29 Comments

  1. geekgirl
    geekgirl October 29, 2013 at 4:56 am

    Although I do like a few of the meals Mountain House offers, (and agree with your assessment of the Wise food) I have found that the best dehydrated food comes from my own kitchen.

    I have found that Spaghetti, actually tastes better after being dehydrated, (the dehydration process intensified the flavor of the sauce) and that it’s really surprising just how many tasty meals you can make with an inexpensive dehydrator. As a bonus, anything you don’t use on the trip can be used on those days when you just can’t think of anything to make for dinner.

    My last hike, I feasted on incredibly awesome Spaghetti, (this turned out to be one of the favorites), Chicken Ala King, Hungarian Ghoulash, Beef Stroganoff, Chili, Beef Stew, Cajun Beans and Rice, Chicken with Curried Rice, Mac and Cheese and Turkey with Stuffing….and every single one was cooked in my own kitchen, to my own taste.

    Give it a try sometime!

  2. Inga Aksamit
    Inga Aksamit October 29, 2013 at 5:09 am

    Great review and I’ve heard nothing but accolades for the jet boil. We finally figured out what you mentioned–repackaged commercial freeze dried foods except the first one you use and repackage. I did find that it occasionally will fail so I might bring a second bag or Opsak as a backup. I enjoy both Mountain House and Backpackers Pantry freeze dried dinners. I also love what I dehydrate at home so we alternate between home cooked/dehydrated and commercial for more variety. Thanks for the info!

  3. Darren
    Darren October 29, 2013 at 6:04 am

    Ray, did you get tired of the Clif bars from your last trip 🙂
    I agree with geekgirl, MH is easy but expensive. Making your own is the way to go, especially if you want to know exactly what you are eating. I packaged my homemade meals in vacuum bags that were rated for high temps so I could rehydrate right in the bag and not get my pot dirty.

  4. Darryl & Jenika
    Darryl & Jenika October 29, 2013 at 6:29 am

    If you are weight concious look at the Sno-peak Giga stove — 3.5 oz. It will fit in it’s own pot, 1/3 the size and 1/2 the price. My daughter & I each carried our own and then sampled two dishes each night.

    http://www.snowpeak.com/stoves/backpacking.html

    1. Gail
      Gail October 29, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      I have an 8-year-old GigaPower that has never given me any trouble. I love it and have never really understood why anyone would carry anything else :-). As noted, it’s 3.5 oz. and tiny. It requires no maintenance and lights every time, even when left out in rain. It seems fuel-efficient to me. It lights in the wind. (I do use the optional windscreen with it; that adds 2 oz.)

      This spring I tried upgrading to the titanium GigaPower to save even more weight, but something odd happened the first time I used the titanium model – it lit normally but the flame sputtered and went out after about two minutes. The same thing happened when I tried it again. I transferred the fuel canister (there was plenty of fuel left) to my old GigaPower and that worked fine, so the problem wasn’t the fuel. I returned the titanium model and stuck with my old regular GigaPower for my 8-day trip. I don’t know if there is a design flaw with the titanium or if I just got a defective one, but I decided not to risk it again.

  5. John Ladd
    John Ladd October 29, 2013 at 10:42 am

    When thinking about the extra cost of the Titanium version, consider what JetBoil used to say about titanium before they started selling a TI version: “Why is aluminum the best material for cookware?
    Aluminum’s heat conductivity is far superior to both titanium and stainless steel. This conductivity is critical to
    Jetboil’s speed and fuel efficiency. Stainless steel, while durable, is heavy. Titanium is expensive, inefficient,
    and scorches food easily because it is a poor distributor of heat.” From their old product catalog.” I have the JetBoil PCS (older version of the Sol) and love it. I bring a spare piezo (sparker element) as it was a weak point on the PCS and the extra weight is minimal. My fuel consumption rate is less than 5 grams per cooked meal and I my typical meal involves 2 cups of boiled water. I would take a 110 gram (net weight) canister for up to 12 days of backpacking. If you have coffee or tea, you’d burn more fuel. PS: I was the idiot (aka “very experienced and savvy hiker”) who didn’t unscrew his canister and had it leak all the way to empty one day (a friend gave me his spare). I supplement it with a 8-oz plastic jar with it’s own DIY cozy for steeping things (like tortellini) that otherwise would require a longish simmer. The jar-cozy combination also allows me to hold 1 cup of dinner, after it is cooked, and keep it hot. I find on a big, high calorie dinner it is often hard to eat the whole thing before it gets cold. the jar-cozy allows me to eat the firts 2.3 of dinner and return 30 minnnuts later to finish the rest without it going all nasty.

