User Review: Jetboil Personal Cooking System (PCS)
I will admit that I was at first very resistant to the point of bias against the Jetboil PCS. When I was stove-shopping, the MSR Reactor and Primus EtaPower EF both had just been released and I was looking very hard to get my hands on one of these "2nd generation" integrated stoves. Did I mention that I'm a gearhound and totally get off on bragging rights? I wrote off the Jetboil even as the cute REI saleschick recommended it to me as her personal recommendation... which I managed to pooh-pooh to result in a stupid missed opportunity... Anyways long story shortened, I ended up "settling" for the Jetboil PCS a week later due to a combination of reasons, mostly price and availability. I figured that it would work "acceptably".
A few outings later, I am absolutely in love with the Jetboil PCS. This is simply due to the fact that the overall package is so well-conceived that it makes reconstituting dehydrated meals (we subscribe to the I-can't-be-bothered-to-really-cook-tired-and-without-a-real-kitchen school of thought) a complete no-brainer. The stove locks together in 5 seconds, and lights in a twist and a click after you fill it with water relative to the 2-cup "max. safe fill" line.
Now, personal experimentation has revealed that a 750ml+ (3-cups) fill is still safe for boiling water, but the thing is that most reconstituted meals require ~2 cups of water, give-or-take depending on the meal. The "max. safe fill" line is therefore the perfect mark to eyeball the majority of required amounts with.
The thing about the Jetboil PCS that is obvious but requires actual use to appreciate the totality of the genius is the fact that 1) the entire stove locks together, 2) almost the entire stove is insulated/touchable, and 3) the profile of the unit is a cylinder of hand-friendly proportions. It does not handle like a stove, but rather more like a thermos. Why bother with a pot handle when you can just grab the pot? Why worry about a pot and a stove, when all you have to do is just deal with the single potstove?
I guess a few years ago when the Jetboil was new on the market, it had top bragging rights for speed, efficiency, and wind-resistance. It's not that it lacks in any of these qualities these days, but it is true that newer integrated stoves have exceeded the Jetboil on some of these fronts. That said, the Jetboil PCS is still king for ease-of-use and being un-stove-like (ie, free of the hassles and concerns of a typical stove).
Where to Buy
The Jetboil Personal Cooking System (PCS) is not available from the stores we monitor.
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