For my spring backpacking adventures, I have been using the Jetboil Helios cooking system. With a 2L or 3L cooking pot size versus the 0.8L-1L cooking cup of the personal Jetboil systems, you have a much easier time cooking a variety of different meals for yourself or a group of people.
The Helios cooking system makes use of the same FluxRing technology found in other Jetboil models, such as the Sol and Sumo, that concentrates heat for faster boiling times. Using inverted butane canister injection, the stove is easy to ignite with a simple button push and provides adjustable, continuous heat output in a variety of conditions.
The 2L cooking pot on the Helios comes with the usual neoprene sleeve and fold away heatproof handles for safe handling. A plastic windscreen can be snapped on to the stove base if you happen to be cooking in a particularly windy spot, but the FluxRing does a pretty good job of blocking the wind itself.
Both the lid and bottom cover of the Helios pot can double as plates, saving room in your pack for other gear. Jetboil specs claim 1L of water boils in around 3 minutes, which is probably pretty accurate. Boiling a full pot of water for making Mac & Cheese takes much longer, probably closer to 7-8 minutes.
A couple of points of caution- the Helios cooking pot is not non-stick, so if you try to fry up something like pancakes without using plenty of butter or oil, you are going to end up with a pretty good mess. Also, skip the Jetboil Utensils, as they are not heatproof and will melt onto your pot. The top lid will also warp easily if you use it to cover your pot when cooking.
Bottom Line: The Jetboil Helios is an easy and efficient cooking systems for making meals when backpacking with small groups or even yourself. As it only weighs a few hundred grams more than the personal cooking systems, I like to bring the stove along on solo trips for more cooking versatility beyond just boiling water.
The Jetboil Helios cooking system retails for $149.95 and is available now.