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Reviews > Base Camp Gear > Campsite Gear > Stoves > Coleman PerfectFlow Stove > Owner Review by Derek Hansen

Coleman 2-Burner Propane PerfectFlow™ Stove

Owner Review by Derek Hansen

DATE: September 9, 2008

Image - Coleman Stove

Photo courtesy Coleman.com

TESTER INFORMATION

NameDerek Hansen
Age32
GenderMale
Height5’ 10” (1.78 m)
Weight165 lb (75 kg)
Email Address derek·dot·hansen·at·mac·dot·com
City, State, CountryAlexandria, Virginia, USA

BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

I began serious backpacking in 2005 after becoming a Scoutmaster for a local Boy Scout troop in Virginia. Now, I overnight camp at least once a month with two or three week-long high adventure treks every year. I am venturing into lightweight backpacking and keep my base weight under 18 lb (8.2 kg). I use a hammock year-round.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: The Coleman Company, Inc.
Year Manufactured: 2005
URL: http://www.coleman.com/
Weight Listed: N/A
Weight Measured: 170.25 oz (4827 g)
MSRP: US$39.95
Dimensions Measured: 14.5 x 21 x 4 in (39.4 x 53 x 10.2 cm)
BTU: 20,000 in two high-performance, adjustable burners Lighting: Matchlight
Fuel: Uses 16.4 oz (465 g) propane cylinders

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

The Coleman 2-Burner Propane PerfectFlow™ Stove is a few-frills, basic base-camp stove featuring the Colmean “Windblock™” system consisting of slanting metal sheets that fill a double duty of blocking side wind and supporting the fold-open lid. The stove has a modern shape with rounded edges and carrying handle. The wind shields fold down inside the lid for easy packing. The lid has a snap closure with a small red nob that releases the catch when opening.

The safety and operating instructions label is affixed to the inside of the lid for ready reference.

The stove is constructed of “heavy-duty enable painted steel case and aluminized cooking surface.” The exterior is painted green, and the cooking area has a brushed aluminum appearance.

The two burners operate independent of each other and are controlled by separate valve knobs. The two burner control knobs are inset in the handle, each controlling the left or right burner respectively. The burners are fully adjustable to form a low-heat simmer to a high-heat full boil.

The stove has two removable parts: a grate and an external propane connector. The nickel chrome grate fits over the burners and is aligned over the burners by matching the grate into pre-punched holes in the aluminized cooking surface. The individual wire grates are spaced far apart and are suitable for placing a pot, griddle, or other cooking pan on top, but is not designed for placing food directly on the grate.

The external propane connector has a threaded end that connects to the right side of the stove and a valve that connects to the external propane canister. Propane canisters are sold separately. The “PerfectFlow™” system refers to the non-adjustable connector that links the propane canister with the stove. The pressure from the external canister is controlled via the two burner control knobs.

FIELD USE CONDITIONS

My wife and I purchased this stove as part of our family “car camping” equipment in 2006. The stove fits great in the trunk or the back of the van and the propane canisters we need are readily available at shopping centers, grocery stores, and often camp stores where we overnight.

We have taken the Coleman stove with us on many overnight and week-long camps totaling over 20 days and nights. Three of our most recent trips include an excursion at the Assateague National Seashore, Maryland; camping near Williamsburg, Virginia; and camping at the Bull Run Regional Park in Virginia.

Our adventure at the Assateague National Seashore in Maryland was at sea level, and temperatures ranged from 55 F (13 C) to 90 F (32 C). Williamsburg area is about 50 ft in elevation (15 m) with temperatures in the same range. Our trip to Bull Run was at an elevation of about 285 ft (87 m) and had mild summer temperatures of 65 F (18 F) to around 80 F (~27 C).

FIELD USE RESULTS

While camping on the beach in Assateague, the wind was horrific. Partly a blessing in disguise, because the wind prohibited the swarms of mosquitos from bothering us, but it made keeping the heat on the pots very difficult. The wind swirled and blew, seemingly from all directions. The Coleman “Windblock™” stays were not enough to keep the wind from blowing the heat off the pot. I tried digging a large sand mound to block the wind, but that wasn’t effective because–did I mention the sand? I had to abandon the sand idea and resorted to just piling other kitchen items around the stove and trying to stand in strategic locations to block the wind. Luckily, I also had a backpacking windscreen in my kit that I was able to use around one of the pots. Ultimately, I just used a lot of the fuel to cook and clean-up our meals. To light the burners, I had to use a Bic-brand lighter, as matches failed in the wind.

