The Most Influential Gear of All Time: Jetboil Personal Cooking System

2004

The First Jetboil personal cooking system     Photo: Courtesy of Jetboil

Frustrated with heavy vacuum bottles and clunky stoves, Jetboil founders Dwight Aspinwall and Perry Dowsi set out to make outdoor cooking easier. They discovered that the secret to a fast and friendly design was in increasing heat transfer efficiency. They’d hike in about a mile on the Wilderness Trail in Lincoln, New Hampshire, with their prototypes—just far enough to avoid the park rangers—and set up a table with hot drinks and snacks to hook hikers. Armed with clipboards, non-disclosure agreements and questionnaires, the pair would lure test subjects in for feedback on their designs. Upon hearing their pitch, the first subject they approached looked them straight in the eye and said, “You know, I come up here to get away from guys like you.” After they changed their pitch from “Would you like to participate in a product survey,” to “We’re trying to invent a new way of cooking; would you be willing to help us out,” they brought in some quality feedback that led to the creation of the Jetboil Personal Cooking System.

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