It’s been a long time since I was a child, but I clearly remember Coleman lights and stoves on my earliest family camping trips.
These days Coleman produces various camping and outdoor equipment including canoes, coolers, tents, modern stoves, LED lights, and of course, old stand-byes like lights and stoves, using either propane canisters or the traditional white-gas.
Either fuel works well, but I prefer the older white-gas model because it seems easier to keep extra white-gas than it does to have an extra propane cylinder. Plus, white-gas can fuel both the lights and the stove, and in a pinch can be used carefully as a fire-starter.
Both the lights and the stove need to be pumped to pressurize the fuel and this takes more effort when it is cold. The built-in pump system has a leather gasket that needs to be kept oiled to maintain the seal inside the pump tube (a small hole is provided for that purpose). However, other than routine cleaning, that is all the maintenance required.
The cotton mantles in the lights are brittle, but are simple to replace and last a long time if the light is not handled roughly. Carrying the light in its original box or available metal case protects both the mantle and the glass globe. Be sure to let the lamp cool before storing it. Fuel is readily available in 4-litre cans and can be transferred to backpackers’ fuel bottles. Be sure you take enough, plus a little extra to be safe. When filling either the stove or the lights, use a funnel with a fine mesh filter in it.
The lights are available with one or two mantles and carrying a few extras is a good idea. Just be sure to choose the mantles designed for the light you are using. An add-on sparker is available for the light, but regular-length wooden matches are long enough to reach the mantle.
Butane barbecue lighters work well for the stove or lights, but they always seem to be out of fuel.
Both the stove and the lights radiate a lot of heat to warm the tent in cold weather, but adequate ventilation is essential to prevent possible asphyxiation.
These lights and the stoves have been in use for well over half a century and are still very popular for outdoor recreational enthusiasts. Many people have tried the newer high-tech gadgets and have come back to the old Coleman equipment because they are simple and dependable.