I have Coleman's excellent double-burner Xpedition stove, and Im addicted. But Im packing for a motorcycle trip to Yosemite National Park and questioning the wisdom of my investment. The gas is virtually impossible to get in Canada, and difficult to get in the U.S. REI seems to have it, but every time I travel I'm paranoid. Is there any official word on how long it's going to be manufactured? Skot Vancouver, British Columbia
I know what you mean. I acquired a two-burner Coleman Exponent Xpedition ($80; www.coleman.com) several years back, and have often used it during bicycle tour expeditions. Its great, with plenty of heat but simmers well. And, of course, the two-burner functionality is wonderful.
Coleman Exponent Xpedition Stove
Exponent Xpedition Stove
But fuel for the Xpedition has been an issue. Colemans propane/butane canisters for the Exponent stoves (about $6 each) use a proprietary connector. Canisters using the more common Lindahl valve connector wont work. I knew the odds of finding a compatible fuel canister in, say, Halfway, Oregon (population 345), were slim to vanishing, so Id have to calculate fuel loads very carefully, and always ended up packing more fuel than I really needed. Of course, when on a motorcycle, loads arent that big of a deal. You probably could comfortably carry six or seven canisters, fuel enough for two weeks.
BUT, there is another option. This past year, Coleman has introduced what it calls the Powermax Fuel Adapter. Its basically a union with a Lindahl valve connector on one side and the Coleman Powermax connector on the other. You screw one end into pretty much any ol butane/propane canister, attach the whole thing to the port where the Coleman canister goes, and voila!youre in business. The alien canister sits upside down, which Coleman says helps more closely duplicate the performance of its own canisters. To which I say, whatever. On the whole, though, the Powermax Fuel Adapter rates as a Very Good Thing. You can pack in a few Coleman canisters and an adapter, hit the road, and have a very high degree of confidence that youll still be enjoying hot coffee long after the Coleman canisters are empty.
Check out this years more than 400 must-have gear items, including camp stoves, in the 2006 Buyers Guide.