Tuesday, April 14, 2015

GEAR REVIEW: Coleman Two Burner Stove

Definitely a piece of Car Camping equipment, this. Big, Green and Metal. These Coleman stoves have been a camping staple in our family for ages. Designed to run on white gas (lantern fuel) or gasoline, these stoves are excellent whether you're cooking for two or twenty. The fuel is stored unpressurized, so you've got to pump before use and vent when done and cool. But a little fuel goes a LONG way in these stoves. Ideal for cooking up a pack of bacon, and a box of sausages and batch after batch after batch of pancakes. Or cooking up chili or stew on a cold day. But it's not just for the big jobs. It's equally capable of smaller tasks like heating up some water for a mountain house or a cup of instant cider.

The stove is green and built from aluminum and steel. the fuel tank stores down inside of the housing when not in use, and hangs from the front when you're cooking on it. 30-50 pumps gets you plenty of pressure, and if you start to have problems with the flame, its easy to pump a few additional strokes while in use.  As I said above, they take gasoline as well as lantern fuel, but I've never actually had to resort to gasoline. We've always had the naptha/white gas/lantern fuel around for the equally impressive Coleman lanterns. The burner is lit by match or lighter, you'll want to have the flame burning before you turn the valve, not the other way around.  If you need both burners, it's as simple as starting up the main burner, turning up the gas, starting your second match, holding it near the burner and opening the valve for the second burner.

This is one of those Buy It For Life items. If you're going to be car camping, or establishing a base camp of some kind, you will not regret buying this. I inherited mine from my grandfather, and it's in beautiful shape. The gas knob has been replaced with a wooden knob of his own making, but the stove is otherwise stock. Its twin, owned by my father has been a camping staple for the family since before I was born. Many a breakfast has been cooked for me on these stoves.

Now, while this IS a Car Camping item, it is very similar to the Coleman Peak stoves that they market towards backpackers. Somewhere in the attic, from my days in the boy scouts, I've actually got one of those. I've gone looking for it, but can't find it. If I ever unearth it, you can be sure I'll review it here. What possible reason, you ask, would you have to carry something so relatively bulky out on the trail? Weighing in at two pounds, that noise you hear is the collective whimpering of ultralight hikers pained by such blasphemy. But I'll tell you. While I've heard of hikers scrounging for alcohol to burn, and I've heard of hikers having to worry about finding isopro canisters. But there's always going to be gasoline where the trail meets civilization. And with the fine control and long burn time on these stoves, you can confidently cook slow-cooking or simmering dishes without a worry about your fuel. You can also tell them that in 1991, it was considered plenty lightweight.

Would I recommend it? The two burner, for car campers? Most definitely. You'll never have to worry about another stove again, unless you branch out into backpacking. Would I recommend the Coleman Peak for backpackers? Well... If you're trying to save a buck, and can get one for cheap, sure! It'll be a lot easier to stay in fuel and cook knorr sides. Probably wouldn't recommend buying one new though. If you've got the cash and weight for a Peak stove, you've probably got the cash and weight for a biolite or a $6 canister stove and a bunch of isopro canisters.

Folded up before use!

Set up, you can see the replacement knob my Grandfather made:

Pump for building gas pressure:


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