The first time I bought a propane camp stove it was purely out of necessity.
It was the summer of 2020 and my roommate and I were just days away from fleeing our apartment where we had been seized and told to stay put for most of the spring. 48 hours until we reached the road to Irwin Lake in Crested Butte, Gov. Jared Polis issued a statewide ban on open fires as four different wildfires were growing in different parts of the state.
Admittedly, we weren’t the high-tech campers and planned on cooking all of our meals over a wood-burning campfire. To be honest, we had never done anything differently. So we frantically called every sporting goods store near Denver for suggestions and ended up buying a Coleman dual burner propane stove.
Fire restrictions in Colorado can change quickly and vary by county across the state. But one thing has become clear in recent years: fire bans are inevitable and becoming more common. As a result, post-creators should be prepared to comply with them at all times. That means you have the right gear so you don’t break the law and endanger the state’s natural amenities.
Kimberlee Phillips, spokeswoman for Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests, said local, state and federal agencies continually assess fire risk, weather prospects, human risk factors and preparedness, among other things, when deciding when and whether to use fires restrictions.
Fire restrictions are imposed in tiers, with tier one being the least expensive and tier three being the most prohibitive. On state lands, Level One prohibits burning wood or charcoal anywhere except in Forest Service-developed campgrounds and picnic areas, and in anything other than a fire pit or grill built and maintained by the Forest Service, Phillips said. No fires are allowed under second-tier restrictions. (In phase three, the forest service will likely close the forest, although that rarely happens, she added.)
There is one important exception: Flames generated by propane gas are allowed under both level 1 and 2 fire restrictions. Another safe bet is anything that runs on solar power and doesn’t require a flame at all.
“Anything with a gas-powered on-off switch is allowed,” Phillips said. “So the small portable fire pits, kerosene-filled stoves or lanterns, any pressurized liquid fuel is allowed as long as it has a shut-off valve.”
The moral of this story is that it pays to be prepared. So be sure to check online resources like coemergency.com to understand the fire risk where you’re headed and consider purchasing these essential items that will help ensure a fire ban doesn’t ruin your camping trip.
With a working propane burner and a little planning and prep, you can easily feed four people a decent hot meal.
There are countless gas camping stoves on the market, with a variety of sizes and capabilities to suit specific adventures.
If you’re backpacking or have limited storage space, experts recommend a single burner, which is lightweight and energy efficient since you’ll have to carry the gas. Something like the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 ($49.95) is only 3 inches tall, connects directly to a gas bottle, and has the ability to boil 1 liter of water in less than 4 minutes.
If you’re camping next to your car or have more storage flexibility, the aforementioned Coleman Double Burner Stove ($74.99) is great for cooking large meals. The brand, an outdoor star, has additional sizes and designs, such as: B. a hybrid grill and stove setup ($149.99).
And if you’d rather do without fire altogether, consider a solar grill. GoSun makes several different products that use the sun’s reflection to cook food in an airtight metal drawer. The smallest is the Go model ($129), which weighs two pounds and feeds a single person, and the most popular is the Sport ($249), which feeds two. The company also sells solar kitchen setups that include its other products like a sun-powered cooler that makes ice.
For warmth and ambience
Any propane gas fire pit is technically acceptable under Stage One and Stage Two fire restrictions. So if you’re bringing one camping, you should consider the type of place you’re staying and how many people are in your party.
If you choose to shop locally, LavaBox makes pits out of military-style ammo boxes that are both durable and waterproof. The company’s Tabletop Vol-CAN-no ($195) is said to heat up to six people, while the Krakatoa FireBreather ($345) can heat up to 10 people.
Other popular camping-specific brands are Camp Chef and Ignik.
Conventional wisdom suggests that it’s safe to roast s’mores over a propane fire pit – it’s like a propane grill but different, right? – although several factors related to the pit itself could affect the taste. Otherwise, Chafing Gel and Sternos have long enabled restaurant-goers to roast marshmallows without ever having to go outside and are convenient and portable to take with them when traveling.
Elevate the experience with a contraption like Crate & Barrel’s Chef ‘n S’mores Roaster ($49.95), which even includes a tray to hold your chocolate and graham crackers while you achieve that perfect golden brown.