Camping gear can take up a lot of space; both storing it and space required to get it to the campsite. We look at some collapsible solutions to save you some space.
Most family campers find themselves with a car full of camping gear, and probably a roof box and trailer too.
We certainly do.
Make it quicker and easier to setup camp
Well this year we’re trying to reorganise and simplify things. We want to make it quicker and easier to setup camp, and we want to make it quick and easy to get to camp. Both of those goals are made a lot easier if you can get the amount of camping gear under control, or at least get it quickly and easily into your car, trailer, roof box, or all three.
Big items will always take up space. This will be your tent, your sleeping bags, chairs, etc.
Small items can be a problem too though. For example, washing up bowls, water carriers, cooking bowls. Basically, things that demand a volume of space, even though they may be light and relatively small.
Saving space with collapsible cookware
A solution to this problem is the range of collapsible items now available. We’ve been putting a few items to the test to see if they are any good.
Collapsible cookware started to appear a year or two ago. They are constructed from silicon rubber that enables the items to fold up. When we first saw them we thought that it was a great idea, but weren’t too sure on those early versions.
Well things have moved on a bit now.
Here’s a few things that we’ve tried.
Folding plates and bowls
We bought the XBowl, from Sea to Summit, which is a collapsible deep sided bowl, ideal for eating stews, soups, etc.
It’s just over 1cm thick when collapsed and expands to a good deep bowl. It’s heat resistant and even dishwasher safe.
One of our daughters has this for her Girl Guide camps, and also takes it on some of our picnics or day camps.
However, we still use plastic bowls for camping, even though these could save a good bit of space, as the Sea to Summit XBowl is an expensive option to kit out an entire family. (See the XBowl on Amazon here.)
Unfortunately for us, after buying a Sea to Summit XBowl, we found that Easy Camp do a similar item for a fraction of the price, called the Fold It plate.
If you search Amazon you may be able to find a set of four Fold It Plates for the price of a single XBowl. Click here to search for Easy Camp Fold It plates on Amazon.
Collapsible Colander, Bowl, Lid
One of our favourite collapsible items is this bowl, colander, and lid combination from Outwell. It is better than what we have at home in the kitchen.
The bowl is large and an ideal size for family cooking. We’ve found it useful for all sorts of things.
The collapsible colander fits nicely inside the bowl, making the whole set a really handy item for when cooking proper meals at the campsite. It also comes with a big lid to keep those pesky flies off.
Taking everything, including the kitchen sink
For years we have been taking a couple of cheap plastic washing up bowls camping.
These bowls are often seen as a circular lump underneath our trailer cover.
Despite trying to pack things inside them, they always end up taking up too much space for what they are.
Fortunately you can get a collapsible washing up bowl, the Outwell Collaps Washing Bowl.
We now leave the plastic washing bowls at home.
The washing bowl folds flat to just a few inches thick and sits folded on top of our Outwell Kitchen Storer in the trailer when travelling to a campsite.
I think it holds about the same amount of water as one of the plastic washing bowls, may be a bit more, and for the same price as a Sea to Summit XBowl, you get a lot for your money.
We’ve also found that the Collaps Kitchen sink works well as flat surface that’s ideal for holding things like drinks.
What about the kitchen sink draining board?
OK, so we don’t have a draining board, but there is a cool extra you can get with the Outwell Collaps Washing Bowl, and that’s this chopping board with pop out strainer.
This board fits right over the top of the Collaps washing bowl, so you can cover the bowl and use the pop out strainer, which is great for washing and draining food.
If you look at our camp kitchen setup below, you can see the washing bowl can be covered, and the tap can still pour water through the drainer (which you can just see under the big pot lid). Just like you may have in your kitchen at home.
Outwell Collaps Range
Update 2015: We’ve been using a number of items from the Outwell Collaps range, and they’ve been excellent. They certainly get the thumbs up from us as a good bit of family camping kit.
- They’ve stood up well to a lot of use.
- They’ve been really useful.
- They don’t take as much space to transport or to store when not camping.
It’s not just us that have found the Outwell Collaps range useful as lots of other people have been leaving good reviews on websites like Amazon.
Here are a few more things in the Outwell Collaps Range.
Hopefully you’ve seen something here that will save you from the headache in finding space for everything when going camping.
Disclaimer: With thanks to Outwell for supplying us with their Collaps Sink and Colander for this review. All opinions are our own.
Be in the know!
Join thousands of other parents and receive our regular newsletter containing a round up of the latest articles, days out, campsites, and reviews for helping you get your family outside and active.