Camp Chef Outdoor Oven vs. Coleman Camp Oven: Which Should You Choose?
We’re not sure who was the first to think of creating a gas-powered camping oven, but we wholeheartedly salute their genius. Partly because we appreciate “it’s just crazy enough to work” ideas, and partly because that concept ultimately led to the incredible products we’re comparing today: the Camp Chef Outdoor Oven and the Coleman Camp Oven. Whether you live to pursue the call of the open wilderness or simply want to enhance your backyard camping experience, these are a few of the most popular outdoor ovens on the market.
Today, our goal is to help you choose which camping oven best fits your outdoor living needs. (Full disclosure, though: Camp Chef’s model is available at BBQGuys, while the Coleman oven isn’t.) Our Camp Chef oven vs. Coleman oven comparison will walk you through all the major factors at play in this decision, from size and portability to cooking versatility and durability in the elements. By laying out all the facts for you, with our 20-plus years of industry expertise adding context where needed, it’s our hope that the question of the Camp Chef oven or the Coleman oven will become clearer than a wide-open horizon.
Camp Chef History & Overview
Well, doesn’t the name say it all? Fine, we’ll give you the actual lowdown: everything started with company founder Ty Measom, a Utah engineer who was inspired (and admittedly frustrated) by the outdoor cooking options of his day. He channeled that passion into the Pro 60 camp stove, which debuted in 1990 as Camp Chef’s original offering and set the standard for products as powerful as they are portable. The company — fittingly headquartered in Cache Valley, Utah, in the shadow of the Bear River Mountains — has since expanded its selection to griddles, cast iron cookware, and even pellet grills.
- Founded in 1990 to revolutionize the camp cooking market
- Now sells camping stoves, ovens, and cookware, plus pellet grills
- Products are durably built to withstand the demands of the great outdoors
- Guided by the long-held belief that great food brings people together
Coleman History & Overview
Coleman’s history is almost too rich to condense here, but we’ll give it our best shot. Founder W.C. Coleman began manufacturing gas-powered lanterns in 1900, and soon relocated to Wichita, Kansas, to light the way for one of the most notable outdoor recreation brands. Those lanterns illuminated the first night football game west of the Mississippi River, and the company’s eventual production of camping stoves changed life for World War II soldiers. Over the years, Coleman started selling a huge variety of camping products (coolers, airbeds, lights, etc.) amid the business’s relocation to Chicago.
- Began in 1900 with production of gas-powered lanterns
- Expansive selection now includes camping products of all kinds
- More than 100 years of innovating rock-solid gear for outdoor adventures
- Devoted to enabling and inspiring people to spend more time outside
Camp Chef Oven vs. Coleman Oven: Key Differences
You’re familiar with both brands; now let’s get to the camp ovens at hand. It’s worth noting upfront that the Camp Chef oven and Coleman oven have extremely different designs despite performing the same main function. These contrasting approaches to the modern camp oven are apparent in virtually every aspect of their quality, performance, and features, not to mention the ultra-important factor of portability. Let’s run down the most important differences between the Coleman oven and Camp Chef oven so you can shop — and camp — with greater confidence.
|Feature||Camp Chef Oven||Coleman Oven|
|Fuel source||1-lb. propane cylinder||N/A|
|Weight||32 lbs.||7 lbs.|
|Dimensions (D x W x H)||25” x 15” x 18”||12” x 12” x 12”|
|Oven cooking racks||2||1|
|Burner BTUs||7,500 each||N/A|
|Temperature control||Adjustable knobs||External stove or burner|
|Exterior material||Stainless steel||Aluminized steel|
|Baking rack material||Stainless steel||Steel|
|Burner grate material||Enameled cast iron||N/A|
|Warranty||1-year limited||1-year limited|
|Glass oven door||Yes||No|
Like many outdoor cooking appliances, the Camp Chef Outdoor Oven operates using 1-lb. propane canisters that don’t add much heft to your camp packs. The Coleman Camp Oven, on the other hand, doesn’t directly accept propane fuel and can function only if placed flatly (there isn’t an opening to worry about) on an existing propane camp stove or burner. Its dependent design has major implications for this entire comparison, from the need to pack and transport additional appliances to how efficiently the oven cooks. The main takeaway here, though, is that the Camp Chef oven can be used on its own, whereas the Coleman oven needs to be paired with another outdoor cooker.
Size & Portability
Camp Chef’s oven weighs 32 lbs. while measuring 25” in depth, 15” in width, and 18” in height; the Coleman oven registers 7 lbs. on the scale and comes in at 12” deep, wide, and tall. Coleman also uses a collapsible design so the unit can be stored and packed flatly, making the oven more compact in addition to its lightweight frame. That being said, this isn’t a totally fair comparison because you’ll have to tote a separate burner or stove to even use the Coleman Camp Oven. And while the stand-alone Camp Chef model has a larger footprint, it includes convenient carrying handles and is far more versatile — not to mention durable — than its Coleman counterpart.
