This old Coleman just keeps on cooking | AspenTimes.com

This old Coleman just keeps on cooking

Bob Ward

It’s a 21st-century given that many consumer goods – including some of the most influential and expensive – are short-lived.

We buy cars, computers and cell phones every few years (if not less), and many in Aspen seem to remodel or replace their mega-homes on a similarly short time frame.There’s still room in this fast-paced world, however, for a good old-fashioned product that works well and lasts a long time. Longevity and durability are underrated nowadays, but the Coleman two-burner propane stove is a sterling example of both, and it remains an excellent value.I’ve owned my Coleman for some 14 years, and it’s still as reliable as the day I bought it.

Back before I became a family man, I used to swear by my single-burner backpacking stove, but the two-burner is the tool of choice on family camping trips, where it’s vital to heat the adults’ coffee and the kids’ oatmeal simultaneously. The two-burner stove has also boosted the quality of my outdoor meals. No more freeze-dried dinners, at least not on car-camping excursions. We eat eggs and bacon for breakfast and pasta marinara, fajitas or some such “real food” for dinner. If it’s true that everything tastes good in the outdoors, then it’s equally true that good food tastes even better.And the Coleman has uses beyond camping. During the pre-Y2K scare, I simply bought extra propane bottles to get us through. I’ve even bought Coleman two-burners as wedding presents for friends – “Just imagine pork tenderloin and wild rice as the sun sets in the high country!” – but I doubt they shared my reverence for simple Coleman quality. (I still stand by the gift as infinitely better than another salad bowl or picture frame.)

I also like the fact that the stove carries like a briefcase and folds down into a slim shape that packs easily into the nooks and crannies of an overstuffed automobile. Coleman stoves have evolved since I bought mine for around $40, but similar models now go for $60 or $70. In my book, that’s still a steal for a device that will light easily and cook efficiently in all weathers and at any altitude.