Throwback Thursday..gear style! A look at the Coleman one-burner propane stove.
When I started backpacking, as my very colorful Mom would say, I did not know my ass from my elbow.
My first forays into backpacking had me using an old, discount store external-frame pack, a borrowed Eureka tent with fiberglass poles, an old pot from Mom’s kitchen, and a ginormous Hollofill II sleeping bag from Campmor.
The gear was heavy, bulky and not very efficient. But it got me out backpacking. A passion that I enjoy that has affected my life in many positive ways.
And one piece of gear I lugged on these initial backpacking jaunts was a one-burner Coleman stove.
Yes. Seriously. This monstrosity cost me all of $15 from the local K-Mart. Even today, it is still inexpensive at only ~$25 at the local XYZMart.
It is heavy and bulky. It uses those equally heavy and bulky 1 lb green propane tanks. And I still can’t believe I lugged it backpacking.
On the other hand, it was inexpensive. As with my other heavy and bulky gear, it did get me out backpacking and enjoying those first mistake prone backpacking trips with a hot meal, a hot drink and a great view to enjoy it all by.
On the technical side, this stove puts out an amazing 10,000 BTUs..the same as a Jetboil! And the fuel can be found in any XYZMart, many grocery or even convenience stores and most sporting goods stores. They are found nearly anywhere! Though the propane fuel containers are not as easily recyclable vs. isobutane canisters, some campgrounds do have a place to dispose of these fuel canisters properly as well as some local recycling centers.
Disclaimer: I know some people refill the one-pound tanks with third-party hardware. Google those directions.
This stove is incredibly easy to use. Just twist the knob and light. Additionally, the stove is very rugged and fuel-efficient. Sturdy enough to hold larger pots and the stove itself is very wind resistant. More so than most backpacker canister stoves.
Why I still use this gear: Even though I no longer use this stove for backpacking, it is probably the oldest piece of gear I own that I still use. For road trips, quick camping trips, trail head bivies the night before a trip or I just want a hot drink as I am packing up most of the other gear, this stove comes in super handy. I don’t necessarily want to unpack my backpacking gear if I am sacked out the night before a trip and just want a quick cup of coffee in the AM. And for road trips and/or camping trips? It was nice making a hot cup of coffee (a theme!) in more than a few parking lots of trailheads at national parks or similar. When the gear was back at our campsite, or it was too inconvenient to break out the larger Coleman stove, this small stove came in handy. As mentioned, fuel can be pretty much be found anywhere, too.
Would I recommend buying it? : For backpacking, heck no! 🙂 It may be inexpensive, but it is heavy as hell (~3.5 lbs.for the stove and canister combined). A cat food can stove can be made dirt cheap and is more than adequate for boiling two cups of hot water for a typical backpacker meal. And if someone wants to buy a “real” stove, isobutane canister stoves can be purchased for $6 online.
However, this stove is still great to have for the reasons noted above in the “Why I still use it” section. The isobutane canisters are more expensive and do not last as long. And, as mentioned, the small propane tanks are very ubiquitous. As with all camping gear, this stove comes in very useful for disaster preparedness as well.
A nice little piece of gear to have in an outdoor kit.