The stove has great temperature controls, but for this trip, I had to keep the valve on “high” to compensate for the high wind.

The situation in Williamsburg was much different: very calm and peaceful, except for the rain. Thankfully we had finished cooking our evening meal before the rain hit, but I left the stove outside before we retired for the night. The stove was closed when the rain came, and in the morning I inspected all our gear. The stove was no worse for the wear and there was some moisture down in the stove basin. Although not exactly waterproof, the cover seemed to do a good job keeping the rain out. For breakfast, I placed a griddle over the two burners and cooked up some delicious bacon and pancakes that we all enjoyed. The two burners did a good job at distributing the heat over the griddle, but there were obvious hot spots directly over the jets. For better even temperatures, I should probably get a cast iron griddle.

Carrying The Stove

I should note that the two adjustable valves rotate in opposite directions, which can be a little confusing at first. I often forget, and when I turn on one side, I glance to see why the other nob isn’t turning, only to remember that it turns in the opposite direction to open and close. The knobs are accurately labeled, it is just a strange function to get used to.

To light the stove, I typically strike a match and lay it down near the burner and then open the appropriate valve. This is the recommended method, but I’ve also held a small Bic-brand lighter to light the stove (not recommended) and singed my hand in the process.

Cooking The Bacon

Our trip to the Bull Run Regional Park in Virginia was very pleasant with no rain and very moderate temperatures. For this trip, I only packed the two propane canisters we had used in Assateague and Williamsburg. It is hard to tell how empty the canisters are, and I guessed we had enough fuel between the two to make it over the weekend. I was wrong. For dinner, we planned for spaghetti, with green beans and toasted garlic bread. The first canister lasted long enough to boil the spaghetti noodles, but eventually sputtered out and the flames died. We toasted our bread over a small open fire and used the second canister to heat up the sauce and beans and later to heat up water for clean-up. For breakfast the next day, I was busy cooking bacon and pancakes on the griddle again with the same canister. I made it through the bacon and the first few pancakes when the second propane canister died out, empty. I guess that trip to Assateague really wiped out the fuel! I quickly drove down to the camp store only to discover they had no canisters available. I picked up some wood and we cooked the remaining pancakes on the griddle over hot coals.

To clean the stove, I typically just wipe down the cooking surface with a paper towel. I’m pretty careful not to spill, so I haven’t had any difficult messes to clean up, thankfully. The surface seems pretty easy to clean, but I’ve also never allowed any food to burn or sear onto the metal. A quick wipe-down after each meal has kept our Coleman 2-burner stove looking new for a few years, and hopefully many more to come.

SUMMARY

The Coleman 2-burner propane stove with “PerfectFlow™” system has been a great stove for base camping with the family. The carrying handle makes it easy to tote from the shelf at home to the back of the car or van, and it is very easy to set up and use. The most difficult part of set-up is to attach the external metal connector to the body of the stove and to twist on the propane canister.

I’ve seen some propane stoves with metal stands for the propane canister. This stove does not have a stand, so the weight of the canister is distributed partly on the connecting tube and the canister itself. I’ve worried about eventual wear on the connection ends, but so far I’ve had no problems.

Lighting the stove poses its own dangers, but by following the directions of lighting the match first and placing it down near the burner has proved very effective in low-wind conditions. Coleman does sell “InstaStart™” stoves with push-button ignition for matchless lighting; this may be an option in the future, but I am happy with the performance of the basic model we currently own.

I hate to waste fuel, but I also learned my lesson by running out of fuel by guessing the capacity of a near-depleted canister. It is difficult to tell if the canister is full or empty and, unfortunately, the canisters are not refillable.

ROSES

  1. Easy to set-up, and tote.
  2. Fuel is easy to come by and works well in varied conditions.
  3. Adjustable flame for simmering or boiling.
  4. Can hold up to two pots or a griddle over the two burners.

THORNS

  1. External metal connecting tube doesn’t have a stand for the propane canister.
  2. Does not have a push-button ignition.
  3. Fuel canisters are not refillable and are difficult to measure their capacity (how full is it?).


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Reviews > Base Camp Gear > Campsite Gear > Stoves > Coleman PerfectFlow Stove > Owner Review by Derek Hansen



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