Last time I talked stoves, I addressed the total weight of different types of stoves & how efficient each was in relation to its weight.
After some lingering thoughts worked themselves into more complete arguments, I'd like to talk about total weight vs. volume, or each stove's ability to boil water and melt snow in regards to its weight. For example, what stove would be best to bring on a solo fast & light hike, a group fast & light hike, alpine climb, etc.
To keep it simple, let's just stick to isobutane.
More specifically, let's try & solve my little dilemma of whether or not I should purchase a Jetboil Sol/Sol Ti to replace my MSR Reactor.
Total Weight & Volume:
Jetboil Sol 10.5 oz, 0.8L
Jetboil Sol Ti 8.5 oz, 0.8L
MSR Reactor 19 oz, 1.7L
Weight per Volume:
Jetboil Sol 13.1 oz/L
Jetboil Sol Ti 10.6 oz/L
MSR Reactor 11.1 oz/L
The Jetboil Sol Ti has the lowest weight per capacity, followed very closely by the MSR Reactor, at only 0.5 oz more per liter.
Any deal-breaking difference between the Sol Ti and the Reactor? YES.
Difference #1: The Sol Ti has only a 0.8L pot while the Reactor has a 1.7L pot. The Sol Ti would be great for solo use and fast & light adventures, but wouldn't provide enough water in one boil for two people cooking dinner, as most of the time, you need 0.5 liters of water for a meal. The Reactor has the upper hand when you're boiling water for two people and hot drinks or melting snow. I like its larger pot for the times it is necessary. Plus, all three stoves have micro-regulators, so there should be no difference in cold weather performance in regards to gas flow (maybe there is one in cold weather regarding the following point?)
Difference #2: I do not personally know through experience how the Jetboil stoves (in general) do in the wind, but this is what Jetboil said to me in an e-mail: 'Wind can sometimes be a bit of an issue with dispersing the flame and if powerful enough, causing the flame to go out as it doesn't have direct protection against it. Other than the metal shroud that covers the bottom of the cup and attaches to the burner. Placing your hands around that area can help to reduce the winds effect on the stove.'
The major difference I see between Jetboils and the Reactor is the stove to pot contact. On Jetboils, the 'windscreen' somewhat protects the flame and there is a heat exchanger, but on the Reactor, there is no exposed flame; it uses radiant heat. The pot has 100% contact with the stove head, capturing nearly all the heat under the pot and in the heat exchanger. It works so well, you can't really warm your hands next to the stove, as so little heat escapes (I might be nitpicking if I complain about this). Which stove would work better in the wind? I think it's pretty obvious the Reactor is the windy weather king. It's certainly proved its supremacy in all the places I've used it.
(Want to make your canister stove perform better in the wind? Go here.)
So, is there a big enough difference to make me buy a Jetboil Sol Ti, especially with it being on sale right now? Nope.
I'll stick with my Reactor, which has been my workhorse for the past three years.
Thank you, MSR.
My friend, Ti, says she has found the Jetboils (or isobutane in general) to be inoperable at -20F & colder.
You just can't keep the fuel warm enough, even if stuffed in your jacket or sleeping bag all day or night.
Hendrik has some great introductory reviews at his Hiking in Finland site:
Reactor first impressions, Reactor review, & Jetboil Sol Ti
An anonymous reader asked about putting the 1.8L Jetboil Sumo pot on a Sol stove... here's what I found:
Sumo 1.8L pot: 12.5 oz
Sol Ti 0.8L pot: 6.3 oz
Sol Ti stove kit: 8.5 oz
8.5 - 6.3 = 2.2 oz for just the stove**
12.5 + 2.2 = 14.7 oz for the Sumo pot & Sol stove (4.3 oz lighter than the Reactor)
Additional advantage: the Sol stove kit and Sumo pot are purchased separately, creating a versatile stove arsenal, with two different sized pots for different types of trips, unlike the Reactor.
However, I think the additional 4.3 oz for the Reactor is worth its weight for the wind-resistance.
** When I e-mailed Jetboil about the weight of a Sumo on a Sol stove, they said, 'Your methodology would be correct in determining an approximate system weight.'
I had the opportunity to take a peek at the Soto Muka at REI in Anchorage. Seems like a sweet stove.
A customer pressurized a full 24 oz fuel bottle, requiring 84 pumps... its only drawback.
Its quite a bit lighter than all other liquid fuel stoves, though. Might be worth purchasing, especially if you're not going to see 40 below.