Just arrived is JetBoil's newly launched MiniMo cooking system, an evolution of its original Personal Cooking System, one-pot stove that's claimed to have several significant advantages. Chief among these are improved - 'unmatched' says JetBoil modestly - 'simmer control, consistent performance down to -6˚C and a redesigned cooking pot which among other things promises as 'low spoon angle' for easier eating.
- £135 / 453g
- Redesigned valve and regulator
- Metal handles on hard-anodised 1-litre cooking pot
- Insulating drink-through lid and measuring cup
- Fuel Canister Stabilizer included
- Push button ignition
- Insulating sleeve
Quite a lot about the MiniMo is the same, but a fair bit is also different. The basic concept is unchanged: a single pot with an integral heat exchanger that clips onto a dedicated burner unit with an insulating sleeve sat around the pot. And like the original, it's designed to pack neatly away into as small a space as possible.
Look more closely though and you realise that JetBoil has sweated every detail of this stove. The most obvious change is the shorter, fatter pot - it has the same capacity as a JetBoil Flash, but it's lower so increases stability over taller stoves and also incorporates sturdy-feeling sold-out metal handles rather than lighter, but less reassuring webbing straps.
Up top the lid is a strainer and translucent so you can view the contents and, very neatly, has a recess into which the fuel canister stabiliser clicks positively into place.
The pot will take a 100g fuel canister and the burner on its side, but is also a perfect fit for a 230g can of gas, though without space for the burner.
Finally, the shallower pot improves the, erm, 'spoon angle'. In other words it's easier to eat from that a tall, narrow pot. Like we said, details sweated over.
There's more going on with the burner: the fold-out, easy to use wire flame control has a wider range than on earlier stoves - there are four and a quarter turns between full open and closed and the result seems to bear out JetBoil's claims of much improved simmer control, a perennial bugbear with one-pot stove systems.
The other main change is an 'enhanced regulator diaphragm' similar to the one used on the JetBoil Joule. The new unit means that fuel pressure and thus burner performance doesn't start to drop off until temperatures drop below -6˚C.
You'd better off with a Joule for consistent winter use, but it's welcome change for all-weather backpackers and based on a back to back burn-off with an MSR Reactor seems to work; the MiniMo was only 30 seconds or so slower at bringing 500cc of water to a rolling boil than MSR's winter weapon, but seems significantly more controllable.
Are there any obvious weaknesses? We're not huge fans of the stove/burner attachment interface; though it's undeniably secure, it can be fiddly particularly with a hot burner/pot combination, it's one area where we think the new Primus Lite + has a slight edge, but we love touches like the fold-out metal handles which are significantly easier to use and more reassuringly positive than strap-type systems.
So far, so good. We're impressed with the level of detailed thought that's gone into the MiniMo and we reckon all those changes should make for an appreciably better cooking experience, even down to, yes, the lower spoon angle. The simmer control should mean easier cooking and less burned residue to scrape off.
If we had to sum it up, we'd say 'the same but better'. If you just want the same, the JetBoil Flash will still be available for £105 with the MiniMo set to hit the UK some time this month - Feburary 2015 - with a price tag of £135.
More about the MiniMo range at www.jetboil.com.