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Reviews > Base Camp Gear > Campsite Gear > Stoves > Coleman Eventemp Instastart 3 Burner > Test Report by Brian Tannehill

COLEMAN EVENTEMP 3 BURNER STOVE
TEST SERIES BY BRIAN TANNEHILL
LONG-TERM REPORT
October 13, 2008

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Brian Tannehill
EMAIL: tannehillclan (at) gmail (dot) com
AGE: 33
LOCATION: Colorado Springs, Co
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 7" (1.70 m)
WEIGHT: 185 lb (83.90 kg)

I am fairly new to backpacking, but I have hunted/fished/camped all my life in East Texas, Colorado, and California. My young kids (4, 10, 12) limit me to weekend overnight camping trips, or day hikes Geocaching. I am also an avid mountain biker. Currently I live in Colorado Springs, Co at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Pike National Forest surrounds me at 9000 - 14,110 feet (2743 m - 4301 m). Snow can happen 10 months out of the year and summer is the hottest reaching 65 F + (18 C +), the other months average 45 F (7 C).


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Coleman
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.coleman.com
MSRP: US$ 99.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: See below
Stove: 14 lbs 5.3 oz (6500 g)
Grate: 2 lbs 2.5 oz (978 g)
Gas line adapter for fuel bottle: 5.25 oz (150g)
Griddle: 3 lbs 4 3/8 oz (1482 g)
Grease trap: 9 1/8 oz (262 g)

Other details from the packaging:
EvenTemp system - Triple burner system provides most even heat distribution
28,000 BTU/Hr, independently controlled, adjustable stainless steel burners
Battery InstaStart feature - One double A (AA) battery provides convenient dependable matchless lighting
Anodized aluminum lid - Hard anodized for lightweight, superior durability
Windblock system - Up position shields burners for maximum heat, Down position, convient side table for cooking utensils.
PerfectHeat technology - Recessed cook top and lowered burners designed for optimal combustion performance and product life
PerfectFlow technology - Propane pressure is continuous and regulated for consistent and optimal performance
Heavy duty grate - nickel-chrome plated and is removable for easy cleanup.
Propane powered - operates from one 16.4 oz propane cylinder

Details on the griddle are:
Full Size - 227 square inches (1464 square centimeters) for family size griddle cooking
Durable - Non stick coated die-cast aluminum for durability
Grease cup holds 15 oz (444 ml) for simple grease management.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

When I pulled the stove out of the box, my first impression was this thing could feed an army. With 7 people in my house, this thing should work great. I had to attach the black plastic feet on the bottom, and find how the propane attachment attached to the grill. No biggies in either case, and they were very easy to install. There is also a small battery compartment under the front edge of the stove for the instaStart lighting.

The stove is 24 inches (60.9 cm) long (side to side) 18 inches (45.3 cm) wide (front carry handle to back of stove), and five inches (12.7 cm) tall. The lid is 15 inches (38.1 cm) long, so when it opens, it adds 15 inches (38.1 cm) more to the height. The two wind shields/trays are 5.5 inches wide (13.9 cm) and make the grill extend to 36 inches (91.4 cm) wide when fully opened. The burners are recessed about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) into the grill.

The grate itself is 12 inches (30.4 cm) long (front to back), and 20 inches (50.8 cm) wide (left to right)

stove
Fig 1


The two round burners are 3 1/4 inches (8.2 cm) in diameter. The center square burner is 7 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches (19.0 cm by 8.9 cm).

The griddle is 21 inches (53.4 cm) long by 10.5 inches (26.7 cm) wide. It has a 1/4 inch (.64 cm) lip around the edge except for a 1 inch (2.5 cm) flat spot where the grease runs off the griddle into the grease cup.

The grease trap for the griddle is 9 inches (22.8 cm) long by 2.5 inches (6.3 cm) wide and 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) deep.

griddle
Fig 2


The propane attachment is about 7.5 inches (19.0 cm) long.

gas
Fig 5

TRYING IT OUT

I put it all together, searched the house for my Coleman 16.4 oz propane bottle, and took this monster outside for a light. Within seconds I had a roaring flame on all three burners.