The Coleman oven sacrifices cooking flexibility by nature of its design: it works only when placed on another burner, meaning you have to choose between the oven and the stove every time you cook. Camp Chef’s stand-alone oven not only spares you that decision, but also offers both options in a single cooker, meaning you have less gear to store, pack, and transport! Above the 3,000-BTU oven sits a pair of 7,500-BTU brass range burners, while the oven has 2 racks — allowing you to cook 4 items at once between the oven and stove burners. As for the Coleman oven, it features only 1 rack that can be set to any of 3 heights as needed, and we can’t compare BTUs because it’s an accessory that can’t be used on its own.
Ease of Use
Cooking shouldn’t be a headache after a long day on the trail, so the Camp Chef comes ready for effortless use. It features matchless ignition for simple startup, 3 fully adjustable knobs (1 for the oven and each top burner) to easily control temperatures, and a built-in oven thermometer so you can track cooks. More importantly, though, the Camp Chef oven is easy to use because it’s independently controlled. Contrast this with the Coleman, which is designed to absorb heat from a separate cooker. That means inconsistent performance, longer response times to temperature changes, and greater difficulty dialing in desired heat. Even with an easy-to-read door thermometer, the Coleman oven can be challenging to use.
As someone who thrives in the elements, it’s important that your camp cooker has that same strength. Outdoor longevity comes down to quality of materials, and the Camp Chef Outdoor Oven has a clear leg up with durable stainless steel construction. Coleman, meanwhile, opts for collapsible aluminized steel, which is more lightweight but also more vulnerable to wear and tear over repeated use. Its cooking rack is made of steel, while the Camp Chef model uses stainless steel for its baking racks and durable cast enamel for its top burner grates. Finally, both brands offer a 1-year limited warranty on their camping ovens.
Not that most campers want to navigate a suite of bells and whistles after an active day, but the right quality-of-life features can make you feel like you’re cooking in your home kitchen. The Camp Chef oven sees to that with a folding lid that serves as a 3-sided windscreen for the stove burners, plus a glass oven door so you can monitor cooks without releasing precious heat. All the Coleman oven offers is a locking knob to help with heat retention, and it notably lacks a glass door for checking food at a glance — remember, heat lost from opening the oven takes longer to recover because it uses an external heat source.
A Closer Look at the Camp Chef Oven
- Multi-purpose cooker features an insulated oven plus 2 top range burners
- Compact design includes carrying handles for easy portability around the campsite
- Matchless ignition and fully adjustable temperature dials make cooking a breeze
- Features a 3-sided burner windscreen and glass oven door for convenient cooking
Being built with stainless steel gives the Camp Chef Outdoor Oven the durability needed to serve as a year-round camp cooker. The strong material is not only extra resistant to the outdoor elements, but also surprisingly easy to clean after a trip to the woods or hunting camp. While the baking rack is also stainless steel, the range-burner grates use heat-retaining cast iron with a protective enamel for added longevity. It’s all covered by a 1-year warranty from one of the most popular brands for outdoor adventurers.
By combining an insulated oven box with 2 stove burners, Camp Chef’s outdoor oven delivers the versatility to cook up to 4 items at the same time — meaning you can make entire meals outdoors and carry fewer items on camping trips. The 3,000-BTU oven tops out at 400°F, easily fits a 9” x 13” pan, and can hold temperatures of 350°F for up to 7 hours on a single 1-lb. propane bottle. Each brass range burner packs 7,500 BTUs for serious cooking power while (like the oven) effortlessly lighting thanks to matchless ignition.
Convenience is at the heart of every feature found on this versatile outdoor oven, from its portable design to unassuming details that greatly simplify your cooking experience. For starters, the Camp Chef oven is compact and has a pair of carry handles to improve portability on the trail. The oven and burners, meanwhile, are controlled by adjustable dials for precise temperatures. And the folding burner lid doubles as a 3-sided windscreen when cooking, while the glass oven door lets you monitor camp chow at a glance.
We’ve finally reached the end of the trail, giving you plenty to consider during our journey together. Before we part ways, though, we should leave you with a few main takeaways if you’re still not sure which camp oven appeals more to you.
The biggest consideration by far is that the Camp Chef Outdoor Oven is a self-sufficient, multi-purpose cooker that allows campers to use an oven as well as range burners, while the Coleman Camp Oven is more or less an accessory to be paired with another stove burner. Their respective designs, not to mention the materials used in construction, explain the differences in portability and cost; with either model, you’re truly getting what you pay for. None of this is to belittle the Coleman oven, which was state-of-the-art at the time of its design. The Camp Chef model simply takes advantage of newer material, technology, and usability features.
Now that we mention it, there’s really no need for us to part just yet. We have a team of experts ready and willing to field any questions you have about the products discussed here, as well as others found across our site. Give them a call at 1-877-743-2269 if you need something cleared up — or if you’re ready to make the leap into a new outdoor adventure.
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