For me, one of the biggest barriers to camping as a family is figuring out how we are going to keep everyone fed. It has taken some time and a good amount of trial and error to develop our camp kitchen system and obtain the right gear to fit our family’s needs. Having overcome that hurdle, now we are cooking with gas (literally).
This season, Camp Chef has really delivered on our camp cooking needs. Their Rainier Mountain Series stove has made camp cooking much more convenient for us. It is a twist on a classic compact two-burner: it includes one conventional burner alongside an interchangeable grill/griddle combo.
What we like:
While you obviously wouldn’t be taking a two-burner stove backpacking, for setting up camp in the front country the Rainier is lightweight and convenient while still delivering the cooking power we’re looking for. The stove + griddle + gas adapter fit into the main compartment of the carrying case which also includes a sleeve for the spare grill plate and pockets for 2 propane bottles. The case itself is not super sturdy and has no padding, but is convenient to keep everything together and tote it to your site. While we are major cast-iron cookware fans, we can’t deny that toting the Rainier stove is easier than lugging our heavy Dutch oven and skillet any day.
- Easy set-up:
It takes a hot second to pull the stove out and get to cooking. Just open the lid, lift the wind screens, attach the adapter and propane bottle, and light her up with the matchless ignition. Again, while we love to cook over the campfire, this saves mountains of time over collecting firewood, getting a good coal bed in place, and slowly heating up your cast iron cookware. The Rainier stove is so easy to use I sometimes cook with it in my backyard—I can stay outside with the family and it’s no more hassle than using my stove in the house!
Not only is the Rainier easy to set up, it heats up quickly and does a great job. The wind screens work really well—even on a gusty day it is able to keep cooking evenly and prevents the flames from going out. We haven’t yet tried cooking with it in the cold months, but during the warm season it has plenty of heating power to get the job done.
In fact, when using the griddle side (8,000 BTUs) I tend to keep the burner turned very low, especially for dishes that need to simmer slowly. When using the conventional burner (10,000 BTUs) it has taken me about 10-12 minutes on high heat to get a full liter of water boiling. That’s just about exactly how long it takes on my stovetop in my kitchen at home. In future iterations of the Rainier, it seems like lowering the grate to bring the pot closer to the actual burner might lower the cook time even more. While we are happy with the performance of the Rainier, if you are going to be in harsher conditions (colder, windier weather) and feel that you might need some extra cooking power, you could check out Camp Chef’s Everest two-burner stove which puts out a solid 20,000 BTUs at each burner.
- Multiple cooking options:
Our favorite feature of the Rainier stove is having so much flexibility in how we can cook. We can use the griddle for pancakes, the grill for kebabs, or a pot on the burner for chili. It also reduces cook times: it has had no trouble keeping up with cooking on both burners at the same time. No need to delay breakfast: when you roll yourself out of your tent in the morning you can throw your pancakes and sausage on the griddle and your coffeepot on the burner all at the same time!
We are really happy with Camp Chef’s Rainier stove. It is easy to pack and use and provides all the cooking power and options we need to keep our family fed and happy at camp. We are always looking for ways to make it easier to get our family outdoors. The Rainier delivers on that so we can focus less on our to-do list and more on enjoying our time together.
Camp Chef provided a Rainier Mountain Series stove for us to review for this post. As always, these opinions are exactly what we would tell our friends and family. Have any questions about the Rainier stove? Let me know in the comments!
Emily is a full-time working mama and wife raised in the Ouachita Mountains and currently navigating life in northern Missouri as she finishes up her PhD in chemistry. Over the years, adventure has become a part of her lifestyle, leading her and her husband Rocky into outdoor activities like hiking, biking, scuba diving, camping, fly fishing, and now parenting—their biggest adventure yet! Now Emily is applying her adventurous spirit into getting her family outside no matter the season to instill that same love of nature and exploration in their two-year-old son, and connecting with other families to inspire them to do the same. Find them on Instagram @hiking.home