TESTED: TOP END CAMPGEAR CAMP KITCHEN

EVERY­THING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK.

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents - WORDS AND PHOTOS SCOTT HEIMAN

AT A re­cent 4WD show we had the plea­sure of bump­ing into Jim and Janet Craw­ford from Top End Campgear. As we got chat­ting, we found that Jim had spent 40 years as a long-haul truck driver. Not wanting to spend all his hard-earned on meals at truck stops, he be­gan to carry a tucker box and a gas cooker in the ’70s. As the years went by, his mo­bile kitchen evolved from an old army am­mu­ni­tion box to one made of ply­wood and then of steel. Once he’d set­tled on his ideal re­quire­ments, he gen­er­ated a stain­less steel mul­ti­pur­pose camp kitchen and, on re­tire­ment as a truckie, this be­came the ge­n­e­sis of his Top End Campgear Camp Kitchen.

The Camp Kitchen comes in alu­minium with ei­ther a pow­der­coated or metal fin­ish. It’s dust- and wa­ter-re­sis­tant and has car­pet lin­ing to help re­duce rat­tling con­tain­ers and elim­i­nate noise and bro­ken jars.

Jim has de­vel­oped three ver­sions to cater for dif­fer­ent rig set­ups and user re­quire­ments: The Long­haul, The Over­lan­der and The Squat­ter. They have roughly the same in­te­rior lay­out, but vary in height.

The Long­haul is the com­pany’s flag­ship model. It’s 600mm high x 650mm wide x 520mm deep. It comes stan­dard with a domed lid (a flat lid is op­tional) which pro­vides 30mm ex­tra height to ac­com­mo­date taller con­tain­ers. This model in­cludes eight can­is­ters (for cof­fee, su­gar, rice, pasta etc.), a wash­ing-up dish, a two-burner gas stove, a bam­boo chop­ping board, and an An­der­son plug that feeds the three LED lights. The lights are strate­gi­cally placed with one over the stove, one over the chop­ping board and the third on the lid to il­lu­mi­nate the stor­age area. The gas stove is fit­ted to a slide which tucks it away into the base of the unit.

The Over­lan­der and The Squat­ter kitchens fea­ture a flat lid as stan­dard,

though the domed ver­sion is op­tional. The Over­lan­der mea­sures 500mm high x 650mm wide x 520mm deep. The drop in height is due to the omis­sion of the gas burner. How­ever, it still has a slide that can be used as a prep bench or to place your own stove, but it lacks the Long­haul’s wind­break.

The Squat­ter mea­sures in at 400mm high x 650mm wide x 520mm deep and suits ver­ti­cally chal­lenged rigs. Be­cause of its low height, you’d prob­a­bly want to be sourc­ing flat-pack, sil­i­con-style bowls. This model has the same slide as The Over­lan­der for your own cook­top and prepa­ra­tion space. Within all mod­els is a re­cessed area at the rear of the top stor­age area, which is suit­able for your favourite sauce bot­tles that are taller than most.

The en­tire range can op­er­ate as stand­alone items and be taken out when needed. Al­ter­na­tively, they can be fit­ted on a slide or pivot. To max­imise space there’s an op­tion to pur­chase a slide drawer for an ad­di­tional $450.

AVAIL­ABLE FROM: www.topend­campgear. com.au RRP: From $1350-$1950 WE SAY: Tough, com­pact and con­ve­nient.

A slide drawer within a slide drawer utilises wasted space.

Keep­ing things in or­der is es­sen­tial for a stress-free trip. Plus, there’s enough stor­age in here to feed an army.

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