Backpacking stoves are your the most important part of your wilderness kitchen with a view that’s second to none. The convenience and ease of use of integrated canister stoves have made them wildly popular with long distance backpackers and weekend warriors alike.
When it comes to the integrated stove game MSR and Jetboil have risen to the top of the pack due to their reliability and simplicity of use.
If you’ve been on the hunt for a backpacking stove, Jetboil and MSR are a good starting point. Jetboil and MSR are both integrated canister stoves that combine the pot and burner into one unit. By combining both the stove and pot into the same unit they increased stability, fuel efficiency, and performance to make simple to use backpacking stoves.
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Why you need a backpacking stove
There are a million reasons to be amazed by every new twist and turn of the trail on a backpacking trip. All the places you have never been, the beautiful thingd you’ve never seen, and experiences you’ll never forget.
Then there are the required parts of each day that can’t be overlooked. Hot coffee in the morning and a warm meal at the end of the day. What’s the one thing that makes these wonderful requirements possible? Yep, you guessed it, a backpacking stove.
A backpacking stove is your lifeline on the trail and without it, you’re left with cold food and no coffee (the worst). It’s the key to enjoying a hot meal at the end of the day or a steaming cup of tea in the afternoon. In other words, a backpacking stove is one of the most important pieces of gear for any and every trek worth taking.
Jet Boil vs MSR
Jet Boil and MSR are both highly regarded manufacturers of some of the best backcountry cooking equipment out there. They make backpacking stoves that hit on outdoor stoves most important features. They’re durable, simple to use, and easy to carry.
We took a deep dive into two of their most popular models, the Jetboil Flash and MSR Windburner so that you can make the best decision on which backpacking stove fits you the best.
The weight of a backpacking stove is always an important consideration considering that every ounce counts. While these stoves technically aren’t considered ultralight, they’re both under sixteen ounces. The difference in these 2 stoves is only a quarter ounce, but the lighter of the 2 is the Jetboil Flash.
- Jetboil Flash weighs 15.25 ounces
- MSR WindBurner weighs 15.5 ounces
Having to wait
- Jetboil Flash boils 1/2 liter of water in 1 minute and 40 seconds
- MSR WindBurner boils 1/2 liter of water in 2 minutes and 15 seconds
When it comes to backpacking gear, size matters. Both of these stoves are made to be small and compact with packability in mind. The Jetboil Flash is about an inch shorter in height and slightly smaller in diameter.
- Jetboil Flash is 7.1 x 4.5 x 4.1 inches
- MSR WindBurner is 8.3 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches
The burn time is the amount of time it takes to use a single canister of fuel. How you’re using the stove and the amount of water that you’re boiling has an impact on how long it will last. The MSR WindBurner lasts over twice as long as the Jetboil, making it the winner by a mile, or 53 minutes to be exact.
- MSR WindBurner will last for 95 minutes with a
- Jetboil Flash lasts for 42 minutes with a
Canister stoves are characterized by a small stove that you can use as a pot stand and a pressurized canister with fuel inside that attaches directly to the stove. The overall setup is incredibly easy to use, lightweight and made for backpacking. You screw the canister to the stove, turn on the gas, light the burner and you’re minutes away from a hot meal.
- Both the MSR and Jetboil use canister style fuel
The gas that’s used in both of these stoves is a blend of isobutane and propane. Butane is more stable gas than propane allowing it to be stored in a lightweight canister safely. Butane also doesn’t vaporize at freezing temperatures as propane does. The small amount of propane that’s used lets the canister stove operate in cold weather.
Keep in mind, canister stoves need to be somewhat warm to ensure that both of the fuels are burned. If the canister gets too cold the stove burns the propane first and you’re left with a worthless canister of butane. The fact that they don’t perform well in freezing temperatures is the biggest downside in using canister stoves.
- Both the MSR and Jetboil use a blend of isobutane and propane
olume is measured in liters and lets you know the amount of liquid the stove can hold. Both of these backpacking stoves come with a volume of 1 liter or 33.4 ounces. 1 liter seems to be the sweet spot for most of your needs on the trail, anything more and you add unnecessary weight and take up precious space in your pack.
