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!