Anyone who has spent much time camping in the wilderness knows what it's like to call an end to the day, set up camp, and then sit down to a nice, cold meal. It's lousy. It's better than nothing, but still a far cry from some good, hot food.
For that reason, many four-wheelers who regularly spend extensive time on the trail have learned to take some kind of stove with them so they aren't reduced to cans of cold beans every night. The old fold-up propane stoves are easy to use and have worked great for years, but Coleman has developed the next stage of camp stove: the Road Trip Grill.
At 37x13x11 inches, this stove takes up a bit more room than its predecessor, but with the collapsible legs and removable side tables, it still fits perfectly into the back of our Wrangler. The metal body and grills are all specially coated to ensure their longevity and make cleaning them up a breeze. For greater capacity, the Road Trip Grill uses two burners with separate controls that combine to produce 20,000 BTUs of heat.
Coleman offers a zip-up carrying case for the grill that really makes it easy to store in the back of the Jeep. Even without this, the grill has a lock that keeps the lid secure while you're in motion.
From the time we pulled the Road Trip Grill out of the Jeep to the time we were cooking dinner was about four minutes. The legs fold out easily and keep the grill very stable, while the small 16.4-ounce propane bottle that it's designed for was simple to hook up and get started. The steak and baked beans that were forthcoming for dinner that evening were a nice change from the beef jerky or cold hot dogs we used to fall back on.
It's one of the truisms that married people learn to accommodate: The bigger your family gets, the more stuff you end up hauling around with you. Now sometimes this works to your advantage because you get to buy all kinds of gear that you might otherwise have had a difficult time justifying. For instance, the 14-square-foot dome tent shown here. With three rooms, skylights, a doormat, and 6 feet of headroom at the center, you might be tempted to say that it seems a little too much. To which we would say, "You obviously don't have children."
If you're going to be camping with small kids, save yourself the anguish of long, hard nights and just go with the bigger tent. You'll actually have some breathing room, and the kids will think it's a pretty cool toy. The design of the Family Dome Tent will go a long way toward keeping everyone happy on the trip. As it features Coleman's WeatherTec System, this tent is guaranteed to keep you dry. This includes the inverted floor seams that are sealed to keep out any unwanted water.
Despite the square footage the tent takes up once you have it all assembled, which took us about 15 minutes, it actually packs away into a small nylon bag that measures about 18 inches long and about 8 inches in diameter. We simply shoved it behind one of the seats and forgot about it. When the time came to break it out, everything was there, including the tent poles and stakes (which we upgraded after mangling with a hammer).