Jetboil personal cooking system

(Jetboil PCS)

jetboil-personal-cooking-systemJetboil Personal Cooking System

Jetboil personal cooking system (AKA Jetboil pcs) is really a revolutionary propane stove. Much more efficient than old time stoves. The big names like MSR or Primus followed Jetboil enterprise. MSR with their reactor and Primus and the Etapower stoves.

The Jetboil PCS was really a revolution back in 2004. This is when it got most of the awards. The big deal about it, is that it was the first to use a heat exchanger on the bottom of the pot. Given that, along with a lid and some built in windscreen, you get an amazingly efficient stove. Another cool feature they got is that the whole thing is packed in the pot itself. Naturally, you do have to get the full system, not just the burner.

What makes it so efficient?

Some of the tricks they used are well known like use a lid or try to fit some windscreen. The feature you can't make at home is the special pot. They welded some fins to the bottom of the pot and created a heat exchanger. It gets more heat from the flames and transfers it to the pot. This way, much more heat is used for cooking other than just blowing in the wind.

And what makes it so cool?

Well, they were the first with this pack-it-all-in-a-special-pot-with-heat-exchanger. Besides the efficiency, they made the whole thing real neat. The lid, for instance, is made of rubber. It sits real tight on the pot. It also got all kinds of accessories like a tripod or an option to hang the whole thing in the air.  Another feature I like is its cover. The pot is coated with some isolating cloth. The result is that you can hold the pot while the stove is running. You can actually boil water without putting it on the ground. It can be useful if you don’t find any flat surface. As I mentioned, Jetboil added the ability to hang the personal cooking system. The pot is holding the burner pretty firmly. If you hang the pot or the burner, the whole thing is in the air!

The FLASH cooking system

Jetboil also got the Flash version of the PCS. It's the same as the standard Personal cooking system but with a color-changing heat indicator on the pot. It lets you know when the content is hot. Nice feature, but the rest remains pretty much the same. The flash is very colorful, BTW, it comes in more than one color.

Another feature they added here is a plastic cup you can assemble on the bottom of the pot after you disconnect it from the burner. I guess it helps keeping the pot from getting harmed.

Here is what I think about the Jetboil personal cooking system:


  • The coat of the pot is nice. You can hold the whole system in your hand if you got no flat surface
  • The Flash is cool if you want a colorful stove. Sure not a must.


  • Not built for other pots.
  • Feels a bit shaky.

Have a look below to see some comparison I made between the three rivals: Jetboil, the reactor and the Primus etaexpress…

Solo traveler super efficient cooking systems

MSR reactor stove Vs Jetboil PCS Vs Primus Etaexpress
  • All three use the same concept: Built in windscreen. Heat exchanger fused to the pot.
  • All three can be packed within the pot.
  • Jetboil where the pioneers. MSR and Primus followed.
  • Both Jetboil and Primus got a whole line of stoves using the same principle. MSR (for now) got only the reactor.
  • Both MSR and the Etaexpress feels much more robust. The Jetboil gives the feeling that it is not as solid.

msr-reactor-stoveMSR reactor stove jetboil-stoveJetboil Personal Cooking System (PCS) primus-EtaExpressPrimus Etapower express
Weight 19oz 15.25oz 14.6oz
Boil time Nice Nice Best
Water boiled per 100g fuel 10 11 17
Something else Doesn’t run with blue flame. The whole burner concept is unique. They were the first with this concept. The pot is coated with some fabric. You can actually hold it while boiling. You can use any other pot too. The burner is the primus express. A great stove as a stand alone too
Average price 150USD 100USD 95USD
Pot 1.7 liter 1 liter 1 liter
Bottom line The price is ridicules They had the crown utill Primus arrived…  Go and get one!

...And another comparison, to MSR pocket rocket...
...And a more detailed comparison, Jetboil PCS Vs MSR reactor stove...

Bottom line

It's OK, but no more than that. A few years back it was the only option for a super-efficient stove for a solo hiker. Nowadays you got the MSR reactor and Primu Etapower too. I'd go for the Etapower express.

More on Jetboil Personal Cooking System from REI site...