I have, and continue to use, an original Jetboil PCS stove from the early 2000’s. It has proven to be durable, reliable, and useful in two very specialized ways: it boils water exceptionally fast and it’s great for making coffee. (Other than that, it’s pretty much useless—as far as I’m concerned, the pot is just too damn small to cook anything. Here’s my full review from 2009.)
As a die-hard caffeine-swilling coffee junkie, however, I find it’s java-juicing capabilities quite useful. With the addition of the Jetboil coffee press accessory ($9.95), the system transforms into a sizable french press machine capable of producing some powerfully good joe. Weighing only 0.8 ounces, the press disassembles and neatly fits inside the pot with the stove and small fuel canister. (This took some trial and error; you need to nest the canister on top of the press and place it in the bottom of the pot.)
These days it’s my go-to coffee maker whenever I’m car camping, and occasional go-to when backpacking (though I generally prefer to use Starbucks Via instant coffee instead in the backcountry).
There’s one critical weakness with the press, however, which I’ve now twice realized: the fitting on the basket filter where the handle screws in. It’s a metal piece encased in lightweight plastic. Over time and use, the strain of repeatedly pushing down the press eventually causes the plastic to crack and the metal fitting to irreparably pop out. While this takes years of use to occur, it does appear to be an inevitability based on my experience.
Here’s the good news, though. Both times this has happened (and it just happened for the second time last week), I made a quick call to Jetboil customer service, and they immediately sent me a replacement, no questions asked. While this was not particularly surprising to me when Jetboil was a small, independent business in its early days, I was concerned that its acquisition by (much larger) Johnson Outdoors in 2012 would bureaucratize the process and reduce the quality of its customer service. I’m happy to report that this does not seem to be the case.
So I will continue to press on, Jetboil-style.
(BTW I would also be remiss to not mention that these days Jetboil offers a range of stove products and pot sizes that are more than adequate for cooking.)
Check out the AMC book Real Trail Meals: Wholesome Recipes for the Backcountry for more coffee-making tips—as well as dozens of meal ideas.