A few weeks ago myself and three friends embarked on a camping trip to northern Spain. We decided to go by motorbike to make the most of the region’s amazing roads.
However, just because we were going to have to pack light we didn’t want to scrimp on a few bits and bobs which, whilst aren’t quite luxuries, do make life under canvas that bit more comfortable. Enter Outwell who kindly gave us a few pieces from their Collaps range to try.
The idea of collapsing accessories has been around for a little while now, however what I noticed immediately about the Outwell versions is how chunky, tough and solid they felt.
First up under the GWA microscope was the Collaps Bowl – this comes in three sizes and we tested the large. The bowl’s rim and base are made of rigid plastic and the rubbery squishy bit is TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) They are BPA free – so no nasty chemicals to leak into your food.
Open the bowl measures 28 x 10cms and collapsed it’s just 28 x 3.5cms – perfect for slotting into bike panniers.
The was bowl utilised during our trip as a serving dish – there were 4 of us and it made making group meals easier and thus more pleasant as it was a big vessel for us to decamp ingredients into whilst cooking, and also useful for things like bread and other shared nibbles.
Could we have lived without it? Well yes, it’s not essential or life saving but it certainly made our two weeks on the road and under canvas more comfortable and our meals more inclusive.
Next up is the Collaps Cup. The main body is silicone and it is topped and tailed with stainless steel – again the materials are BPA free.
The first difference with this cup to other squishable ones I’ve spotted is the addition of the handle. Construction wise this is part of the stainless steel rim that runs approximately 1cm under the lip of the cup, so super sturdy but covered in silicone so you don’t burn your digits during your morning coffee.
I found this handle to be a bit of a blessing and a curse – it makes drinking from the cup more pleasant than the beaker style I’ve tended to use in the past as you don’t inadvertently squish it whilst drinking and slosh liquid all over yourself – always amusing for your friends but never for you!
However as it’s part of the stainless component it is rather heavy and seemed to often want to topple over when not held unless it was put down on an absolutely solid & stable surface – which aren’t always that easy to find whilst camping.
I feel that this cup would benefit from a slightly wider base and there appears to be enough room when it’s packed down to accommodate this so a tweak wouldn’t alter the design but should make it more stable.
The stainless base seemed to keep my hot drinks warmer for a tad longer the a solely plastic cup, and my concerns about the silicone tainting the drinks were unfounded. My usual prefered camping cup is metal and that taint wise is much more noticeable.
Open the cup measures approx 10 x 9cms, so a good measure of coffee…or something stronger! Again it collapses down into a pleasing 4 x 9 cms.
Last – but certainly not least is the Collaps Kettle and perhaps my most favourite piece of the Collaps range that we had on test.
With the introduction of those super speedy stoves (you know the ones with names like wind & jet!) I’ve noticed that the humble kettle has become somewhat been overlooked on packing lists. However I feel – and this completely my humble opinion – that water boiled it those seems to taste a bit kind of frothy.
My trusty old army surplus style metal kettle does rather take up a lot of space so it often gets left behind if space is an issue, so I was rather keen to see how the Collaps Kettle would fare. We were testing the 1.5 litre version, there is a larger 2.5l one also available.
My initial concerns were that the water would taste a bit plastic as the main body is silicone as per the cup, however it tasted just fine.
The kettle is much more stable than the cup, thanks to the larger base. Size wise it is 16.5 x 14.5cms when open and squishes down to a rather impressive 4cms high.
All of the Collaps pieces we tested are a zingy green, however you can co-ordinate with your tent if you so desire as they come in an impressive 5 colour ways; black, blue, red, green & yellow.
There is also an array of further pieces to choose from including Collaps washing bowl, various storage boxes and a bucket amongst others plus a new, rather swish looking line that features bamboo – I have my eye on the bowl with grater, so heads-up Santa!