Campingaz Bleuet 206
One good thing about Built to Last Reviews is that I get to review not only the new, modern gear -it would be over too quickly-, but also the good old, almost retro, equipment. Often these are not for sale anymore, but it’s still possible to get them second hand, for a bargain.
Take the Campingaz Bleuet 206, a simple gas stove. It has no usb thermal charging port, digital temperature display, internal double combustion or whatever gadgets modern stoves feature. Instead it has one burner, removable pan support, and the whole thing is made from steel. The built-to-last kind of steel.
On my last tour my stove was confiscated when boarding the ferry, as the gas bottle was too dangerous, according to the security officer. (I wonder what he thinks about all the campers on board, with 80 litre propane tanks…) Searching around for a new stove I could only find the new version, made out of plastic and with some kind of hinged clamping method for inserting the gas cartridge. Also the supports were not removable. It all shouted ‘weak, don’t buy’ to me. I ate cold food all the way home. :)
Luckily I have a small cache of the old Bleuet 206 burners at my father’s place, so now on the current tour I can enjoy a nice warm coffee again. Just have to remember to take out the gas cartridge before boarding a ferry!
It’s a powerful one-burner gas stove running standard 206 propane-butane pierce-cartridges which are available about anywhere in the world and cost about nothing. It has a durable steel housing, steel cartridge clamps, four steel removable pan supports and a brass removable burner that will last a lifetime. Despite being completely made of a heavy material, the weight is low, lower than a full gas cartridge and a lot lower than modern screw-on stoves. It’s easy to pack with the burner and supports removed. The pack-volume is about one litre.
This is another point where the good old stuff always wins: simplicity. Screw the central part out, place the gas, screw it back in, done. Doing so the burner will pierce the cartridge and seal it, while pulling it in for a solid fit that won’t get you worried riding down an impossible dirt-road.
- Built to Last!
- Easy in operation and maintenance.
- Very powerful
- Small burner is also suitable for heating a drinking cup.
- Compact due to removable supports and burner.
- Even more compact with the cartridge removed.
- Cartridges are available worldwide and cost little, less than €1 in Europe.
- Not in production anymore, so get them second hand.
- Cartridges are meant to install only once. Modern ones have a built-in valve but as a safety feature, not to make them removable.
- Rubber seal on the valve’s needle wears and will be difficult to get replaced. Some DIY might be needed.
- Sharp edge around the housing, but an old sock around it is enough to prevent it from damaging other stuff in your luggage.
- Small high-output burner creates a hotspot on wide thin-bottomed pans.
The second version of this already exists, the Bleuet Plus. It has a plastic hinged housing, which isn’t an improvement if you’d ask me, a small wind blocking cup around the burner, which can be good, but on a small high powered burner like this the wind needs to be strong to have effect.
Other than the small windshield there isn’t much to think of. Some way to keep the pan supports and burner together with the stove would be nice, but I can’t see a better way than to just tie the supports together and put it in a bag with the burner. It’s just as with all small parts: don’t lose them.
Why don’t they make these anymore?! Didn’t Campingaz get the memo of ‘never change a winning team’? If you can get one of these somewhere, in the thrift-shop, on craigslist, from a friend: get it!
@Campingaz: Pretty please with sugar on top, take these back in production!