Gear Test: Brunton Wind River Range
Among camp stoves, especially in the two-burner category, there is the VW, the Cadillac and the Porsche, if you will. The new Brunton Wind River Range is the Porsche in this category. It’s handsome and well designed, and it’s lightweight (compared to some of the bigger Cadillac stoves) at 23 pounds. Yet it is still beefy enough to sport twin 15,000-BTU burners topped with a large-gauge steel wire grill that will support heavy pots and pans.
The 3-3/8-inch diameter burners are at the heart of this range. They are ceramic coated for durability and offer a wide flame-spreader design with dozens of perforations — just like you find on top-of-the-line home ranges. The Wind River Range offers cooking performance that goes from a high-quality low simmer to a high-flame mode that got a coffee percolator pot full of cold camp-tap water to a boil in approximately 9 minutes.
Cooking meals on the Wind River Range was a breeze, too. We could keep two pots going on the burners, while continuing with food preparation for the next dish on the large and very useful food-grade plastic cutting board that finds its home in the side-hinged stove case lid. The burner knobs provide precise flame adjustment and are large enough to firmly grasp, even if you’re wearing gloves. The cooking area (with the windscreens set up) allows for two 10-inch-diameter pans to be centered on the burners at the same time.
The heavy-duty extruded aluminum case of the Wind River Range measures 21-7/8 inches wide, 13-5/8 inches deep and 7 inches high. This includes the handle on the front of the case and the plastic corner bumpers. The grill itself is made from stainless steel for maximum durability. The cutting board is integrated into the side-hinged stove lid, and can be removed to be used elsewhere, or can be used right in the case as a trivet for hot pots and pans. Underneath the cutting board is room to store cooking implements such as Brunton’s three-piece Cooktools set that includes a slotted spatula, grill fork and ladle.
The burners are part of a stainless steel burner plate that is removable for cleaning. Underneath the burner plate is more room for storage (when the stove is not in use); the detachable hose that goes from the stove to the fuel container (hose and regulator attachments for connecting to any size propane cylinder are available), and the range’s collapsible wind screen are stowed here. We ran our test unit on a 5-gallon LPG tank borrowed from my home barbeque grill, but you can use standard 1-pound propane canisters.
One of the nicest aspects of the Brunton Wind River Range is its folding design. Its suitcase styling with a large handle makes the stove easy to tote, and everything (including an attachable utensil and towel rack) tucks neatly inside the stove’s two-part case. We said the Wind River Range was the Porsche of the two-burner stoves, and the price reflects that — the suggested retail is $439. To go along with the sports car price, though, is a lifetime warranty and the satisfaction of having your camp neighbor come over and say, “Wow, that’s cool! Who makes that?” Brunton: 800/443-4871; www.brunton.com.