Katadyn Hiker
Katadyn Hiker (courtesy, REI)

What do you think of Jetboil stoves?

Can you give me some insight on the Jetboil stove, plus on the pros and cons of boiling water versus water-purification tablets? Should I use both methods? How much iodine/water mix should you ingest? Liver failure on a camping trip would most righteously suck! Scott Lexington, Kentucky

Katadyn Hiker

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Jetboil stoves ($80; www.jetboil.com) are very cool things. They’re actually an integrated stove/pot, with a design that results in much more thermal efficiency than a traditional any ol’ stove with any ol’ pot. So it burns less fuel than most other stoves on the market, and is very fast—a half-liter of water boils in less than three minutes. Weight, meanwhile, is minimal—just under a pound.

Katadyn Hiker Katadyn Hiker

Still, I would say this: Because you don’t have any options as to the pot you use, the Jetboil probably is not the best stove for boiling water for drinking. Certainly it’s fine if that boiled water is for dinner or a cup of tea. But what if you’re trying to fill two Nalgene bottles? Then that’s four or more boil sessions. Which still ain’t bad, but I’d rather have a slightly larger pot and be done with it.

Beyond that, boiling water for purification purposes never is going to be very efficient—you’ll need to haul far more fuel than is practical for a long trip. That’s why filters and purifiers are so popular. And there are things out there now that go way beyond iodine (although as an aside, iodine is not all that poisonous, so the risks from using it to purify water are exceedingly minimal). What you want is an MSR MiniWorks filter ($80; www.msrcorp.com) or Katadyn Hiker ($60; www.katadyn.com) and then get some MSR Sweetwater Purifier Solution ($9 per bottle). It’s a chlorine-based purifier. Filter the water to get out bacteria and bad tastes, then purify it to kill viruses. Virtually 99.99 percent certain to kill any nasties, without the aftertaste of iodine.

Check out Outside‘s Gear of the Year winners in the
2005 Buyer’s Guide
, then get yourself a copy of the issue, on newsstands now!

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
Filed to:
Lead Photo: courtesy, REI