  6. Larry Beck
    Larry Beck October 29, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Ray,

    Thanks for the report. I’ve always known (from John Ladd) that the JetBoil was the most efficient canister stove you could find but I’ve always shied away because of the weight penalty. I think it would take 10 days to break even. That’s no longer a problem now though since 8.5 oz is getting down close enough to compete with discrete stove/pot setups.

    Larry

  7. Tami
    Tami October 29, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    We also are sold on the Jetboil–my first backpack trip was probably 8 years ago and hubby’s old whisper lite stove had issues…or maybe the matches had issue, I don’t remember but that led to no coffee…which led to a not so happy wife. BUT I still LOVE backpacking 🙂 So I went out & bought a JetBoil right away. It’s so old, I have no idea how it compares to what is on the market these days. The piezo ignitor broke right before the trip so we replaced it…and on night 7 I couldn’t get it lit and noticed that the part that sparks was gone. It broke right off…so we used it the rest of the trip with a lighter–John Ladd offered us his back up peizo but the lighter worked perfectly. We had decided we were gonna buy a new Jetboil with the next REI discount but decided against a new one since this one works so good with the lighter!

    P.S. I bought a few of the new Sierra Trail Mix Clif bars…they are pretty yummy.

  8. geekgirl
    geekgirl October 29, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I did forget to mention that I have the Titanium JetBoil. I bought it after I couldn’t get a couple of cups to boil at Trail Camp in less than 20 minutes. Even at 12,000 feet, the JetBoil does the job in under 3 minutes, and is very consistent. I also had the aluminum version, and although I never conducted any tests, I haven’t really noticed any performance differences between the two.

  9. Adam
    Adam November 17, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I have the Jetboil Sol Ti. Interestingly, my piezo works fine at sea level, but rarely works above 5,000 ft. I’ve spent considerable time tweaking the spark gap, to no avail.

    The Jetboil Sol Ti and one 4 oz canister (replaced once at Red’s, and once at MTR) was more than enough fuel for two of us for the entire trail. Not bad, weight-wise, about 12.5 oz – 16.5 oz for stove, fuel, and pot (depending on how much fuel is left!) for two.

    Given the fire restrictions this year, I agree with your “A” on the Jet Boil. Even without the fire restrictions, it’s not clear to me there’s a better choice, even for an infrequent-boiler such as myself. I haven’t tried alcohol or Esbit yet, but those are probably in the running, if you don’t cook frequently.

  10. Chip
    Chip November 26, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Where along the JMT is JetBoil fuel canisters sold?

  11. California Hiker
    California Hiker March 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    I used the above mentioned Snow Peak gigapower butane stove for the JMT. It performed excellently.

    I’m already planning for a 2014 trip. This year, I’ll bring the same veteran stove, but also an Evernew 1.3L titanium pot. The wider pot gives me some hope of making quesadillas with tortillas, cheese, pepparonies, and Tabasco.

    The Mountain House freeze drieds tasted good. That brand is a winner. “Real” food tastes even better, and is better for you, tho. If your back won’t tolerate the weight of real food, either get in better shape, or settle for Mountain House. If you pay a young, strong guy’s way, he might carry a little of the good stuff for you.

  12. Ryan
    Ryan October 23, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Ray,
    I have used both the jet boil as well as the snow peak lite max titanium. I also do some home made meals which sometimes require actual cooking of of the meals in the pot, in which case the jet boil is just not an option (burns far too easily even on low). when i do use freeze dried only, i tend to go with the jet boil (so much easier and faster).
    ~Ryan

  13. […] my confidence grew and I was willing to carry a bit more weight I incorporated a Jetboil. A couple cups of hot water mixed into a freeze-dried meal was nothing short of wonderful in the […]

  14. Ronald Hasler
    Ronald Hasler June 29, 2016 at 7:40 am

    http://www.packitgourmet.com

    : )

    Tasty alternatives to the usual MH selections. Cheers!

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