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Reviews > Base Camp Gear > Campsite Gear > Stoves > Coleman Eventemp Instastart 3 Burner > Test Report by arnold peterson

COLEMAN EVENTEMP INSTASTART 3 BURNER STOVE
TEST SERIES BY ARNOLD PETERSON
LONG-TERM REPORT
October 09, 2008

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
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TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Arnold Peterson
EMAIL: alp4982(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
AGE: 70
LOCATION: Wilmington Massachusetts USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 165 lb (74.80 kg)
TORSO: 19 in (48 cm)

Backpacking Background: Presently almost all my experience has been hiking in New Hampshire, Florida, Colorado USA, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia Canada using an 11 lb (5 kg) day pack. I have backpacked on Mt. Washington and at the Imp shelter located between North Carter and Mount Moriah mountains in New Hampshire. The gear I will be writing about has been used a lot hiking mostly all year around in New Hampshire. I have completed the forty-eight 4000 footers (1219 m) of New Hampshire. My day hikes have been as long as 12 hours covering almost 20 miles (32 km).


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: The Coleman Company Incorporated
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.coleman.com
MSRP: $99.99
Listed Weight: not listed
Measured Weight: 14.5 lb (6.53 kg)
Listed Approximate size: 18.5 in x 26 in x 6 in (47 cm x 66 cm x 15 cm)
Measured size: 17.75 in x 24.25 x 5 in (45 cm x 62 cm x 13 cm)
Burner Output: 28000 BTU for each large burner
Simmer Burner Output: not listed
Warranty: 5 year
Griddle
Listed Weight: not listed
Measured Weight: 3.9 lb (1.75 kg)
Listed surface area: 227 sq in (1465 sq cm)
Measured surface area: 210 sq in (1355 sq cm)
Listed Grease Tray Weight: not listed
Measured Grease Tray Weight: 9 oz (260 gm)

Production description:
The Coleman stove looks like a metal suitcase with a beautiful shiny light anodized aluminum green cover and a black shiny steel bottom with a large plastic handle. The ends of the handle provide a place for the burner controls and electronic igniter. The heavy duty pot support is Nickel-chrome plated and removes easily for cleaning.
The Coleman griddle is a rectangular shaped Teflon coated tray of cast aluminum. The tray has a small lip around the top except for a small spillway to allow grease to flow into a grease pan. The bottom of the griddle has tabs which fit over the pot support of the stove. The grease pan is rectangular shaped piece of shiny steel with a narrow channel to accept the grease from the griddle. The bottom of the grease pan has 3 pegs that fit into the wind baffle when the baffle is in the utensil tray position. When the parts are in place they form a secure cooking system. There is a heavy black cloth bag to store the griddle in.
Features include 2 standard burners with a center simmering burner. All 3 burners can be used together for large items or for cooking with the griddle. The igniter is battery powered with 2 AA batteries which were included.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Upon opening the package I was surprised that I did not find any instructions. I proceeded to open the stove. I was not successful until I had forced the red rectangular release button too hard. It broke and I was able to open the stove and there were the instructions. This stove is the best I have seen from Coleman. The burners look beautiful and durable. The controls feel very positive. The wind shields lock into place very easily. I opened the battery compartment door with a bit of difficulty. I was surprised that I could not find a polarity marking on the battery holder. The instructions did not enlighten the situation. I installed the battery with the negative end toward the spring, which is common. The red INSTASTART button requires only a light touch to operate. All 3 igniters operate with the same switch.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The instructions are clear and easy to read. The feet are easily assembled with a screwdriver. The picture showing the battery assembly does not show polarity. The instruction for opening the battery compartment was clear, but I found that I had to apply some pressure on the cover before it would release from the frame. The securing of the wind baffle is shown in pictures and is easy to accomplish. I found having the parts list in the manual useful. I noted that only a few parts are user replaceable. The picture that accompanied the parts list did not include the 4 spacers or screws that support the 4 hole burner. It is nice to have all the information in one booklet rather than on several pieces of paper.

The warnings included not using the stove indoors where carbon monoxide fumes could be fatal. The presence of hot surfaces could cause injury.
IMAGE 1
battery in holder

IMAGE 2
wind baffle latch

IMAGE 3
simmer burner

IMAGE 4
pot support

IMAGE 6
large camp cook set

IMAGE 7
meal setup

IMAGE 8
chili cooking

TRYING IT OUT

I could not wait, I set up the portable picnic table outside and located a 20 lb (9 kg) propane tank. I set up the propane tank, 3 port manifold and Coleman lantern in a few minutes. One of the manifold hoses fits easily into the Coleman regulator assembly. All connections were done by hand and were secure. See picture below. I opened the stove and secured the wind baffle. I turned the right burner on and when I heard the familiar hiss I touched the INSTASRART button and there was this bright very pale blue flame. I have never seen a propane stove with a flame that looked and felt so hot.

