Trail Stoves

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Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By Michael Villanueva (Michael) on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 12:32 am: Edit

Trail Stoves usually do not engender much of a debate. People seem to pick one approach early on and stick to it. So, what are the best fuel / stove choices on the trail? White gas? Propane? charcol? Wood Fire?

I think it all depends on the interaction between how many folks you are cooking for and what you are going to cook.

I cannot imagine Ho's Tri Tip being cooked any other way than by charcol. Charcol gives a heat and flavor to beef that no propane stove can yet match.


Yet, charcol tends to limit your cooking to one type style: Grilling. Additionally, charcol takes a while to heat up and settle down to a steady heat. Also hard (but not impossible) to cook eggs and pancakes on charcol. Finally, charcol burners can be a bit awkward to pack -- plus you really ought to pack them ashes.

When we go with a small group (2-5), and I am cooking, a 2 or 3 burner Coleman white gas stove is great. Portable with good temperature controls, white gas is what I tend to like. Yeah, they got the newer propane ones for those smaller stoves, but I am creature of habit. Besides, I love the smell of gas in the early AM (no, not my own!).


But a stove like the above is seriously limited in the number of people it can cook for -- aside from the fact that its burners are usually about 7,000BTUs. Wimpy. Efficient for maybe 2-5 folks, but completely out of its league when you have a real crew that is seriously counting on you for fare.

When I am cooking for a bunch of folks, 6+ and up to 15 or 20, then I pack the mother of all trail stoves: the Camp Chef GB90.

Three burners at 30,000BTUs. Most of your Coleman's gas and propane burners run between 6,000 and 11,500BTUs -- not the Camp Chef. Nope. This sucker packs heat.


For the Iron Chef Challenge, along with my colt Commander, this is the stove I packed. Notice the details: First, the legs fold-up making a nice rectangular box. Second, it comes with a wind screen. Third, you can purchase a double burner stainless steel griddle. This is in the picture, and those of you at Truckhave will recall I cooked the potatoes as well as the next morining's breakfast of eggs, sausage, and pancakes on the griddle.

You can get a single burner stainless steel griddle, but the way the single fits, it causes you to essentially loose one of your three burners.

The other option the stove has is the Bar B Q Box:


At the Challenge, that was how I cooked and smoked my Pancho Ninja Chicken. Very easy to add smoked chips to the box:

And here's a shot that shows all three burners at work: taters take two, smoke box takes one:


True, this type of a stove is overkill in most off road camping situations. But like any tool, at the right time, with the right need, it is perfect.

In the original picture of the GB 90 above, notice the large propane tank.. That is a pain to pack. You can use the smaller 1 gallon size. The small tank (usually they are white, you can get them at Popular Outfitters) fits great in the DS -- we used the small tank at Ouray for three straight days before filling it.

However, at Truckhaven, I elected to bring the larger tank as I was not exactly sure what I was up against. However, for most situations, the smaller tank will work.

Finally, I want to take a last note of a relatively new style of cooking making its way to the off road crowd: Deep frying turkeys or doing an Ocean Boil. For this type of cooking, you need a special tool: The single burner cooker.


This is a serious burner. Output is 75,000BTUs. You can bring a 20 gallon pot of water (actually, it looks like a vat) up to boil in a very short period of time. Use this stove for the lobster runs on the coast! Or you can buy maybe 5 gallons of peanut oil and using something like the turkey pot below, get that oil up to frying temps quick.

SSP26T 2.jpg

You *very*carefully lower the mesh pot pot, and you can deep fry a turkey on the trail. No kidding, it is great!

Ok, enough. That is all I can contribute to trail cooking and stoves. That is pretty much the sum of my experience.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By Eric N (Grnrvr) on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 08:13 am: Edit

I have a Coleman Grill Stove. It's propane with a regular round burner on the right side and a long grill rob burner on the left.. It has a non-stick grill top that goes over the grill rod. It also came with a flat solid non stick griddle that goes in place of the grill grid. You can cook pretty much anything with this stove as it is pretty versatile. However, larger things such as whole chickens or turkeys wouldn't work as they are too big.. It runs on the rather small propane tanks by Coleman for about 2-4 hours depending on if you are using both burners on high or just one on low... I like it so far.. It allows me to carry one stove that can do it all and not take up too much space as it is the same size as the standard Coleman two burner camp stoves.. Maybe a little wider but not much.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By Dean Brown (Deanbrown3d) on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 10:45 am: Edit

> That is pretty much the sum of my experience. MV

You mean, that's it?

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