Monday, November 10, 2008

Review: RoadPro 12 Volt Portable Travel Stove

If you've ever wanted to heat up a meal while on the go then the RoadPro 12 Volt Portable Travel Stove might be just what you need. This "portable lunchbox" plugs right into your cigarette lighter socket and provides up to 300 degrees of heating power. It's perfect for heating things like hot pockets, burritos or soups while on the go.

Background, why I bought the stove:

I'm an outdoorsgeek, meaning I'm often out camping, hunting, hiking, fishing or just taking day trips to the mountains. When taking day trips or even short over-nighters we usually pack lite and try to carry as few items as possible. This is especially true on 4wheeling trips, when space is limited.

On several occasions I've wanted a hot meal, maybe something hot for breakfast on a cold morning. Packing a stove, even a single burner stove, is great but then you have to stop and set it up and wait for whatever you want to eat to heat up. Reheating items on the manifold was always an option but on our new F-150 there really is no place to put burritos, and we all know how easily they bounce off when hitting bumps.

So I was looking for a solution that would be both ultra portable and extremely practical. I originally thought about getting a 12 volt portable frying pan. But that didn't seem anymore practical than using a camp stove. One bump and your food goes everywhere. So I was browsing Amazon where I cam upon the solution, the RoadPro 12 Volt Portable Travel Stove.


The lunchbox is manufactured of durable ABS, with a latching front to hold all your food inside. It plugs into most 12V lighter-type sockets and comes with a 5 1/2 foot power cord. The stove is designed with heating elements in the bottom that heats food to approximately 300°. It's insulated to keep food warm on the inside while the outside stays cool. (see notes below). The lunchbox is approx. 8" l. x 3 3/4" w. x 5" h. (perfect size for using 8" x 3-3/4" x 2-1/2" aluminum disposable loaf pans).

I've had my lunchbox for about 3 weeks now and used it on 3 or 4 trips with outstanding results. I've kept my testing limited to breakfast burritos mainly because our trips have been limited to early morning hunting trips. So there hasn't been a need for anything else.

The pros and cons:
      Heats very quickly and gets items good and hot
      Compact portable design
      Very rugged feel, it has taken a few knocks w/o issues
      Latching lid keeps food in place no matter what

      Only heats on the bottom, you have to flip your food to get it warm on both sides
      Bottom gets very warm to the touch, I'm weary of using it for long periods of time
      Doesn't seem to keep food warm very long after unplugging

As you can see there are definitely a few areas that could use some improvement, and I'll admit with a little more testing these might be resolved. Overall I feel they are minor issues that shouldn't keep anyone from buying the RoadPro portable stove. I'll try it out with a few other food items just to see how well it really performs and post back my updated review in a month or two.

Richard's Breakfast Burrito:
    Here is my recipe that is a big hit, I like my food spicy with lots of flavor so adjust as needed for personal taste. As you can see measurements aren't exact, I eyeball it and cook to taste so I might be a bit off but this makes 3-4 decent sized burritos.

    • 3 Eggs scrambled or 4 egg whites
    • 1/3 Package Jimmy Deans Hot Bulk sausage
    • 1/2 Red Onion finely chopped
    • 1/2 Red Bell pepper chopped
    • 5-6 Mushrooms sliced thin
    • 2 Cups Frozen Southern Style Hash browns (easiest or cook your own)
    • 3-4 Burrito Size Tortilla Shells
    • Butter to saute mushrooms, I always use butter but use whatever
    • Grated Cheese I prefer adding sharp cheddar and pepper jack
    • Salsa I prefer Pace Medium

    In a skillet brown your sausage, add in the onions and bell peppers, season to taste (lots of black pepper and Pappy's Seasonings) and cook till the onions get a little transparency. Add in the hash browns, season to taste again, and heat thoroughly. In another pan lightly saute your mushrooms, add in the eggs and cook to desired firmness. Combine all ingredients to one pan, mix thoroughly.

    Layout single tortilla and add a decent amount of cheese to the bottom. Add in your filling and top with salsa and more cheese. Roll up your burrito and wrap in foil and you are good to go. Heat in your RoadPro 12 Volt Portable Travel Stove for approx 15 mins or until good and hot.

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