User Review: Coleman Sportster Dual Fuel II
Price Paid: $35 (2003) and $60 (2011)
I have used my Coleman 533Dual Fuel intensively for over eight years now and I like it very much, If I did a lot of backpacking I think I would resent the bulk and, especially, the weight, but for camping off a motorcycle or out of a ute, with all that fuel just a siphon tube away, it's pretty near perfect for me.
That said, it has more moods than a teenaged daughter, its behavior varying remarkably with temperature, humidity, barometric pressure (and altitude), wind, how full the tank happens to be, and probably other variables I was too busy to notice. And I would not use it in an enclosed space.B
ut once you get the hang of it, you can do everything from boiling a pot of water in a jiffy to simmering a pot of rice and beans all afternoon. Flame adjustment seemed irksomely abrupt when I first got it, but either it mellowed out or I learned to work around it, or a bit of both. How much pumping is needed for optimum pressure varies with how much fuel is in the tank, but you soon learn it by feel. Give the pump's shaft a periodic slather of oil.
Somebody told me Coleman fuel is basically naphtha, so once when I lost my siphon tube and didn't want to carry a gallon of the stuff on the bike, I stopped at a hardware store and picked up a quart of painters' naphtha. Not the same at all. It burned angrily, spitting, flaring, and putting out a yellow, sooty flame. Next hardware store, I bought a few feet of clear plastic gas line. The 533 burns unleaded regular gas about as happily as the proprietary stuff.
The build quality is gratifying. After hundreds of meals and coffee breaks, the only non-cosmetic sign of its age is an intermittent leak around the fuel valve, very slight. I think that when it gets bad enough to motivate me that I can fix it by renewing the packing around the valve stem. But, to be on the safe side, I bought a new 533 as a backup! A great stove!