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Hands-on Gear Review
Cons: No windscreens, awkward cooking height, bulky, hard to transport.
Manufacturer: Bayou Classic
The Bayou is the BTU and water boiling champion of all the stoves we tested. If you want to boil water fast, you can't beat this one. The flame is impressive: like a mini fighter jet engine turned to the sky. It boiled water 50 percent faster than the next competitor. So why didn't it get Editors' Choice or beat out the Camp Chef Pro 90 for Top Pick award? We found it was not as ideal for camp cooking. It's really bulky, difficult to pack, sits at an awkward cooking height and has no wind screens. It is more at home at big cook-outs and when used to boil water in massive pots than it is for camping trips. That said, it is a great value and by far the most powerful stove we tested. So if heat and value are a priority, this stove is hard to beat.
RELATED: Our complete review of camping stoves
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Time to Boil
The Bayou is runaway winner for fastest stove to boil water. It boiled a liter of water in 1:45 where the next fastest stove did it in 2:30. If you have to boil water for a big group, you can't beat this stove.
This stove does a reasonable job of simmering. The flame is far enough away from the grill that you can turn down the heat reasonably well.
The huge burner size and grate size allows you to put an size pot or pan on it. It does not have the same grill size as the Camp Chef Yukon or Pro 60, but it is still plenty big. The one downside is that the stove sits a little low. It would be nice if the legs were a little longer and brought the cooking surface up six inches. You can remove the legs and put this stove on a table top. But one of the big advantages of this stove is that it is free standing and can free up valuable picnic table space.
Ease of Setup
This stove is just a little harder to set up than the other free standing stoves. You will need to purchase a big duffel bag to transport the stove and keep the legs and hose with it. The stove is bulky and a little hard to manage by one person. There are washers and wing nuts to keep track of. It is not hard to set up, just not as easy as the other stoves we tested.
Ease of Care
This is the easiest stove to clean, mainly because there is nothing in between the ground and the burner. Extra food falls straight to the ground and does not collect on a metal plate. The downside to this is that you have to either pick the stuff off the ground or you need to lay a piece of plastic underneath to collect all the droppings – that is, if you even drop stuff through the stove.
This stove comes with no windshield except for a large metal cylinder encasing the flame. When it is windy, and the burner is on any setting except high, the flame easily blows out. It is very important to place this stove near a natural wind block (your car, boulders, trees).
This stove is heavy and bulky. The other free standing stoves like the Pro 60 are not much lighter but they pack down compactly. This stove on the other hand is tall and has valves and piping sticking out. It is hard to pack in a car without taking up a lot of room.
This same stove comes in a one burner size for $65, the Classic Single Burner.
— Chris McNamara
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: September 18, 2014
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