Cupboards can be essential for family camping breaks, but can take a while to setup. We’ve been using the new Outwell Lucia, which makes things a lot easier
Our Score: 9.5/10
We've given the Outwell Lucia - Popup cupboard for camping the Thumbs Up award.
This was a hands-on product review. The product was supplied to us to test and conduct the review.
Outwell Lucia - Popup cupboard for camping Photos
There are lots of storage solutions for camping. Some are a lot better than others. We've been using the Outwell Lucia. A brilliant design that's saved us a lot of time...
Do you need cupboards when camping?
Having a lot of the facilities you have at home can make things easier when camping, but there comes a point when you just can't fit anymore in the car to take to the campsite. So do you really need to take cupboards too?
Well, if you are just camping for one night, then the answer is "no".
And obviously I'm talking about family camping with a car here. If you're backpacking the answer is always no ;-)
However, if you are camping for a few nights or more, a cupboard can be very useful, and is something we've been taking on short camping breaks and longer holidays.
Here's some reasons why you might want to take a cupboard:
- Living out of a rucksack or holdall is only going to work for so long. When you have all the kid's stuff, going in and out a bag is soon going to end in a disorganised mess.
- Nearly every kid thinks that "putting clothes away" means "dumping on the floor".
- Even with the best of tents, floors can sometimes get damp. Clothes on the floor could mean damp clothes.
- Remember you are camping. If you've had the tent door open you may get the odd bug crawling across the floor, who may decide to make a new home in those clothes on the floor. Can you imagine the screams from your child as a beetle crawls out of their sleeve? Family camping is supposed to be fun. You don't want to put them off.
- Sometimes you need somewhere to put things out of reach from small children.
We place the cupboard in the corner of our tent near the door. This is a good place as we can easily reach things on top of the unit (normally torches and lanterns) when outside the tent.
The Outwell Lucia cupboard
The Outwell Lucia cupboard has four shelves. We use this cupboard for clothes storage (you could store anything, but we put our kitchen items in our Outwell Kitchen Storer and food in our Outwell Richmond kitchen cupboard).
In addition to the shelves, the Outwell Lucia has some side pockets. You get these on a lot of the Outwell furniture ranges and are handy places to put things that you need to easily grab.
The cupboard can be zipped completely to help keep out unwanted bugs, and has a fine mesh at the back for ventilation.
It's a very good cupboard....but that's not all it has up it's sleeve: you can put the Outwell Lucia cupboard up in no time at all.
Popping up the Outwell Lucia
We've been using a cupboard for years, and until the Outwell Lucia, we had a cupboard unit from a brand (which shall remain nameless) that was anything but quick to put up.
You had to construct the aluminium legs, inserting them into the fabric cupboard. There were lots of different lengths of poles.
I was the only one who could do it, and even then, it could easily take half an hour or more snapping all the bits into the right places.
Having a cupboard was good, but just added considerably to the time taken to set up and take down our camp.
The Outwell Lucia is different.
All the legs are pre-attached, and the whole unit pops up.
The Outwell Lucia comes in a carry case, with the top and bottom of the cupboard sandwiched together.
I've transported this in the trailer, but now I tend to just slide the Lucia on the bottom of the car boot when we need to take it. It measures 60 x 60 x 8.5 cm when folded and only weighs 11kg, so if you can fit those dimensions in the car, then it's easy to transport. (It also happens to be the same size as our Outwell Marilla folding picnic table, so the two stack together in the car).
Once you have unlatched the top from the bottom, you just lift the top and the legs move into place. Push the legs straight to lock into position, then insert the shelves to give it extra rigidity.
Tips for folding the Outwell Lucia
Folding it away is essentially the reverse of putting up, though we have these tips to avoid damaging the legs.
- Remove the solid shelves and slide them underneath the fabric bottom (or even keep them out altogether, putting them in the carry bag).
- Make sure the removed shelves fit neatly under the bottom (if storing with the unit), as you need to leave room for the legs to fold.
- Examine each leg joint. You'll notice a black 'button' on the side of the joint. Push that in and then push the leg in the direction it folds (see photo). Take a moment to stop and think so that you don't push a joint the wrong way and damage a leg. (See 'Caution' below)
- With each leg unlocked, the top should collapse down towards the bottom. If it's not folding freely you probably have something in the way (check the cupboard shelves have been removed and stored correctly). Don't force it.
- Be careful not to bend the catches as you fasten the top to the bottom.
Caution when putting away
Some popup items, such as popup tents or popup bowls, you can push down and they'll fold the way they popped up.
Don't apply force to the top of the Outwell Lucia to collapse it. The folding legs on the Outwell Lucia lock into place when upright. If you just apply force to the top of the Lucia, you could force the legs in the wrong direction and break them. Unfortunately for Mat (see comment below), this is what happened to him.
Thanks Mat for letting us know. We've updated this page with the picture and this caution note to make it clearer.
When putting away, push the button on each leg and then push the leg in the direction it should fold. Don't push the leg all the way flat. Just work your way around the Lucia unlocking each leg, and the Lucia will fold flat again.
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