The Sol Ti uses canister fuel of the 80/20 isobutane/propane variety. Jetboil sells their own fuel in containers designed to fit into the pot for more convenient storage, but the stoves are compatible with most other fuel canister brands.
Depending on what the availability of isobutene/propane canisters is like where you live or are planning to use the stove (e.g. remote areas, overseas), the versatility of both the Sol Ti and all canister stoves can be limited. While not at all specific to Jetboil, this is one of the prices to be paid for the otherwise convenience and ease of use of canister stoves and should be considered when choosing a camp stove.
Like other Jetboil stoves, the Sol Ti is immediately recognizable from the signature “flux ring” attached to the bottom of the pot. Designed to increase efficiency, the ring of rippled metal works well: I was consistently able to boil 16 ounces of water in just over two minutes. It works by both containing the hot air that the stove emits, as well as absorbing some heat itself and transferring that heat to the pot directly via conduction.
The pot also has a neoprene cozy with a handle made of a similar but less elastic material. The cozy is important, as it is really the only way to handle the pot once it is hot. The plastic handle is largely worthless if the pot is full, as the weight of the water causes the pot to try and slide out the bottom of the cozy. The cozy is just thick enough to enable you to manipulate the pot with bare hands, but this became my only significant gripe with this system: it is challenging to work with the pot when it contains boiling water.
It’s not a simple matter of lifting the pot off the burner, because the pot, stove, and fuel canister are all attached during use, and unscrewing the hot pot from the stove can be a delicate operation. If you obey the fill recommendations (more on that in a minute), the upper part of the cup should be more than cool enough to work with, so I suppose this is the price I pay for not listening to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
On the up side, this connected system enables you to hang the stove from the inside of your tent (though this must be done carefully with regards to ventilation as all such stoves can emit carbon monoxide).
The plastic stand that snaps onto the base of the fuel canister is nice. It’s harder to snap on than I would have imagined, but it does its job well. It’s also highly recommended. When I was lazy and decided to forgo using the stand, I repeatedly knocked over the stove while it was in use. The part is extremely lightweight and nests into the pot with all the other parts of the stove easily, so carrying it and using it isn’t a drag.
As for the metal stand to accommodate bigger pots and pans, this is a great addition to the stove. Previous iterations of the Jetboil left you stuck with only one pot—effective, but not very versatile. As with the stand, it’s not essential to the function of the stove, but nice to have if you are car camping with a few other people and want either to boil more water or heat more food at once.
This small metal pot stand, though, does bring about my one design gripe with the stove: it doesn’t nest well with the rest of the parts in the pot. I am able to fit the stove itself, the orange plastic stand, and a small fuel canister neatly inside the pot with the lid closed. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a jigsaw puzzle (the order is: stove, canister, stand upside-down), but it’s convenient and a credit to the stoves design.
This all falls apart, however, once I put the metal stand in there. I can no longer fit it all in as the fuel canister can’t squeeze past the four prongs of the metal stand. It seems as though it would be easier to make extremely minor changes to the design of the stand (e.g., curving the prongs so they fit the contour of the inside of the pot), and possibly making the pot ever so slightly taller, to get this problem to disappear altogether. It seems silly to be able to fit everything in one neat package, then have the pot stand free-floating somewhere in my bag or truck where it is all but guaranteed to get lost or mangled.
Because this is a non-essential part, this is a minor gripe. That said, the fix is equally minor and it would be nice to see in future versions of the stove.
In the Field
After playing around with the stove and watching water boil in my kitchen, I took the stove on a trip through Wyoming that included climbing Grand Teton and camping outside of Yellowstone and Tensleep canyon for a week. The stove was fast, easy to set up and use, as well as extremely light and compact. As far as canister stoves go, it can hold its own against any other stove. The combination of easy setup + lack of priming + fast burn time mean that water was hot in the amount of time it would normally take me to get other stoves burning steadily.
This fast burn time and high heat output sometimes require careful management, however. For example, the pots are marked with a fill line about halfway up that, as I mentioned earlier, you’d be smart to heed. Boiling water with the pot filled past half way results in water boiling over, even through the ventilation slits in the lid. At that point, it’s kinda hard to either remove the lid or turn down/off the stove through a waterfall of boiling water.
The high output also means that there must be some water in the pot before you turn the stove on. This is relevant when melting snow. Unless you put water in the pot with the snow, there will not be enough of a heat sink, and the heat will pour outward and eventually melt the plastic ring that encases the stove.
As a final observation, the stove also requires that the parts all snap or screw into place. The thin titanium is light, for sure, but it would also be relatively easy to bend or dent if it were really abused. While this is always a concern with stoves and pots, typically it’s a largely cosmetic issue, whereas the Jetboil depends on the pieces fitting together to work conveniently.
There might be no better canister stove on the market than the Sol Ti. It is fast, lightweight, and convenient, though it is worth considering whether the weight savings over a non-titanium model justify the increase in price.
Ultimately, your happiness with this stove, will depend upon whether you use it for its intended purposes. For extended periods of high altitude, extreme cold, or when cooking for more than two people, a larger stove with higher output would be a better choice. (Within the Jetboil line, the Sumo is designed for larger groups and higher volume.) For more extreme uses, ultralight solo backpackers might choose to build a vanishingly small alcohol stove, while high-altitude mountaineers will likely be better off with a more wind-resistant, high altitude stove such as the MSR XGK-EX. Both are in different, more specialized categories, and therefore not good options for most overnight backpackers. For overnight backpacking in weather commonly encountered in the lower 48, the Sol Ti is an appealing mix of easy to use, fast, compact, and lightweight.