I hate to be a whiner but the older I get, the more I like certain comforts. I don't necessarily need gold plated seats on my 4-wheeler but when up in the mountains elk hunting in super cold weather it's nice to have a hot meal to warm you up or maybe even a cup of piping hot soup or a cup of coffee.
|The Jetboil Flash is a great answer to heating up food when there's no fire.|
The bad deal about building a fire while up elk hunting is that you'll smell like smoke and spook all your elk. Or, as I started typing this article I'm on a plane enroute back to Idaho. My daughter and I are going to hit the backcountry and do some heavy duty fly fishing. Then right after that trip Shawn Lee and Brian McPherson want to jump on the horses and pack into a different wilderness on another fly fishing trip. The only problem, there are a ton of forest fires and they've instituted a burn ban. Whoa, how can we cook dinner at night? Oatmeal in the morning or for sure coffee?
No problem. Pop out my Jetboil Flash and we're good to go. Now I just returned from testing out one on a backpacking/fly fishing trip with my daughter into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area.
I see why they call it a Jetboil. Imagine a fighter jet taking off on the deck of an aircraft carrier and you're holding a coffee pot full of water behind it. He fires it up to blast off, the flame shoots out 10 feet and up in steam goes your pot of water. I'm not kidding. These things will boil a pot of water in a New York second. I was amazed. It is super light weight, weighing in at a mere 14.7 ounces.
It consists of a regulator apparatus and a canister that clicks on top and holds your water. The fuel canister screws into the bottom. It has a 2-cup mark that they recommend to only fill to. I assume so it doesn't boil over on you and burn you since some people don't know that boiling water is hot — they may need cleaned out of the gene pool.
It has a little fold-out stand that clips onto the bottom of the fuel canister to help stabilize the unit while cooking. What I think is really cool is how it folds up. The regulator, stand, pan stabilizer (it has another apparatus to clip on the burner for heating pans of food) and even the fuel canister all stacks neatly into the cooking tin for a compact easy to carry unit. It is amazing.
And for you little yuppie latte drinkers, they've even invented an aftermarket coffee press so you can make fresh coffee while up in the mountains. Just grind some coffee and store it in air tight baggies to pack along.
Jetboils would also be nice for when you hit wet weather. Early last spring my nephew and I were up wolf hunting. It rained/snowed on us everyday. Needless to say we got wet and cold. It was tough to build a fire due to all the wood being wet and the rain still coming down. If I had of had a Jetboil we could of whipped up a meal in a hot second.
Somewhere along the line backpacking stoves got the image of just being for backpackers. I think it'd behoove hunters/fishermen to check them out. I don't know about you but some of my elk hunts get pretty intense, especially late season ones. Camping in zero weather and riding a 4-wheeler up to the top of a mountain to hunt in blizzards can drain you. Popping out a stove and having a hot meal could sure put some vinegar back in you so you're ready to jump back in the fight.
I know, I know up until testing this stove I've always ragged on the nerdy little backpackers with their stoves but after testing one I'm sold on them. They're great. I'm surprised that more hunters/fishermen don't use them.