Modifications to a Camp Chef Stove

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Trapper Badovinac, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

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    Problems I had with a standard Camp Chef stove:
    1. It is too low and cooking with it kills my back. It's 29" high. I'm 6'3". A standard kitchen stove is 36".
    2. Getting it level. I was forced to either shim up the legs (making it unstable) or dig out dirt from the high spots (which lowered the stove even more).
    3. The plastic control knobs and plastic thumb screws broke the first mile on the trail when I loaded the stove onto pack mules.
    4. Camp Chef no longer supplies the stove with a leg hold down on the bottom. Although they still have the hole for it.

    So, I made modifications.

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    I got four pieces of 12" long 1 1/8" OD tubing. I had a guy duplicate the existing thumb screw set up near the bottom of each leg.

    This allows me to get the stove the right height for me, and also makes it very easy to level it on very uneven ground as shown in the photo. The extensions slide into the inside of the legs for packing and add next to zero extra weight.

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    I replaced the plastic thumb screws with metal ones. It's a 1/4" x 20 standard available in most hardware stores.

    I also replaced the plastic control knobs with metal ones.
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    Then, I called Camp Chef and ordered their leg hold down bracket. They don't show it on their web site, but if you call them they'll sell it to you. I think it was under $10 with the shipping.

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    Trapper
     
  2. jeff bandy

    jeff bandy Make my day

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    Thanks for the info. I'll be calling them Monday for a holddown. Guess I need to find someone with a welder to do the leg mods.
     
  3. papafsh

    papafsh Piscatorial predilection

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    This shows a real lack of, what I call, purpose engineering on the manufacturer's part. It is obvious that whoever designed this product has very little experience with the actual conditions associated with it's use. Trapper, you did an excellent job in making that stove work for you, I think the folks at "Camp Chef" owe you an apology. What stupidity to have a part that is important to the transport of the stove, the hold down bracket, not even listed on the web site? I guess their idea of outdoor use is a patio....lol!

    LB
     
  4. constructeur

    constructeur Active Member

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    For the price you pay for those things, and considering it's knocked up in China...you get what you pay for.
     
  5. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

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    That's partially true, but when they were made in Utah, they were still 29" high and had no accessory to make them higher or level. They call it a Camp Chef stove, but I'm guessing the marketing folks figured most people would use them in a KOA on a level concrete slab. And the person cooking was a 5' 3" woman. They used to include the leg hold down bracket with the stove. Now, they no longer do that.

    Partner Stove in Pocatello, Idaho makes some great stoves. I have one of their 2-burners. They make a stand for it that puts the stove at 36" high. I own several of their products. If they made a 2-burner that was 60K BTUs, and this style, I would buy it in a heart beat and I would happily pay 3X - 4X what the made in China Camp Chef sells for. But, they don't.

    This firepan is made my Partner.
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    [​IMG]

    I used to replace firepans every 2 years. This one is going on year 8. The bed is stainless. The cheaper ones rusted out.

    Trapper
     
  6. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Out of curiosity, how often have you used one of their stoves? MT and I probably use these stoves more then anyone on the board (hell, I probably do more then anyone combined). You need a SERIOUS dose of reality. Not everyone is 6' plus who use these stoves. I agree, I'd like mine higher as well. But guess what? They only respond to a problem if it's a "common" complaint. Problem comes down to that the gross of these units they sell, not many get complaints (except those who can't read the start up instructions). MT and I have been kicking ideas around. I have a different take, but going to see if I can get it made for myself. Onto the holding brackets for the legs. They sell bags which they are hoping people will buy. People can use box to carry (which some do), and those holders are nice. I've seen them, just toss all my stuff in a bag since I have the rack that goes under my stoves). Now, since you seem to demand things so easily. Are you also telling me I should demand Chevrolet makes a big apology to me for making my wife's Malibu too low in the door arm rests? Because they do bug my arm while I drive her car? No, I didn't think so.

    Onto the legs. You can do a micro adjustment. Just not more then an inch per leg. Trust me here, I'm Camp Chef's biggest critic. I've tossed them plenty of "changes" on products. Some have been heard and done, some have been passed on. Again, if it's not something that is a major complaint, they won't change it. It's the way of the production world. And yes, most of the guys who design the stuff actually USE it in the field. I've met quite a few of them over the years (some who are employees, some who are prostaff like myself). Guess what? Most of them are pretty damned short. So yeah, guess that's why legs are that way. ;)

    Actually, I've had the Sportsman series stove both made in the USA and the China made. Only difference between the two? Where it was made.
     
  7. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh, in case you miss it in my post above. Stoves were designed by outdoorsman. BUT, just weren't that tall. Guess best example would be my friend who designed one of the first true whitewater grade fishing catarafts. He designed the boat for him, and then started selling them a little at a time. Boat should've been a LOT wider and longer in frame. But was built for his specs, not mine. So wouldn't lengthen or widen frame. Before he switched tubes (and when I opted not to buy them) I was going to get the frame off his 12' boat to put on my 9' boat.

    Yeah, love those fire pans. I used to use them a lot. Great all around device.
     
  8. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

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    I don't think Camp Chef owes me an apology, but I do wonder why they don't list the leg hold down bracket on their web site. Maybe it's an oversight. I'm also wondering why they didn't offer some leg accessory to level the stove years ago. I may be an anomaly because of my height, but I'm sure not the only person who wants a level stove without digging or shimming.

    Trapper
     
  9. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    There's quite a bit they don't list. Think it's probably the person running website. I know they recently revamped site.
     
  10. bennysbuddy

    bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

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    I thought cowboys were suppose to be short wirey & bow legged, thus lighter on the horse!
     
