If you frequently find yourself cooking with a large group of hungry campers or tailgaters, then a freestanding stove like the Camp Chef Pro 60X might be a perfect fit. Its sturdy legs are adjustable for when you're on uneven ground, and it packs some serious power with two 30,000 BTU burners. This is the only competitor in our review with fold-out side tables, a super convenient feature for food prep and cookware storage. The side tables are even large enough to support an additional single-burner stove if you find yourself needing another burner. The spacious cooking area allows for large pots and pans, while the gaps in the grate are still small enough to support smaller cookware. You'll be able to boil water fast and simmer more delicate items with confidence, though beware: windy conditions do pose a bit of a problem. The Pro 60X is also very heavy and requires a few extra steps for both setup and cleaning, but if your thing is big groups and lots of food, and you don't mind the price and size of this stove, then you'll likely be a very happy camper.
Camp Chef Pro 60X Review
Cons: Heavy, very large, requires five-gallon propane tank, pricey
Manufacturer: Camp Chef
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This free-standing two-burner stove with side prep tables is ideal for large group cooking situations. Its power and ability to handle all sizes of cookware make serving up a feast as easy as if you were in your kitchen at home. It is bulky, heavy, and expensive, though, so be sure that it's what you need before making the sizable investment.
Time to Boil
The Pro 60X boils water very fast when there isn't a breeze to contend with. We noticed that, depending on the direction of the wind, this stove would either do very well or struggle considerably. On a non-windy day, it boiled a quart of water in 3 minutes flat, one of the best times in our whole review. With 30,000 BTUs on each five-inch burner, this didn't come as a surprise at all.
Despite the impressively high BTUs on this stove, it still struggles with the wind in some situations. It is equipped with a windscreen, but breezes can get into the recess that houses the burners via vents on the side of the stove. The response of the Pro 60X to wind is as variable as the wind itself — sometimes it can handle it with ease, sometimes you get an extinguished flame. The difference seems to be in how predictable — or not — the wind's behavior is. During our box fan test, where we set up a fan 24 inches to the side of the stove and ran it continuously while trying to boil a quart of water, the Pro 60X did great, clocking in at 4 minutes, just a minute longer than without the fan and the second-fastest in our whole review. But with organic winds whipping around from all directions, there was a noticeable decline in its ability to stay lit. On a chilly morning with a variable breeze, it took this beast 11 minutes to boil a kettle of water (this water wasn't measured, so it may have been more volume and a lower starting temperature than in our official tests, but regardless, 11 minutes is a long time for a giant burner). The design of this stove is just susceptible to certain kinds of breezes. We don't think this is a reason not to buy the stove by any means, but just something to be aware of. In most situations, the powerful burners are more than adequate; you just may want to have something like a JetBoil available on one of the side tables for quick morning coffee and tea.
This stove has a nice low setting, but the medium setting is quite high, and the flame jumps up pretty quickly. As you use the Pro 60X more and get used to fine-tuning the knob, finding those delicate in-between temperature settings becomes easier. The flame does go very low and cooks beautifully with close to the same feel as cooking on an indoor stove. When cooking a full-size meal, this stove shines, and it's clear what it's meant for. That said, the design is such that the flame is several inches away from your cookware, so if a breeze comes from the right direction to penetrate the recess where the burners live, the flame will whip around. For the most part, even when this happened, our flame would stay lit, but we did have several instances where it went out, and we had to reignite. This happened with all our free-standing models due to their open and airy designs.
Ease of Set Up
This is one area where the mighty Pro 60X came in at the bottom of the pack. It's not that setting up this stove is super hard, but compared to the other models, it's far more involved. For starters, the stove weighs 45.6 pounds (not including the fuel tank) and requires you to flip it either upside down or on its side to push a button and fold out the stiff legs. We are thankful that there are adjustable footpegs on the bottom of each leg (very useful on uneven ground), but leveling the stove is another step required before you can start cooking. You'll also need to fold out the side tables and attach the windscreen. If the propane hose isn't already connected, this is the next step, and the manufacturer recommends tightening it down with a wrench. Finally, the hose can be screwed onto your propane tank. Once you know the drill, it's no big deal, but the consensus is that if you're not going out with a sizable group, then it's not worth the trouble to lug this beast along.
Ease of Care
Unsurprisingly for a feature-heavy stove of this size, cleaning and maintenance are also a bit more involved. The main extra step is that you can't just lift out the cooking grate like you can on most compact stoves. There is a hook on one side tightened down with a wing nut that must be loosened to remove the grate and reach the recessed area that houses the burners. This area will have collected all of the food bits from cooking, unlike the other freestanding models in our review which allow food spills to hit the ground (easier for cleanup but not ideal when critters are around). This stove has a bit of a learning curve, but the more you use it and get to know its intricacies, the easier caring for it will become.
No surprise, this big heavy beast scores low in this category. With measurements of 35 x 14.5 x 9.25 inches — not including the windscreen and propane tank — you need to be prepared for this stove to take up a pretty significant chunk of your car. The side prep tables also aren't equipped with a latch and can swing open during transport if you're not careful. Hopefully, Camp Chef will address this small design flaw in future iterations.
The Pro 60X isn't even close to being cheap. Depending on your needs, however, it might be perfect for you. If you dig into reviews online for this stove, you will find that people buy it for all sorts of reasons outside of just car camping. Some use it for various kitchen projects like canning and preserving or as their second outdoor kitchen in place of a grill. Value is relative. For many people, this stove is overpriced, but for the right kind of camper or outdoor foodie, the price is perfect for all you get.
The Pro 60X is a luxury item. There are a plethora of ways to get creative, pool your resources, and happily create a feast for lots of people without a stove like this. But just because you can do something on the cheap doesn't mean you always should. If you cook outside in large quantities on the regular, why not have a setup that provides an awesome experience? This stove is a joy to cook on no matter what you're making, and the prep tables are invaluable. While it's large and heavy and sometimes struggles with the wind, overall, this stove provides a professional cooking experience that is hard to beat.
— Penney Garrett