Obsession | Coleman

Personally, when it comes to camping I am more interested in the gear than the outdoors. I remember going on trips as a kid and seeing my dad make breakfast on our (his) Coleman grill. It was a memorable moment because the green-metal grill is such a cool piece of machinery, and well, because Dad doesn’t make breakfast too often. Kansas based Coleman has been turning out all sorts of iconic American products (like grills, lanterns and coolers) since 1901. Some of my most-liked Coleman products after the jump.

Powerhouse Deluxe Stove


The company doesn’t just make goods for gentleman campers like myself. Throughout WWII, GIs carried a special “Pocket Stove” that was specifically designed and manufactured by Coleman. From the company’s history: “During WWII, its Wichita plants cranked out projectiles for the Navy and parts for B-17 and B-29 bombers. But their most valuable contribution to the war effort was the development of the GI Pocket Stove. The specifications seemed impossible.

“The stove had to be lightweight, no larger than a quart thermos, burn any kind of fuel, and operate in weather from -60º to 125º F. Fewer than 60 days after work commenced, Coleman demonstrated a working prototype. And in November 1942, 5,000 of Coleman’s little stoves went into battle when U.S. forces invaded North Africa. The stoves burned for two hours on a cup of fuel from a jeep or plane. They were carried across every battlefield in Europe and the Pacific. They showed up in tents, foxholes and bombers.” Those specs do seem impossible, but Coleman got it done and the stove remains today as one of my favorite pieces of WWII equipment.

Heritage Propane Lantern


54 Quart Steel Belted Cooler

*Fact: Coleman introduced its first all-metal insulated cooler in 1954, adapting tools and processes developed while manufacturing ammunition chests during World War II. (Take that Valet!)


1 Mantle Kerosene Lantern


1.3 Gallon Steel Belted Jug


All photos courtesy of The Coleman Company, Inc.

Comments on “Obsession | Coleman

    Cory on December 15, 2008 9:49 PM:

    Well done sir. Despite having flashbacks to Boy Scout camp outs, I do love a good history fact. And these are some good looking products!

    trip on December 15, 2008 11:09 PM:

    Nice article, I like it.

    Ms. P&C on December 16, 2008 1:20 AM:

    The Coleman grill just makes me think of triathlon season. I know, weird. It’s true though – a few of the races require camping out the night before (definitely difficult)… but then there’s a Coleman grill to cook up some fresh oatmeal & coffee on race morning.

    Some sort of routine an important factor in overall success, at least for tris…

    Jonathan on December 16, 2008 9:37 AM:

    These sure are purty. But the best Coleman stove I ever used was picked up at a yard sale for cheap. We spray painted it matte black to cover up the bits of rust. Lots of bad coffee and scrambled eggs were cooked up on that thing.

    james fox on December 16, 2008 10:04 AM:

    crossing brands here…but i love these tin IGLOO water coolers too.

    Lesli Larson on December 16, 2008 10:52 AM:


    At some point, when the Coleman equipment starts breaking down or you don’t want to walk down badly lit mega-sporting goods stores to make your purchase, you should consider upgrading to Snow Peak “luxury camping” and mountaineering equipment. For starters, I recommend the Peak titanium spork and drinking cup..


    Sammy G on December 16, 2008 1:37 PM:

    Wow, I still have my old Green Coleman liquid fuel two burner stove. You know the one you have to pump. I refuse to buy a new one. It just keep going no matter how bad I treat it. There is no competition.

    dean b on December 17, 2008 1:16 AM:

    Love the Coleman Powerhouse. We’ve had one for 10 years. Use a couple of times a year when we get together with a few other families for a weekend of primitive camping at a large lake a couple of hours from our home. Everyone has one. We set the all up under the trees and cook all kinds things from coffee to omlettes with Salmon from the night before. Then they go back into “storage” meaning-put into the shed. They never die. Rugged and simple. Always there.

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