Friday, August 18, 2017

My favorite campstove

Car campers and backpackers typically have a completely different set of camping gear, but when you travel with three kids, a husband, a dog, and a canoe then packing light like backpackers do applies to car camping as well. 

Eighteen years ago I bought a Coleman duel fuel stove and had to replace it this summer before our trip out west. We searched REI, Amazon, Gander Mountain, Fleet Farm....and read review after review. 

We had a pretty specific set of requirements and I'm happy to say we found a stove that met them in every way.


  • Under $75
  • Didn't require expensive fuel
  • Refillable fuel tank
  • Compact
  • Long lasting
  • Sturdy

I found this Coleman duel fuel 533 campstove on Amazon for $65. There are a LOT of stoves to chose from but we knew we didn't want to have to buy fuel canisters 'just in case' (That kinda defeats the purpose of compact if you are bringing fuel canisters that are as big as the stove!). We have a special fuel bottle that holds 17 ounces of extra fuel and is smaller than a pop bottle. I took the kids camping last week for three nights with only half a tank of fuel and never ran out after eight uses of about 8-10 minutes each.

I make coffee ahead of time and store it in the cooler in a 1/2 gallon glass jar. In the mornings I can heat it up in a few minutes after I've heated a pot of water for the hot chocolate drinkers in the family. (GSI makes the BEST coffee pot shown above that we heat water in) For some reason my family doesn't like their hot chocolate to taste like coffee.  

We cut the box of matches up and store matches in a peanut butter jar just like my parents did when they took me camping as a kid. 

We pack light, but we also like to be comfortable when we are camping so I started packing this compact folding table so I can keep food out of reach of the dog and cook wherever it is most convenient. This is a new camping hack for me, but what a game changer! No more hauling all our stuff to wherever the heavy picnic table is placed in a site and taking up all the surface space! Definitely worth the small space it takes up behind the front seats in our minivan!

Speaking of taking up space.....this windblock by Highrock is a life saver when there is a breeze at our campsite. It ensures the flame doesn't go out on the stove and folds up so compact it barely takes up any space in our camp kitchen.

With the proper gear we spend less than 10 minutes making any of our hot meals which means we can get back to those mountains behind PapaBear!

Do you have a favorite piece of camping gear that makes life easier when you are roughing it? Do share! 

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