We first got to use our new Ranger III in June of 2015 on our Padre Island National Seashore trip. Unpacking and initial set up was easy and very intuitive. If you've used any kind of propane stove similar to this before, this stove won't be anything new for you. Firing it up was easy with the built in piezo igniter. Each burner fired up quickly. The stove was connected to a 20 lb propane bottle and all three burners worked flawlessly. I have read other reviews that complained about the lack of ability to simmer with the Ranger III. Some felt that the burners were too hot. I did not find this to be the case. I was able to create a nice reduction for some delicious pork without every worrying about burning the sauce. Three days of cooking for a group of six with no hick-ups at all. My only concern was the lack of provided windscreen, which became very evident with the constant coastal breeze.
So this bring us to 6 months later and we are back in the place where our last stove failed us so miserably. Just to be sure that we were covered, I brought along a MSR Whisperlite and plenty of fuel; thankfully that was unnecessary. Typically, I handle most of the kitchen work for our group. We have a great system where I handle menu planning, prep, and cooking while the rest of the group will take turns cleaning up after each meal. This particular trip would be different in that for the first time, we would be split in two groups. One group was to leave early with the second group coming roughly a week later. Since I was in the second group, that meant that the first group would have to fend for themselves for meals. So they loaded up the Engel fridge, my cookbox and the Ranger III and headed off to Big Bend. When we arrived a week later, one of the first things I wanted to know was how the stove did considering how much of an issue cooking had been on our first trip to Big Bend. I was happy to hear that it had worked flawlessly. For two weeks, the Ranger III performed admirably with only one small issue worth mentioning. Towards the end of the second week, when replacing the empty propane bottle with another, we began to have issues with the hose connection to the 20 lb propane bottle leaking. No matter how much we tightened the connector, we still had a leak that we were able to confirm with soapy water. Since our kitchen was outside and we had a nice breeze blowing most of the time, we felt comfortable with continuing to use the stove regardless of the leak. My intent is to replace the provided hose and regulator with a more durable version.
In closing, I have found the Camp Chef Ranger III 3-Burner Blind Stove to be a great value with excellent quality. There are a few areas for improvement however. First, having a windscreen would make this stove much more versatile. In areas where you have high or gusting winds, keeping a good flame could be an issue. Secondly, while the cast-iron frame of the stove is robust, the metal flashing under the burners and the metal that surrounds the sides of the stove are of a thin gauge and and could easily be bent and deformed. Lastly, improving the quality of the supplied hose and regulator would go a long way to improve durability and provide peace of mind. All that being said, I am happy to recommend this stove to anyone looking for a good, three-burner option that doesn't break the bank. I am looking forward to many years of trouble free use of this excellent piece of equipment. If you happen to see us out in your favorite park or outdoor area, stop by, I might be cooking up something special! More stove specs and pricing can be found here at http://www.campchef.com/ranger-iii-three-burner-stove.html Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more gear reviews. Until then, get out and enjoy yourself! Remember, Live Life Outside!