As you might remember from the post on the test weekend, I had some problems with my Coleman stove – I could not get it going and it seemed to leak some fuel – so I was facing the prospect of cold meals or learning to make a fire in the wild. Eating in restaurants or buying a new dual fuel stove were out of the question, I have spent all the money I had budgeted for the preparation, and “in the wild” usually means it’s either windy, wet and behind a run-down industrial park or surrounded by children at a family campsite, wondering why that man dressed in robocop gear is not using a Camping Gaz stove like dad’s.
So after having left the stove at my father’s home (he’s got a nice workshop in the basement) with the intention of taking it apart when I had a moment, I was very glad when he told me it was working.
It turns out there was nothing wrong with it, aside from the fact that I got it second-hand it did not come with instructions (other than the few basic steps written on the label next to the ‘read the instructions carefully before use’ warning) and I was using it wrong, pouring too much fuel into it and not operating the pump properly. Once everything was set up correctly, it burnt nicely for a really long time on a very small quantity of fuel, and it only took a few minutes to bring a big pot of water to a boil. Wonderful.
This little champ arrived today, straight from an army surplus shop in the UK.
My plan is to travel as cheap as possible, so in Europe I’ll be staying at campsites and once I’m in cheapest areas, I’ll use hostels from time to time or just camp out in the countryside. I’ll be doing some outdoor cooking, so I wanted to find a stove that could burn fuel from the bike, as I imagine it is not possible to find gas canisters outside Europe and I don’t want to be carrying the extra weight and space of fuel canisters or a dedicated fuel bottle. With that in mind, I checked what options I had.
The Optimus Nova looked great – lightweight and compact, but it was too expensive, I have to seriously try and keep things within budget.
The MSR WhisperLite was another option, but again, same drawbacks – too expensive, and I didn’t like the hassle of having a separate fuel bottle that I’d have to attach ever time I wanted to cook.
So in the end I settled for Coleman. They have a solid reputation for durability and reliability – the army uses them and some people have had their stove for decades, and they have a model with a built-in fuel canister and pump. Reviews were really good, and I liked the compactness and apparent ease of use, so I settled for this one. Mind you, it was still quite an expensive purchase, so I went off in search of a good bargain and finally found this one (used) from an army surplus store. It looks great, used but in good condition. I’ll test it as soon as I have a moment and report back.