Stove for Bicycle Touring | Jetboil Zip Review
A few of my recent posts have been focused on the kind of food I like to eat whilst out on a bicycle tour. So now seems like the perfect time to write about the stove I use, the Jetboil Zip.
Before I get started, if you did miss the previous posts on food, then check them out now.
What is a Jetboil?
Jetboil stoves are compact, lightweight and very portable. The whole concept is to pack down all the components into the main cup/vessel compartment, making it an all in one stove that is easy to transport. The stand, gas canister, burner and pan stabiliser all sit perfectly inside. The whole unit then takes up little space in your pannier or rucksack.
What do you get?
Based on the Jetboil ZIP model.
- Steel Burner with valve regulator (twists to increase/decrease flow)
- Adjustable stabiliser tripod
- Attachment to use pots/pans.
- Cooking Vessel/Pot with neoprene protective cover (prevent burning yourself)
- Lid with ventilation and pour spout
- Bottom cover to protect or use as bowl or measuring cup
- Cost Approximately £80.00
- Capacity 0.8l
- Boiling Time 0.5l approximately 2 minutes 30 seconds
- Total Weight: 345g
- Dimensions: 10.4 x 16.5cm
- For the gas, you will need to buy the small 100g jet boil canister, which in the UK is around £4.00. Like other manufacturers, the instructions do suggest only using Jetboil branded canisters, but I know many people who use other brands. I have used other good quality branded gas and have never had any issues.
What made me buy a Stove? And why Jetboil?
It was always in the back of my mind to use a stove for basic cooking and making hot drinks when out on a cycle tour. I love cooking at home and didn't want not having my kitchen with me to get in the way of that. I also wanted to keep costs down by reducing the visits to expensive cafes and restaurants. Sometimes, you just want to stop and eat or drink there and then.
As with much of the gear I purchase, I found out about Jetboil stoves after seeing one on a kit list blog entry. The whole concept of a stove that packs down so neatly and tightly intrigued me and sounded perfect for bicycle touring. Until this point, I had always thought stoves were a luxury item that bulked out your bags. I was very wrong. Having a stove improves my bike touring dramatically and having the ability to cook great food and make hot drinks is so important to me. I'm always happy when eating good food and being on a bike tour should never stop that (both activities complement each other) I was tired of eating pre-cooked food, or on bad days, convenience rubbish. Food that doesn't put a smile on my face and quite often costs more money. Buying a stove for cycle touring was a no brainer.
There will be other manufacturers out there making something similar, maybe lighter, however, at the time of purchasing, I never found anything with the ability to be tucked away as neatly.
When do I use my Jetboil?
I have owned my Jetboil for a few years. It has come along on many adventures, mostly on my bicycle tours, but it has come in handy at other times too. Out walking on the local cliff paths when I fancy a hot drink or whipping up hot chocolates for my children. The possibilities are endless!
I started off by making simple drinks, but have now progressed onto some masterful one pan cooking delights! I make hot drinks, scrambled eggs, cook breakfast, boil pasta, poach eggs, omelettes and many other great things. I have even fried a little steak. You really can do anything.
How easy is it to transport?
Its ability to be transported without bulking out my panniers is one of the main reasons I chose a Jetboil. I leave it near the top of a pannier for easy access throughout the day.
You might wonder what I do for spare gas canisters and transporting them? I generally never get away for more than a couple of weeks and can get 5 days out of a 100g can. I normally take a spare canister or two. Or pick up a spare along the way if you know they will be on sale. The alternative is to purchase larger gas canisters, however, anything larger than 100g won't fit in the cooking vessel. Obviously, all this depends on where you are in the world and how readily available spares are. Don't forget airlines won't take kindly to packing these and some ferry operators also have restrictions in place. Do your homework before leaving before the customs officer takes it away!
How easy is the Jetboil to use?
It doesn't take long to get the hang of putting it together and cooking your food. Once it is together, it is simple to use. Turn the regulator valve to release the gas and light a match/lighter/flint. Next, if heating liquid, place the cooking vessel onto the burner and twist to lock it in place. Wait a couple of minutes and it will be boiling hot. Simple!
Cooking with a pan is just as easy. Clip the pan stabiliser attachment to the burner. This will stabilise the pan and allow you to keep your hands free. Light the gas and you are away. One tip here is to not use a large pan. I used a large pan during a family weekend camping break and found it allowed the heat to build up and start to melt the plastic on the burner. Completely my fault - I was trying to save time cooking for four people!
Before you know it, you are drinking or eating. This stove is super quick to use. Hence the name!
Does it do anything else?
There is one brilliant attachment you can purchase. I love my coffee in the morning and cannot cope with instant muck! Jetboil sells a plunger to make fresh coffee. A cafetiere on tour - I would not be without this now.
Who is this stove aimed at?
Anyone wanting a hot drink or stove on the move where space is at a premium. I think it is just perfect for bike tours. It is pretty lightweight, very compact, reliable (in my experience) and simple to use. If you are looking for ultra-lightweight, Jetboil does have other models. And do check out the competitors - there may be little difference except one may be in a sale.
It fits nicely into a pannier or rucksack and can be brought out quickly when needed. I wake up in the morning and I have it set up ready for me to lean out of the tent and fire up a fresh coffee in minutes. All from the comfort of my sleeping bag.
Happy cooking and cycling!
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