Saturday, 14 July 2012

The tale of 2 Jetboil Sol Ti's

As Mark has already indicated we set off from Kilpisjärvi and after a 3 hour walk we arrived at Saarijärvi and setup camp before sitting down to cook. As soon as Mark had taken out his new Jetboil Sol ti I noticed a difference between his pot and mine. Looking down into the pot it was apparent that his had a raised circular outer section which mine did not have.

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Upon closer inspection it was apparent the raised outer circle coincided with the heat exchanger, I wondered if this was to overcome some users concerns of the separation of the heat exchanger from the ti pot as well as corrosion issues. In other words had there been an updated version released? as I purchased mine in June 2011 and Mark in June 2012. The following day for some inexplicable reason I managed to cross thread the burner thread when attaching the gas cartridge to the burner, thus stripping the thread on the burner an event which Mark described as a catastrophic failure, and it was.

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Interestingly, Mark compared his burner to mine and again there was a difference. His had a brass insert (see above) whereas mine did not (below).

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 A brass insert would make it less likely for the burner thread to be stripped. So that made two differences and upon closer inspection it was also found that there was an indentation around the base of the pot perhaps intended to make it easier to attach the pot to the burner.

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So my questions is do you have a first or second generation Jetboil Sol ti?  Is there another iteration?

Back to my problem, Mark kindly offered to lend me his burner which led to his need to stay at Saarijärvi on the return journey. I will never be able to thank Mark enough for his act of generosity especially given his early arrival at Saarijärvi on Monday and the consequential sauna like environment he experienced.

My carelessness does raise some interesting questions;

If you were alone in the same situation what would you do?
Is this a reason not to carry a gas stove?
Or
Are you better carrying a generic pot and a top mount burner? Which will enable you to use the pot on any heat source, whereas the heat exchanger on the Jetboil pot will probably be damaged if used on another heat source.

I look forward to your input.


Addendum, for those with access to BPL.com take a look at this article Scroll down to the gear comments, it seems that I am not the only one that has had problems with the thread.

26 comments:

Terje said...

Maybe the Sol Ti You´ve got is a well-made copy??

In a couple of weeks we are two persons intended to walk around Sulitelma in the north of Norway (and Sweden). We are bringing a Pinguin Surpass Titanium (49 g chinese made) top mounted burner - and I´m having the concerns about it breaking down - or damaging the gas source.

nielsenbrown said...

Thanks for the comment Terje, the Sol Ti, was bought at an approved dealer here in Denmark, so it is not a copy. I used the same Jetboil for 20 days last year between Kvikkjokk and Abisko without a problem, but accidents can happen. If your Pinguin has a brass thread then I would be less worried about damaging the thread.

blogpackinglight said...

I had an an original Jetboil and didn't get on with it so I use a Snow Peak GST100A and an Evernew pot plus MSR mug. The Snow Peak is really well made with a brass thread, so it's unlikely to strip. However, if I was doing a trip such as yours, I'd be tempted to take at least a BPL.co.uk Pocket Stove as a back up and possibly a meths burner with a small quantity of meths. Maybe that's overkill and perhaps it would be better to only take a meths stove. I much prefer cooking on gas though. I'd definitely take the Pocket Stove as an emergency burner with some tinder paper.

Joe Newton said...

Just checked my Sol Ti. I appear to have the older style pot but the newer burner with brass insert. Does that make me special?! :)

nielsenbrown said...

Mathematically there are 4 possible options the only one missing is new pot and non brass insert burner, but I think that the probability is low on this one. So yes you are special and at the moment you, Mark and myself are all unique. Looking forward to your pack rafting tour report.

nielsenbrown said...

Thanks for your comment Robin, I have the pocket stove and up until now would not have considered carrying it but ...I agree on the meths burner back up. Interestingly after about 5 days of the trip I entered ideal wood burning stove country as well a little bit of smoke would have been ideal to reduce the mossie population.

Mark Roberts said...

Roger, you you say you may never be able to thank me enough. Well, some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me.


And, Joe, as they say in Eastern Europe: we're all special, but some are more special than others.


(Well, they don't really say that in Eastern Europe; replace "special" with "equal", and "say" with "said".)

Mark Roberts said...

You could, of course, also carry the SolTi's pot adaptor and "normal" pot, so you could then use it on old fashioned sources of heating like fire in an emergency.

Jaakko Heikka said...

