BY JERRY GOLLER
November 01, 2009
|| Jerry Goller
|| Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
|| 5' 11" (1.80 m)
|| 220 lb (99.80 kg)
I started camping
with my father at age 6 or so. I’ve backpacked and truck camped, off
and on, all of my life. Even in the Marine Corps, I was in the
Infantry. I consider myself a light weight backpacker with an average
dry pack weight of 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 7 kg), depending on the
season and terrain. I backpack year round.
Most of my trips are 2 to 5 days long and in Utah. I also, from time to
time, take much longer trips lasting one to two months or more. These
trips are usually on the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail.
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: WWW.COLEMAN.COM
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 17 lbs 3 oz (78 kg)
Oven Interior Dimensions:
14" (35.5 cm) Wide
12" (30.5 cm) Deep
5" (13 cm) High
Wide and Deep were as listed. High: 6.5" (16.5 cm)
Can handle most 13" X 9" (33 cm X 23 cm) pans.
Capable of 500 F (260 C) temperatures
The Coleman Portable Oven is basically a propane powered camp toaster
oven. It is powered by either Coleman 16.4 oz (465 g) disposable
propane cylinders or, with an accessory adaptor hose, bulk propane
cylinders. It comes with one of Coleman's propane regulators, the only
piece that has to be attached for operation of the oven. It mates the
oven to the gas cylinder or bulk cylinder hose.
It has a built in thermometer on the top of the oven that reads in
Fahrenheit and Celsius. It reads from 100 F (38 C) to 600 F (316 C).
The oven uses Coleman's InstaStart™ system to light the oven.
InstaStart is Coleman's piezoelectric igniter. Just push the button and
the burner lights. Matches or lighters are not required.
The door handle is designed to stay cool to the touch when the oven is
the Coleman Portable Oven
thermometer mounted on the top of the Coleman Portable Oven
temperature control knob and the InstaStart push button on the side of
I'm one of those
people that want things to always be the way I expect them to be. I
don't like surprises. Virtually all the surprises in my life weren't
good. When I fix breakfast I want it to always be what I am used to,
what I expect. I'm that way even when I am fixing breakfast at a
campsite. One of my favorite breakfasts and, indeed, one of my favorite
snacks, is toast and coffee. Good old toast and coffee. Toast, bacon,
and coffee is just heaven. It never fails to satisfy me, unless, of
course, it doesn't turn out like I expect it to. Then I just can't eat
it. It starts off my day on the wrong side.
That has been my camping situation for most of my life. I tried every
toast making device I've seen. None of them made toast like my electric
toaster at home. I went so far as to make up a converter and battery
setup to run an electric toaster at my campsite. It worked but the 100
pound battery pack proved to be a bit unhandy.
Then I tried the Coleman Portable Oven. Eureka! It not only made toast
as well as my home toaster, it made it better! Every slice came out
perfectly toasted. Now, granted, I have to keep somewhat of an eye on
it. It toasts the bread as fast, if not faster, than my home toaster
but it doesn't, of course, pop the toast out. But it is easy to check
on the toast by opening the door and taking a peek. I've done it often
enough that I just know when to check. Although the oven door has a
glass section for viewing the baking area, I make toast on the top rack
setting and so I can't see the top of the toast very well.
The toaster also does a bang up job on bacon, as well. Bacon prepared
in an oven doesn't curl nearly as badly as it does in a skillet. The
grease also drips off the bacon on the rack so the bacon isn't so bad
for me. Well, that's what I tell myself, anyway. All in all, it makes a
perfect Jerry breakfast. The coffee turned out to be another problem
but that will have to wait for another review.
The nice thing about the Coleman Portable Oven is that it also toasts
or bakes just about anything else that will fit in it. I've made frozen
waffles, corn bread muffins, blueberry muffins, turnovers, cookies,
and even brownies. The only caution I would give is that all portable
camp ovens I've seen have no way to regulate their temperatures. In
other words, the operator has to continually monitor the baking process
and make any necessary temperature adjustments manually. The Coleman is
no exception. All this means is that one must keep an eye on the baking
items and possibly adjust the temperature up or down or the bake times
longer or shorter.
I've used this oven many times on many trips from 2,000' (600 m) or so
up to around 10,000' (3,000 m). It has performed well in temperatures
from the low 20s F (-6 C) up to the 80s F (28 C). The only difference
I've noticed is the InstaStart gets a little tricky at low temps. I
usually carry a long propane lighter, like the ones for starting
fireplaces, as a backup.
There is a bit of a learning curve for this oven. I've used it for over
a year now and have gotten pretty good at it. Virtually all my baking
and toasting has been done with the temperature adjustment knob very
near its lowest setting. This oven can get very hot and there is a bit
of a lag time after making temperature adjustments. I start out with
the flame at the lowest setting that the burner will stay lit and go
from there. Temperatures around 350 F (177 C) can be a bit tricky to
maintain. Make very small adjustments and try not to micromanage the
temp during baking. It seems to bake surprisingly close to the times
listed on the products I've made in it. But I would still start
checking on it a few minutes before you think it should be ready. It is
much easier to check too often that to try to "unburn" the item.
It seems to make toast best between 450 and 500 F (230-260 C) with the
rack set in the highest slots.
As you may have noticed from my pictures, my present oven is nice and
clean. That is because it isn't the original one. On my last family
camping trip I discovered that my multitasking skills aren't up to
backing a gear trailer, keeping track of all the gear stacked for
loading, and my very active 2 and a half year old son. I refer to this
as The Unfortunate Trailer Backing Incident. Fortunately, the only
casualty was my beloved Coleman Portable Oven. It had become such an
indispensible part of my base camp gear that I had to immediately
replace it. The pictures are of my nice shiny new one.
I think the burner
tube is too big/and or long. It puts out too much heat for this size
oven. Virtually all baking is done at the very lowest settings and it
can be very tricky to maintain stable flame levels. It is very easy to
over adjust the flame lower and have it go out. The settings I have
used most are in the lowest 5% of the temp dial and none above 10%. By
lowering the output of the burner I think the user would have a more
stable flame level for the desired temperature range.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org
Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
I had a problem with the small screws holding the door to the door
hinge. Coleman promptly sent me replacement screws but I found the old
screw holes to be stripped out. I had to use much larger self-tapping
screws to replace the missing screws. I think the oven hinge would be
better served with larger screws. The present ones just seem too small
for holding the oven door on, particularly through repeated opening and
closing of the oven door.
Read more reviews of Coleman gear
Read more gear reviews by Jerry Goller