Famed angling writer and host of The Contented Countryman podcast, Nigel “Fennel” Hudson firmly believes that cooking and eating food outdoors makes it taste infinitely better than the same meal prepared and consumed indoors. Our bush chef, Anton Willemse, could not agree more. However, he knows campfire cooking comes with its own set of challenges.
For me, cooking is an act of love and preparing a meal, especially in the bush, forms part of the culinary journey. Chopping onions, preparing braaibroodjies or rubbing that lovely spice into a juicy steak before popping it onto the grill, impressing your mates with your cooking skills, is priceless and probably one of my favourite parts of camping. However, as much as I love bush cooking, the pendulum can quickly change to frustration when you do not have the right equipment at hand to complete the job.
My previous Hilux was perfectly equipped with everything I needed to whip up gourmet meals under the stars as my RSI canopy came fitted with a built-in kitchen. Sadly, my bakkie was stolen towards the end of last year, which had me scrambling to find a solution to scramble my eggs around the campfire! As our favourite camping style means roughing it out in the bundus, I was forced to look around for different kitchen options.
I prefer modular, mobile solutions that can be adapted and used with the various vehicles, caravans and trailers we are fortunate enough to take out on test. As usual, my search for user-friendly, high-quality and affordable camping solutions led me to Tentco, where I found a perfect little kitchen solution. Their Kitchen Cabinet Deluxe unit offers ample space for preparing meals. It boasts three hard countertops, one of which comes standard with a wind deflector if you would like to set up a two-plate gas stove. The cupboard, featuring two hard shelves to store ingredients, crockery or cooking utensils adds to the appeal of this easy-to-assemble kit. And as a camper always looking for solutions that will not take up too much space, the best part is that it folds almost flat and comes with a sturdy carry bag to store away.
As with every pro in life there is a con, and for me, it’s those pesky dishes that are inevitable after a meal in the bush (since we are not big fans of paper plates). Over the years, I even developed a fictitious back ailment that “prevents” me from washing dishes. Luckily, I have ever-willing (I wish) teenagers around to take care of the washing up. My minions were particularly happy when I found a decent dish-washing solution. Tentco’s light-weight (5.2kg) aluminium double dishwash stand has a side table, a sturdy plastic basin for washing, a second one for rinsing and ample space in the drip rack. Additionally, it has a packing shelf to stack the dishes after use. It still won’t get me to wash the dishes myself, but the unit is easy to assemble and folds flat, making it easy to stow away.
No more wobbles
Foldable camping equipment usually has parts to be fitted (which inexplicably goes missing after the first outing), creating a somewhat flimsy and wobbly scenario. However, both of these Tentco solutions are particularly sturdy even when used on uneven grounds and the neat stow-away features impressed me. Even with the small micro camper tested out for our towing guide, these pieces did not take up too much of our precious packing space – a win in my books! Reviewing these products, I was again amazed at the strides made in user-friendly camping accessories and gear over the past decade or three. Tentco, of course, is at the forefront of these developments and their practical products continuously ensure that camping can be as enjoyable – if not more so – than holidaying at a five-star resort.