BEST Camping Gear
This new gas-fired portable BBQ from Primus is a perfect cooking companion for campers and picnic fiends, and a handy table-top griller for balcony use, too. The compact Kuchoma is exceedingly well built and runs off both camping gas canisters or full-blown Patio Gas cylinders (with optional adaptor). It also comes with an integral hinged lid – with carry handle – for either direct or indirect cooking; a very good thing indeed.
The Kuchoma’s non-stick 40cm x 24cm grate will comfortably accommodate about 20 sausages or a dozen chicken legs – enough cooking estate for a cult of campers – and, at 4.5kgs, it’s light enough to carry a fair old distance without your arm falling off. Granted, it’s not the easiest thing to clean while out in the bush, but then nobody ever cleans a barbecue after every meal – just fire it up and let the remnants burn off before slapping on the next mini banquet.
Portable solar panels are a great way to keep your devices topped up when out in the sticks but they’re not going to be as effective on cloudy days and certainly not when darkness falls. That’s where the newly updated BioLite CampStove 2 comes in. This small, light and extremely portable wood-burning stove turns heat into electricity – and it works remarkably well. Simply load it up with a pile of twigs, light up and hit the fan button. Before long it’s a mini smokeless blaze that’s hot enough to boil a couple of cups of water in about eight minutes. But that’s not all. Plug your phone into the supplied USB port and it’ll charge it up while it’s cooking. How ingenious is that? The BioLite Bundle comes with a Portable Grill head, a KettlePot and an LED FlexiLight.
BioLite CampStove 2 Bundle
Petzl Actik Core
The headtorch is a camping, orienteering and caving essential – without one you’re guaranteed to stumble over your guy ropes, trip headlong into the campfire or bang your head on a stalactite. It’s also a very useful item to keep in the car for night-time emergencies.
Petzl is a market leader in head torches and this new model comes with three beam strengths that are assigned very easily by repeatedly pressing the orange rubber power switch. Press once for low beam – perfect for reading without disturbing a partner – twice for brighter and three times for a maximum power of 350 lumens (good enough to illuminate subjects up to 95 metres away). Full beam has a run time of around two hours while low beam keeps going for up to 160 hours.
It also has a softer red LED beam to help preserve night vision and prevent dazzling others. A double tap of the red beam activates a pulsing strobe that runs for up to 350 hours; a very handy signal if in need of help. To recharge, simply plug the supplied Micro USB cable directly into the enclosed battery and attach it to the mains or a portable USB powerbank. And if you don’t have access to a power source then simply replace the removable rechargeable battery with three normal AAA batteries.
The Actik Core can be angled up or down and comes with a comfy reflective head strap replete with an integral emergency whistle that’s surprisingly loud. In the pantheon of wilderness gear, this rechargeable model is a mini triumph. It’s light as a feather, easy to use, not too expensive and extremely versatile.
Forget faffing about with bagfuls of charcoal and mum’s hairdryer to fan the flames. This award-winning barbie uses only a small handful of briquettes and a fast battery-powered fan that gets the whole thing up to cooking temperature in three minutes flat, and with very little smoke in the process. It works by creating a bellows effect that forces cool air over the charcoal, turning it into a raging inferno, albeit a safe one. The Lotus Grill is available in six pastel colours and is ideal for small courtyards, campsites, boats, picnics and balconies.
If you’re a travelling espresso junkie who can’t function without a morning hit, try this little life saver. The cylindrical Nanopresso measures just comes with everything you need to make a genuine espresso. Just add hot water and a Nespresso capsule and pump the piston for an authentically rich, aromatic espresso complete with obligatory creamy crema. If hotel coffee rarely meets your high expectations or you’re out in the wilds, pop one of these in the shoulder bag and you’ll never be without a proper caffeine fix again. The Nanopresso is also available for ground coffee. Excellent choice.
Wacaco Nanopresso Nespresso Kit
Primus Eta Power Stove
This commendably efficient stove is ideal for both family camping and the wilderness trail. Comprised of a 1.8-litre pot (big enough for four people) and an integral propane gas burner with heat exchanger and wind guard, the Primus Eta Power boils water incredibly quickly and uses less gas than conventional stoves. It comes with a natty zipper case too.
Mountaineers, touring cyclists and backpackers need a cooking system that doesn’t take up valuable space. They also require a cooker that’s practical, efficient, fast and easy to use. This award-winning high-tech system fulfils all those criteria. The Jetboil Flash is essentially a neoprene-covered aluminium 500ml flask from which you can wolf the contents, but inside are all the gubbins necessary to turn it into an accomplished cooker-on-the-go that boils its contents in just 2.5 minutes. Just enough time to grab a bite between avalanches.
Cadac's versatile, South African-designed gas stove-cum-BBQ is hugely popular on French family campsites and small wonder. It comes with a two-sided griddle plate, a standard BBQ grill, a pot warmer, oven lid, and – best of all – a very large skottle (or wok). In short, it's the only outdoor cooking appliance you'll ever need. The Cadac Carri Chef Deluxe is highly recommended, especially for families, religious cults and large groups of eco activists.
Cadac Carri Chef Deluxe
Many campsites in Britain and France forbid the use of charcoal-based barbecues. Gas versions, though, are invariably fine; which is where Weber’s excellent kettle-style travel grill comes in. Because the compact Weber Baby Q 100 uses small disposable propane cylinders, it’s easy to transport; yet you’ll still get half-a-dozen five-place meals out of each canister. Great for picnics too. And we love the colour!
Weber Baby Q 100
Few sounds are more relaxing than the gentle hiss of a gas lantern while chilling under the stars. This compact lamp offers ample light to read by and is very safe to use. It's easy to operate too: simply twist the knob and the piezo ignites the mantle to produce an adjustable, brilliant white light.