Our favorite things: The classic Coleman stove

Christmas is coming. You need shopping advice. And we’re here to help.

I know, I know. You’ve heard it all before. In fact, you’ve probably read plenty of “holiday gift guides” in newspapers and magazines over the years, and found out about plenty of new, improved, can’t-miss products that have been rolled out for the holiday season.

This year, we here at BDN Outdoors are doing things a bit differently. You might even say we’re going “old school.” (Do the cool kids still say “old school”?)

Here’s the basic idea: Aislinn Sarnacki and I are going retro, and will tell you about some of our favorite things. Maybe you’ll hear about a product that the outdoors enthusiast in your life simply must have, and we’ll simplify your shopping. That would be great.

There’s a good chance, however, that we’ll be telling you about products that are familiar to you and your favorite hunter, hiker or angler. That’s OK, too: Many of these old classics have withstood the test of time, and have earned a well-deserved spot in our gear collections. Some more recent products have impressed us enough that we want to share our appreciation with you. And at least one product is a new version of an old classic that you might want to check out.

At the very least, the familiarity and popularity of some of the items we’ll focus on might take you back a few years, and spark a few memories of great times spent in Maine’s outdoors.

Aislinn and I will regularly add “favorite things” to our blogs in upcoming posts. You can access her blog here. And if you’d like to pass along one your own favorite things, you can do so by emailing either of us at jholyoke@bangordailynews.com or asarnacki@bangordailynews.com. Be sure to tell us why your classic fave deserves mention.

The classic Coleman stove: A car-camping (and hunting) staple for decades. (Coleman photo)

Today’s first “favorite thing” is a true classic that most outdoors enthusiasts are familiar with: The Coleman Stove.

Coleman stoves come in various models that can burn propane, Coleman Liquid Fuel, or unleaded gasoline.

The two-burner models provide enough cooking surface to heat up a skillet and coffee pot, or to simmer a large stew pot.

During the recently completed deer season, my hunting buddy Tim Lander cooked up burgers on his propane Coleman Stove one Saturday afternoon; on another trip afield, his brother, Chris, heated up a massive pot full of haddock chowder on the dual-fuel Coleman that he has relied on for years.

The stoves are virtually foolproof (heck, I can make mine work), and are extremely durable (as Chris will point out).

According to the Coleman website, the stoves were developed before World War II, but became popular after the war ended, when car camping became popular among Americans.

Most outdoors enthusiasts probably already have a Coleman stove, I’d wager. For gift purposes, I’d think a young adult who has been relying on their parents to provide the backwoods grub, but is starting to venture out with pals, would love their own Coleman.

Hikers rely on smaller stoves, and there are some impressive packable models on the market.

If weight and size aren’t a concern, I’d opt for the old car-camping standard.

Another benefit: If you’re providing the gear for a trip and decide that you don’t want to cook on a given night, it will be easier to assign the duty to someone else if you don’t have to train them on a stove they’re unfamiliar with.

And nearly everyone knows how to operate a Coleman stove.

That’s what being a “classic” is all about, I figure.


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John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.