Thanks to Geoff Unger, American Mountain Guide/IFMGA Guide, for this review of the Rainier Camper Combo Grill/Griddle/Stove, part of the Camp Chef Mountain Series. Photo of Geoff courtesy of Brian Dolphin.
I was excited to receive my Camp Chef Rainier Campers Combo stove and was initially impressed with the interchangeable grill and griddle. Most camp stove systems I have used have two burners; the Camp Chef has one burner and an element more like my BBQ grill at home. This griddle/grill system provides added functionality.
I was impressed by the way the burner adjusted for an even flame at all temperatures. The grill side was equally adept at cooking steaks and veggies. Then an easy transition could be made to the griddle for eggs or pancakes in the morning. I found it important to have the stove sit level when using the griddle because the pancakes or eggs would run toward the edge of the griddle surface. I also had to be careful not to overload the griddle to prevent overflow of the small catch channels on the sides. The short rubber feet under the stove provided a stable platform on many surfaces, which contrasted other models I have used where the stove was less stable sitting directly on the table, tailgate, or other surface.
As far as cleaning and packing the set up goes, I found the griddle and grill easy to clean and the stove nicely packable. The feet and added grill/griddle do make it bulkier to pack, but the stove comes with a carrying case to keep everything together.
Note that you cannot cook on the griddle/grill side of the stove without scratching the nonstick surfaces. If you take these off, your pot or skillet would rest directly on the flames, making cooking less feasible. I could envision doing this if there was a wire system, like the burner, that took the place of the griddle and grill. The element underneath certainly puts out enough btus to get the job done.
Overall I liked the stove. It worked well for a variety of uses. The burner/grill distributed heat evenly—an important feature for any stove. My preference would be to have a dedicated two-burner system and then use charcoal or a fire for grilling for easy cleanup and rustic flavor. Luckily Camp Chef makes a range of products with two and three burners including the Everest and Teton stoves. The stove retails for $138.00. Find it on the Camp Chef website by clicking here.