Sunday, June 27, 2010

Coleman 413D vs 425D

Ah, the venerable Coleman stove!  It's such a integral part of The Great American Camping Experience. Probably anyone who has ever camped has been up close and personal with a Coleman stove.  Those green boxes are a genuine icon of camping.  One of my very first memories of camping was my Dad cussing out a Coleman stove that simply wouldn't start.  He'd pump and pump and cuss and cuss and that stove wouldn't budge--nary a flame to be seen from its cold, stoic burners.  I've fretted over many a white gas-fueled Coleman stove myself--their frustrations are legendary.

But no more!  Those days of pumping and cussing are long gone--a distant memory of bygone years.  Today, we convert our old relic Coleman stove to propane and laugh all the way to the picnic table.  HA!  What white gas?  That smelly, dangerous fuel is a thing of the past.  It's probably been 15 years since we purchased a gallon of white gas.  That's been at least 15 years of Coleman stove bliss.  Coleman stoves are truly wonderful to use and even more so now that the Frustration Factor has been removed from the equation of their usage.

It's simple and relatively cheap to convert a Coleman to propane.  You simply buy a $20 adapter, a $20 hose, a propane tank and, viola, instant success.  The propane adapter fits perfectly into the stove just like the old fuel tank did.  Poof, it's done in seconds.  As long as your propane tank has gas in it, you're good to go.  Turn a knob, fire up a match and you've got FLAME, baby!  The danger of a gas explosion is virtually eliminated.  What could be better than that?

Since at least the mid-1990's, we've been using a Coleman 425D.  This model was built in 1965-66.  It's a wonderful stove with few design drawbacks.  On June 26, 2010, we accidentally found an even older Coleman 413D.  It was produced from 1950-1953, probably reaching it's peak production in 1952.  The overall trend in Coleman stoves has been to make them lighter and smaller with more bells and whistles. The older Coleman stoves are built like Sherman tanks--big, heavy, stout, real steel artifacts of a bygone era when American workers actually MADE stuff right here in the Good Ol' U.S.A.  There's probably more real steel in an old Coleman stove than there is some modern hybrid passenger cars!

This is our very first post to the Camping Tips blog.  As we've been typing this post and processing photos, we've realized we're getting in over our head on this topic.  There's simply no way to summarize everything we want to say about our Coleman stoves in a single blog post.  I think it's going to take at least 3 and maybe 4 (or even more) blog posts to cover this topic.  WOW, my head is spinning.  Anyway, here's what we will do--we will put in a little bit more about the stoves and then do back to the drawing board to "rethink" how to discuss this topic.  Then, we will come back later and delete this post and start from scratch.

Here's the nitty gritty comparison between the two stoves--the 425D measures 18x12x4.375 and its burners are 9.5 inches on center.  The 413D measures 22x13x5.375 and its burners are 11 inches on center.

The actual net cooking area of the 425D is 10 x 17.  The net cooking area of the 413D is 20.375 x 11.25--a 35 percent increase in cooking area!  The extra inch of depth and larger overall dimensions of the 413D allows storage of two green propane bottles onboard.  (ALWAYS carry extra green bottles in case your large propane tank runs out of gas at a most inopportune time!)

The burners on the 413D run considerably hotter than the 425D.  We clocked the right burner (always the hottest) at well over 900 degrees.  The photo shows it clocking at 923!  The hottest we could get the right burner on the 425D was 850 with occasional short bursts to 875.  Meanwhile, the left burner on the 413D ran consistently 870 with short bursts to 900.  The 425D's left burner ran only 800-830.  Basically, the 413D is running roughly upwards of 10 percent hotter.  This doesn't sound like much but it will make a huge difference in the time it takes to make morning coffee--a VERY important measure of any stove's success.

Well, there's huge amounts of stuff to write about these stoves but I have spent far too long this morning messing around with blogs--it's time to get out and enjoy the day.  Cheers, jp


  1. John:

    I want a 413D! Right away! You live up there in Coleman country and I know there are garage sales galore up there. Please find me one of those 1952 gems. And no upgrading your own system when you find mine! Pleeeassse find me one!!

  2. I wouldn't have thought there'd be that big of a! Now I'm tempted to go measure some burner temps...