Read Before You Buy: Jetboil MiniMo Backpacking Stove Gear Review
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I kept the great cooking pot from my old Esbit but hid the rest somewhere where its horrible stench won’t be much of an issue. I should probably just throw it away, now that I think of it…
A very pricey decision: buying the Jetboil MiniMo
When I was hiking in Iceland, the conditions were a real challenge to simple gas cookers. I tried to protect the cooker from wind as much as possible but it still took forever to bring water to the boil. It probably was also the gas canister issue but still – I saw people firing the Jetboil up and enjoying boiling water in no time!
The amazing (and vast!) world of cooking stove options:
Hands on trials: Jetboil MiniMo on Crete
So I decided to get one myself for the January hiking trip to Crete. After doing some research, I decided on MiniMo, as it seemed to be the perfect cooking system for a solo hiker. It’s not big, has a nice, wide pot and is able to simmer. From more detail-oriented reviews, it seemed to be the most fuel efficient from a variety of similar stoves.
EDIT: As I also had a chance to test it in Norway, I added a few appropriate photos to the Cretan collection :)
There were a few things that worried me about using this integrated canister stove – cleaning issues (it has insulation) and ease of use with the flux ring attached. It also looked somewhat bulky with the whole apparatus attached. I was worried to get the boiling water over myself or the stove when trying to detach the pot from the stove.
I didn’t do any lab tests with counting seconds to boiling moment. I can just share my personal impressions from using it. If you would like to see more numbers, check this awesome comparison and ranking by Outdoor Gear Lab.
Jetboil MiniMo's size, attachments, and features
At first, it seemed huge to me but I got used pretty fast. I took the whole set with me – including plastic bowl covering the bottom and plastic tripod-like canister stabilizer which was stored inside the pot’s cover.
I’m not taking the stabilizer with me the next time. I found it useless and bothersome. It actually dropped into my soup once (being stored in the lid). The cup/bowl I used once or twice to hold food but otherwise also seemed unneeded.
The lid has holes in it and can be used as a strainer - I used it once or twice to pour water over my coffee or tea without taking the lid off. I don't cook regular pasta, so I don't need it but it could be really hand for folks who do.
Comfort of Use
After initial nervousness about the system, I got used to it very fast. It was very easy to set up and get it going. I never had an issue with getting burn although you need to be careful when taking the lid off.
I don’t cook any big meals, as I generally use boiling water for my coffee and then mix some rice noodles with dried soup in the rest or oatmeal for breakfast.
Jetboil MiniMo was just perfect for that. I cooked in varied conditions and always tried to find some cover to protect it from stronger winds but there seemed to be no problem with working in gentle breezes.
Even though I don't cook any bigger meals, I liked the option of simmering. Sometimes I like to boil my rice noodles for just a couple of minutes - and it doesn't need a full-on fire going. The simmering worked perfectly!
The handles are sturdy and covered with insulation making it pretty easy to hold and carry the hot water filled pot. It also has a piezo-igniter which was working perfectly fine for me.
I don’t use extra plates and I eat straight from the pot. The wider MiniMo makes it so much easier to eat your soup or oatmeal directly from it. I use a long spoon but you could probably be fine with a regular length utensil thanks to the wide size. Its shape also is optimal for faster cooking - more of the pot surface is exposed to the fire/heat.
The wide shape of the Jetboil MiniMo's pot caused me some troubles with estimating how much water I needed for a soup or oatmeal. I kept making too much (or rather too watery) after being used to the narrower one.
Cleaning and Storing the Jetboil MiniMo
Contrary to my initial worries, there was no problem with cleaning the pot covered with insulation. It was drying very fast and I stopped thinking about it. It's easy to clean and regular food don't stick to it. But when I tried to fry some sausage - that got stuck a bit and was difficult to clean completely.
The shape of the MiniMo is perfect to hold a gas canister inside. If you have the tiny one, you can fit the actual stove inside. I was using the bigger size of a canister so there was no more room for it - I kept the stove in my coffee mug. I could also fit my coffee drip inside the MiniMo's pot.
Conclusion: Jetboil MimiMo
Jetboil MiniMo is the perfect integrated canister stove for solo backpackers who eat simple meals made with boiled water. I am really happy with it, although I still don't like the price much.
If you love to prepare gourmet meals for a few people on your camping trips, you might need something bigger and more powerful. But for multiple-day hiking trips, it’s just the perfect solution.
EDIT - after another season (summer 2019) of using the MiniMo
I still love it! I have some issues with pouring water out with the lead on without spilling, but it’s not a big problem. The one thing that is a minus - the piezo lighter stopped working a while ago, I carry a small lighter for that. I didn’t like using it in the beginning anyway, as pushing the button required care, so I wouldn’t tip the whole thing off.
Other than that - I still highly recommend it!
If you would like to learn more about putting together a good backpacking kitchen - check this article to see what your options are.
And if you need more gear advice - go over to the resources section :)