To light the instructions say: set on sturdy flat surface for outdoor use only. Push igniter button and hold, then open fuel valve fully. Repeat for all three burners.

ignition
Fig 3


I have to push the electronic starter for each burner that I want to light. I also noticed that on the round burners, the electronic ignition points that sparks the gas, are directly in the flame. The large square burners ignition point is not directly in the flame. The fact that the round burners ignition points are in the flame causes me some concern because within about a minute, the ignition points are glowing red. See Fig 4 below for an example.

burner
Fig 4


I've also noticed that when I open the right side tray, it hits the fuel line to the fuel bottle. I moved the fuel bottle a little and it seemed to fix the problem. I'm not sure if I just had the fuel bottle in the wrong place or if this is going to be a concern for the rest of the test. Fig 6 shows how the tray hits the fuel line.

tray
Fig 6

TESTING STRATEGY

My testing strategy will consist of durability, ease of use, how easy it is to clean, burn time for both high and low flame settings. I'd like to know how the instaStart system will hold up. Will I need to light it with matches, can I light it with matches?

The wind block system looks weak to me. How will it hold up? It does not really look big enough to perform as a wind block or a tray. How well does it work. Will the wind shield protect the flame on a low simmer? Will the stove continue to use fuel if the flame goes out or will it shut off?

I will use various pots and pans on the grill to include my GSI cook set. How well any of the pots sit on the grate? Will they slide off or around easily?

I like to cook a lot of greasy food. How easy will this be to clean up? The grease cup is supposed to catch the grease from the griddle. How well does this work? The cup is also supposed to be stored inside the stove for packing. If it is dirty, will it get the inside of the stove dirty?

My last concern is the latch. One day I snatched the grill quickly off a table, the lid flew open and all the pieces inside fell out. The latch did not hold the lid closed at all.

This concludes my initial report. Please check back in about 2 months (Aug 2008) for my field report.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've used this stove 4 times over the last two months. I've used it to cook pancakes (twice), sausage, chili hot dogs, and spaghetti. I've used it in conditions from no wind to 9-10 mph (14-16 kmh) and a slight rain.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

One outing found me cooking for about 30 minutes on the stove. I cooked pancakes and frozen sausage patties. I've found that I can get about 2 rows of 4 pancakes that are 5 inch (12.7 cm) diameter on the griddle. The one thing I have noticed about the griddle, is it does not drain well. The griddle is fairly flat, so if there is any incline in the opposite direction of how it is supposed to drain, it will not drain. I've found I needed to prop up the opposite side of the stove for it to drain well. I think if the griddle itself had one side just a fraction higher this would solve the problem.

The other thing I do not like on the stove is I can not tell on the controls which way is high and which way is low. I have to look at the flame itself to tell if it is roaring or on a simmer. I think something that shows high and low flames should be added to show which way to turn the knobs.

I used the stove in about 9-10 mph (14-16 kmh) winds (measured with Kestrel 3500). The wind screens helped some, and the flames did not go out.
boil test
Fig 7
I noticed when I use smaller pots, the handle is somewhat over the burner. This caused the handle to heat up. I measured the temperature around the handle at 118-120 F (66-67 C).

I have also done a simple boil test with a couple of pots. They are both similar in size, but one is a backpacking stove by GSI, and the other is a standard kitchen pot. The kitchen pot I think is a little thicker, and heavier than the GSI pot, and the results I received show that.

GSI Pot versus similar sized kitchen pot.
IMAGE 3
Fig 8
While out camping I used a very scientific way to measure the amount of water. I used a standard plastic yellow cup that had a lip at the top. Water was added to the same level (the lip at the top) on the cup and poured into the pots. The GSI water temperature was 75.6 F (42 C) and the kitchen pot water temperature was 76.6 F (42.6 C). The outside air temperature was 81 F (45 C) with no wind. One minute into the test, both pots showed bubbles. At 1:30 the bubbles on the side of the GSI were starting to move, and at 1:40 the kitchen pot bubbles started to move. It took 2:30 to get a rolling boil on the GSI pot and 2:55 seconds to get a boil on the kitchen pot.