I then looked at what size pots I could use with this stove. Using the stove as a 2 burner stove I could use two 12 in (30.5 cm) diameter pots and still be centered on the burners. The diameters of both pots could be increased to 12.75 in (32.4 cm), but they would not be centered. My largest item is a 10.4 in (26.4 cm) fry pan and pot. My other pots are about 7 in (17.8 cm), and 5.5 in (14 cm) diameter. With the 5.5 in (14 cm) pot in the center and the two 7 in (17.8 cm) pots on the outside it works out well. Then I thought about a large turkey roaster I have. I placed it on the burners and it fit perfectly filling over all 3 burners. At this point I don't know how I would use it but it is possible.

The griddle is a great addition, now I can grill at a campsite without having to have additional equipment. The griddle is able to handle 8 regular size burgers at one time. Sausages vary a lot in size but I could easily fit 20 big 4 in (10.1 cm) sausages on this grill. The grill should handle a package of bacon at one time.

I started by steaming a pot of broccoli on the right burner. When this was done I put the griddle on and cooked a package of bacon using all 3 burners. All pieces of bacon cooked evenly regardless of position on the griddle. Then a package of hot dogs were grilled. All items were cooked successfully.

I decided that the broken latch would not be a problem during the test period. I did notify Coleman about the broken latch.
IMAGE 9
package of bacon

IMAGE 10
followed by hotdogs




TESTING STRATEGY

I will be testing in NH, MA, ME, and VT USA. I use State and National forests for car camping. With the high cost of gas I have not planned trips to Canada or other places far away. Cooking a meal at a trailhead, before or after a hike or backpack is very comforting at times. It is very convenient to use a camp stove when going to picnic areas with family. With 3 children, 11 grand children and 4 great grand children, there will be many occasions to use this kind of stove. I will be using the Coleman for all outdoor events involving cooking. This includes backyard cooking where my children and grand children live. We don't have A/C, so when the hot weather arrives I will be using the Coleman to cook meals outside. The extra size of this Coleman will make meal cooking as easy as inside. I have used 2 Coleman stoves simultaneously in the past, but this will take less space and be easier to operate. This slightly larger Coleman will handle larger pots and do as much or more than using 2 Coleman stoves at once. The third port on the manifold was used for the second stove. I will be cooking a variety of items that require high heat as well as long periods of simmering. An example of this is the making of chili. This is an item I do not want to make in the house when it is very hot due to the long simmering times.

I will be looking at how easy it will be to manage 3 pots and using a single large item. Simmering plays a major part of my cooking and this will be tested. I will see if there are any problems transitioning from a cook top to griddle cooking. I will find out if the griddle cools off in a reasonable amount of time, which means I will not have to use hand protection to remove the griddle. Other things will come to mind during the test and will be reported.

SUMMARY

I have been using Coleman camping stoves since 1974 and have found them to be reliable and easy to use. The latch has not been a strong point Coleman stoves I have owned. This weak point is minor compared to the reliability of the rest of the stove. The larger size, along with grill capability will be very useful for me and my family.

This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be appended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.

My thanks to Coleman and Backpackgeartesters.org for the opportunity to test the Coleman EvenTemp INSTASTART 3 Burner Stove.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I used the Coleman Stove in eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Locations included my yard, the yards of relatives and friends, and day picnic areas. Temperatures were between 70 F (21 C) and 95 F (35 C). There were mild winds at times and a few light showers. I used a 20 lb (9 kg) propane tank for all my tests during this period.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

To say that I am pleased with the Coleman Stove is an understatement. The Coleman INSTASTART has exceeded my expectations. I have used it for a total of 14 times with the griddle and about half as many without the griddle. This has replaced my much larger BBQ grill during this test and very well may continue to do so after the test series is over. I have grilled beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and fish steaks. I have also grilled bacon, eggs, sausages, chicken tenders, burgers, and sirloin tips.

I grilled a 1.5 lb (680 g) fillet of fish, which varied in thickness from about 1/4 in (6 mm) to about 1.5 in (3.9 cm). At the same time I was able to cook onions and garlic. When the thinner section of the fish was cooked I was able to separate it from the remainder of the fish. I used a plastic spatula, so I would not damage the Teflon coating. I then turned off one burner, and I moved the cooked portion to the cooler side of the grill to keep it warm until the rest was cooked. This is a lot faster than using a frying pan and doing it in 2 batches. See picture below.

I have grilled a combination of all the meats above with the exception of bacon. I have been able to grill a combination of mostly 2 and sometimes 3 different meats at the same time using a separate griddle area for each one. This has worked well and saved time both in cooking and clean up.

