James Stanbury

See other accessory reviews written by James Stanbury

Dedicated leisure cookware is far better than domestic pots and pans in your motorhome – we review the Kampa Chow cookware set of three

Overview

Each time we set off in our motorhome the pots and pans remind you that they're there, bumping merrily around as we negotiate those pretty country lanes. Perhaps you've packed kitchen roll between items, and packed out the grill pan with cardboard or tea towels, to minimise the clatter. 

Another approach, of course, is to buy sets of camping cookware that nest together neatly in the galley locker. With less room to move around, they're going to be quieter, and arrive in a less battered state! If your experiences of camping saucepans is limited to backpacking sets, don't worry, we're not going to suggest those for your motorhome. But there's something in between heavy domestic pans and those lightweight aluminium sets.

We decided to try out a big batch of cookware in our latest group test – so if you're prepared to give up your current assortment of rattly cast-off domestic pots and pans, read on to discover the best of the camping cookware sets on offer in 2016. 

So, what did we look for in our quest? First, we counted the number of pots and pans that you get in each set, to determine the value for money represented.

Then, we looked at the size of most motorhome hobs. Let's face it, cooking facilities are pretty compact in most motorhomes and there may only be two or three gas rings. For this reason the pans need to be equally compact, so that you can use more than one at a time to make a meal. Small is beautiful, when it comes to camping cookware – although if you like a full English breakfast to eat al-fresco, there's a lot to be said for cooking everything in one fairly big frying pan.

Another space-saving tip is to look for pans with detachable or folding handles, so that you can pop them under the grill or in the oven if you have one. They'll also fit better in the fridge (once they've cooled down) so you can keep any leftovers fresh for later. Which brings us to lids. 

Pans need lids, and we've been unimpressed by pan sets that expect you to share one lid between two pans. A good lid saves you money because it can help you get your food hot far more quickly and then keep it hot while you set up the table. It'll keep the dog and hungry insect hordes at bay as well.

Non-stick coatings are helpful, and we prefer fairly strong pans, with thicker walls, either in stainless-steel or aluminium, so that they're less likely to tip over on the hob. Non-stick coatings are another desirable attribute. And dishwasher-compatible pans might be handy if you like to do a deep clean between tours. 

We have tested and reviewed the Kampa Feast Non-Stick Eight-Person XL Cook Set at £33.99, the Kampa Chow at £23.99, The Outwell Feast cook set M at £34.20, the Lakeland My Kitchen five-piece pan set at £94.99, the Vango eight-person non-stick cook kit at £50, the Kampa Munch at £28.99, and the Vango one-person non-stick cook kit at £18. 

In this review we'll focus on the very reasonably priced Kampa Chow set. This ingenious design by Kampa combines the low weight and compact pack-down size of a true camping cook set, with decent-sized pans and foolproof ease of use.

Both the 19.5cm-diameter frying pan and 17cm saucepan have handles that fold underneath and simply lock in place when opened out. Releasing the handles before putting the pots away simply involves pressing on a release catch.

The two lids supplied are similarly no-nonsense. Large plastic roundels sit above recesses pressed into the lids, meaning that the roundels can be gripped easily. They obviously protect your fingers from heat, too, even if the design allows the lids to be almost flat for easy storage.

Technical specs

Saucepan17cm x 9cm non-stick saucepan with lid
Saucepan: 19cm x 11cm non-stick saucepan with lid
Frying pan19.5cm x 5cm non-stick frying pan
MaterialsStrong, lightweight aluminium

Verdict

There are just three pans in the Kampa Chow cookware set, but they all come with lids and folding handles, so they're ultra practical. We like the way they stack neatly together. There's only one drawback, and that's the minor point that the carry bag supplied is too big for this pan set. This small quibble hasn't put us off and we've awarded the Kampa Chow cookware set a four-star rating.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Nest neatly for storage
  • Bargain price

Cons

  • Only three pans
  • Carry bag is too big
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