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Price when purchased (December 2012): £74.99.00
Price now (January 2016): £64.99.00 - £79.99
Since 2001 Jetboil have constantly and consistently shown that outdoor cooking systems need not be clunky, heavy or inefficient. Across their range they offer everything from single person cooking systems to expedition base camp grade kitchens. Famous for their fast boiling times and portability the Zip, the smallest of the range, features all of its family's pedigree while packing down to little more than a Nalgene bottle. For those of you wishing to enjoy a fresh brew on the hills this is a truly indispensable piece of kit.
Bought as a lightweight and reliable cooker I could take wild camping and use to make a cup of coffee on a cold campsite morning, the Zip is the smallest of the Jetboil cookers. The Zip is missing some of the features the larger systems boast, such as the integrated piezo igniter, but does come with the integrated and at the time revolutionary FluxRing technology. This technology is the secret behind Jetboil's success and incredibly fast cooking speed. A full cup will boil in just under 3 minutes even in reasonably windy conditions. Thanks to the FluxRing wind is not a major issue generally, though cold weather still affects the gas canister which in this system remains upright and underneath, acting as the stand, at all times. A sturdy plastic gas canister stand stabilises the cooker even on uneven terrain.
One of the reasons I like the Jetboil Zip is the way the entire system, including a 100ml gas canister, packs neatly into the pot. This means a full blown cooking system for myself takes around the same space in my bag as a 1l Nalgene bottle. Arguably, the small packsize means the cooker is little more than a glorified kettle, but a very good one at that. In fact heating anything other than clear water in the pot will result in frantic stirring and eventually burnt food - the system is simply too efficient for its own good. Although I would not recommend doing so, the pot and its lid are designed to be drunk out of directly. Considering the cosy around the metal pot does not reach over the lip of the pot you may find that the heat retention is good enough to burn your lips, or tongue, or fingers or indeed any part of you that comes in contact with the pot.
If you are looking to buy an efficient and highly portable cooking system which will mainly be used to heat water or packed bags, then this is a brilliant system for you. If you are planning on cooking proper food using pots other than the integrated one, then even the specialist pot adapter will not bring you much joy. These days I treat my Jetboil as a portable kettle, allowing me to make a coffee or tea wherever I am and living in the boot of my car. It has allowed me to pass time on closed roads and face especially groggy days on the hills - for that I am very grateful. Sadly my Jetboil has also been the main factor in at least two rounds of burnt food on the hills when all I needed was something edible and tasty to pick up my spirits again. As a result I ended up buying a more sophisticated and adjustable system. Though my MSR Whisperlite is also heavier and more bulky - no solution is perfect after all.