If you're shopping for compact cookware, read Practical Motorhome's expert James Stanbury review of the Outwell Collaps Range to see if it's best for you

Overview

Much as we'd love to take crystal wine glasses, bone china cups, plates and bowls away with us in our motorhomes, there's the awkward question of payload limits to consider, not to mention the potential for breakages. So, perhaps reluctantly, we all end up browsing through camping accessories reviews and summer catalogues in search of lightweight alternatives.

Even if you're the most relaxed kind of motorhome owner, who likes to eat out and buy takeaways whenever possible on holiday, you'll still need a good set of matching plates, bowls, mugs and cookware to take on tour. It makes the packing easier if they're all from the same range, and especially if they stack together. So, what's on the market?

We gathered a selection of likely looking compact camping kitchenware together on the Practical Motorhome test bench to assess their merits. In this group product test we've largely ignored melamine plate sets and concentrated on a new and exciting array of silicone and plastic items that are designed to be light, compact, stackable and collapsible. We've judged the products in terms of innovation, practicality, durability, price and usability. We've also given extra marks to the firms with the most comprehensive offerings. 

Some of the best known names in the camping accessories world are getting into the compact and collapsible cookware market now. We tested the blue plastic Easycamp Fold Flat Dinner Set (£15) and individual Fold It Plate (2.99), which looks like thick folded card but is made from a blue plastic sheet and really does lie completely flat, taking up next-to-no space in your locker.

Then we tried out the Gelert Fold-Away Kettle, a lime green silicone-topped saucepan with a proper whistle, which costs £12.

We tested Lifeventure's range of two Collapsible Buckets and Silicone Ellipse Bowl, costing from £6.99 to £20. On top of these there are ranges of camping kitchenware that include compact plates, bowls and cookware sets from Coleman, Kampa, Olpro, which we will be writing about in the magazine.

In this online review, however, we've concentrated on the biggest, most comprehensive range of collapsible cookware available in Britain, the Outwell Collaps Range.

Outwell was one of the first companies to launch collapsible cookware, and perhaps that's the reason that its range leaves rivals for dust. As things stand, Outwell's diverse and comprehensive Collaps Range has no equal. Whether you decide to buy just a few key pieces, or go overboard for collapsible cookware, choosing a colour co-ordinated collection, Outwell is the best option at the moment. 

The range encompasses the usual camp kitchen utensils, such as folding mugs, serving bowls in three sizes and washing-up bowls. More surprisingly, it also includes oven-ready and heatproof stockpots, colanders, buckets, laundry baskets, storage boxes, lunch boxes for your picnics and two different sizes of kettle. 

Almost all the cookware in the Outwell Collaps Range come in red, green, black and blue. There’s even a deluxe option — at least for bowls and chopping boards — which merges the folding silicone with plush, polished bamboo. This lends class and stability to some of the items, while still enabling it to collapse down small for storage. 

Technical specs

Collaps Pot with Lid 2.5L11 x 28cm open; 4.5 x 28cm packed
Collaps Pot with Lid coloursYellow, black, turquoise, lime, red
Collaps Kettle 2.5L17.5 x 19cm open; 5.5 x 19cm packed
MaterialsSilicone, stainless steel, bamboo
Collaps Pot with Colander 4.5L13.5 x 34cm open; 5.5 x 34cm packed
Collaps Mug10.5 x 9.5cm open; 4.5 x 9.5cm packed
Collaps Basket57.5 x 43 x 25cm open; 57.5 x 43 x 9.5cm packed

Verdict

The Outwell Collaps Range of lightweight and compact cookware is the best in our test. No other camping accessory manufacturer comes close, mainly because this is the most extensive and versatile range available in the UK. The products are well designed and made of good quality materials. We've awarded the Outwell Collaps Range a five-star rating and crowned it the 'overall winner' in this group test.

Conclusion

Pros

  • It's the biggest range of collapsible cookware
  • Bamboo edges enhance some products
  • Good stability in use
  • Choice of four colours for most items
  • It's our test winner

Cons

  • Some prefer harder melamine crockery
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