Collapsible cookware is ideal for caravans, so Practical Caravan's James Stanbury tests Coleman's All In One Container, Collapsible Cooler and double sink

Overview

Whether it's the influence of the myriad of brilliant cooking programmes on TV or our variable climate, Britain is a nation full of amazing home cooks. While many people plan to eat takeaways and pub grub during their holidays, there are plenty of caravanners who are only too happy to spend a little time conjuring up tasty meals in the caravan kitchen. Woe betide the caravan manufacturer who skimps on the kitchen equipment in any UK-bound caravan. But in most family-sized caravans there's not a great deal of room to store all your favourite pots, pans, kitchen appliances and crockery. So the idea of collapsible, compact cookware that nests together neatly when not in use has huge appeal. 

We've tested some of the camping kitchenware ranges from top brands to see how they compare. There's the Olpro Happy Camper Range, priced at £6.99 for a Happy Taste to £8.99 for Complete bags and Happy Cutting. The Kampa range starts at £5.99 for a set of three collapsible bowls and rises to £15 for a collapsible kettle. Then there's the Outwell Collaps Range, with items like the small bowl costing £4.49, and the large storage box costing £40. Finally we've tested the Coleman range, such as the All In One Container, which costs £28 and the folding double wash basin at £8.99. Let's start by considering the Coleman range of compact and collapsible cookware products to see how it measures up to rivals. 

Coleman, like Olpro, has concentrated on a handful of innovative space-saving designs rather than producing a wide range of silicone cookware. The Coleman All in One Container is perfect for picnics. What looks to be a simple lunchbox contains four cups, four bowls and four plates that double as clip-on lids for the bowls. The mugs have handles that you can slide into the corner loops of the polycarbonate plates so that you can carry them with one hand.

Coleman's Folding Double Wash Basin effectively gives you two conjoined 25cm x 25cm square sinks — perfect for cleaning and rinsing large piles of washing-up after barbecues and other big culinary events. 

We also like the company’s 45 Can Collapsible Cooler, which is essentially a crossover between a coolbox and a coolbag. It stores flat, but has improved rigidity and cooling performance over normal coolbags.

Made from Polycarbonate, the All In One Container Dining Set is a box that holds four colourful sets of kitchenware, making it ideal for a family of four people. You get rectangular plates that measure 9x8 inches; bowls measuring 9x7.5 inches and 12 ounce cups. They all fit together neatly inside the one container, which doubles up as a serving dish. All the plates fit on top of the bowls so you can use them as lids to keep insects out of your food. You can pop them in the dishwasher after your caravan holiday, but you can't use them in the microwave. 

Price-wise, items in the range sell from £8.99 (for the folding double wash basin) to £28 (All in One Container) in which to store your All In One Dining Set.

Technical specs

All In One Kitchen SetDishwasher safe, but not microwavable
Rectangular plates9x8in in a 9x7.5in bowl
Folding Double Wash Basin10x20in (twin 10x10in sinks)

Verdict

Coleman's range compares well against rivals in terms of durability, price and usability, but cannot compete with the likes of Outwell in terms of variety of products. More items are designed in polycarbonate than in collapsible silicone. Overall, we've awarded Coleman a three-star rating for its camping cookware, including the All In One Container, All In One Dining Set, Folding Double Wash Basin and 45 Can Collapsible Cooler. 

Conclusion

Pros

  • The All In One Container holds the dining set
  • The All In One Dining Set has four cups, bowls and plates
  • Mug handles hook into the plate corners
  • Each set is a different colour
  • The 45 Can Collapsible Cooler stores flat
  • The cooler is more rigid than a coolbag
  • Tough polycarbonate

Cons

  • Coleman offers fewer products than Outwell
  • Mostly polycarbonate, not silicone
  • Most products nest rather than collapsing flat
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