By Greg Illes
If you camp mostly hooked-up, you probably have an electric toaster which meets your needs. But there are many camp situations where an electric toaster just isn’t a viable choice. Maybe you’re not hooked up, and perhaps it’s quiet-time and you can’t run your generator (or maybe you just don’t want to listen to it).
Personally, I love a slice of toast in the morning, but I hate starting the day listening to the rumble and roar of my generator. Inverter power is a possible option, but an electric toaster at 900W will draw 80A from an inverter — four slices of toast can use up three to four percent of battery capacity. It’s always possible to pan-fry bread, but let’s face it, that’s fried bread, not toast. Besides, it’s just another dirty pan to wash.
Enter a delightful little product, the stove-burner toaster. These inexpensive, compact little tools can cook up a slice of toast in about a minute or so, with no battery impact and only a miniscule consumption of propane. There are multi-slice models from camp-equipment vendors like Coghlan and Coleman, but the best-working unit I’ve found is the single-slice device (models available from Primus, GSI, Chinook). These take longer to make multiple slices, but the results are very controllable and uniform. Besides, who’s in a hurry when camping?
To use one of these, un-fold it and place it over a stove burner. Light the burner, and adjust the flame and toaster position to produce an even dull-red-hot heat in the lower layer of the toaster. Using tongs, place a slice of bread on top of the toaster and count to 30 (maybe more or less, depending on your stove and personal preferences). Flip the slice over, repeat, done.
The one-slice units fold up as thin as a slice of bread, and come with a tidy little storage bag to be cleanly tucked away in the tiniest of RV rigs. And, at $10-$15, they don’t dent a wallet.