As spring camping season commences, today’s post is the first in a series of posts we’re doing over the next few weeks on budget-minded camping gear. This is the first in a series of three posts. Part 2 reviews the Ozark Trail High-Tension Travel Table. Part 3 will be released on Thursday, April 21st.
Many moons ago, I had a decent camp stove that cost a pretty penny and worked really well. Unfortunately, one winter a mouse decided to make its nest and have babies inside of it. I broke it out for a tailgate party one day, and lo and behold the smell was revolting. I could not in good faith cook humans food on that thing. So in a haste before the tailgate I ran out to Walmart and stumbled across this bad boy – the Ozark Trail 2 burner camp stove.
Let me be frank – this camp stove will not win any awards or be marveled at by your fellow gearheads on Reddit. But for the price?!?!?! This stove can’t be beat! At a mere $34, this stove will work when you need it and not take up much space in the process.
Broken down, the Ozark Trail 2 burner camp stove has a low profile – reducing its footprint in your gear stash or car when packed. However, in this state the grate and regulator are exposed. Further, these exposed parts – especially the regulator – come loose and may fall out. I live in constant fear of losing the regulator on camping trips, and watch that thing like a hawk when its being handled. On the upside, it’s exposed design makes it super easy to keep clean.
Assembled, the stove just works! Not well, but it works. There is no ignition button so you’ll be lighting with a match or lighter. The knobs adjusting the gas input / flame size are not very precise, so the way I use it it’s either high or low – there’s really no in between. I use high to boil water quickly, and I use low to cook anything that could burn. As long as you know this, and aren’t expecting accurate flame size and temperature adjustments, you can work with it. I’ve definitely burnt my fair share of pancakes, but each time I learn how to use it a little better. The wind walls have held up in several high-wind scenarios including beach camping on Assateague Island National Seashore and camping along the marsh outside Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge – both VERY windy experiences.
For the price, the durability impresses me. To be fair, I have babied it with the constant fear that it may break because it’s only $34. But after several years it still hasn’t broken, and works just like it did on day one. Honestly, if you need a camp stove and aren’t looking for either the retro nostalgia a Coleman brings or the high quality (and price tag) a Primus brings I would definitely recommend this stove.
- Compacts for easy storage
- Works every time
- Surprisingly durable
- Easy to clean
- Exposed parts come loose in storage or transit
- Imprecise flame adjustment
- No ignition button
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Overall, I think a rating of 3.5 stars is fair. The Ozark Trail 2 burner camp stove has its faults, but for the cool price of $34 one can easily overlook these faults. If you did lose the regulator due to the poor design when packed, you can always get a new one for $15 or less. Just always be mindful of where your regulator is!
I’m always looking to cut costs for camping gear so me and my family can do more without dropping too much money. The Ozark Trail 2 burner camp stove is perfect for anyone who just wants to get out there and doesn’t want to spend a lot. If the stove broke, I’m not sure I’d even bother investing in a nicer one – both for fear of mice and because for the price I can buy four Ozark Trails before I even hit the price point of a Primus. Would I bring the Ozark Trail on a Himalayan expedition for base camp cooking? No, definitely not. But it does just fine in the way I use it which is family car camping.
If you’ve used this stove, I’d love to hear what you think. Do you have a solution for keeping the grate and regulator in place when packed? Please share it, because I haven’t found it yet!
I have had an Ozark Trail stove for 10+ years. Very satisfied until my reg nob fell apart. In researching I found this reg was discontinued. Solved the problem by buying a Colman 5430 reg. The end going into the stove is diff so I cut both into and joined the Colman reg side with the Ozark fitting going into the stove with 5/16″id hose and hose clamps.
Works like a charm!
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Thanks for the great repair tip!
A lot cheaper than a hose to regulator to bottle extension, (that costs as much as the stove), to reduce fatigue on the regulator to stove assembly connector which fatigues and cracks the burner feed tube tube on the inside of the stove on some similarly connected stoves!
Modifying your idea a little further in my scenario would be to get the appropriate size rubber tube that will fit on the internal burner feed tube inside the stove bypassing the stove connector assembly and connect it to the regulator tube end with no cutting of the regulator tube end using clamps to snug the connections and one should have that fatigue problem solved with the now flexible connection!
However one problem noted on at least the Qzark connector is that the regulator tube to stove tube assembly connection employs an interlock gas lock like a bicycle innertube valve employs. It keeps the gas from leaking from the bottle if you remove the regulator from the stove without disconnecting the bottle on the regulator’s other end!
Getting around that might require removing that valve with some kind of inner core remover or cutting the regulator tube like you did and connecting the rubber tube to to the regulator side of the tube.
The repercussion of removing the valve will require you to first remove the bottle of gas from the regulator to prevent gas from escaping the bottle of gas if you remove the regulator from the stove connection.
Presently the valve allows you to remove the regulator without disconnecting the gas bottle from the regulator!
The alternative would be to put an on / off valve between the rubber hose from the stove and the modified regulator tube.
. . . Esoecially if your stove connector does not use the innercore valve and then removing the regulator on the stove side of the valve with the valve conected to the regulator tube leaving the bottle attached!
. . . Esoecially if your stove connector does not use the innercore valve and then removing the regulator on the stove side of the valve in the off position with the valve conected to the regulator tube leaving the bottle attached!
In consideration of losing your regulator. . .
Since the Ozark stove and others with similar regulator connectors to the stove use an innercore valve interface at the stove side of the regulator connection you can leave your bottled gas connected to the regulator and just store it connected to the bottle when you remove the regulator from your stove!. Keeps it from getting lost!