Interesting finding... I wouldn't go carrying a spare stove for the type of trip you were doing because:
a) On summer tundra the stove is not (nearly) compulsory tool to survive (compare to long winter trips on glacier/sea ice) but more of a luxury item.
b) The likelyhood of a stove breaking is minimal. (And now that you've unfortunately experienced it, it's even more unlikely to happen again to you!)
c) And even if the stove breakes there are options: stoves at huts/cabins, making fires, borrowing stoves from other people, etc. I assume that the Jetboil pot would work also on other stoves or on fire. It might get damaged but you could still finish the trip that way.

That said, I use Montauk Gnat (or BBU or MSR white gas stoves) and a "normal pot" (a pot with heat exchanger in winter) and also cook on fires with the same pot. Works for me as the perfect two people Jetboil doesn't excist and can't afford the ti Sumo.

PS Can't wait to read your full trip report!

John Abela said...

Well, this is rather interesting.

As one of those who have had a catastrophic failure of a JetBoil Sol Ti, I find the changes to the bottom of the pot to be rather interesting.

What I would be interested in seeing, if you happen to have one, is a photograph of the outside-bottom of the new Sol Ti pot. I would be specifically wanting to know if the fins are different (smaller?) and how the spot welding is being done.

Jim has documented very well many of the issues that the JBSTi Pot has had since it was released, including parts of my own catastrophic failures, over at: http://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2012/02/titanium-jetboil-caution.html

nielsenbrown said...

Thanks Jaakko, I agree about tundra, it would have been easy to light a fire in most places north of the Reisadalen, highlighting the usefulness of carrying a "normal pot". North of the Reisadalen I only passed one hut, the locked DNT hut, Ráisjávrihytta, Given the unavailability of buying a replacement Jetboil burner I will probably return to my SnowPeak burner. The report is in progress.

nielsenbrown said...

Thanks for stopping by John, I have read most if not all of Jim's, yours and others on BPL comments re the jetboil Sol Ti, my pot was still fine after about 50 nights of use. I looked through my photos and the best comparative photo showing the fins is the third one in the blog entry. From what I recall when comparing the two pots there was no noticeable difference between the fins on the two pots and nor was it evident that the attachment of the fins to the pot was different. The thickness of the raise section of the base however, would ensure that the bottom of the fin when attached to the pot was below the centre section of the pot thus allowing the flame to pass through the section of the fin above the weld. I hope that makes sense.

John Abela said...

Thanks for the info. My other JBSTi is still going strong after a whole lot of use. Hope you get a lot of years of use from yours! While a bit on the heavy side, they are the fastest way to a meal or a cup of tea!

nielsenbrown said...

Thans John, sadly it appears I will need to buy a Sol Ti as it appears that you cannot buy replacement burners. I agree the JBSTi is a great stove and worth having as part of your arsenal stoves.

Martin Rye said...

Interesting. Mine has the brass insert and the pot on the right. So far it is behaving, no melting parts or issues, but the whole debate around this stove annoys me. Jetboil could do a better PR job over the complaints. Performance wise the best stove ever for me. Concerns wise the worst stove ever.

nielsenbrown said...

Thanks Martin so you like Joe have the old pot and new burner. I agree completely about PR, or perhaps I should say lack of it. I also agree on the performance issue, for me however, I may well return to a normal gas stove as it does not appear I can obtain a replacement burner and I am reluctant to purchase a complete unit. Enjoy your trips in the states.

Anton Prokhorov said...

Hey, Terje. I've been using my Pinguin Surpass Ti for 30 hiking days. That's at least 60 coocked meals and 60 cups of tea. It showed itself very well. Light, durable and high power. One problem I experienced is dimming. U should turn the dimmer sloooowly:)



Nielsen, this is very interesting post. It looks like Jetboil guys made a Silent Update for not to upset owners of 2011 Sol Ti.

nielsenbrown said...

Hi Anton, yes it does appear that Jetboil have made some "silent" changes. I will have to look more closely when I next go shopping.

Huib Van Der Wal said...

During a trip to Italy a few weeks ago I had both problems with my Jetboil Sol Ti: The fluxring melted and the screwthread got stripped. Thankfully I was with a group so I could use the Jetboil of somebody else. Thanks to your blog I could convince the dealer that it was a design flaw from Jetboil and today I received a new one.
Also thanks to hikinginfinland.com where I found a link to your website.

nielsenbrown said...

