Whilst some outdoor gear is minimalist, functional and practical and you have to make certain concessions because of it, at the other end of the scale lies a type of gear that is as good as taking your home kitchen with you. And the Campingaz Fold N Go stove falls in to the latter category. In fact, for the purposes of these photos I set it up on top of my kitchen cooker and made dinner as I would have normally for a direct cooker to stove comparison.
The Campingaz Fold N Go is so named because the two large burners are housed in a tough steel clamshell which folds up so it can be carried and stored easily, which is just absolute genius in use. The delicate burner heads and potentially mucky areas are sealed away in a moment meaning you can let it cool, fold it up, carry it to the car and not bother cleaning it until you get home.
And I mention car because this is probably going to be a car-camping or picnic stove, rather than any kind of backpacking stove. It could serve well at festivals or for families as well, but at 3.5kg it isn’t the sort of thing that you want to be carrying too far along with the rest of your kit – despite the comfy carrying handle.
The two large, powerful burners sit in the middle of pan rings which are wide enough to carry my largest frying pan with ease. This is a stove which is as easy to cook on as a home cooker and extremely secure with its low height, rubber feet and wide rings. You never feel like a boiling pan is teetering on the edge of doom or that things are too easy to knock off.
With the ability to balance pans of a large size, you need a considerable burner, and Campingaz state that each burner is approximately 1375W, which is pretty impressive. In real-world terms, with a new gas canister that isn’t going to be too different from your home gas cooker. I tested this out by cooking a frozen paella on one ring and boil up a litre of water on the other. The paella, in a large frying pan, cooked quickly and evenly, with the heat dissipating well over the wide pan. The litre of water I placed in my smallest milk-pan, which had no problem sitting on the stove’s pan supports either. Turning on the second burner and firing it in to life using the big red ignition button didn’t seem to have much, if any effect on the paella, and the water boiled pretty quickly too.
Each burner is independently controlled using a large, friendly plastic knob. A criticism of the Campingaz Fold N Go would be that, using the brand new CV470 gas canister it was very difficult to turn the burner flame down to anything like a low simmer. It seems that the Fold N Go is best used for heating things quickly and intensely, and the reduction from ‘full-on’ to ‘simmer’ is only a tiny fraction of the movement of the burner control. In fact, more often than not I managed to extinguish the burner entirely, rather than reduce it to a simmer.
The big burner heads are truly wonderful for cooking a proper meal on, but they do suffer rather badly from the effects of anything more than a stiff breeze. You will need to purchase a separate wind shield, or position the Fold N Go in a sheltered area. But then, this isn’t a backpacking stove so I suppose you’re more likely to have extra wind-breaking kit on hand when you use it.
SUMMARY: Campingaz’s Fold N Go stove is an at-home cooking experience for those of you who DO like to take the kitchen sink, but want to leave the big gas bottle at home. Running on a small canister, and folding down into a self-contained unit, this stove is great for picnics and family camping, possibly even festivals. The downside is that it doesn’t do simmering very well at all, and needs a separate windshield. It’s a neat package for car-camping though and built really well.