Several years ago, I received a Coleman camping stove as a birthday gift. Since then, I have been a loyal Coleman’s camping gear buyer—not only because of the stove’s durability but also the frugality of Coleman’s products. They are inexpensive—not cheaply made—and readily available. Many people are brand loyal. Generally, we find our favorites and stick to them. Are you a Pepsi or Coke person? Do you have a favorite pair of jeans or firearms maker? Usually, when we have a good experience with a brand, we buy the brand again. The reliability of my old Coleman products proves their durability time and again.
I have owned quite a few of my Coleman camping items for more than 10 years now, and they have been in storage for more than 3. What better way to see what shape they are in, but to go camping?
Coleman Portable Propane Two-Burner Stove
The portable propane two-burner stove I have is Coleman’s mid-range camping stove—it is not the cheapest but not the most expensive, either. It has two rust-resistant, aluminum-steel cooktops controlled by black plastic knobs on the front and two windshields on the sides to block the wind.
It operates on one 16-ounce propane tank connected by a brass hose. To connect the tank, simply screw the end of the hose into the side of the stove, remove the cap from the propane tank and screw it in to the hole underneath the tank’s cap. To light, turn the knob that corresponds with the burner, and using a long lighter or match, light the gas.
While the knobs have no high, low or middle setting indicators, the flames will burn very hot. Turn the knob right to increase and turn it back to decrease the flame. The flame burns green evenly around the burner, and with the flame turned up all the way, it boils enough water for two cups of coffee in fewer than five minutes. If you use gas at home, then the Coleman stove will be no surprise.
One of my favorite features is its portability. It weighs only 11 pounds and measures a compact 14.75 x 23.25 x 5.5 inches. The lid closes by a center metal latch on the thin lid that you depress to open and close. The WindBlock windshields fold into the lid of the stove, and even the brass propane hose lies flat underneath the burners for storage and transport.
The WindBlock shields lie flat or secure into the sides of the stove by two metal clasps on either end to prevent wind from affecting the flame. Both burners can heat up to 10,000 BTUs. My medium-sized frying pan heats evenly and quickly over one of the burners. There is even enough cooking area for a griddle. And the cooktop wipes clean with a damp dish towel. None of the parts are loose or falling off and all latches, knobs and metal pieces show no signs of breakage or rust.
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Coffee Percolator and Enamel Coffee Mugs
I must have my coffee in the mornings, and though I would prefer a nice French press or mocha with frothed milk, instant does the trick when camping. The Coleman coffee percolator comes with a traditional teapot-style enamel pot and removable three-piece percolator system. For instant gratification, I remove the percolator part and use the pot to boil water. Filled halfway with cold water, it takes fewer than five minutes to get water hot enough for instant coffee. When filled all the way, it will make five cups to fill all the matching enamel coffee mugs.
The pot also is convenient for boiling water to wash dishes or heating enough water for an impromptu sponge bath.
One downside of the enamel is that the handle on the percolator gets hot while sitting on the fire. Take caution grabbing it to pour the water. Use a towel, folded bandana or oven mitt if the handle is too hot.
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MicroPacker LED Lantern
Due to the small, compact size of Coleman’s MicroPacker LED lantern, I usually keep this light in my car’s glove compartment for emergencies. It also makes an excellent tent light or flashlight. The bright yellow color makes it easy to find in a pack, on the picnic table or when stuck at the bottom of a plastic camping tote. It has a 92-hour runtime, and I had to replace the three AAA batteries only once—right before my most recent camping trip.
The LED bulb is extremely bright but does not have much range. When placed on one end of a picnic table facing into the woods near our campsite, it illuminated the table but did not shine into the woods 5 feet away. However, walking to the restroom, finding your way back to camp, rummaging through the cooler and as a tent light, it works just fine.
A black push button turns on and off the light. There are no other settings. However, the light does have a fold-down panel in the back that allows 360 degrees of lighting. To transition it from flashlight to lantern, push the black, rectangle-shaped button in the back and push down on the two protruding ends of the yellow plastic cover. On top of the MicroPacker is a collapsible hanger. The MicroPacker stands 7.5 inches tall.
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Odds and Ends
Purchased for my bug-out bag instead of camping, Coleman’s waterproof matches recently received a field test. The company claims the matches have a waterproof head and striking surface. Though I did not submerge them in water, I poured water on the matches and striking surface. Sure enough, with one swipe of a wet head on the wet striking surface, I got a flame that lasted long enough to light kindling for my campfire.
The tablecloth I purchased is round with a hole in the center. It also zips on one side. It wipes clean quickly and has a nice, soft fuzzy underside that sticks nicely to a wooden picnic table. It is useful, but awkward, only because picnic tables usually are not round. I recommend Coleman’s 54-inch by 84-inch rectanglular one.
Surprisingly, Coleman’s 2-ounce bottle of environmentally friendly soap has lasted 10 years. I use it to wash dishes in cold and hot water. A little goes a long way—just one drop washes all the dishes, cookware and silverware from one meal, plus four coffee cups.
The 32-ounce bottle of Kerosene did what it is supposed to; it filled my hurricane lantern and provided light all weekend. It burns without smelling and does not create a mess when pouring. I filled my hurricane lantern once on Friday night, and it still had fuel left Sunday afternoon.
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Are you brand loyal? Tell us which brand and why in the comments section.