As you know from my previous post, I have just got back from Alaska. Well, a day and half later I was out in the woods helping out on another weekend tracking course! This was still for Shadowhawk but this time facilitated through Jonny Crockett and Survival School. It was a very good course and all the participants were very switched on.
This time I'm not going to go on about the course but a bit of kit I bought a few weeks ago - the Jetboil PCS (Personal Cooking System). A lot of people I know seem to dislike this pice of wizardry for some reason but I took a chance and got one from Strikeforce Army supplies.
This little beastie is essentially a big cup with a heat sink attached to its bottom and a gas burner. The burner snaps onto the base and uses a standard camping gas cylinder which screws into its base forming quite a tall tower. It has an electric spark push button for ignition (just like your gas cooker at home). It seems to be very efficient at heating the contents of the main cup. It will boil 2 cups of water (maximum fill) in under 2 minutes if you have it on full blast. I used the Jetboil over the weekend quite extensively and I have to say that I like it - it is fast, efficient and quite convenient to use.
It boiled water quickly for cups of tea, it cooked/heated up some packet rice without any problems and it can cook a standard British Army ration pack in a few minutes. It could probably be safely used in a car for a quick brew but I haven't tried that yet! The burner is stowed in the cup but you have to detach the gas cylinder to do this. The downsides? It does form quite a high tower when everything is attached and so could be a bit unstable on rough ground and it can also be a bit awkward separating the cup from the burner, potentially resulting in spillage or worse, scalds. You also cannot really use it with other pots or fry pans so it does limit you to what you can cook in the cup.
Overall I am glad I spent the money on it. It's not cheap but it did everything I wanted and needed over the weekend. If you plan your food to suit the jetboil then it is a very convenient and easy to use bit of kit. You don't need matches as the ignitor is build into the burner which is a bit of a plus too! However, I will use other forms of stove if I want more flexibility with my cooking.