Over the last few years there has been a lot of discussion regarding the differences between the Jetboil Sol Titanium and the Jetboil Sol Aluminium, mainly centered around the fact that most feel the titanium version is overpriced and not worth the extra money for the weight. That discussion is all good-and-well, but within this article I want to focus more on the performance aspects of each of this awesome cook systems.
With a large percentage of the Western states of the USA facing laws being put into place that prohibit the use of alcohol and esbit stoves during the 2014 hiking season, I felt it would be important to come out of not writing much anymore and share my research and thoughts on the performance differences between these two Jetboil setups – as I have a feeling a massive amount of hikers on the PCT, JMT, and other trails on the West coast are going to be faced with the decision over the next few months of which canister stove they should buy.
This article will not go into detail or analysis of the Jetboil versus other canister cook systems, rather it will focus purely on personal, non-laboratory, performance testing that I have done myself, both at home and out on the trail. I began testing for this article over a year ago and recently finished up all that I wanted to test, and feel I have enough data to hopefully make a worthy article.
Other Article’s About The JetBoil Sol I Have Written :
Jetboil Sol Ti, Initial Review – My initial review here at hikelighter on the Jetboil Sol Titanium cook system.
JetBoil Sol Ti (titanium) Cup Resizing Modification – an article about cutting your Sol Cup in order to make it help fit the needs of how much water you might normally use.
I want to say from the very get-go:
I accept full responsibility for the modifications I make to gear that I have bought.
I accept full responsibility for a nullification of warranty to gear that I have bought and modify.
What I do with gear that I BUY is MY right – and my responsibility should things go bad!
There are two modifications that I need to address.
First is that I have used a modified Jetboil burner assembly, in which I have removed the orange plastic base and the piezoelectric igniter from the burner assembly. All tests were performed with this modification. I think it should be noted that the removal of the orange plastic base may very well result in a lower performance due to the base potentially providing extra wind protection. I did not feel I could properly test whether this hampered performance so I did not even attempt the resources of performing such a test. It would seem that at some level, albeit I have no idea what level, that the orange plastic base does provide some protection for the micro regulator part of the burner assembly. I am sure that by removing the orange plastic base it is considered a breach of warranty. By removing the orange plastic base it reduces the overall weight of the Jetboil burner assembly by 19.96 grams (0.704 ounces) – reference photos within this article I wrote.
Second is that I have used the Jetboil Insulating Cozy inside out on both of these systems. I have no idea if this has changed the overall performance of the pots from being able to retain heat. My reason for turning the Insulating Cozy inside out is because I think they look nicer and it removes branding from photographs – important for when I do a camp photo setup for another product and the Jetboil might happen to be viewable.
The Fuel Goal:
There is zero concern about weight or pricing of one or the other within this aspect of the testing- this is a straight-up test to determine if one should be purchased over the other based on overall performance in relationship to the amount of fuel used.
The Fuel Results:
In my testing I have concluded that there is no noticeable difference that warrants the purchase of one cup over the other cup on a performance basis.
Fuel Boil Result Notes:
I have used eight canisters of fuel within both cups as the base-line for this test. For every canister of fuel I used 16-ounces of water.
In all eight tests performed both the Aluminium Cup and the Titanium Cup have achieved a total of twenty-two (22) boils per 100 gram canister of fuel.
I have done testing using both Jetboil fuel canisters and MSR fuel canisters.
Water temperatures have varied and I did not record them. Why not? Because I utterly refuse to carry a water thermometer with me when I go hiking – I am not that anal.
Water Staying Hot Within Cup Test:
Beyond just testing how many boils you could achieve from a 100g canister, I also wanted to test how long each cup would keep the water warm, after turning off the stove.
This could be important for those hikers that put food into their cup, after boiling the water and turning the stove off, for the food to rehydrate. Not everybody enjoys eating out of a ziplock bag, or container, or the aluminized/mylar bags that most pre-packed food comes in. So for those that put their food into the Jetboil Cup, I felt this was worth the time spent to perform a test.
To test this I used a highly unscientific method of testing, but a fun one – why not have a little fun while doing mundane testing, eh!
What I have done is use the Range Smart Thermometer, a great kickstarter product that actually succeeded, from Supermechanical, along with my iPhone. Check out this photo set on my facebook page to see all of the photographs I took for this part of testing.
I started by filling the cup with water, putting the lid onto the cup, placing the Range thermometer into the center hole in the lid, turning the Jetboil stove on, and bringing the water up to 212°f (100°c).
Once the water reached 212° I turned off the stove and started a timer. I recorded the time it took the water to go from 212° down to 200°, 180°, 170° and 160°
The Stay Hot Goal:
Not that there is anything special about 160° it is just a temperature I predetermined to stop the test at.
