Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Gear Review: STove +
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.