Ok, so this is an interesting item. I feel like it depends on your perspective as to whether your reaction is “Amazing” or “Why would you buy this?” I think it’s “Amazing” but that’s from my perspective.
In preparation for our latest camping trip I took the opportunity to pickup the Camp Chef Camp Oven. I had heard about how amazing it was from some family friends who camp almost every weekend during the Summer. The mom told us that they loved it and made brownies, fresh baked cookies, and nachos when they were out at their campsite. Honestly…how amazing does that sound? Warm chocolate chip cookies in the woods…come on!
I bought it on an Amazon sale for $169.00, but it usually retails for $229.00. Along with the oven, I also purchased the cover, and a 5 gallon-to-1 gallon propane hookup. The cover is high quality and fits a little on the big side (not as form fitting as you would expect). The 5 gallon-to-1 gallon propane hookups allow you to connect the oven to a larger 5 gallon tank instead of relying on the smaller 1 gallon tanks.
To test it out, we took it camping, and it performed surprisingly well. The funny thing was, when we first set it up, I could tell that everyone at camp was humoring me for bringing the oven. However, when we started wrapping up our trip, we actually had a discussion about what we could do with the oven on the next trip. We also had a discussion about how we could warm up the leftover pancakes with it for the final day’s breakfast.
The initial setup was pretty easy. The only hiccup was connecting the oven to the regulator that fits on the top of the propone tank. After several tries, we were able to get it connected – we aren’t sure what we did differently to make it work, but we got it to work.
Once we got it setup, we fired up the oven and got ready to make chocolate chip cookies. I was able to get two trays full of cookie dough into the oven, which was a surprise to all of us (we thought we’d only get one tray in). I tried to preheat the oven to 350 degrees, but the fuel knob doesn’t use degrees. You have to play with it to get a temperature that is close. As I lowered the fuel knob, I was able to get the temperature to hold between 400 and 450 degrees. The partially frozen cookie dough went in and we checked them every 7 minutes. After about 30 minutes, we had hot, delicious cookies. A little longer than we had thought, and a little more supervision than we had planned, but it made warm chocolate chip cookies in the middle of our campsite, so that’s a “win”.
The next morning, we tried out the stove top. The two burners worked very well. We made pancakes and put a griddle across both burners. The pancakes cooked evenly and were delicious. The wind screens and lid held firm and seemed to be very solid.
From a Prepper’s Perspective
This is a great addition to your home base setup. Having a two burner range and oven is incredibly handy and provides a lot of versatility in the food that can be prepared. It is significantly larger than a standard camp range, but you will likely have more space to store it at home. Additionally, it is about the same price as a decent camp stove, so you get the stove and the oven for essentially the price of the stove.
From a Glamping Perspective
Hot chocolate chip cookies in the woods…I rest my case.
From a Standard Camping Perspective
OK, hot chocolate chip cookies in the woods aren’t required; fun, delicious, but not required. The size is about 3 times as tall as a standard camping range, but since it includes a 2 burner range, it’s not all oven size. The range is a high quality range and was very useful when we were camping. If you’re going to bring the oven, don’t bring your usual camping range, that would just be extra equipment and wasted space. The range is on top, and since the oven is pretty tall, placing the oven on a picnic table makes the range uncomfortably tall. I recommend that you place it on a picnic bench to achieve a comfortable height for pans and griddles.
From My Perspective
If you’re a hardcore camper, this is not the gadget for you. Space and function are critical for you, and a standard camp stove is probably the better bet. For any one else, this oven is pretty cool and fun. I would highly recommend it to anyone who’s into camping gadgets, looking for fun new additions to your camping repertoire, and/or looking for a dual purpose cooking option during a disaster/prolonged recovery.