By Aron Snyder
When the original Jetboil was first introduced into the backpacking world it was a huge success, brining to the table an all in one system for cooking in the backcountry. Seeing all the rave reviews online and in magazines, of course I had to try it for myself.
The concept behind the original model was sound, but it lacked a few key features that I need from a cooking system and it only made it’s way into my pack for a few trips, but In 2011 Jetboil introduced the SOL, taking the basic ideas from the original model, but adding all the features that backpack hunters were longing for in a more compact and ultralite package.
Weight—10.5 (weight can be reduced even further)
Packed size— 375 cubic inches
Auto Ignition— YES
Fuel Type— Isobutane
Burn Time— 46 minutes with 100gram fuel canister
Boil Time— 16 ounces in 130 seconds
Pro’s — Compact, Light, fast boil time, endless accessories, fuel efficiency
Any backpack hunter is going to appreciate the Micro Regulator that Jetboil uses in the SOL. This option allows the stove to burn with the same efficiency at any altitude and temperature (if the canister is kept warm). This means the 16 ounce 130 second boil time you get on your back porch at home is the same time you will see at 10,000 feet on the side of the mountain. Any backpack hunter living off of freeze dried meals and drinking instant coffee every morning is really going to appreciate this stove, but if your cooking requires more than a quick boil of water, than the SOL has some shortcoming.
Con’s— Small pot size, lacks versatility, durability
On most hunts I’m living off of the bare esintials and anything more than a protein bar or mountain house is not in the cards, but when my wife tags along the dinner plans change quite a bit and the SOL isn’t always the best tool for the job. Since the SOL is designed for boiling water and its cup attaches straight to the burner, the option for cooking bacon and eggs in the morning is out the window and the SOL usually gets left at home. You can purchase separate attachments to do this type of cooking, but they are a bit bulky and something I haven’t spent much time with.
The Jetboil SOL spent over 100 nights in the field with me in 2011, seeing altitudes of 13,000+ feet and temperatures in the single digits, but I would guess that this stove will eventually have issues over extended years of use. This is not to say it’s a bad choice (it’s one of my favorites) and it has proven to me that it deserves a place inside my pack, but the life span of the SOL components will probably need replaced in a few years and you can find more durable stoves on the market today.