The Stay Hot Results:
Jetboil Sol Titanium Cup (times rounded to nearest tenth, average of eight testings)
200° = 5 minutes 40 seconds
180° = 17 minutes 20 seconds
170° = 25 minutes 00 seconds
160° = 31 minutes 40 seconds
Jetboil Sol Aluminium Cup: (times rounded to nearest tenth, average of eight testings)
200° = 4 minutes 50 seconds
180° = 14 minutes 00 seconds
170° = 19 minutes 30 seconds
160° = 26 minutes 00 seconds
After the first time running this test I stopped and redid everything, thinking I messed up something. Yet I got the same results – and for six other consecutive tests after those two I got the same results.
Every single time the water inside of the Jetboil Sol Aluminium Cup cooled down faster than the water inside of the Jetboil Sol Titanium Cup.
So why, than, do these test results indicate the exact opposite?
I believe a great insight into this is what Rand Lindsly (a Mechanical Engineer and one of the trio of Engineers that make up TrailDesigns) said in a post at BPL:
assuming a similar surface area and temperature differential, Fourier’s Law shows the aluminum pot would need to be about 11 times thicker to have the same resistance as the titanium pot, and I suspect that “most aluminum pots” are not 11 times thicker.
Metallurgy engineering is far from my field of study in life, but all of my real-life testing with regards to whether the Jetboil Sol Aluminium Cup or the Jetboil Sol Titanium Cup keeps your water hotter for longer indicates that the Jetboil Sol Titanium Cup performs better.
Other Things To Consider & Maybe(??) Worth Sharing:
Careful how high you turn up the stove. You can very quickly loose fuel efficiency by turning the stove up beyond the halfway point. It can be the difference between 22 boils and 18 or 19 boils per 100g canister – and that equates to an additional one to three days of being on-trail without having to resupply your fuel canister. From a speed perspective, it only takes about 10-15 additional seconds of time if you keep it turned down on a low/medium setting. Very much worth the extra few seconds! What I do is turn the valve a half-turn, light the stove, and leave the valve at the half-turn location. You can turn the valve another half-turn (making it one full turn from being off) but you will lose between 1 and three total boils – and all you will be doing is saving around 15 second of boil time… not worth it. My testing has shown that anything beyond one full turn and you can start to very quickly loose total boils per canister. At full blast I only got 17 boils from a 100g canister of fuel – ouch, that is some serious efficiency lost for simply turning up the stove all the way!
A lid is a lid is a lid?? Over a year ago I had a reader send me a message that a lid from a Philadelphia cream cheese container fit onto the Jetboil Sol cups. One of these. Sure enough they do! It does not stay on the cup as secure as the original Jetboil cup lid, nor does it have all the pouring and vent holes, but if you want to save a smidge of weight, you can do so by replacing the lid.
If you feel that you just have no need for 16+ ounces (473 ml) of water, you might be interested in this article that I wrote regarding cutting down the size of your Jetboil Cup. Obviously this is going to nullify your warranty, but I have had at least a half-dozen hikers send me messages saying the article inspired them to do the same. It can be another way to shave off some weight of the Jetboil Cup for your long thru-hike. I did have one guy admit he destroyed one of his cups… apparently he put it into a bench vice and tightened it down just a weeebit too much.
One of the things that really annoys me about the Jetboil Sol Aluminium Cup is that it does not have as many cut-out spots to attach to the burner assembly. The Aluminium Cup only has two attachment holes, whereas the Titanium Cup has six attachment holes. This might seem like a petty issue, but it really is annoying. You have to sit there and spin the cup a lot more with the Aluminium Cup than you do with the Titanium Cup, in order to get the cup and burner assembly to line up. If you are a long distance hiker that typically breaks camp and setups camp at night, this is just something to keep in mind. Its the little annoying things that build up over the long haul. The differences can clearly been seen within the photograph at the top of this article. The Ti version has three visible attachment points, the Aluminium Cup has none visible – because it only has two.
Neither the Jetboil Sol Titanium nor the Jetboil Sol Aluminium cook systems have any advantage over the other in regards to the total boils you will get from a 100g canister of fuel.
If you are a hiker that puts your dehydrated food into a pot after the water has boiled, the Jetboil Sol Titanium seems to be the better option, as it will keep the water (and thus one has to figure, the food) at a higher temperature for a longer duration of time.
In my calibrated scale, the Titanium Cup is 107.9 grams, and the Aluminium Cup is 132.2 grams. That is a difference of 24.3 grams (0.857 ounces).
The Jetboil Sol Titanium has a MSRP here in the USA of $159.95, and the Jetboil Sol Aluminium has a MSRP here in the USA of $119.95. That is a difference of $40.00 USD. (If you like my whole “cost per gram/ounce” mathematics, that equates out to $1.65 per gram, or $46.67 per ounce, in weight to price difference.)
I hope all of this is of some help and benefit to my fellow adventurers out there!
In accordance of USA Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: I hereby declare that as of the day of publication of this article I am a sponsored hiker of Montbell America, Black Rock Gear, Suluk46.