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I’ll be the first to admit that a self-sustained camping trip to someplace inaccessible by car, and without cellular service, holds a certain appeal. But the reality is that camping with kids frequently means parking at a campsite, and limiting your hiking to trips that bring you back to the campsite in time for dinner. One of the advantages to this is that you get to bring more than you can carry alone, including cookware. While today’s freeze dried meals that require nothing more than boiling water can certainly be delicious and filling, there’s also no better way to end a day outdoors with the family than a proper meal. GSI Outdoors has a cookware set is designed for just that.
Last year, we reviewed their Glacier Stainless Dualist cookware set, and became immediate fans of the compact, integrated cooking and eating system. So when the new Pinnacle Camper set was introduced, we jumped at the opportunity to check it out. The Pinnacle Camper includes a 3 liter pot, 2 liter pot, and frying pan that all share the same clever folding gripper. Both pots come with strainer lids, and the larger lid fits the frying pan as well. Four durable, BPA-free, color coded plates sit in the bottom of the larger pot when everything is packed. Inside the smaller pot are four color coded bowls, and nested within them is a matching insulated mug with sip-it lid. The lids and fry pan top it all off, and everything is carried in the convenient stuff sack which has welded seams, so it can double as a sink. At 3 pounds, 10 ounces, (1641 grams) it’s probably a bit more than most people would want to pack on an extended hike, but GSI makes similar systems that are smaller, plus you have the option of choosing your pieces individually, if you prefer.
Being a company that cares about the environment as much as the camping experience, all the tableware is recyclable polypropylene. At 7.5″ (19cm) across, the plates are fine for most meals. They’re flexible without being flimsy, and nearly unbreakable. The triangular shaped 14 ounce bowls have graduated measurements inside, in both ounces and milliliters, as do the insulated cups. This allows them to serve double duty when whipping up meals. Their design also makes them less prone to tipping over, while being easy to hold, even for smaller hands. And kids like being able to choose their own color. It all floats too.
When it comes to cooking, the Pinnacle™cookware is hard to beat. Starting with even-heating, lightweight aluminum, each piece is hard anodized for durability. The cooking surfaces are then treated with Teflon® with Radiance, a coating developed by Dupont that is not only non-stick, but actually heats faster too. This saves cooking time, (and conserves your heating fuel) plus makes cleanup quicker. Transferring the gripper between the pots and pan is fairly easy, but if you plan on cooking with all three, get a second gripper. The lids appear to be same polypropylene as the dishes, with a silicone ring for a good seal, and a small series of holes on on side for easy draining/straining. A simple little orange handle pops up for easy lifting. If you heed the warnings on the inside of the lid, they should hold up well.
The durability and performance of GSI cookware has already been proven, and the convenience and packability of this system continues to build on that. Our only (minor) complaint was that the circular grooves on the bottom of the pots and pans feel rather sharp. While we couldn’t intentionally cut ourselves on them, care should be taken during washing. Otherwise, this is a great system for anyone that fancies themselves the Iron Chef of the great outdoors. We especially appreciate that all the components are available separately, and you can add other pieces, including cutlery, while maintaining the color coding.