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Review: JetBoil Zip Cooking System

Review: JetBoil Zip Cooking System

For my bugout bag/day pack I choose the smallest of the Jet Boil systems, the Zip. This size should be perfect size for a single person and adequate for two people seeing as most MRE type meals only require 8 ounces of water.

Specifications
Street price ~$69.00
Weight w/o gas 363g
Weight w/ gas 560g
Energy output (kW) 1.26
Energy output (BTU/hr) 4300
As tested fuel consumption 100g consumed in 41.8 minutes
Pack volume 88.66 Cubic Inches
Graduated Markings 4oz increments (8-16oz) 100mL increments (200-500mL)
Advertised capacity 800mL
Instructions (pdf) Click Here

 

The insulation works very well, there is a double thick section opposite from the carry handle that makes it very comfortable to handle even with boiling water. I did find that that it was easy to get the pot to boil over when boiling 16 ounces. During handling the lid seems like it would never stay attached when pouring and seems to come off very easily, in practice I haven’t had it come off when pouring but I am not sure I would trust it enough to use the strainer side. The plastic cup attached to the bottom serves two potential purposes, the first would be to insulate the heat exchanger when sitting, the second would be to act as a cup/measuring cup. It holds 8 ounces with graduated markings at 4oz, 8oz and 100mL, 200mL. The markings are very faint and almost unusable.

In a couple of tests I found it will boil 16 ounces in about 2min 45sec with an ambient air temperature of around 65 degrees. Boil times seemed to be unaffected by altitude as the 16 ounce boils where done at 10,400 FT (2:47) and 6300 FT (2:45), this is likely due to different boiling temps at different pressures. In order to determine fuel level in a partially used canister I weigh my gas canisters when new, the canister I used for the tests weighed in at 197g without the plastic cap. During my tests I boiled a total of 40 ounces of water (1x 8ounce, 2x 16ounce). The canister after the tests weighed in at 181g meaning it consumed 16g of fuel, total burn time 402 seconds. (25.125 seconds to burn 1g fuel). Assuming this data stays consistent across the entire life of the canister we can surmise that it will burn through a 100g canister in 41.875 minutes. So you should be able to boil 16 ounces around 15.22 times for a total of 243 ounces or 7.18L, considerably less than the 12L specified by Jet Boil.

  • 16 ounce burns = 2:45, 2:47
  • 8 ounce burn = 1:10

The theoretical burn time is a lot longer, according to the Jet Boil manual (linked above in spec table) JetBoil 1g of fuel generates 66.15BTU though some of their math doesn’t add up. This would mean at a consumption rate of 4300 BTU/hr a 100g canister (6615 BTU) would be consumed in 1.54 hours. That would suggest you could boil 16 ounces 33.6 times, for a total of  537 ounces or 15.89L. The real world numbers I recorded are likely lower due to the gas loss from connecting/disconnecting the canister for 3 cooking sessions. If you are in a situation where gas consumption is life and death you may consider not detaching the canister after use.

 

Bottom line

Pros

  • Fuel efficient
  • Wind resistant
  • light weight
  • Good insulation makes it comfortable to hold when hot
  • Very stable with plastic canister foot

Cons

  • Poor graduated markings in plastic cup
  • Easily boils over with 16 ounces
  • No integrated ignitor
  • Silicone lid seems insecure (though I haven’t had it come off when pouring liquid)
Ready for stowage

Ready for stowage

Assembled unit

Assembled unit

Diagram I use often to remember how to put it back together.

Diagram I use often to remember how to put it back together.

Nesting storage

Nesting storage

Graduated marking detail

Graduated marking detail

Lid detail with pour spout and strainer.

Lid detail with pour spout and strainer.

Say "ahhh"

Say “ahhh”

Heat exchanger detail

Heat exchanger detail

Heat exchanger detail

Heat exchanger detail

Burner detail

Burner detail

Go knob

Go knob

Measure your canisters when full so its easy to determine the fuel level with partial canisters.

Measure your canisters when full so its easy to determine the fuel level with partial canisters.


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