Many of us grew up with the suitcase-sized double burner stoves that needed to be pumped to create gas pressure in the tank, then ignited manually with a variety of potential consequences. But, modern camp stoves have seen a renaissance. The days of pumping and praying are gone.
Designed with backpacking in mind, many quick-boil stoves perform so well and are so easy to use, that they're perfect for snacks on a hike, coffee at the crags or getting gourmet with good old fashioned car camping.
The Jetboil Flash is about as good as it gets, but there are many similar products.
Contained and snug in its own cup, the lightweight system, weighing in at less than a pound, is not much bigger than a 32-ounce water bottle, so it easily slips into packs, panniers or the car camp kit.
The system is unbelievably easy to assemble: screw on an isobutane propane gas canister to the stove and mount the cup on the burner. Done. There's even a quick stand to prevent accidents.
For the Flash, turn on the gas, push the ignitor seated in the stove body, and you're on. The ignitor can be testy, but most often it works like a charm.
One super cool feature is the insulated temperature gauge on the outside of the cup, which turns bright yellow when water is boiling. And this watched pot boils fast, two cups in about 2 minutes.
We also like the sipper lid which doubles as a strainer or works perfectly with an aftermarket coffee press. It seems like it could melt, but ours has never failed.
An additional cup clips over the bottom of the otherwise exposed and funky heat transfer ring, and that doubles as a drinking or measuring cup. It works well in the cold. We've had hot grits in no time while camping in single digit temps, and the system cools quickly too. Clean it out and pack it up.
The small size can be limiting, but larger sizes are available.