- Both the MSR and Jetboil have 1-liter of liquid capacity (volume)
Which backpacking stove is right for you?
Now that you have a better understanding on how these backpacking stoves are the same and what makes them different, it’s time to make a choice.
- Optimized for efficiency, the Jetboil Flash boils water in a lightning-quick 100 seconds, making it the fastest Jetboil ever.
- Jetboil's 1-liter FluxRing cooking cup with insulating cozy makes boiling water-and keeping it warm-a breeze.
- Start heating instantly with the convenient, reliable pushbutton igniter, and verify that the water's ready with the thermochromatic color-change heat indicator.
- Compatible Jetboil accessories, such as a coffee press, hanging kit, pot support, skillet, FluxRing cooking pot, and utensils make this a necessity for your next backpacking adventure.
The Jetboil Flash is a cooking system that’s designed with backpackers in mind. If you backpack frequently or are involved in the backpacking community, chances are that you’ve come across Jetboil at some point.
The entire system comes in a compact design that’s about the size of a water bottle. Inside there’s a burner, fuel canister, fuel stabilizer, and a cup for measuring liquids and to protect the burner on the bottom. One of the nice features is that the pot comes in a neoprene sleeve which covers the aluminum pot allowing you to grab the pot even when it’s hot.
The bottom of the pot has a proprietary metal grid with slots that provides maximum efficiency when cooking with the stove. To use the stove you simply screw the burner onto the fuel can, rest the pot on top, and start the stove with a piezo ignitor. Keep an eye on the neoprene sleeve, it changes color to let you know that the pot is hot enough to boil water without boiling over.
- Insulated pot with a neoprene sleeve
- Neoprene sleeve changes color to indicate adequate heat
- Overall packed weight is 15.25 ounces
- A little large for hardcore ultralight backpackers
- Ignition system may fail after long term use
- Fuel canister sold separately
- Integrated System: Compact, all-in-one stove and cookware solution features a secure-locking pot/personal eat-and-drink mug with cozy
- Maximum Efficiency: Radiant burner and heat exchanger deliver faster boil times and more fuel efficiency than conventional stoves that use convective heat only
- Windproof Performance: 100% primary air combustion, enclosed design & internal pressure regulator work together to make stove virtually impervious to outside conditions
- Compact Design: Conveniently packs the stove burner, 4 Ounce (110g) IsoPro fuel canister (sold separately), and folding canister stand inside the 1.0-Liter Pot. Extra full-sized bowl snaps onto the outside
The MSR WindBurner is one of the best performing and highest quality backpacking stoves available. Maximizin efficiency in all weather systems is where the MSR WIndBurner stove really stands out.
The entire system packs into the pot and ends up being around the size of a 32 ounce water bottle. There’s a plastic lid to keep everything from falling out, the canister stand is next, then the stove, and a soft cleaning cloth at the bottom. These’s also a plastic measuring cup that attaches around the metal portion of the bottom of the pot.
The burner on the MSR WindBurner stove is an innovative feature that includes a radiant stove with a wide burner head. There is an integrated
- The windscreen on the burner protects the flame from the elements
- The inside of the aluminum pot has measuring lines
- Handle one the side that protects your hands from burns
- Fuel canister sold separately
- Lacks an auto igniter
- Temperature control doesn’t have a practical use (simmering is difficult)
Which stove do you choose?
Both the MSR WindBurner and the Jetboil Flash are high-quality backpacking stoves. Designed specifically for use outdoors, they
The MSR WindBurner stays true to its name and performs better in extreme weather conditions. The design of the burner with the integrated wind screen protects the flame from wind, rain, and cold temperatures. It is slightly heavier and takes longer to boil water, however, it outperforms the Jetboil when it comes to bad weather.
The Jetboil Flash is a lighter stove with a lower price point, so if your looking for a high-quality budget backpacking stove the Jetboil should be your pick. It also boils water faster, however, the burn time is significantly lower than the WindBurner.
There’s a reason that these 2 stoves are consistently found in the backpacks of adventurers all around the world. Either one you pick, chances are, you won’t be disappointed. As always, get lost and keep wandering.