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Reviews > Base Camp Gear > Campsite Gear > Stoves > Camp Chef Oven > Owner Review by Jerry Goller

CAMP CHEF OUTDOOR CAMP OVEN AND RANGE 

Owner Review

March 22, 2011

BY JERRY GOLLER

Main Image

Image courtesy Camp Chef


TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Jerry Goller
EMAIL: jerrygoller@backpackgeartest.org
AGE: 64
LOCATION: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 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.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Camp Chef
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: Camp Chef
MSRP: US$277.99 I don't remember what the price was in 2009. This is the 2011 price. I found it heavily discounted at a number of places.
Listed Weight: 35 lb (15.88 kg)
Measured Weight: 36 lb 8 oz (16.69 kg)
Two 5,300 BTU/hr Range Burners
Oven 3,000 BTU/hr
Range dimensions: 21" x 12" (53 cm x 30.5 cm)
Inside Oven dimensions: 10" L x 16" W x 10" H (25.5 cm x 40.5 cm x 25.5 cm)
Powered by a disposable 1lb (.45 kg) propane can or can be adapted for a bulk tank 

The quality of workmanship is as I would expect from a company like Camp Chef. At over 36 pounds (16 kg) it is obvious that this oven isn’t flimsy. Everything about it, other than the thermometer, is top quality. Another impressive thing about it is the igniters. They always ignite the burners, first time, every time. It has one other feature I like that I’ve not seen on any other propane burner; a low setting stop. It is very annoying when I am setting the flame level, get to the low end, and accidently turn the burner off. That can’t happen with the Camp Oven. The fuel adjustment just won’t go that far so the burner always stays lit, oven or top burner.


FIELD USE

Breakfast is readyMore breakfast

I have used this oven for over a year now. I’ve used it on more trips than I can count. It’s been used from 4000’ to over 9000’ (1220 to 2750 m). Temperatures have ranged from below freezing to the upper 80s F (27 C). Conditions have ranged from snow to rain to sunny skies. It has always been used while truck camping, of course, and set up in a large tent. I have always fed it from a bulk tank, usually a 5 US gallon (19 L) propane tank. To make the 2 burner stove more versatile I added a thick aluminum griddle that is smooth on one side and ribbed on the other. The smooth side is great for pancakes and scrambled eggs while the ribbed side does great for hot dogs and hamburgers. And, of course, the two burners are great for pots if I need them. They are quite large and provide a nice even heat over the bottom of most any pot or pan I might use on it. The burner size is also nice for the griddle.

For the oven I have a muffin pan for various muffins, a flat baking sheet for croissants, rolls and such, and a grilling pan (recessed pan with a wire grate over it) for bacon. I much prefer my bacon made in an oven and this one does a great job. As the image above right shows, I can make bacon in the oven while making scrambled eggs on top. What a deal! There is nothing like fresh biscuits and gravy for breakfast or dinner with fresh rolls. I have even gotten 4 personal sized pizzas (6 " (15 cm) in diameter) in the oven at once. Now that is camping!


THINGS I LIKE

The Outdoor Camp Oven uses a single regulator and hose for both the two burner stove and the oven. This simplifies the hose setup and reduces the number of hoses, and outlets, I need. The size of this oven allows me to easily bake two or more personal pizzas at a time. 

This oven/stove lights the first time every time. I’ve never had a moment's problem with the ignition system. If only all my propane devices lit this easily.

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

This version (2009) doesn’t have side handles on it. The unit is fairly heavy and bulky. This is very unhandy. The provided thermometer is always in the way for viewing the oven contents and is very inaccurate. Fortunately both of these issues were addressed in the 2010 version. That version and later has both side handles and a built in thermometer. I don’t know if it is any more accurate but at least it is out of the way. I added a remote sensing baking thermometer to mine that is quite accurate. This led to the discovery that the oven, even at its lowest temperature setting, won’t stabilize below 425 F (218 C). This both is and isn’t a problem. As long as I am realistic in what I try to bake, and keep an eye on it, it doesn’t really matter. But I wouldn’t try to bake a cake or anything else that requires a lower, stable, temperature. For the vast majority of things I bake it just doesn’t matter. As an aside, this same problem exists in every camping oven I’ve ever tried. It is just the nature of the beast. The thermometer can’t actually turn the flame in the oven on and off so the temperature control is very basic.

THINGS I MODIFIED

Adjustable feet

Added adjustable feet

One of my pet peeves when trying to make eggs, or especially pancakes, is that the stove is usually setting on an unlevel surface. There also usually isn’t any practical way for me to level the cooking surface. I solved this problem a long time ago by adding adjustable feet to any stove I use. In the case of the Camp Oven and Range, this was particularly easy. I just removed the existing feet and replaced them with threaded insert rivets. These install like pop rivets but are actually nuts. I just drilled out the existing foot mounting hole, stuck the insert in, and crimped it down with the proper crimping tool. I then took 4 carriage bolts with fender washers (extra wide washers) and screwed them in the rivets. The washers act as adjustment knobs. I added some silicone tape to the washers for better grip. Now the bolts act as adjustable feet so I can level the oven and my pancakes turn out round. Great!

Bubble level

Added bubble level and baker's thermometer

To make leveling the oven possible I added a bubble level to the stove cover (yellow square object). I just stuck it on with double sided tape. The above image also shows the baker’s thermometer I added. It happens to have magnets on the back so I stuck it on the stove cover for illustration. It normally sets beside the oven when in use.

SUMMARY

All things considered, this unit does all the things I wanted it to do. I also wouldn’t let the price scare you. As I said, I found them deeply discounted in a number of places making the oven/stove quite price competitive with most of the better quality stoves and setups I’ve seen. I am in the process of permanently mounting it in my gear trailer for base camping. I plan on having it for awhile.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.


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