Jetboil's newly designed MiniMo is a lightweight, modular backpacking stove that not only excels at boiling water, but can now simmer and cook real food as well. We've been testing it in the Norwegian wilderness.
What's It Supposed to Do? Previous Jetboil models excelled at one thing: boiling water. They presented maximum heat to an energy-capturing metal coil; an arrangement capable of boiling water efficiently, in minimal time.
With the introduction of the MiniMo ($US129), Jetboil aimed to expand their product line by offering a stove with a simmer control, allowing users to cook real food; not just boil water in order to reconstitute freeze-dried foods. Additionally, Jetboil redesigned the shape of the pot to be shorter and wider, making it easier to eat from the cup.
A newly designed regulator and valve allow the MiniMo to have 2.5 turns of simmer range.
How's It Supposed To Do It? The MiniMo uses new valve and regulator designs that allow it to have the most finely-tuned simmer control of any upright canister stove on the market -- 2.5 turns to be exact. The new designs allow it to have consistent performance down to -7C.
The 1 liter pot is shorter and wider than previous Jetboil models. This not only makes it easier to eat from, but, in my opinion, lowers the stove's centre of gravity making it more stable on uneven surfaces. The pot is also insulated and comes with a lid designed for drinking -- so it doubles as a cup!
The MiniMo also includes stabiliser feet that snap into the lid for storage and a measuring cup that snaps onto the bottom of the pot for storage. When not in use, the burner packs conveniently inside the pot and there's room for a 120mL fuel canister too -- creating a very compact and modular system.
How Does It Perform? The first thing that I couldn't help but notice is how well the stove packs down. It's like a Russian nesting doll; everything fits inside perfectly. It's not very large and bulky; it weighs in at less than a 500g.
As it's name suggests, this thing boils water fast. Really fast. At low altitude and in cool temperatures, we were able to boil two cups of water in 1:30. At higher altitudes, it took a little longer, but the boiling times were still fast. Fast enough that I'd barely have time to prepare our backpacking meals before the water was ready to go.
The simmer control is very precise. The lowest setting is so subtle that you must turn the valve for nearly a full rotation just to hear if the fuel is flowing before ignition. Worth noting: this stove has an ignition, so that's a convenient feature as well.
Once the MiniMo has been ignited, you can very easily regulate the burner down to a low simmer. When on low, the stove is very quiet. On high, it sounds much like a (quiet) jet, as the name would suggest.
When your water is done boiling or your food is done cooking, the insulated pot untwists off the burner, which makes for easy handling. I noticed that sometimes the pot would stick on the burner; so I'd just pour while it was still attached. This felt a bit more precarious, but I didn't want to risk burning myself (though the plastic guard feels cool to the touch, even immediately after use). The pot's insulation seemed to work better at keeping the contents hot than acting as a pot-holder. I'd use the insulated handles instead.
The included measuring cup proved to be very useful; as did the hybrid pour-spout/lid.
Oatmeal, the breakfast of outdoor champions.
Adventure Ready? Absolutely. The Jetboil MiniMo improves on an already great design by adding a simmer-capable valve and reimagining the shape of its pot. If you already own a Jetboil stove and you only boil water, it's probably not worth upgrading. However, if you're on the market for a new backpacking stove, the MiniMo's features, compact size, and modularity make it a great option to consider.
Pictures: Chris Brinlee Jr.