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Sunday, September 8, 2019

Gear - JetBoil MiniMo Stove

Creativity. Innovation. Refinement.


About three years ago, I started kicking around the idea of bikepacking and ventured out for a few, short overnights. For gear, I scrounged through our various storage spaces seeking old hiking, backpacking, and camping stuff that might work. I soon realized that my 1970's era gear, less than state-of-the-art at the time and barely used the past 25 years, required serious updating. Since then, I have been gradually acquiring new gear for bikepacking.

This is fun.

Every piece of gear I research, buy and use is light-years better. With all the time that has passed, I knew gear would improve. I'm amazed at how much.

JetBoil MiniMo ready to rock.

I'll start with stoves. For several years, I stomped around the backcountry with a cook kit comprising a small pot and a simple metal grate. Mostly I ate cold. If I wanted something hot, I would place the pot on the grate resting on a couple of rocks over a small fire. College graduation in 1981 brought a big prize - a Coleman Peak 1 stove. Now, I was cooking with gas. That was a major move up, but the Peak 1 stove was bulky, heavy and clunky to use. So, I didn't always carry it.

Researching backpacking and bikepacking stoves now, I can't believe the specifications. Crazy short boil times. Crazy fuel efficiencies. Crazy small size. Crazy low weight. Crazy cool features. Wow.

With a variety of really nice options, I eventually decide on the JetBoil MiniMo and have used it now for three summers. It's reliable, fast, convenient, small, light, simple to use and easy to pack. I love it.

JetBoil MiniMo with integrated, insulated pot, lid and swing-out, rubber-coated metal handles.

Although the MiniMo has a simmer control, I use it primarily at full blast to boil water for breakfasts and dinners. JetBoil claims it boils 2 cups of water in 2 minutes and 15 seconds, although every time I measure it's less than 2 minutes. That's fast enough that I've learned to have my oatmeal and coffee ready in cups before starting the stove.

JetBoil also claims that the 100g fuel canister will boil 12 liters of water, which is 50 cups. I've got at least that out of my canisters here in the Black Hills of South Dakota, which is mucho hot meals. For example, I often use about 2 cups of water for breakfast (1 for oatmeal, 1 for coffee) and about 3 cups of water for dinner (2 for dehydrated dinner, 1 for hot chocolate). That translates to 10 days of cooking from one small fuel canister.

JetBoil claims the stove's efficiency results from a proprietary "FluxRing" that circles the burner and functions as a supercharged heat exchanger. That sounds suspiciously like a derivative of Doctor Emmett Brown's Flux Capacitor, but their explanatory video does not go into enough detail to tell. In any event, the MiniMo is exceptionally fuel efficient.

Another part of the MiniMo's fuel efficiency results from its integrated design of stabilizer legs, fuel canister, burner, windscreen, pot and lid. That integration also makes it easy to use and then to pack, since everything fits inside the pot, including the fuel canister. The whole enchilada then fits easily in my Revelate Designs Jones Frame bag or Terrapin seat post bag.

JetBoil MiniMo, with fuel canister and burner tucked into the insulated pot.

Another convenient feature of the MiniMo is the built-in ignitor, which generates a spark with a push of a button. It's worked flawlessly so far, so I have not used my backup matches. A simple clockwise turn of the regulator lever releases and controls the pressurized gas flow from the canister. A counter-clockwise turn shuts it all down. Easy-peasy.

I also like the insulated pot with swing-out, rubber-coated metal handles, which are sturdy enough to support a pot full of hot stuff. There's even a lid with an opening on one side to drink and openings on another side to strain.

JetBoil MiniMo ready to pack.

The JetBoil MiniMo certainly has earned a place on my gear list for bikepacking adventures of all kinds. I love it.

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