James Stanbury

See other accessory reviews written by James Stanbury

Read our Vango eight-person non-stick cook kit review to see how such a big name in camping gear fares against tough competition in the motorhome kitchen

Overview

When it comes to camping cookware, even the biggest brands will be feeling the heat of competition. Not only will they be up against rivals in the camping accessories market, but they'll have to persuade people to leave their old domestic pots and pans at home, where they belong.

One of the most persuasive reasons to buy specialised camping cookware for your motorhome is to make the most of your 'van's storage space. The smaller your living space, the more important it is to pack only the things you really need.

Payload is another important thing to consider, which is where lightweight sets of cooking pots really come into their own. So, it's time to ditch your heavy old cast-off domestic pots and pans and treat yourself to a new compact cookware set for touring holidays. They're not expensive, and it could make a big difference. 

We have collected a selection of camping cookware sets for testing, to find out which are the best pan sets for motorhomes.

We checked out 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.  

What were we looking for from our sets of pots and pans? Great value for money is always high on our list, so we compared the price to the number of the pans and the quality of materials and design. We preferred saucepans to be medium-sized or small, so that we could use more than one at a time on our compact motorhome hobs. We liked pans that were heavy enough to be stable on the hob, but not too heavy to lift, especially when stacked with others. We favoured pan sets that came with a lid per pan, because that way the food cooks more quickly and stays hotter for longer after you take the pan off the heat. Nobody likes cold stew!

Good nesting abilities earned extra marks from us because this is an efficient use of galley locker space. We also like folding and detachable pan handles, which should of course be insulated and easy to grip. Removable handles can sometimes mean that the pan can be used in the oven for baking, and also that it might fit in the fridge once it has cooled down. This could be handy, should you want to pre-prepare a meal, then chill it for later.

Pan sizes also matter on the hob in any motorhome. Small and medium-sized pans are good at sharing the hob in a compact space.

In this review we'll focus on the Vango eight-person non-stick cook kit, which costs £50.

Vango’s cookware sets are named after the number of people they allegedly cater for — even if there’s little difference between the one-person set and the bigger versions, other than the number of cups provided. Still everything changes when we get to eight. At that point you get 14cm, 19cm and 26cm saucepans, plus a decent-sized frying pan.

The foolproof, fold-out handles of the smaller Vango sets are replaced by metal bands arched like carry handles, and these get very hot, as do the tiny metal rings on the lids — you’ll need a fork or other implement to lift them. When you carry a pan by its loop-style handle, the two ends of the loops lock into their brackets - preventing the pan swaying as it's moved.

When it comes to storage, whilst the frying pan's handle comes off, it's too much of a faff to remove it every time you put the set away. Unfortunately that, and the large pans, meant that less than two thirds of our test shelf was left usable. Much like the smaller Vango kit, this one also comes with a smart pull-string bag.

Technical specs

Saucepans14cm, 19cm, 26cm
LidsTwo
Frying panActs as a lid for one saucepan
Plastic cupsEight
CompactThe pans nest for neat storage
Pack sizeL28.8 x H28.5 x W16.0cm
Weight2.08kg
Comes inCarry bag

Verdict

The Vango eight-person non-stick cook kit certainly looks the part, but it was let down by those too-hot-to-handle handles and the fact that it's a bit of a fiddle to remove the detachable handle. We've awarded this kit a two-star rating.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Four pans for £50
  • Well sized pans
  • You get eight plastic cups as a bonus

Cons

  • Arched handles get too hot to hold
  • Lid ring-pulls also get too hot
  • Removing the handle is fiddly
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