*Coleman 508 stove and carrier*
30 June 2002
One of the items in my BOV kit is a single burner Coleman Stove and carrier. I first got it as a hunting stove where I had to take all my gear in a backpack and duffle bag (caribou hunting in Alaska for example). It travels well and the carrier and lid double as cooking containers. I use the carrier to boil water and the lid as a frying pan. I bought the Coleman over any other brand because of the longevity of Coleman products and their universal availability (in the U.S.) The pump on the stove uses standard replacement Coleman parts and the generator has been totally trouble free. This may or may not be something to consider in a post event situation. You might have the best canister fuel stove in the world but if Joes Gas and Go doesnít have propane in the little jugs and youíre a refugee you might get to eat cold beanie weenies until you get to the relocation center. I tend to think there will be a source of gasoline in quantities sufficient to keep this stove running after the fact. One of the primary considerations I had when I got this stove was the universal availability of fuel without having to have any special ancillary equipment.
Iíve ran the stove with Coleman fuel, naphtha, leaded and white gasoline (back when you could get leaded gas) and never had a problem with it. I donít make a habit of using other fuels than Coleman fuel but I did run it solid for a ten-day hunt using nothing other than unleaded gasoline and it never stuttered. If you have a problem with occasionally using gasoline in your Coleman stoves the dedicated dual fuel model Coleman produces in this class stove is the model 533. Yes I know there are backpacking stoves that are lighter and they work well, but this stove was designed for hard use on a daily basis without failure and for this application I prefer it to the lighter cousins it has. Based on my usage I can go 10 meals between refueling. Thatís basically the boil and shut off type cooking. I try and conserve fuel but am not overly stingy with the burn time and obviously your mileage will vary. I think I read somewhere it will run for an hour and a half on a full tank of fuel.
One thing I do like about the stove is the burner area is fairly large and the base is wide enough itís not tippy. I have seen many a meal sloshed on the ground by other than a secure stove base. Also, since it has the standard 3.5 inch burner you can use regular sized skillet if need be and cook for a family. Using it to cook for a small group (say three people) is easy but I donít think youíd get as many meals between fillings as if you were cooking for one.
You need to be aware this stove and most of the 2 burner stoves tend to flare up when you light them. I made the mistake of lighting it on one hunt and placing it in my tent to warm the tent enough to allow me to strip down and crawl in my bag. Unfortunately, the stove waited to flare until I placed it in the tent. The resultant flare melted the bug mesh on the back window of the tent and if I hadnít tossed the stove out the door the tent would have probably burned down. We were an hour by air from Tok Alaska and the plane to pick us up was not due to pick us up for another 6 days. It would have been real bad to have to sleep under a tarp had all my gear burned. Anyway, thatís how the stove burner windshield got the dent in the picture. Just remember not to put open flames in tents.
The controls on the stove are slightly different than those seen on Colemanís larger pressurized fuel stoves. This one has an additional lever that performs a cleaning function as well as adjusting the flame height. I think it leans out the fuel into the generator to flush out carbon from the burner. Iíve never had to use it for cleaning but I "think" that provision was placed on the stove to allow the use of old fuel that had been stored in less than pristine conditions. The other lever is the fuel valve to supply fuel to the generator, and basically acts as an on/off switch.
The carrier is an aluminum stamping with a slot riveted on the bottom and top for the handle. It is a cube about 6.5 inches on an edge and the lid is tight fitting. The bottom is a 2-quart pot and the lid is a 6-inch frying pan. It reminds me of the Billy style cook sets of the late 1900ís (whereís a jolly swag man when you need one?} There is enough room on the inside with the stove inserted for additional equipment storage if that is a consideration. The technical name is 501-960 Aluminum Cook Kit, at least thatís name on the box. I see these occasionally in sporting goods stores but I wasnít able to find a source on the net when I researched this article.
If you need an extremely rugged stove that will give years of service and need just a single burner I donít think youíll go very wrong if you decide to get one of these. When coupled with the carrier/cook set you have a self-contained system. Just add food and water. Iíve used mine for well over a decade and am very pleased with it.
Thanks for the read.
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