Every dyed-in-the-wool outdoor enthusiast – be that an overlander, camper, or explorer – will know that packing space can be a problem. With must-have camping gear, provisions, and all sorts of other paraphernalia to be taken along, it’s no wonder that braaiing is often the go-to meal preparation method… but it doesn’t have to be.
Louna Betton and her husband are avid overlanders. Their first trip together was in 2017 and they have since visited exotic destinations around the continent. “My husband grew up as an overlander and when we went on our first trip, I told him that I would forego water and electricity, but that I needed to sleep in a rooftop tent. I found the idea of wild animals roaming through the camp quite, let’s say, interesting,” she recalls.
“I quickly learned that packing for an overlanding adventure was a fine art. Cookware, in particular, proved to be a massive headache. We needed a cast-iron pot for baking bread, a frying pan for breakfast and at least one other pot for pap and sauce and such,” Louna says. “All of these items are awkward and bulky and frustrated me endlessly. I just knew there had to be a practical solution that could be packed and cleaned easily while also being able to endure some really tough conditions.”
Friends of the Bettons had received a set of SmartSpace Cookware as a wedding gift and took it along on one of their trips. The couple were instantly impressed with the concept and practicality of the square pots that nest into each other, the pan, and the removable handle that fits on all of the pieces. Louna particularly appreciated the fact that it literally only had to be wiped out when cleaning.
“While enjoying a sundowner at the Khwai community campsite in Botswana we decided that we needed a set of our own. Back home I discovered that there was nothing even remotely similar available locally, but being the persistent sort, I contacted the manufacturers in New Zealand. I was convinced that there was a market for these pots in South Africa and after some negotiations we managed to secure the sole rights to sell and distribute SmartSpace Cookware in SA,” explains Louna.
On sale here since 2018, thousands of sets have already been sold. The SmartSpace stackable pot set costs R3 899 and consists of ten pieces: three pots, three lids, three silicone mats and one detachable handle. The SmartSpace frypan comes with its own detachable handle and silicone mat and it is sold at R1 499, while a separate lid is also available at R549. Making packing and storage even more convenient are a pot set bag (R499), a frypan bag (R399) and a handle bag (R99). The full pot and frypan set weighs just over 5kg and can be used on gas, a regular or induction stove, and even an open fire. “All pieces are coated with a caterer-grade teflon, making them so non-stick that you can fry an egg on the fire, without any oil,” Louna enthuses.
The 2.8-litre pot is perfect for bread, stew, pasta, pap, vetkoek, boiled potatoes and such. The 1.9-litre pot is a great size to use as a kettle as the big base means that the water boils quickly and the rounded edge allows for easy pouring. It’s also a good size for veggies or boiling eggs, though. The 1.4-litre pot is the smallest and works well for sauces. Because the cookware is manufactured from 3mm aluminium, the pots retain heat very well. They also come with a two-year guarantee.
Says Louna: “We have taken our pot set and pan to Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. They are even packed when we travel to self-catering accommodation. Perfect for overlanding, camping, boating or small homes, they fit perfectly on small stoves, counters, fridges, and restricted packing areas. They are so convenient and practical that I use them as my personal everyday cookware.” Louna’s ultimate goal is to create a one-stop shop for overlanders and campers, to be able to kit their camp kitchen in a way that allows them to have easy-cleaning, fuss free, lightweight solutions that take up minimal space.
As such, the range of products on offer has been expanded considerably. This includes a flask bag, a 750ml collapsible flask, an 890ml plastic coffee press, a coffee brew stick, and plastic wine glasses. There’s also a ten-piece utensil bag that contains all the goodies you need for your camp kitchen, as well as a collapsible 20-litre water cube, because having water on tap in the camp is a luxury, being able to fold up the container is next level!
“As the proud owners of first a Land Cruiser 76 Series and now a Land Cruiser 80 Series, we are avid overlanders and know only too well that having practical, versatile and durable kit is key to having a successful and enjoyable experience. I personally use all the items we distribute and sell, and they truly make life so much easier,” concludes Louna.
*Available from various outlets. For more information and a list of stockists: www.smartspacecookware.co.za