (long-distance hikers will know what I’m talking about), it makes a difference.
The stove has no moving parts, save for the valve, so it’s a simple matter of lining up the pot and giving it a twist. This mating does require a precise fit, as there are two grooves that must be aligned properly. As such, it can be difficult to detach the pot from stove if you’ve given it too hard of a twist. But I prefer this to having to fold out the tines of other stoves (as in the MicroRocket). The MiniMo is a bit heavier and bulkier than the MR but I can have it set up and boiling water in half the time.
That almost anyone can easily figure it out is also a testament to the Jetboil design. On several ‘beginner’ backpacking trips that I led as a Florida Trail Activity Leader, this stove was the clear winner. Either because people didn’t bring their own or had too much trouble setting up/starting the stove they brought, the MiniMo ended up being the go-to appliance for heating water. I have boiled gallons of water during such trips, just to meet group needs quickly and efficiently.
The biggest drawback of the MiniMo is its supplied lid. The tupperware-seated design ensures a very tight, efficient fit, but I found it cumbersome to remove. It takes two hands to peel it off, which inhibits routine pot stirring or boil checking. It also doesn’t pour very well. I prefer a lid that can be removed with one hand and therefore substituted one from another product (which lingers easily just on top). This lid, along with the accompanying cup, reduce the weight of the package to asome extent, as well. Over repeated use, this became my standard setup (seen in above pictures).
The handles are a new feature to the Jetboil line and I found them to be pretty useful. They are removable, if you want to shave some weight. I just wanted to caution here that if you aren't careful, your skin can come in contact with the rivets and other exposed metal parts not covered by the cozy.
The MiniMo achieves good stability due to its wider pot design and therefore lower center of gravity. The precise coupling of the pot and stove ensure that the pot will not slip off if accidentally jostled (which hasn’t been the case with past 3-tined-stove designs). Additionally, the pot support accessory mates well to the stove and allowed for a rather large pot of rice and bacon to be cooked (though I noted that we exceeded the recommended pot size diameter of 9”…oops).
I have rarely found a need to use the fuel canister support legs (supplied both with the MiniMo package and the pot support accessory), but they did come in handy when stabilizing the stove atop my kayak. I repeat, you should not attempt this, but it is nice to be able to make coffee without having to make landfall. This was done on a very calm backwater, while not in jeopardy of other boat wakes or rogue waves. Regardless, spilling hot water on my lap would have been a very bad thing, so I kept my skirt on most of the time.
The built-in piezo ignition can be tricky, but this is more due to the range of the valve. Once I figured out that I had to open the valve a full turn to turn-and-a-half before trying to ignite the stove, I got very consistent results. The manufacturer insists that the stove always be lit without the pot in place but (shhhhh!) I found it easier to ignite with the pot on. Understandably, with this method, the gas begins to pool inside the heat exchanger so you get a nice build-up, then POOF! the stove lights as soon as you push the piezo.
Be forewarned, this could cause injury and users of Gollum-intellect to exclaim “It hurtses us, it burnses us!” I find the built-in piezo to be quite a convenience but am always prepared in the event of a failure. It is still firing after four months of use, so that’s something!
Extreme Conditions—Wind, Cold, and Altitude:
While the MiniMo fares better than my other canister stoves in windy conditions; it will still go out in a good puff. The heat exchanger does provide some level of a wind screen, but there are a few competing models with better wind performance.
I would say that it also handles the cold and altitude consistent with most other canister stoves…that is, not great but the regulator should help in this regard. High altitude mountain goats would be better served by a stove with higher wind resistance, output, and a pump-pressurized fuel source. But the MiniMo is an otherwise excellent all-around stove for lower-48 backcountry use.
By design, a Jetboil is like a Russian nesting doll: everything fits inside or around the base. And with this wider pot design, a 4 oz. fuel canister can fit upright or on its side while still allowing space inside for the stove component. An 8 oz. canister fits perfectly upright inside the pot but doesn’t allow for anything else inside.
(an 8 oz. canister fits fine upright but not on its side...a 4 oz will fit on its side)
Having a compact, all-in-one unit is very ideal from a packing standpoint. I generally keep it at the top of my pack or in an accessible kayak hatch so that I can easily get to it during the day. I find it easiest to keep the stove and pot mated together, with the fuel canister inside the pot. So for a coffee break, all that is required is to screw on the canister, add water, and ignite. There are no other components to become separated and have to dig for, save for your spork!
Yes, some canister and alcohol stoves are more compact in size, but also don’t provide as quick of a setup and/or boil time. Simply stated, the Jetboil system is made to work and fit together and it does so very well.
Construction & Durability:
The MiniMo meets all expectations of durability. So far, I have encountered nothing that gives me concern about its ability to hold up to the rigors of backcountry use.
Accessories—Grande Coffee Press and Pot Support:
My sample included these two accessories, which I have made reference to several times previously. But I wanted to address each individually. The Grande Coffee Press is nice addition, but not something I would normally backpack with. At home, I use a press exclusively and used to always carry a lighter version into the backcountry. Good coffee is a luxury and yet a necessity.
But since the advent of Starbucks VIA instant coffee packets, my high-brow coffee needs have been quenched with this very simple, convenient product. However, for car-camping and paddling trips, I enjoyed having the press. I was going to note that it tended to make a bit of a mess (grinds everywhere, extended cleanup) but in reviewing the destructions just now, I realize I have been using the filter upside down all along!
A retrial just now got much better results. Wow, and I thought I was a coffee snob but turns out I can’t even work a press right. Note to would-be users: make sure the side of the filter with writing faces up!
The Pot Support is a simple, must-have accessory if you wish to really utilize the stove’s full cooking range. The support allows for regular pots and pans to be used with the stove. The four tines fold in and out but it does add more bulk plus an ounce in weight, thus it’s generally not justified for backpacking trips.
Again, it’s a great addition when weight is not an issue or if the stove is going to be used by a group. I would say it’s a more useful accessory than the press, but hey, why not get both? I guess it depends on your preferences and budget.
Conditions and my stove experience:
I have tested the supplied MiniMo sample, along with a friend’s identical stove (prior to receiving the sample), for almost six months. I’ve used it on several multi-day paddling trips, day-hikes, and multi-day backpacking trips, all taking place in Florida. While I have not used it in very cold or high-altitude conditions, I am familiar with canister stove performance in such conditions from past experiences. I will continue to update the review once I am able to test this particular stove under such conditions.
As many gearheads can relate, I am somewhat enamored with of my collection of stoves…my closet has seen more stoves than pairs of heels, to be sure. And like many in the canister stove era, I started out with the good old MSR PocketRocket, which saw me through my first 10 years of wilderness pursuits. I have employed several other similar canister stoves since then (Brunton Optimus Crux and MSR MicroRocket).
Trying to lighten my load, I also experimented with a home-made alcohol stove (didn’t like it) and have recently been testing the wood burning Solo stove, which I also received thanks to Trailspace. After using a canister stove for so many years, it’s hard to get away from the convenience and confidence that this class offers.
Thank you to Trailspace and Jetboil for the privilege of testing this stove and for your patience in awaiting the review while I recovered from a car accident. I’m so happy to be outside and testing gear again!