User Review: Coleman Feather 442 Dual Fuel Stove
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £66
The easiest liquid fuel stove I have come across. Also, instant flame which can 'simmer' in a manner of speaking. The all-in-one feature of this stove is a great idea but it is also its 'Achilles heal'. Too heavy for a solo trip but pretty good for 2+ as it cannot be split. Used in conjunction with the rectangular pan and lid which also functions as a box it is protected from bumps and dropped packs but bulky. Fuel consumption is excellent especially if it isn't turned up to full blast.
- No fuss ignition for a liquid fuel stove, much better flame control than an MSR.
- Competitively priced compared to other liquid fuel stoves
- Built like a tank.
- Heavy and can flare up if not handled properly and the instructions followed.
- I would not use anything other than Coleman fuel (white gas) as vaporisor is easily clogged with soot.
I don't quite know what to make of this stove. I am not sure whether I like it or not. I was initially impressed with the no hassle ignition and flame control. Unlike an MSR Whisperlite which produces quite a flame while priming the vapourising tube, once the unit is pressurized it goes from 0 to full on roar more or less right away!
Having said that, one time I was tired and not thinking straight after a long journey and failed to follow the instructions clearly printed on the side. The resulting fire ball was spectacular and had I lit it in the tent vestuble it would have been disastrous!
Once lit, the stove flame is more controllable than most liquid fuel stoves which is a real bonus if you demand more than tasteless and expensive boil in the bag food! The maximum output is quite fiercesome and can bring an MSR Titan kettle to the boil in under 3 minutes. It has an integral wind shield but I would still recommend using an additional shield as I am not certain it would offer full protection from stronger winds.
The fuel tank is connected to the burner to produce an all-in-one unit. This saves the hassle of having to connect the stove to a fuel bottle. However, I am not sure if I like this, for me this is the stove's Achilles heal. Yes it is convenient but it means it cannot be split to stow the fuel bottle separately. Consequently, when combined with the mess tin and lid it is very bulky (I recommend this to protect the vapourisor and wind shield). For me, this rules it out as a solo option.
Furthermore, it is more inflexible when it comes to two sharing; particularly if there is a discrepancy in what each person is capable of carrying (husband and wife team like us for example) where splitting is essential. For me it is more suited to base camp duties where its ease of use and powerful flame come into its own.
Over all, this is a well constructed and powerful stove that is as close to using gas cannisters as you are going to get. It is well priced and economical ( a tank will last a weekend). The flame requires virtually no priming and has a large degree of control though, for me, the jury is out on the 'all in one' design.