I am a hypocrite. In a good way, I would like to think. I am a fastidious person and take care of my belongings and gear in an almost obsessive fashion. But then, when I field test products, I abuse those products unmercifully.
Ever so often I am struck by my loyalty to certain products because of their longevity and dependability in my life. Hence, I am not a very good “reviewer” of some products in a sense. I simply cannot bring myself to write a nice review about a product just because the manufacturer gave it to me. I need to spend a lot of time using products before I can review them. At the 2003 OWAA Conference (Outdoor Writers Association of America), Coleman Outdoor Products with there as a sponsoring member and with a display table. I just smiled, remembering the first Coleman product I purchased 31 years ago. It was a sleeping bag, and it still functions perfectly, now being doubling as a quilt for my bed at my hunting shack. Now THAT is quality. That bag has been through more hunting and camping trips and more washings than nearly anything else I own. But I digress. To say that I am loyal to Coleman products is a given. At the end of this article I have listed the Coleman products I have purchased and that I myself use. For this article, I will review two products I have tested for nearly a year: the Coleman Camp Coffee Maker and the Coleman Camp Shower.
I am a coffee fiend. I could make a diet out of coffee and chocolate alone. When I got the Coleman Camp Coffee Maker to field test last year, I was like a kid at Christmas ripping into the packaging. When it comes to hunting and camping trips, I had always missed getting a decent cup of coffee. By decent, I mean Colombian, regular or decaf, made in a drip coffeemaker, smooth and rich, no acid taste and no grounds to gag me or lodge in my teeth. Camp coffee, Cowboy Coffee or perked coffee are all aesthetically pleasing since these more primitive brewing methods are reminiscent of hunting and camping trips gone by. However, the coffee quality is usually pretty poor. When I built my hunting shack and had a propane stove top put in, I continued brewing coffee the “old” ways due to lack of electricity. Plus, I was too lazy on cold mornings to fire up a generator just to run one wee electric drip coffee maker.
Then, I test drove the Coleman Camp Coffee Maker for the first time. WOW! Real coffee like you get in the fancy coffee shops while out in the boonies. I felt like a born again camper. I was able to replicate my home brewed perfect coffee just about anywhere. At my hunting shack, I simply use it on my propane cooktop. On camping or hunting trips, I use it on my Coleman two burner stove. The coffee maker is so easy to use, a kid can operate it. It has a swing away basket in which to place the filter, and water is poured through a hinged lid, just like another other drip coffee maker. The ingenious part of this coffee maker however, is that the water is stored in a metal reservoir just under the carafe. When the gas it lit, it heats the water and forces it through the drip system. It takes a bit longer to brew than an electric coffee drip coffee maker, but the wait is well worth it. I have not perked a cup of coffee since getting the Coleman Camp Coffee Maker a year ago. Why bother when the best is so much easier?
My only concern with the Coleman Camp Coffee Maker is that the coffee does not stay hot very long. However, this is true of any coffee made in a camp situation. This is because you MUST turn off the gas flame once the coffee is brewed, and hence, the coffee cools quickly. Unlike many people, I like my coffee burning hot. I solve this concern in two ways. One, I simply reheat the coffee in another pot. Or secondly, I put the piping hot coffee in a thermal carafe or other thermal insulated container so it will stay hot all day.
- Fast brewing, faster than perk
- Excellent coffee, as good as the designer coffee stores
- Sturdy housing withstands rough handling
- Black exterior does not show dirt
- Easy to use and easy to clean
- Uses standard coffee filters
- Requires adequate sized gas burner, too small a burner and it tips
- Coffee does not stay hot long (see article for solutions)
Coleman Camp Shower
Up at my hunting shack, we have no electricity, no water, no shower, and no toilet except an outhouse. However, the need to stay scent free and clean is very real when hunting deer or bear. I rigged up two things at camp. One is an outdoor cleanup area nested in a spray of mature maples and surrounded with tarps. I installed a pulley suspended from a high branch, and hoist a solar shower up on the pulley. The second cleanup area is inside my shack. I had a cement form poured with a floor drain that channeled water via a 6 inch PVC pipe to the outside of my shack. With a shower curtain for water containment, we had a slick indoor shower as well, for those cold fall and winter days. Again, the water source was your standard gravity fed solar shower. Most of the time we heated the water for the shower, but this system had one decided drawback: it took a long time to take a shower with a gravity feed system, especially for me because I have long hair. When outside, a person can get eaten alive by mosquitoes before their shower is finished. Also with the inside system, due to the 8 foot ceiling height, I could never get the gravity solar shower bag up high enough for there to be enough force to get more than a trickle of water unless I sat or squatted in the shower. Needles to say I had my share of tip-overs and flailing in the shower curtain.
Enter the Coleman Camp Shower. It seemed too easy. It has a shower head, a tiny vacuum device that I placed into a large bucket of heated water, and a waterproof battery powered foot operated on/off switch right at my feet. I was dog dirty and with the “old” shower I used before it would have taken forever to clean up. I touched the switch with my foot. In seconds, a healthy spray of water got the hair done in 2 minutes and the shower complete in 4 minutes. Two thumbs up, I thought to myself. However, I like machines that do more than one thing, and the Coleman Camp Shower fills that bill too. I built an 8 foot firepit at camp and had excavated it prior to lining it with Class 5 gravel. It promptly poured rain and filled the pit with water. The next morning I removed the shower head from the Coleman Camp Shower and used it to siphon about 50 gallons of water out of the firepit. VERY nice.
Coleman Camp Shower - Pros
- Easy to use
- Pumps water fast and smoothly
- Waterproof foot operated on/off control
- Lightweight and durable
- Easy to pack and transport
- Many uses besides just a shower!
Coleman Camp Shower - Cons
- Water is pumped at a high rate. I would like to see a low and high setting.
- When using a bucket, I would like to see about two more feet of clear plastic hose, so the shower more easily reached from a water source on the ground.
Coleman Products I Own and Swear By: