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REVISED: TED--LTR Coleman Xtreme Stove

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  • edwardripleyduggan
    Hi Will, A few small grammatical issues fixed. The HTML is at http://tinyurl.com/md7tp I may get up to the Dacks Friday and Saturday nights. If so, I may have
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 28, 2006
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      Hi Will,

      A few small grammatical issues fixed. The HTML is at

      http://tinyurl.com/md7tp

      I may get up to the Dacks Friday and Saturday nights. If so, I may
      have an addendum sooner rather than later.

      Ted.

      Long Term Report:
      Coleman Exponent Xtreme Stove
      Trail Maintenance Kit for Xtreme Stove

      Report Date: February 25, 2005

      This is the third report of three
      My Initial Report may be viewed here
      My Field Report may be viewed here


      Navigation

      Reviewer Background
      Product information in brief
      Field and test information
      Product Use and Performance
      Summary




      Reviewer Background

      I enjoy walking in all its manifold forms, from a simple stroll in
      the woods to multi-day backpack excursions. Though by no means an
      extreme ultra-light enthusiast, from spring to fall my preference is
      to carry a pack weight (before food and water) of 12 lb (5.5 kg), more
      or less. In recent years, I've rapidly moved to a philosophy of
      "lighter is better," within the constraints of budget and common sense.




      Reviewer Information

      * Name: Edward Ripley-Duggan
      * Age: 52
      * Gender: Male
      * Height: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
      * Weight: 215 pounds (98 kg)
      * erd@...
      * Catskills, New York State



      Product information in brief

      * Manufacturer: The Coleman Company, Inc.
      * URL: http://www.coleman.com/
      * Product: Xtreme Stove
      * Year of manufacture: 2005
      * MSRP: US $59.99 (from website)
      * Manufacturer's stated weight: 11 oz (312 g)
      * Measured weight (home scale): 11 oz (312 g)
      * Measured weight with stuff sack: 11.5 oz (326 g)
      * Stated stove dimension: 7 x 4 x 4 in (18 x 10 x 10 cm)
      * Measured stove dimension: in the stated range (a precise
      measurement of such an irregularly shaped object is hard to define)!
      * Fuel type: Coleman Powermax canister fuel
      * Stated input rating*: 14,000 Btu/hr (4.1 kW)
      * Stated burn time on high (300 g cartridge): 1 hr
      * Stated boiling capacity per 300 g cartridge: 20 L/21 qt
      * Stated boil time**: 3 minutes per L/qt
      * Number of burners: 1

      * Input rating is a measure of fuel consumption, not
      heat output. The Standard Unit here is Watts.
      ** Since boil times are notoriously subject to
      conditions (e.g. wind, elevation), I have not taken a comparative
      measurement.

      * Trail Maintenance Kit, measured weight with label etc.:
      2 oz (57 g)
      * MSRP: US $7.99




      Field and test information

      With the eighth warmest January on record, and an almost
      equivalently mild February, this has been an unusually temperate
      winter thus far here in New York State. Daytime temperatures have
      occasionally been as high as 60 F (16 C), down to perhaps 15 F (-9 C).
      Nighttime temperatures have lacked their usual bite. There has also
      been little snow in the LTR period, though there's been an unusual
      amount of rain for this time of year. The one major snowstorm of the
      period missed us, and clobbered New York City instead. Elevations at
      which the stove was used varied from 500 ft (152 m) to 4000 ft (1219
      m), sometimes in heavily wooded settings.

      Product Use and Performance

      Coleman Xtreme stove

      The Xtreme Stove (courtesy Coleman)

      I had hoped that I would be able to test this stove in the bitter
      cold of a true New York State mountain winter, but conditions have
      frequently been closer to spring this year! As a consequence, in the
      Long Term Report period I've only been able to test the Xtreme Stove
      in the field (with several backpack trips to local peaks) in what I
      would really consider only moderate cold, down to around 15 F (-9 C).
      At these temperatures it has operated extremely well, lighting easily
      and providing a strong flame. It has proved a great stove for
      snow-melting (we do have some snow at elevation, thank goodness), as
      well as routine cooking.

      As the weather has not been sufficiently cold for determining true
      low-temperature performance, as I had wished at the outset of this
      test, I have had to resort to "bench tests" to emulate performance in
      colder environments. I've cold-soaked the stove and canister overnight
      down to around 0 F (-18 C), using my big food freezer. I'm happy to
      report that the performance at such temperatures also seems
      satisfactory, although I have a few caveats, as noted below. The stove
      is still easy to light when cold, and, once it has run for thirty
      seconds or so, it performs like a blowtorch. If the weather during
      what's left of our winter provides an opportunity for more testing in
      the field at low temperatures, I will provide an addendum to this report.

      So far as I am able to judge, the stove performance is uniform, or
      close to it, whether a new canister or one substantially empty is
      being used. The stove burns well until the canister is exhausted.
      There's no liquid gas detectable by shaking the canister, something
      that's borne out when it is opened with the Green Key for recycling.
      The amount of gas remaining in the canister causes some slight hissing
      on opening, but no more than that.

      I have had some continued problems attaching the canister when
      both it and the stove are cold, despite replacing the components of
      the valve assembly as detailed in the Field Report, a procedure that I
      had hoped would address this issue. There seems to be some
      improvement, but I still have to exercise what seems like undue effort
      before the canister can be twisted to lock it in position. If the
      stove and canister are being truly stubborn, I have found that it
      helps if I warm the valve assembly slightly under my arm. This doesn't
      on the face of it seem to be a major issue, but it can be a tad
      irritating in the field. It is conceivable that it will become
      progressively easier as the stove receives still more use and the
      valve components compress or wear, allowing a little more play, but
      this is speculation only.

