A Coleman Powerhouse dual-fuel stove was our faithful servant for many years, but eventually the time came time for a replacement.
After our Coleman dual-fuel stove just plain wore out, after 15 years of hard bush work we tried camping with a couple of butane-can, single-burner stoves we picked up in a hardware store for around twenty dollars each.
They were fine in mild weather, but butane boils at zero degrees, so on frosty mornings in the desert the butane stubbornly remained liquid and the stoves didn’t want to light. Yes, we know you can take a gas can to bed with you to keep it warm, but if you forget, there’s no morning coffee, unless you can prod some life out of last night’s camp fire.
We’ve kept one as backup and for quick cuppa boil ups at lunch time, but clearly we needed something more substantial and reliable.
Then we spotted Coleman’s Eventemp AL-3 Instastart 3 camp stove, with an optional full size griddle and grease cup. The stove is a clever design, because the two round burners are separated by a rectangular burner and with all three alight and the griddle on top there’s even heat over the entire plate.
Cooking a bacon and egg reviver for six people is simple. The stove lid and a pair of folding side plates form a wind break and we’ve cooked successfully without a flame-out in 20 knots of breeze.
The stove uses easily portable, disposable LPG cannisters which vary in price, but are usually around $8-10 each. These cans have no external valves or projections and they’re cylindrical, so they’re very easy to pack.
The canister attaches to the stove by way of a rigid pipe connector that incorporates a pressure valve. As backup, the stove comes with a conventional, flexible hose that can screw to a normal LPG bottle.
The cannister needs to be rigidly attached to the stove and doesn’t sit on the stove stand. We were concerned the cannister’s hanging weight might cause a problem, but we’ve had no difficulty to date. However, I’ve made up a clip-on wire support for it, just to be sure. Cannister life has been excellent. We did a two-week trip on one cannister and a three-week trip using one and a half, so we now know how many back up canisters we need to carry. The stove with full size griddle and grease cup retails for around $270.