  11. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    I did have a talk with my contact at CC. I totally forgot about asking about the clamp to hold the legs and windscreen on. I know the older stoves did have it. But did find out about the legs and height. It's the engineering and safety factor. I guess for it's width and weight that's the maximum safe height for it to be stable and sturdy. Guess they bounced around extenders a few times, just a safety hazard (especially with how litigious people are nowadays) they prefer not to create.
     
  12. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

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    That's funny.

    I'm not a cowboy. Not by a long shot. While I do love riding horses and I manage to stay on most of the time, I know real cowboys and I'm not it.

    Bigger cowboys just ride bigger horses . . . ;)

    Trapper
     
  13. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

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    I used my stove modifications last week at Rock Creek where I met a fellow forum user.
    [​IMG]

    With great results
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    While I can see why the corporate lawyers would want to avoid any lawsuits, the design of the stove as is and how it's used makes it MUCH more dangerous than the common household stove.

    When my son was about 10 years old, while on a camping trip with me, he and his friend were tossing a football around and they knocked over my camp chef stove that was heating up water. That stove went over fairly easily as it stands alone and can get top heavy unless it's sitting on the ground with no legs on it.

    Shimming up the stove to level it makes it REALLY unstable.

    From a lawyer's standpoint, knocking over the stove would be a user caused accident, not a design flaw. So, I understand now why they don't do it.

    For me I'll risk the stove tipping over (it doesn't seem to be any more unstable than before) in order to ensure back comfort. After all I ride horses in grizzly and wolf country, cook with propane in a canvas wall tent, and serve food to guys with large bore guns strapped to their hips . . .

    Trapper
     
  14. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

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    This is the only thing on your list that's bothered me. One of them was broken out of the box and another broke quickly after. That having been said, a trip to the hardware store would fix the issue easily. Given that the hardware store in my case is a block and a half away and I have yet to bother to do it (owned the stove 3 years now) I guess it doesn't bother me too much. Now that I think about it though, I may do that today...
     
  15. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

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    It was indeed an easy fix, although a round trip to the nearest hardware store for me is ~35 miles. My point was why even put the plastic ones on the stove since they break so easily and it's a sure bet the buyer will be putting the stove and legs in his vehicle, taking it out, setting it up somewhere etc? If you design a product for outdoor use, isn't it reasonable to expect people will use it outside? And by default have to transport it from their house and handle it?


    Trapper
     
  16. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    LOL, guys I cook for on a regular basis are more dangerous with their hands then most of the guys who pack heat.

    I will say, in all the years and camps I cook in, I've never had a stove fall over or even come close to fall over. I do at least 1-2 camps a month and at least 3-4 weeklong camps a year. Even on some of the drunken camps lol. I'll never pack again, so not worried there. I never cared for it, and we always walked in. We never road (even on the long trips in). Mostly because we all hated riding (and still do). Once my Grandpa died, packing went with him. Though I still have a few of his old packing items.

    Yeah, I've had terrible luck with the knobs too. I think it's a mixture of production vs problem. This isn't from being a prostaffer, this is literally from doing my paying job. Most companies don't always build their products for the person who's going to use it on a regular basis, but for the average folk. Quite a few of us aren't what you'd call "average folk" when it comes to outdoor cooking. Have a whole part of my shop set aside just for camp cooking that most would put ALL their sporting goods into. I've had a lot of tweaks I'd love done with a lot of different products (not just Camp Chef). But for them, one retrofit can cost millions that probably won't be recouped in the long run just to appease a small percentage of customers.
     
  17. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

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    Jerry, I've only seen that stove tipped over once and as I mentioned it took two highly energetic pre-teen boys to do it.

    I'd personally much rather ride a horse than walk. I'd groom and saddle a horse to go a single mile in the back country and not blink. It's not that I'm that lazy, I just that I like to ride.

    I don't know what the market would be for the more serious guys like us. Certainly not anywhere near the housefrauf canners and tailgaters, but I've seen a lot of retired or semi-retired foodies who like to be out away from the city but want to do it with good food and good coffee etc. The demand for Yeti/Grizzly/Engle coolers that cost upwards of $300 is very high. Maybe the market is shifting and the Camp Chef folks aren't taking a close enough look.

    Dutch oven interest is very high from where I sit. I have people all the time asking me about it when I do demos and when I'm cooking in the backcountry.

    Trapper
     
  18. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh, not calling you lazy at all. i just never cared to ride, and what did I do? I married a woman who's a backcountry horsewoman. LOL.

    I think they already have an idea. Seen and heard about a few ideas coming out of their minds. But think that a lot of foodies want to go the Dutch Oven route versus the propane stove. I know out of all my demos, the DO are the most popular. In fact, doing two days worth of demos at Cabelas this weekend. All DO's.
     
  19. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

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    Married an equestrian did ya'? Too funny. :)

    The thing I tell people about DOs is that the Camp Chef stove is perfect for DO prep because the legs fit nicely onto the burners. I use only 12" and 14" so I'm not sure if that's true for other sizes. If I'm going to make a DO lasagna, for example, I saute my onions, garlic, etc in the DO on the Outdoorsman. Then brown the meat in it and simmer the marinara gravy. It means less to wash, which in the backcountry means fewer trips with buckets to the creek for water.

    So, in my experience the two (DOs and Camp Chef stoves) go hand in hand. Also, I often use the DOs on the Camp Chef stove as an extra large cast skillet. They hold the heat well so I just put the DO on a trivet on the table and the food is still warm for those who want seconds.

    Trapper

    P.S. If appropriate, tell the Camp Chef or Lodge folks I'd be open to do demos for them in my area.
     

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