The grate seems to be a little bit too high to me.
IMAGE 2
Fig 9


Depending on the size of the pot, it may not fit on the grate. This small pot tends to fall over on the grate when nothing is in it. I do not have this problem at home.
IMAGE 4
Fig 10


One other thing I did not expect to see is the fuel can frost over. This did not affect performance at all.
IMAGE 5
Fig 11


The stove works nice for cooking larger family sized meals!
IMAGE 6
Fig 12


SUMMARY

So far this stove has worked great. I have not noticed any more problems with the lid closing as I noted in my IR, I just do not yank it up very fast anymore. The stove works great for cooking, especially larger meals. The griddle could stand to be slanted in the direction of the drain, and the grate could be closer to the burner. All together though I really like the stove and it does a great job!

This concludes my Field Report. The Long Term report is posted below.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Since my Field Report, I've used my stove 6 more times. Since it's become colder, my wife and family have not gone with me as much camping, however I have cooked for as many as four people on four different outings. I've cooked everything from coffee to antelope chops and wild rice. Usage and conditions have mostly been in the Pike National Forest around 9000 feet (2743 M) in elevation. Temperatures varied from below freezing in the morning to mid 60's F (18 C) for the high. There was a day or two of rain and a slight breeze here and there.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I really like this stove, it works great but the one thing I absolutely HATE is the latch. I had it fall open once on me that I noted in my IR. I've had it fall open a few more times while packing it up and such. It is annoying to know that I can not trust the latch when I move the stove a few feet from the table to the car to pack it up.

Clean up on the stove has been a breeze. The stove itself cleans up very easily with a wipe of a wet cloth. I've had grease and rice everywhere on it, and it wiped right up.

I also like cooking on the griddle, but I do have to be careful to set it up right. One time I set it up too far from the grease cup and about half the grease ran down into the stove before I noticed it. I was afraid it would catch on fire but I shut the stove off in time. I had to reposition the griddle to cover the lip of the grease cup, which I thought I had it set up right in the first place. I've also used the griddle for cooking antelope chops. I put the griddle on the stove and cooked the chops on one side and put a pot of wild rice on the other side, on top of the griddle and cooked both items at the same time. Then I combined the chops with the rice in the pot, and finished simmering them over the griddle. The griddle did not show any marks from the pot, and it cleaned up well from the pork chops. I've also cooked brats on the griddle, and this is one of the times I noticed the simmer feature on the stove. The outside of the brats cooked fast, but the insides did not. I needed to turn the heat down, but it was either on or off, and it made it tough to cook the brats throughout without burning the outside of the brat. I made it work though by repositioning the brats on the outer edges of the griddle where it was not as hot, and would not burn as fast.

I've also cooked the grease pan a few times as well. When I first pull out the stove, I forget to pull out the grease pan. It is stored upside down with the lip under the middle burner. I forget to move it and turn it on and cook. It does not seem to hurt the grease pan, nor the stove and I do not notice any difference when cooking.

I noted in the previous reports that I did not like how the burners were hard to tell which way was hi and low. Along those lines, the flame control is very sensitive. I have a hard time turning it down to a simmer, as it likes to run hard or not at all. There is a fine line between a simmer and off. The burners do not like to get wet either. I left the lid open one night and it rained over night. The next morning it was a bit tougher to light. From then on I always closed the lid when it was not in use.

SUMMARY

Overall I really like this stove. It works great. It heats up fast, cleans up very easily, and stores nicely to pack up in my truck. The wind stops/tray work pretty well. I like to use them more as a tray than anything. One thing I notice is the size of this stove. It takes up a lot of room especially when the trays are folded out. It helps though that they double as trays so I can put my utensils on them and have easy access to them.

Things I like:
The griddle
Easy cleanup
Easy ignition of the burners
Cooks fast

Things I do not like:
The latch
Not knowing which way is hi or low on the flame controls
Sensitive controls for simmering

Thanks to Coleman and BGT for allowing me to test this stove.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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