Cooking in the backcountry can be simple, or it can be archaic and annoying. Be it known that I hate, no loathe campfires. If I was living 100 years ago and loved the outdoors as much as I do–heck even the indoors–I wouldn’t fair too well. The smoke and mess is annoyingly annoying–I just don’t get it. And, even now, some camp or backpacking stoves aren’t much more convenient. That’s what makes the Jetboil Flash PCS stove so different. It’s simple and does one thing really well–boil water.

About the Jetboil Flash PCS

Starting in 2001, Jetboil changed the backpacking stove game though simplification, engineering smarts and a bit of luck. Why nobody had thought of a lightning-fast and stupid-simple water boiler is beyond me, but Jetboil is glad to ride atop that wave. New for 2009, Jetboil made a handful of improvements to their much-heralded stove design.

Jetboil Flash PCS Stove Review

The New Jetboil Flash PCS Stove

Improvements to the burner and cup keep things secure and the heat indicator outside the insulating cozy makes for quick visual temperature control. Add on top of that a new transparent drink-thru lid and the new Flash PCS is even better than the original.

  • 1.0 Liter FluxRing® cooking cup with insulating cozy, featuring Flash color-change heat indicator
  • Adjustable stainless steel burner with push-button “through-cup” igniter
  • Drink-through lid and insulating bottom cover/measuring cup
  • Tripod base for added stability
  • Available in Gold, Violet, Sapphire (tested) and Carbon
  • Rated to 20°F
  • Boil time: 1 min/cup
  • Fuel capacity: 12 Liters per 100g Jetpower canister
  • Total Volume: 32 oz. – w/16 oz (2 Cup) boil capacity
  • Weight: 14 oz.
  • MSRP: $99.95

Jetboil Flash PCS Stove Review

Specialization and simplicity are the hallmarks of excellent products and that definitely describes the new Jetboil Flash cooking system. I took the Flash with me on a trip to Arches National Park outside Moab, UT a few weeks ago to put it through its paces. While there, we had a variety of weather to deal with, which made for an excellent test-bed for this little stove.

Backpacking and camping for me is about simplicity and the Jetboil system is as simple as it gets–pour in 2 cups, ignite and in 2 minutes, you’ve got boiling water for dehydrated meals, soups and hot drinks. If its just you, then dig in right there or sip away at the drink-thru lid or if you’re sharing with others, a quick grab of the insulated cooking cup allows you to pour with confidence.

The Jetboil system is flat-out awesome for boiling water. It’s lightweight enough to haul around on backcountry ski trips (see below in the Oquirrh Mountains, Utah with the original PCS) or long-distance backpacking yet equally at home in an emergency kit or in your trunk “just in case”.

Kendall Card Enjoying Ramen Noodles at 10,000 ft. in Utah's Oquirrh Range

Hot Soup at 10,000 ft. in Utah’s Oquirrh Mountains – Original Jetboil

As mentioned, our trip to Arches was met with inclement weather–cool rain and wind. I found the Flash to perform well until the wind picked up to a steady pace. At first, I thought I just couldn’t see the flame, but upon closer inspection, the wind had blown it completely out. In windy conditions, I’d suggest making a natural wind screen or shielding it better with your body.

I found the function and storage of the new Flash to be very convenient. Everything packs up and stores in a Nalgene-sized form-factor. Screwing the fuel canister off/on is easy and igniting is a cinch.

Good Flash PCS

  • Boils water microwave-fast
  • Super simple to operate
  • Compact, all-in-one stove and pot
  • Built-in ignitor
  • Lightweight and packable
  • Accessories can expand to a group cooking system, frying pan, coffee press and more
  • Color indicator is helpful–especially when you don’t want a full boil
  • Fuel adjustment even easier with extended handle

Bad Flash PCS

  • Strong winds give it fits
  • Not suitable for extra-cold temps
  • 2 cups is all
  • It just boils water out-of-the-box (I think that’s a good thing, but some may scoff)
Color Indicator Shows When Boiling

Color Indicator Shows When Boiling

Ignitor Fires Up the Stove in a Jiffy

Ignitor Fires Up the Stove in a Jiffy

Bottom Line: Jetboil Flash PCS Stove Review

The updated Flash PCS adds refinement to an already-outstanding personal cooking system. It’s super-simple to operate and the color-change boil indicator combined with translucent top make things even better. If you are like me and insist on simplicity when venturing into the backcountry, this is the one to have.

Buy Now: Shop REI for the Jetboil Flash PCS

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.


  1. J,

    I don’t think you mentioned this (you mentioned the “through-cup ignitor,” but I don’t know if that’s what they called it before), but one of the important improvements, in addition to everything you mentioned was that they changed the length/position of the ignitor so it wouldn’t break off so much. That was one of the major durability complaints with the older model.

    Solid review. I’d love to own a Jetboil and a Reactor, but I don’t think I can afford/justify both. I’m buying one or the other sooner or later.

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  4. Best backpacking stove I’ve used thus far. It’s also perfect for cooking up some coffee real quick when car camping. Screw it together, turn the crank, push the button, and it’s FIRED! Water boils in minutes and coffee is ready. The last backpacking stove I had was the MSR Whisperlite, and I’m so glad I went Jetboil… (only took 10 years of suffering!)

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