When I grilled bacon and eggs I put a whole package of bacon on the griddle and the griddle was almost full. When the bacon had reduced in size, I moved the bacon to the grill side with the grease trap, put the eggs on the other side and cooked until it was time to turn them over. At this time I turned off that burner and turned on the simmer burner and turned the eggs over and finished them on a lower heat.

Using the INSTASTART without the griddle is not much different from using the gas stove in my kitchen, except for the simmer burner. One of the first items I made was a chili. I used one large burner for the beans and the other to fry onions, garlic and spices. I covered the fry pan and set it aside and when the beans were ready for simmering I moved them to the center simmer burner. I could not get the larger burners to simmer as low as I wanted. The center burner is better able to handle simmering than my kitchen stove which has 3 positions for flame intensity. The only limitation is not being able to have 10 in (25.4 cm) diameter pots on both the large burner and the simmer burner at the same time. It is possible, but since neither pot is centered, I did not think it would work well. This was not a problem since I needed the larger burners until the fry pan cooking was done and then the beans simmered on the center burner until it was time to add the onions, garlic, and spices to the bean pot for the last stage of simmering. Even if my inside stove would simmer as well as the INSTASTART, in the hot weather when it is too hot to cook inside I would choose to use the INSTASTART outside.

I decided right from the start that when grilling I did not want the grease collection trap to be on the same side as my large tank of propane. For me this is a safety issue. So I always set the grease pan on the left side and will cook the items with the most grease on the left side reducing the amount of time the grease spends on the griddle. I almost always use the left burner at a higher heat setting. To insure the proper flow of grease I use a small level and some carpenter shims to make the right side a little bit higher. Since the grease spillway is centered the griddle drains best when it is level from front to back. If I had a choice I would like a griddle where the spillway was on the left front side. This would make leveling easier. I prefer not to see an accumulation of grease on my griddle while I am cooking.

I have not had any problems due to mild winds. At this point I have not experienced anything stronger than a mild wind. The flame sometimes makes a noise like it might be going out but it has not gone out. When using the griddle, the side with the grease container is the one with the windshield down. I use a higher heat setting for items that contain more grease. I think the reason this stove is resistant to wind is because the fire ring is large compared to other propane stoves I have used, thus it would require a higher force wind to blow out all the openings on one burner.

With meats that have an average thickness I can fit about 3 lb (1.4 kg) on the grill with an average cook time of about 20 minutes. Depending on portion size this can serve about 10 people, so in an hour I could grill about 30 servings. This is a very rough number as there are many variables.

The look and appearance of grilled food is somewhere between grilling on an open flame and pan frying. I prefer it to pan frying as I think there is less fat in the cooked food. I prefer this to open cooking as I feel I have more control over cooking uniformity and I don't feel the heat of the stove as much. It does take a little practice and I sometimes use small amounts of sesame oil to help with the browning.

There are a few things I can't do on the griddle and that is probably because I don't have the skill. One of them is frying large amounts of chopped onions, garlic, and ground meat. I have been accustomed to using a fry pan with high sides or a wok too long for it to be easy for me to cook without walls.

Lighting the INSTASTART is really instant as the name suggests. I turn the gas on, touch the igniter button and it is lit.

Cleaning is not one of my favorite tasks, but the using the griddle does make the job a lot easier. After the griddle has cooled down I use paper towels to wipe the surfaces down. This usually takes care of most of the cleaning. If it is not clean enough I will repeat with a moist towel with a small amount of detergent followed by a rinsing. After using the griddle 14 times the surface still appears to be in perfect condition.
IMAGE 1
fish with onions and garlic

SUMMARY

I am very pleased with the results I am getting. The outstanding points are better tasting food, less work to cook and clean up. I would like to have the grease spillway nearer the front of the griddle to make leveling of the stove less critical, but that is a personal preference. Since the latch is not reliable, I am using a canvas belt with a D ring buckles to prevent surprise openings of the stove in transport. In these days of watching energy consumption I think this griddle uses less energy compared to conventional open flame grills.

TESTING STRATEGY

I will continue to use the INSTASTART stove as my primary outdoor cooking stove for backyard cooking and outings. I hope to try using my wok with this stove and possibly use some other cooking utensils that I may have access to.

This concludes my Field Report. The Long Term Report will be appended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.