This comment from Huib Van Der Wal seems to have been lost in the system.


During a trip to Italy a few weeks ago I had both problems with my Jetboil Sol Ti: The fluxring melted and the screwthread got stripped. Thankfully I was with a group so I could use the Jetboil of somebody else. Thanks to your blog I could convince the dealer that it was a design flaw from Jetboil and today I received a new one. Also thanks to hikinginfinland.com where I found a link to your website.

nielsenbrown said...

Thanks Hulb for your comments. I am glad to hear that you got a replacement stove. Do you know how the thread was stripped? I still feel that the Jetboil Sol is a great stove and it appears you do as well. I look forward to hearing more about your trips.

Huib Van Der Wal said...

I think the thread was stripped because the aluminum is softer than the steel of the canisters thread. It might also be that the aluminum surface gives more resistance than a steel or brass surface and that this speeded up the damaging. Maybe Jetboil should have anodized the aluminum.
At first I found a lot of chips in the bottom of the pot every time I took the burner out. So I was already worried that something worse would happen.
And yes I am very satified about the Sol. It is fast, light and very economical. Other hikers who saw my Sol confirmed this too.
Gas is more expensive and less environmental friendly than alcohol. So I keep using alcohol too, for weekend use. But the Sol is going to be my stove for longer trips. And maybe a remote inverted canister stove for cold weather use.

Hikin' Jim said...

Thank you for documenting this change to the Jetboil Sol Ti. That's
very interesting that there is at least anecdotal evidence that the new
burner is easily cross threaded. Perhaps the "silent" changes fixed one
problem but created another. If so, that's a shame.

I have had no problems with my (non titanium) Jetboil Sol, but I haven't used it a lot.

Thread stripping *is* a good argument for using an alcohol stove, however the
actual frequency of stripping of gas stoves is fairly low. Perhaps the new Jetboil Sol burner is an exception.

HJ

nielsenbrown said...

Thanks for stopping by Hikin Jim, my aussie english is easily misunderstood, the original burner was the one that was cross threaded, the new one had a brass insert and thus is harder to cross thread. I do wonder why Jetboil ever released any burners with only Aluminum threads. I also recognise that stripping the thread of a gas burner is a as much about user error as it is about the quality of manufacture.

I agree about alcohol stoves, but for long unsupported treks gas stoves can be less voluminous and also there is less need to worry about fuel leakage. On the other hand gas burners can become blocked.


There is never a simple answer ; )

Hikin' Jim said...

Ah! Interesting. Sorry for the misunderstanding. Probably my fault.



That's interesting that the first Sol burners did not have a brass insert. The original Jetboil burners from the first Jetboils (made by Primus) had a brass insert as I recall. I guess they went away from it and came back, perhaps as an effort to address complaints. Now that Jetboil has been bought out, I wonder if they will be as responsive.



That's interesting that the aluminum threads were easier to cross thread. Both materials are fairly soft compared to the steel of a gas canister. Some stove manufacturers use aluminum threads routinely, seemingly without problems (Kovea and MSR).


Yes, it's never simple is it? I've seen very thoughtful studies that indicate that alcohol is always lighter and equally thoughtful studies that gas is lighter on a longer trip since it has more calories per gram than alcohol. None of the trips I take are long enough for the inefficiency of alcohol as a fuel to negate the weight savings of using an alcohol stove and the weight savings from not having to carry a steel canister. Still, though, I take gas if I'm going with multiple people, am planning on doing more detailed cooking, or if I'm planning to melt snow.


HJ

nielsenbrown said...

With your American English and my Aussie English there is probably little hope of communication anyway ;)

I do wonder about Jetboils future, my guess is that the number of models will be reduced. As well with the increasing availability of heat exchanger pots combined with other gas burners will there really be a Jetboil advantage?

On a long distance trek starting weight is more important, so with a days food weighing about 750 gms. (26 oz) then the lightest "starting stove" is the best. Even if after a few days the weight of another stove will be lighter. This is true for gas stoves, a Jetboil (including canister weight) will be lighter than an alcohol stove at the beginning of a trip. The alcohol stove will after about 50% of the trip be lighter, but by then the food weight has decreased significantly.



So the simple answer is, YMMV and stove use is dependent on user preference, length of trip, locale, fuel availablity, etc.


BTW I appreciate all your on going explorations in stoving.