Tech expert Michelle Thatcher grew up surrounded by gadgets and sustained by Tex-Mex cuisine. Life in two major cities--first Chicago, then San Francisco--broadened her culinary horizons beyond meat and cheese, and she's since enjoyed nearly a decade of wining, dining, and cooking up and down the California coast. Though her gadget lust remains, the practicalities of her small kitchen dictate that single-function geegaws never stay around for long.
I stopped camping about the time I moved out from my parents' house, which had plenty of storage space. Few urban apartments have room for bulky camping gear--at least, mine haven't.
However, I began to rethink that old hobby when a friend sent me a link to the Coleman Exponent Rendezvous Stove. A far cry from my parents' chunky, metallic green camping stove, the Exponent Rendezvous is a minikitchen in highly portable form. Closed, it looks like a rugged, Bond-esque black-and-silver briefcase. When opened, the stove's lid folds out to reveal a hard-anodized basin with customizable storage bins, plus an antimicrobial cutting board and a griddle. There are also four hooks to keep utensils within easy reach.
The cooktop is stainless steel, as is the cooking grate; both are removable for easy cleaning. The two burners are independently controlled and can be sparked via the battery-operated ignition. The recessed cooktop and folding screens shield the flame from wind, and Coleman claims the stove will produce a steady fuel stream, even at high altitudes and when fuel is low. As you'd expect for a portable stove, the Exponent Rendezvous uses 16.4-ounce propane cylinders, though you can also use a bulk propane tank with an adapter (sold separately).
The whole package measures 25 inches wide, 16 inches deep, and 8 inches thick when folded, so it won't take up too much room in transit (or in your closet). Carrying it is another matter: at 25 pounds, it's best for car camping.
There's also the matter of cost; its $365 price tag represents quite an investment. But it could be worth the cost if (like me) you like the idea of roughing it, gourmet style.