the all-seeingeyeThe Object in Question: Coleman Stove

The Coleman 2 burner camp stove is ubiquitous, effective, and just about the most reliable piece of outdoor gear made. Stop by any campground at dinner time and count the number of these in use. Coleman has no doubt sold millions of them over the decades. More than a few of them are on their third generation of owners.

The only problem I've ever had with one of these is the pressure pump. The leather cup valve tends to dry out and shrink a bit when stored for long periods. The secret is to keep the thing properly lubricated-note the little hole next to the pump stem that says "oil." The first time I had to deal with this was in 1973, on my way to the Boy Scout's National Jamboree. Somewhere in the middle of Kansas, the scoutmaster's stove wouldn't pressurize. I fixed it with a pocket knife and a bit of margarine. Since then I've resorted to butter, vegetable oil, olive oil, a drop of oil from a car's dipstick, and (yecchh) licking the edge of the valve. Who knows, I may just learn to service the thing before I get into the woods.