Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gear Review: STove +

Coleman Website Photo

I've had a Coleman Peak 1 whitegas stove since ~1980 that is still going strong. I use it extensively for backpacking, melting wheel weights into ingots and occasionally boiling water for a Dungeness Crab feast. For those purposes it has served me well.

More recently we needed a multi-burner unit for our outdoor excursions and I reluctantly gave in to the convenience of the disposable propane fueled units after learning they could be refueled. We bought the Coleman PerfectFlow InstaStart stove at Cabelas for less than $50. The unit is lightweight and compact but it opens up to create a roomy cooking surface capable of bringing large pots of water to a boil quickly.

It is easy to light but isn't as instant as the name implies usually taking a few pushes of the sparking button. The Windscreens work well to protect the flame from wind and the stove itself is very stable if a flat surface is available.

The burn time of the propane canisters averaged four meals including heating the dish water - not real economical or practical for regular use but more convenient and cleaner than the liquid gas versions. I learned of a fitting that would allow refilling of the disposable containers from refillable bulk tanks. It is called the MacCoupler and it is also available for ~$20 through Cabelas.

Since we use this stove for more than 100 meals each year I purchased the MacCoupler and found it to work very well. I have found that chilling the "disposable" container in the ice chest before refilling more fully fills the container. Also inverting the bulk tank is important. After repeated refillings the MacCoupler has paid for itself and I am pleased with the purchase.


Anonymous said...

On the other hand, the Coleman white gas stove my folks bought back in 1968 is still going strong. You have to replace the the pump gasket every other year, and the needle about once a decade. That costs about $5 total.

Seems to me 2 quarts of fuel would last our family about a week, on those fun & bug filled family car camping vacations. We used it mostly for morning coffee and for regular cooking when it was raining. Oh, the memories. LOL


Whit Spurzon said...

Those old Coleman's just keep going and going. They will probably outlast the more recent offerings. In comparison I would say they are about equal overall when durability is factored in. This stove is lighter (=less durable), easier to light, smaller (not including fuel canisters)and when purchased in bulk a lower fuel cost. Last time I checked White Gas was $8/Gal vs. Propane at <$3/gallon. Assuming one has fuel, both would work well when the lights go out.