Make cooking outdoors easy on your summer camping holiday
All the gear for eating outdoors.
THREE OF THE BEST PORTABLE FIRES
They provide heat, light and something to cook over. Here are three camp fires that keep your fire safe, contained and off the ground
GR8-4 OUTDOORS PORTABLE HEATER/BARBECUE Green Dream Innovation, £75 gdigroup.co.uk
This innovative product is neat and stylish, and strikingly compact at just 30cm by 20cm by 11cm, so as an outdoor heater it’s best suited to one or two people. It’s nicely made, and robust. The fire is hidden (boo!) in a perforated steel box with a hinged lid that forms the grill; this is kept 9cm off the ground by the support. That’s enough to avoid scorching – but any grass beneath will wilt. Small pieces of wood about the size of kindling will fit. These burn quickly, and need frequent topping-up. You may prefer to use charcoal instead, or biofuel pellets if available. Cooking over the GR8-4 is
challenging – the cooking area is small, there is nothing to stop food rolling off the top, and the grill is close to the coals. For its size, I found that the GR8-4 throws out a modest but pleasant heat.
VERDICT Compact, best suited to burning charcoal or pellets for a bit of extra heat in the evening.
HEKLA 30 FIRE BOX Tentipi, £72.50 01823 275121, tauntonleisure.com
Don’t let that shabby exterior put you off – the surface corrodes naturally after use, but this steel firebox is robust and
reliable and should last for years. The Hekla unfolds easily from its canvas bag to form a box with a central strut to support a kettle or pot. (A grill is not
supplied but a standard oven grill fits quite neatly on top.) With dimensions of 51cm x 32cm x 17cm, the box is big enough to build a handsome fire. To prevent scorching, you’ll have to devise your own means of support – using logs or rocks. Sparks will escape the perforations in the base, but a couple of foil trays or a layer of sand or bare soil will catch them. Cooking is not necessarily straightforward as you need to build up quite a bit of heat beneath – that involves getting through a lot of charcoal, or adding wood. At 3.95kg it’s too heavy for hiking but there is a smaller, 1kg version, the Hekla 7.
VERDICT Simple, tough, low-tech.
OPENFIRE PORTABLE FIRE PIT Primus, £120 00 46 8 440 86 68 (Sweden), primus.eu/kamoto-openfire-pit
This smart Swedish fire pit is beautifully made from stainless steel. Assembly is easy – it opens from a hinge, then you slide three steel plates into place. It’s a fair size at 60cm wide and 39cm tall, so there’s plenty of room for substantial logs. The large base beneath it catches any escaping sparks, but you may need to find some means to further protect the ground beneath, as any grass beneath that warm base will wilt. If you are cooking, the grill is large and well made. It holds your food a fair distance from the fire so you will need to build up some good heat beneath: but once you’ve done that this is a very effective barbecue. Carrying is not easy; the whole thing weighs 6.1kg, and a strap binds everything together rather feebly. A ‘pack sack’ is available separately for a stiff 30 euros.
VERDICT An excellent product – safe, durable, and good for both cookery and warming groups of shivering campers.