My thanks to Coleman and Backpackgeartesters.org for the opportunity to test the Coleman EvenTemp INSTASTART 3 Burner Stove.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I used the Coleman INSTASTART in eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Locations included my yard, the yards of relatives and friends, and day picnic areas. I car camped at Harold Parker State Forest in Massachusetts. Temperatures were between 55 F (13 C) and 95 F (35 C). There were mild winds at times and a few short periods of rain. I used a 20 lb (9 kg) propane tank for all my tests during this period.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I used the Coleman INSTASTART for 7 cookouts, consisting of 3 at my children's houses, one at my granddaughter's house and 3 at my house. I used the griddle exclusively for all these cookouts. I grilled steaks, pork chops, and marinated pork chops at the cookouts of my relatives. There are some differences between using a BBQ and the griddle that I noted when I was grilling at my daughter's and my son-in-law was using a BBQ. Getting the Coleman griddle up to temperature was a lot quicker than the BBQ. A comparison of cook times is not relevant since I was cooking items that were thinner. The amount of space required was about the same, but the Coleman was a lot more portable. The Coleman and large propane tank fits easily into my Toyota Scion Xa. Assembly of stove, tank, manifold and hoses is all done by hand without the use of any tools. I find it a lot easier to cook most food on the griddle compared to a fry pan. I find the cleanup a lot easier with the griddle. Before using this Teflon coated griddle I was skeptical of using non stick cooking devices. The larger cooking area on the griddle makes it easier for me to cook. Part of that is I am using both hands to turn things on the griddle. With most fry pans I am using one hand to stabilize the pan and the other to turn items over and this is not always under full control.

Backyard Cooking

I used the Coleman INSTASTART several times at my house for trying things before cooking for a larger group of people. One of the foods I tried at home was fish. I found that cooking fish on the Coleman griddle gave good results more consistently than cooking fish in a skillet. Another way that I used the Coleman griddle when we had really hot weather was to cook enough meat for several meals. I found that meat cooked on the Coleman griddle stayed moist longer than when cooked in a skillet. I now had better tasting meat for several days.

Car Camping

I car camped twice for 3 days each time at Harold Parker State Forest. On the first trip, we found that the griddle was forgotten. This meant some modifications had to be made in order to cook the bacon, eggs, and pancakes. The bacon was cooked in a fry pan with the large burner. I then used the fry pan to cook the pancakes and eggs on the middle burner where I could use a lot lower heat level. Some pancakes did get a little burned but the result was edible. I used some enameled plates to keep the cooked items warm until all items were cooked. We came home for a few days and returned for another 3 days, this time with the griddle. Leveling the stove provides an easy path for the grease to flow into the grease pan. I did this by using dead tree branches and placing them under the plastic feet of the stove. Note the branches in the pictures below with the griddle in use. I did this by eye and it worked very well. I have sometimes used a level, but I can do almost as well by placing water in a pot and putting it on the stove. This time the bacon was cooked first on the griddle using the 2 large burners. When the bacon was cooked, I turned off the large burners and moved the bacon to the right side of the griddle. I then cooked the pancakes on the middle burner in batches of 4 pancakes. It turned out the large burners were too hot for pancakes and they burned easily. It is easier for me to cook on the griddle than using the fry pan. When the pancakes were done, I used the middle burner to cook the eggs over easy. Other than the yolk not staying intact they came out okay. I did try grilling onions, peppers and summer squash on the griddle. This requires a little more care, but being able to use both hands to turn the vegetables helps a lot.
IMAGE 3
car camping without griddle

IMAGE 4
car camping with bacon pancakes and eggs

IMAGE 5
car camping grilling vegetables


Cleaning the Coleman INSTASTART

At one of my daughter's cookouts the stove did get rained on when a short unexpected downpour happened. I had arrived later than I had thought I would. This was not a problem as this stove heats quickly and I was able to grill the marinated pork chops that I had brought very quickly before the rain started. The next day I opened the stove to check if water had entered and to see if there was any grease inside. To remove top lid, I removed the 8 Philip head screws from the border on the top of the stove. I unscrewed the two large burners and then lifted the top and leaned it on the open lid of the stove. Very little water or grease had gotten inside. I used a paper towel to remove a slight amount of water and grease. I put the lid back in place, screwed the burners partially back on, put the 8 screws in partially until all screws were in place. I then tightened all screws and finished screwing the burner heads back on.
IMAGE 1
at my daughter's house

IMAGE 2
open for cleaning

SUMMARY

I have many reasons to like the Coleman INSTASTART stove. It has most of the benefits of a BBQ in a portable stove. It is light, stores easily and assembles quickly. The battery ignition works quickly and ignites before there is an odor of propane. The griddle heats quickly and is very efficient. I start cooking sooner and take less time cooking. It stands up to heavy use very well and is very reliable. I would prefer a wider spillway on the griddle to facilitate the flow of grease. This is my fourth Coleman camping stove since 1974; it is larger but a lot more versatile. There were times when I needed 2 of the smaller Coleman stoves and now all I need is the Coleman INSTASTART.

CONTINUED USE

This has replaced my BBQ and I will be using the Coleman INSTASTART on all my car camping trips and for all my outdoor cooking activities.
My thanks to Coleman and Backpackgeartesters.org for the opportunity to test the Coleman EvenTemp INSTASTART 3 Burner Stove.

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

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