Good old American gear

Once again I find Bushradical (aka Dave Whipple) channeling my thoughts. He posted a brief video to his YouTube channel the other day, singing the praises of a vintage Coleman lantern he was putting into service on the porch of a simple cabin he’d built.

In his understated style, he mused about this old piece of camping gear:

“I’m kind of amazed that I’ve hung onto this lantern. I have no sentimental attachment to it at all. I didn’t have it when I was a kid. It’s never been on any really great trips with me. It’s just been somethin’ I haven’t let go of, sittin’ there in the garage, I suppose waitin’ to come up to camp — where it kinda belongs, really.”

“There’s nothin’ special about it. Why did I hang onto this one? I honestly don’t know.”

There are a lot of objects in my life that prompt the same feelings — tools, certainly, and especially things that have accompanied me when camping and on motorcycle trips. The Coleman stove we used yesterday is one of them.

By my reckoning it’s 42 years old, give or take. It replaced a two-burner white-gas Coleman I’d picked up at a garage sale in the ’70s. I was done messing with gasoline, and since I made the move to this propane version it’s seen duty in countless far-flung places.

I tossed the Coleman into our kit before we set off on our journey two years ago, almost a what-the-hell, and I’m glad I did. We’ve escaped the confines of the bus to cook outdoors — burgers, dogs, skillet potatoes, chili and more.

No, it’s not fancy. It’s not a Blackstone or a Char-Broil. But it suits us, and it’s ours (as in paid for).

We do have a couple of accessories that make a good thing better. The first is a hose that connects the stove’s regulator to a 20-pound LP tank. Though we almost always use the disposable one-pound green bottles, the hose gives us another, more economical option.

The other add-on came from the Lodge Cast Iron factory outlet in Sevierville, Tennessee, bought when we were on our shakedown cruise. The made-in-USA “Double Play Reversible Grill/Griddle” is a game-changer, making it possible to grill or fry without pots and pans. It fits the Coleman perfectly and works as it should.

Yes, the Double Play is a heavy piece — ten pounds, in fact — but there’s no substitute for cast iron. Don’t be seduced by non-stick aluminum griddles, ’cause it ain’t the same. We paid less than 20 bucks for ours at the outlet; elsewhere they can be had for about $35.

“Now I don’t know about you,” said Whipple at the beginning of his video, “but there’s nothing that I can think of that makes me think of good times camping than just old Coleman gear. Nothin’s more American camping than Coleman stoves, Coleman lanterns.”

He’s right about that, of course. And the sense of purpose that had him resurrecting that classic lantern is the same one that made it such a pleasure to light and use our old stove yesterday.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB