I’ll admit it, we are suckers for prepper gear that doubles as outdoors equipment. The Volcano II Collapsible Stove is just that, a great product for the preparedness minded outdoors-man/woman.
Simply put this is the swiss army knife of outdoor cooking. The grill is more than just that, it is a dutch oven master, a convection oven (when used with the kevlar lid), a stir frying wonder, pot and pan cooktop, as well as canner’s best friend. Then move onto the three fuel sources it can use, namely propane, wood, and charcoal. Wood and charcoal are great for those that don’t want to worry about keeping liquid fuels around for when the “ish” hits the fan. Simply find wood and load it into the bottom of the Volcano II and you are ready to cook.[Check out our Volcano II Grill Videos Page]
The Volcano grill has been around for years and over time has had some minor changes, the unit I am reviewing is their latest which came out Spring of 2011. The outer coating was improved according to the company and you can distinguish it from the older ones by its darker speckle color, a very dark charcoal grey, not the lighter grey version you will see when doing a Google image search for the Volcano II Grill.
Aside from the new coating the big improvement seen in the latest model is the propane attachment which has been replaced with a burner that is safer and easier to use. Gone are the days of tweaking the airflow to get the flame to burn blue. The new propane attachment doesn’t need adjustings, it just works.
Lastly a small and subtle addition at the bottom of the grill, there are three nubs that help the propane attachment stay centered when setting up the grill for gas cooking.
To start out my review I decided to push the Volcano II Grill hard from the get go. Along with the help of my husband I got out the canning equipment and bought a box of peaches to see if this multifaceted cooker could meet the demands of high heat for prolonged periods of time. For our elevation we needed the water bath canner to get in the upper 100 degree range and maintain that for several hours while we rotated out bottles of peaches. Cranked to high the large amount of water reached boiling after about 30 minutes. After 3-4 hours we had finished about 20 jars of peaches with no issues. While I don’t know the claimed BTU output it’s clear the Volcano II can put out some serious heat over a long period of time.
The propane passed with flying colors, now it was time to try out another fuel source so we gathered the family to roast some marshmallows and hot dogs. The propane attachment came out easily and within 90 seconds the grill was set up to run on charcoal or wood. We tossed some charcoal briquettes into the bottom and replaced the grill. Since the outer shell of the Volcano II Grill doesn’t get hot (you can even cook on top of a tablecloth) we felt completely comfortable with our little girl getting up close to the coals – no doubt a nice safety feature of the grill.
After finishing the dinner we left the coals to die and the grill to cool down so we could clean up the mess. All you had to do was turn the grill upside down and the remnants dropped into a garbage can. Follow that up with a quick wipe down with a rag or paper towel. After wiping the inside down I wanted to store it the included storage bag. The stove collapses down to 5-6″ tall which seems to be about 1/3 of its height when set up. While the legs didn’t want to cooperate the first couple tries they eventually tucked up inside and the unit sat snug in the bag.
Simple as that. Our only regret so far is not trying out the dutch oven cooking capability and the cool little kevlar lid that is said to act as a convection oven (see image to the left). A 10-12″ dutch oven fits perfectly inside the walls of the Volcano II Grill and you can get a 14″ to work out as well by switching around the internals. All of these tips and tricks are covered thoroughly in the Cookbook and Tech manual which we highly recommend.
The price on the Volcano II Grill will range from $100-110 for the propane-less model. You can add on the propane attachment for around $50-60 but the best value is buying a bundle kit where the two are mated along with the kevlar lid and cookbook/product manual. That combination will run you around $190 retail and and can be found cheaper when preparedness vendors are discounting it. It is not uncommon to find the bundle for around $175 shipped which is a great deal in our eyes for such a versatile cooker that can be used for prepping and enjoying time with the family outdoors.
Here is a list of what we liked:
- Highly versatile, multiple fuel sources and cooking techniques are possible
- Quality construction, not a weak link to be found
- Can crank out some heat and perform reliably
- Size, can collapse down and save space
… and what we didn’t:[badlist]
- Weight, at around 20 lbs it isn’t going with you on a hike
- Legs on our unit didn’t retract consistently, only a minor annoyance
So there you have it, one of if not the best cooking solutions on the market for the preparedness minded person. Quality built, easy to use, and versatile as the day is long. The Volcano II Grill gets our top rating of 5 stars, not an easy feat to accomplish!
Have one and want to leave tips for others? Have a question? Feel free to comment below. Thanks for dropping by and checking out our Volcano II Collapsible Stove Review!