When it comes to camping and cooking when I am out with my wife and sons there is one simple rule to the food, make it good and make a lot of it.
With this in mind there is a piece of gear that got a lot of cooking time on a recent backcountry trip in upper Michigan and it was the Coleman Camp Oven. If you have never used one and you cook outside on a camp stove when camping, then you need to hunt one down. This oven is as amazing as it is simple. Understand I am not talking about the Coleman Portable Stove Oven Combo that has a retail price of $325, I am referring to the Camp Oven which lists at $40.
This fold flat aluminized steel box opens up to offer an oven that uses a camp stove as its heat source. I bought ours a few years ago at the Coleman Factory Outlet store in Birch Run, Michigan right off I-75. To be honest I don’t remember exactly how much I paid, but being a bit frugal when it comes to purchases of “discretionary” camping gear, I know it was at a good price. Looking around now, I see it priced at various stores ranging from $29 up to the suggested $40 price.
The oven will work on any Coleman stove, liquid fuel or propane, though when we have used it on the propane camp stove, it was a challenge getting the temperature up to where we needed it. But when it is on our liquid fuel stove, there is plenty of power to bring the temperature up to where you need it to be.
As far as the capacity of the stove there is a single 10 x 11 inch adjustable rack with an opening at the door of 10 inches wide by 9 inches high. It is not large, but it is big enough if you plan properly. On the front door of the oven there is a dial thermometer that is easy to read and once you get a bit of practice, it is very easy to control the temperature.
There are only a few things to remember when baking with the oven that will make whatever you are cooking come out a bit better.
First, when using it with a propane stove, understand it may take longer to heat up and it could be difficult to maintain a high temperature. When my wife and I used it on an early spring trip this year, it was rather cool out and the propane stove had a hard time bringing the temperature up to 450F for the biscuits we were making. Even though the Coleman website says the propane stoves put out as much power as a liquid fuel stove, it seems when we have used ours, the heat is not as intense. So be prepared to adjust your cooking times.
When we use it with our liquid fueled Coleman Powerhouse stove, enough heat is not a problem. It will bring the temperature up quickly and keep it there even allowing me to cook on the second burner as long as I keep it at a low setting. The only real issue you need to worry about is when starting the stove and turn it off. As anyone who uses a liquid fueled Coleman stove knows, there can be a fuel odor when starting and shutting it down. So make sure you have the stove at operating temperature before putting the oven over the burner and remove it before shutting the stove off.
Other than those few things, using the oven is rather straight forward.
So get ready to enjoy some fresh baked food next time you are camping. After all, meals always taste better when you are in the outdoors and with this oven, you can really add a whole new dimension to your camping meals.
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