      Also of note, I've had one of the two replacement probe seals
      (these are gaskets between the canister and the stove valve) come off
      when the canister is being removed. These tiny seals are held in place
      only by friction, and unfortunately the absence of one is not
      something that's at all visually obvious. The good news is that there
      seems to be no gas leakage even if one strays. To test this, I
      immersed the entire valve assembly in water with the canister
      attached, and there was no evidence of any escape of gas. Still, this
      was a little disquieting.

      At low temperatures the stove burns a trifle irregularly for the
      first thirty seconds or so (only when it's very cold). There's some
      initial sputtering in this circumstance, presumably as the pre-heat
      tube warms up. This quickly goes away, and it doesn't seem to
      represent a significant concern, at least within the temperature range
      at which I have been able to test.

      Though the built-in windshield, which cups the burner, helps
      shield the burner to a degree, I have found that using an external
      foil windshield is very useful (to the point of being essential) when
      there are strong cross-winds. I've tried using the stove without this
      when it's windy, but boiling times appear significantly slowed and
      there's obviously a great waste of fuel. I now use the stove without a
      windshield only in comparatively still air.

      What follows are my original questions from the Initial Report,
      with my commentary, based on my experience with the stove.

      1. Efficiency: How efficient is the stove at low temperatures?
      Does it light easily (both in warm and cold)? Does the flame burn
      cleanly, without flare-ups? Does the strength of the flame vary over
      the life of the cartridge? Does the flame pattern lead to any serious
      hot-spots? Is this an effective stove for snow-melting? How
      controllable is the flame; will it turn down low for simmering (a
      failing with many otherwise excellent stoves)? How long will a
      cartridge last with this stove under varying conditions?

      COMMENTS: The stove pumps out a lot of energy when going
      full-bore, and it's important to use the control valve to moderate the
      flame. The stove does light easily and cleanly, and I've found the
      flame consistent, other than some slight irregularity immediately
      after lighting, and that only at low temperatures. I've not noticed
      any decline in heat output over the life of the cartridge, and the
      burner is well designed, with no serious hot-spots. A fairly small
      pot, such as my MSR Kettle, is quite practical, although for maximum
      efficiency a larger pot is desirable (there is slight flame leakage
      with a small-diameter pot on all but the lowest settings). This is a
      dandy stove for snow melting, but it serves equally well for
      simmering, or for cooking. My experience has been that under winter
      conditions, a single large Powermax canister will serve for both
      cooking and snow melting for at least two days, and (with care, use of
      a windscreen, and a large diameter pot to maximize efficiency)
      possibly three.

      2. Utility: Does the stove assemble swiftly and easily, with easy
      movement of the legs? Is assembly also straightforward with gloved
      hands? Can I be certain that I have a tight seal to the canister? Is
      the stove stable on its tripod legs under different loads, and the pot
      secure on its supports, (a couple of liters of snow melt can put quite
      a strain on a stove)? Do I need to warm the cartridge for optimum
      performance at low temperatures, and if so, what's the best way of
      doing so?

      COMMENTS: Assembly is easy enough, although attachment of the
      canister may prove a little awkward at low temperatures. The stove
      legs spread easily; actually, a little too easily for complete
      comfort, as a couple of times I've accidentally nudged them out of
      position. Provided that there is a probe seal visible in the valve
      assembly, I can be confident of a tight seal, although it is possible
      for one to become dislodged, and visual inspection is therefore
      important (though this is true to some degree for any stove). So far,
      I haven't had to warm the cartridge, but I haven't been able to test
      in the very coldest conditions.

      3. Durability: Will I need to use the repair kit in earnest? How
      easily may field repairs be conducted? Can repairs be done in gloved
      hands? Will it stand up to the usual abuse of camping? Will spilt
      liquid (boiling over, etc.) cause corrosion problems?

      COMMENTS: So far, I've had one occasion to use the repair kit, but
      not in the field. Given the small size of some of the parts, this is
      work best done with bare hands, or perhaps very thin liner gloves at a
      pinch. There's no significant wear and tear to the stove evident, and
      there are no corrosion problems.

      4. Packing: Does the stove fold down to a small, neat size? How
      much room do the Powermax cartridges occupy, and do they need any
      special protection? How easily and safely are the empty cartridges
      recycled?

      COMMENTS: The packed size of the stove is fairly compact, and the
      canisters fit well into the outside pockets of some packs. The
      canisters appear very strong, and are not in need of any special
      protection. Preparation for recycling is quick and easy, but should
      certainly be done outside, away from a flame.

      Summary

      This is a solid cold-weather canister stove, and I'm generally
      pleased with it. In comparison with most standard canister stoves when
      used at low temperatures, the performance is comparatively worry-free,
      largely due to the liquid feed technology. I do have a few low-level
      concerns, especially in regard to the attachment of the canister.

      Pro

      * Excellent low-temperature performance, in comparison with
      standard canister stoves
      * Empty canisters are easily recycled
      * Heat output is easily adjustable

      Con

      * The canister can be a bit awkward to attach at cold temperatures
      * Although I've experienced no problems with the stability of
      the stove, I'd have preferred to see the legs lock into position
      * While lighter than most liquid fuel stoves, this is still
      relatively heavy for a canister stove
      * An included foil windshield would be a helpful addition

      I thank BackpackGearTest and Coleman for permitting me to
      participate in this interesting test.
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