In 2009 the Jetboil PCS stove won two awards in the outdoor arena. The coveted Editors Choice award from Backpacker Magazine and the Gear of the Year distinction from Outside magazine. After learning about these awards I thought this was something worth checking out!
If you have ever been in the backcountry and relied on a stove for all your meals you know the value of a quality piece of equipment. First and foremost the stove most be ultra reliable. This is one item where it would be unpractical to carry a spare. In my opinion, for most cooking applications, the JetBoil PCS fits the need perfectly.
There are less expensive backpacking stoves on the market, but the form and function of the PCS make up for the added costs. When you purchase the PCS it comes with everything you need to start except the fuel canister.
The Personal Cooking System includes:
- 1.0 liter FluxRing cooking cup with insulating cozy.
- Adjustable burner with push-button igniter.
- Drink through lid.
- Measuring cup/insulating bottom cover.
After on boxing the unit you will first notice how simple the system is. While the instructions are very easy to understand, I was up and running shortly without reading through. Basically you just attach as fuel canister, open the valve, press the ignition, and you are cooking!
One great feature of the stove is how everything packs together and fits inside the cooking cup. In fact if you purchase the 3.53oz fuel canister it will fit in the cup as well. This makes for a very compact unit, and I love that everything is protected while traveling by the hard shell of the cooking mug. (See specs below for weight and cooking capacities.) This will be handy when space is and issue and items are crammed together in a pack.
The JetBoil PCS shines in its ability to boil water very quickly and efficiently in all weather conditions. JetBoil claims that one 100g canister will boil 12 liters of water. For very minimal weight one PCS and two 100g canisters would be all two people would need for an extended (5-7days) trip. I have been using the JetBoil weekly to make soup and coffee at home since December and have yet to need more fuel. While that is far from a scientific test, I’m very impressed with the fuel efficiency. To test the ability to use the PCS in cold weather I took it outside and boiled water in the cold weather and a stiff wind. While inside the PCS just takes 1 minute to boil a cup of water, in 20degree weather it only took 2 minutes to boil a cup of water. A JetBoil PCS and a freeze-died meal make short work out of making a hot dinner!
The secret to the PCS lies in the FluxRing that allows the heat to be transferred to the cooking surface uniformly and efficiently. Also with the cooking mug being attached to the burner it prevents environmental conditions from affecting the stove. There is an optional pot support with replaces the mug allowing you to cook with a small pan for food that requires more than just boiled water.
What I like about the JetBoil Personal Cooking System.
- It’s very compact and everything stores within its self.
- No need for a match or lighter with the push button igniter.
- Very fuel-efficient. Less fuel saves weight and space.
- The ability to cook and eat with one mug. Making soup is a breeze.
- Most of all the ease of use. The PCS is by far the easiest backpacking stove I have used. Turn a knob (fuel valve) and press a button (ignition) and you’re cooking.
What I think can improve about the JetBoil PCS.
- The JetBoil is made to boil water. While there is an attachment to allow you to cook with a pan, its use is a little awkward.
- All in all there is not much I would change about this product, it’s an extremely solid choice when weight and reliability are your main concerns.