Now i’ll admit that I thought this was a gimmick at best and a joke at worst. Maybe a way of warming up those pies on a winter walk, and in some respects, who can ask for more? But this is a serious piece of kit that actually does what it says on the mesh bag.
Plumping for the ultralightweight version, i was rather disappointed with the meagre offerings that arrived through the post. Instructions were sketchy, interspersed with warnings that if used on the wrong type of stove that the results would be similar to the armageddon anticipated by some for the Large Hadron Collider switch-on. Fortunately, the team at Outdoor Central have recently acquired a free-standing remote gas stove, aka not one that sits on top of the gas canister. First obstacle passed, you then need some sort of 20cm pan to actually do your baking in. A foil quiche tray would do at a pinch, but a proper cake tin is light and doubles as a fry pan for the essential bacon fry up. i’ve not yet needed to cover it, as the manual suggests a lid. If it comes to that, i’ll just add some foil and job done.
Once you know you’ve got all the gear, then putting it together is easy enough. You get a heat diffuser that sits on the flame, and a stand on this that you put your baking dish on. Putting your chosen food to experiment with on the tray, you then put the remainder of the oven, basically an overgrown tea-cosy, over the food and light up. At this point, you’ll still not be convinced. A vent on the top of the ‘oven’ is the ideal location for putting the thermometer that’s designed to fit onto the baking tray lid. This works, providing you remember that it gets hot. Blatantly obvious.. You’d think.. ow.. The thermometer has two settings – bake and burn, and it could be argued that’s more than enough.
Another concern is that most things need baking for 15mins plus and the amount of gas this would use. This needs not be a worry as you’ll need the stove down on minimum, and is an ideal way of using up those 1/4 full cannisters.
First victim for the oven was a home made bolognase pizza as seen below.
Now it is rather embarassing to say that once cooked, it was so tempting that all photography was forgotten and pizza promptly eaten. It took around 15 mins from start to end, and was cooked perfectly. So on a wild camp to Llyn yr Adar last month, it was decided to really test the mettle of the whole system and use it to prepare the king of all pies -the Fray Bentos. It took around half an hour, and the pie could have done with another 5 mins but we didn’t mind it like that and were hungry. Worked a dream.
The following morning, the same baking tray along with a pot grab made an effective fry pan for a bacon bap. Yes, we do eat healthily on a wild camp. The five a day usually consists of Bacon, Pies, Sausage Rolls, Jelly Babies and Chocolate…. At least the jelly babies consist of real fruit juice. The oven, baking tray and pot grab came in at around 500g including a standard kitchen tin opener which was a good 100g. Add a remote stove to that and you’re looking at another 250g. Not the lightest option, but certainly the most versatile when you consider that you can bake bread and cakes in it as well. For £45, you don’t feel like you get much for your money, but once you’ve seen how well it works, you certainly won’t regret it if you like to eat anything resembling real food in the wilds.
Here’s a few more images – those with sensitive stomachs should look away.