There I was, balancing a big frying pan on top of a tall Jetboil stove, while burning beans on another one, trying to cook for a group in basecamp. "This just isn't the way to do it," I thought. Don't get me wrong, I love little light stoves, but not for basecamp on a mountain biking trip when I need to rustle up grub for the whole group. I needed a stove that let me stand up, see the view and cook like a man. I called Camp Chef at the end of the day and the mailman soon delivered a Camp Chef Pro 60 Double Burner stove, grill box and griddle. Stylin'.
It wasn't my first time using a Camp Chef stove like this. When I lived in East Africa, this same stove was my go to stove for wildlife safaris. But when I moved back to Colorado, a safari company begged me to sell it to them, so I left it in Tanzania. Camp Chef make many different models of stoves, but I wanted one that had long legs, plenty of power, fold-out shelves and still folded up small enough to easily put in the back of my truck.
The Pro 60 is all that. It comes with a heavy duty regulator and hose so all you have to do to get cooking is unfold it, screw on the gas bottle, click the sparker and start cooking. When you’re done, simply fold it down and put it back in the car. Folding it up for transport back home only took me 89 seconds.
The Pro 60 stove I used in Africa worked really well. I used it frequently for over a year and never had a problem with it. My current stove works great, but had one flaw - after lighting the stove only three times, the plastic knob that turns the sparker stripped out. It’s just lightweight plastic, but it really shouldn’t have broken that quickly...or ever.
I called Camp Chef and asked them why the weak plastic and they promised they were working on beefing it up, that they were aware of the problem and fixing it. A metal knob, or a least a metal insert would be much better.
Camp Chef offers a lot of cool accessories for their stoves and I got the Professional Grill Box and the Professional Flat Top griddle. They both fit over just one burner, so you can grill burgers and boil corn at the same time. The cast iron grate grill works really well, though it is fairly small. If you’re cooking for a really big group, you’ll need to cook the meat in waves. Mmmm...waves of meat. Camp Chef does sell a bigger grill that covers both burners.
The cast iron Griddle comes “pre-seasoned” but I found it was still a bit dry and cooked my pancakes unevenly, the heat all in the middle. I oiled it up with a lot of bacon grease and later learned that the griddle needs to be heated on low to medium heat slowly, not the high heat I had it on. When I tried this, it burned much more evenly. It’s also a good idea to season the grill a little when you’re done with a thin coat of cooking oil.
The grill burns at a maximum of 30,000 btus so it’s easy to turn it up and get it too hot. It does simmer well when you turn it all the way down.
A grill is a grill, but the griddle is pretty cool. You can cook amazing breakfasts fast and easy on it - eggs, pancakes, bacon - not all at the same time, but in short order.
If you like cooking well in basecamp, a big stove like this is the way to go. It weighs 45 pounds plus the gas bottle and griddle and grill, so you’re not going to carry it far. My camp mates are always super impressed when I pull the stove out of the truck and fire it up. Let’s be honest, no one really likes cooking on little backpacking stoves unless we’re out on the trail.
The photos below are from Outerbike 2013 in Moab.