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Cooking while camping - what's best?

(10 Posts)
AlmaMartyr Mon 25-Jul-11 19:29:54

Sorry to be on here asking advice again! We've just had a lovely weekend away but realised that our cooking equipment maybe leaves something to be desired.

I have a Campingaz two hob stove that needs a gas canister attached. DCs are 1 and 3 so we had to keep them well away from it, especially as we don't have a kitchen so have to keep the stove on the floor (outside the tent, don't want to cook indoors). The stove only seems to have one setting, which is annoying - if you turn it down from max heat it just goes off completely so I got pretty covered in hot oil while cooking sausages hmm. I'm really nervous about gas as well, I don't trust it, especially when I can't see the flame, and don't like having to lug a gas canister around.

Is there anything better? When camping we mostly eat stuff like sausages and stuff that I can boil because we only have a gas hob but I'm happy to experiment - having burnt my hands draining hot pasta this weekend (no colander) I'm a bit grumpy! I'd mostly like something that feels a little bit less dodgy as a set up and maybe packs a bit smaller. It needs to be reasonably safe for the kids as well I guess (as safe as an outside cooker can be anyway).

I've seen talk of Cobbs which look pretty cool, not sure how easily I'll be able to persuade DH. Can you cook anything on them? Also talk of bivouac stoves etc but not sure if I'd need to take something else with me as well as that?

AlmaMartyr Tue 26-Jul-11 09:30:00

I was investigating this more last night and really want a Cobb now! DH not convinced, he's worried we might need to take (and) buy a one ring gas burner as well. Also that food might take too long to actually do and he doesn't like the idea of having to wait for it to cool down once it's used. I've read tales of people using kettles on them for tea so that might cancel out the need for gas burner?

DHwonTheDadsRace Tue 26-Jul-11 13:01:02

Hadn't heard of Cobb before, and have just googled it. It looks great as an oven/bbq, but a bit of a pain for the sort of camping cooking we do, which is cups of tea, pasta, rice, etc. Quite bulky too?

We use a Trangia with meths, a whisperlite multi-fuel, and a camping gaz burner. Yes, you have to keep the kids away, but that's going to be true of any cooker. I like that the trangia packs up so neatly, pans and all, and you can buy meths anywhere. Not very controllable, pretty much on or off, but resilient in windy weather. Our meths burner has seen better days, so we're thinking of getting a gas burner for it.

The whisperlite is lovely - simple and can even burn petrol if you're stuck for other fuels. Very controllable heat. Quite compact, but separate pans needed.
I find it hard to prime this one though, and tend to get a puddle of fuel everywhere. DH doesn't have this problem.

The camping gaz one is very easy to use, and we have a lamp fitting for it too, can swap the gas over. But we tend to use this in more urban situations, as it's relatively bulky, and you need to be sure you can buy more gas somewhere nearby. These are wee gas canisters, about 6" high, not the big things.

Mostly, we take 2 of these 3 options, using the whisperlite or camping gaz one for boiling kettle, and using the 2 when making a meal, using the trangia as a simmer ring - it's slower for boiling than the other two.

Hope that helps somewhat. Perhaps Cobb plus something like the whisperlite would work for you?

CaptainNancy Tue 26-Jul-11 13:18:22

We just use a one-burner gas stove... but we are seriously minimalist campers (even with the children now).

Cobbs (and cadacs) come highly recommended on mn though...

AlmaMartyr Tue 26-Jul-11 19:06:57

I had a look at Trangia, it looks like it'd be great if you were backpacking but not sure it's really something we would use. Whisperlite looks pretty interesting. We already have a decent set of pans which are hopefully fairly versatile.

Our Campingaz is fairly easy to use but just not very keen on you. Like you though, I tend to cook pasta etc mainly and couldn't do without a cup of tea in the morning. I can happily switch around what I cook though - at home I cook a lot of bean stews, curries, chillis etc which sound fairly compatible with the Cobb.

AlmaMartyr Wed 27-Jul-11 20:03:13

I found this while googling, which looks promising.

Tbh, I've talked myself into a Cobb now but DH not keen sad He's worried that it's dangerous to the DCs while waiting for it to cool down although I've been arguing that heat is a danger with anything and at least it can be moved and put away from them.

mummyosaurus Wed 27-Jul-11 21:30:09

We have a cobb and a petrol stove.

The petrol stove is really quick and cheap to run but tricky to start (DH has to make all the tea!).

The main thing you can't do with a cobb is boil a kettle, so you will need another stove to do that. We don't use a sauce pan on ours - not sure if you can. It's more like a bbq/oven. so you can do pizza and toast on it.

Do you use a frying pan with your existing cooker? We use a frying pan (with frylight spray - so it's healthy) and you can fit lots in it and it's quick. Just a thought.

AlmaMartyr Wed 27-Jul-11 21:50:50

Thanks Mummyosaurus. I do use a frying pan atm, we have a little set of 2 saucepans and a frying pan which work well on the Campingaz, I just get burnt a lot. The equipment always seems to fit a lot more in than it should, which is handy. I hadn't thought about taking frylight instead of normal oil though.

Pizza and toast would be very useful to be able to make, particularly toast. Currently we almost always have sausages but don't always fancy them for breakfast!

AlmaMartyr Sat 30-Jul-11 21:41:09

Persuaded DH to let me get a Cobb for our 5th wedding anniversary! I've just ordered it, I am stupidly excited and planning winter barbecues already.

I think what swung it was the ability to move it away from the children once it's lit so hopefully it will be slightly safer.

mybabywakesupsinging Sun 31-Jul-11 22:45:41

We use 2 trangias as they are tiny - even the set with 2 saucepans and a frying pan - and fit in our car...
might be useful for boiling stuff/frying etc.

I hanker after toast when camping and make it when we do a BBQ.

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