Good Gear For The Camper
  |  First Published: March 2009

This month I have a few goodies for those of us who enjoy camping. They are designed to make eating on the go a more convenient experience.

Travellers Thermal Portable Cooker

The Travellers Thermal Portable Cooker is a Primus Australia Campfire product that is purpose built to either hold a cooked meal as hot as when it came off the stove for quite a few hours, or to even finish cooking it once some careful pre-heating has been achieved.

The Thermal is like a giant vacuum flask as it has a fully insulated outer shell with a tightly closing and well sealed lid. The concept is easy enough to grasp as we've all enjoyed coffee or tea from a Thermos or similar. I've one at home that will keep water at near boiling temperature virtually all day.

To test the insulation potential of the unit I carried out a simple test. I heated some water to boiling point and poured into one of the cook pots that form part of the Travellers Thermal kit and, after putting the lid on it and carefully placing it within the unit, closed the hinged top to wait and see if any of the heat within would transfer to the outside of the unit. The outer area of the unit remained as cool as before. The Travellers Thermal pot has excellent insulation capability.

For the second concept (cook as you go) of the Travellers Thermal's function you will need to refer to the very handy cooking guide that accompanies each unit for an easy explanation.

Cook as you go

The cooking guide explains that thermal cooking has a similar result as stewing or boiling food, which uses trapped stream for cooking.

Select one of the two pots; a pair of excellent stainless steel pots of 6L and 2L capacity with well made and strong handles accompany each unit. Heat the selected food item, such as a stew, soup, rice, porridge or the like, in the chosen pot on a normal stove for just a short while to ensure it boils or simmers. The suggestion is around 20 minutes or so, but experience will allow the user to become familiar with its capability.

The next step is to carefully remove the pot and its contents from the stove and place them within the Travellers Thermal where, with heat loss reduced to an absolute minimum, the food continues cooking for some hours.

This is a great idea when travelling with the family. Imagine, setting up and sitting down for a hot meal without any more preparation. And the same would apply when on a boating day excursion. Anchoring up or going ashore at a carefully chosen spot for lunch and then enjoying a hot meal from the Travellers Thermal.

The Travellers Thermal cookbook suggests that the unit lends it-self best to foods that involve braising or simmering, so the scope is fairly wide. Information provided suggests that the unit loses about 4ºC per hour but the closer to boiling liquid in the pot, the hotter it stays. Users can expect to find food hot after eight hours, which is a pretty respectable interval.

On the opposite end of the scale, we can also use the Thermal for storing cold food, such is its versatility.

One more thing of importance would be the size of the cook pots; I saw them as sensibly large enough for a meal for at least two adults and a couple of youngsters.

As we might expect from a unit backed by Primus the Travellers Thermal Portable Cooker is a very well finished and clean unit with the sort of quality that suggests a long working life.

Price would be around the $199 mark.

Feed the trash to the Croc bin

The Croc Bin consists of a well-made and strong frame with a lid that can be fitted with a plastic bag (grocery bags are great) to hold smaller rubbish items we always seem to have around camp where there is often no bin handy, or no garbage collection whatsoever.

I'm set mine up where I tie flies; to stop that infernal fluff and stuff blowing all around the place.

Each Croc Bin comes with both a wall mounting bracket for setting up at a chosen location, such as a BBQ area, boat, camper, caravan or any other place, and also a U bolt style bracket for attachment to a tent pole, table leg and similar.

Once the Croc is set up it's only a couple of seconds work to stretch a plastic bag over it and put it to work. Simple but very effective. These are well made bits of kit and should last for years. And for around $29 from Great Escape Camping Co., it is certainly a bargain.

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