If you've decided charcoal barbecues are for you, read our Bodum Fyrkat test and expert verdict from Practical Caravan's James Stanbury

Overview

We've tested a selection of hot products to make your caravan holidays sizzle with fun. The latest batch of camping accessories on the Practical Caravan test bench are barbecues from some of the best outdoor equipment suppliers in the business. 

Before deciding which barbecue you should buy, there's one burning question to answer: gas or charcoal?

There are advantages and disadvantages to each method of cooking outdoors. If you go all traditional and pick a charcoal-burning BBQ, you'll get the best flavour from all your deliciously singed meats and vegetables. You'll also have the option of adding specific smoky flavours by putting hickory, apple or pear wood on the fire. Charcoal barbecues are cosy, too, giving out glowing light and heat long after the cooking is over, while you sit around the embers, toasting marshmallows and washing them down with your drinks of choice. The nearest thing to a camp fire that most campsites permit, they're a convivial delight.

On the downside, charcoal barbies need time and probably fire lighters or accelerants to get going. It can take 20 minutes before the coals turn to the requisite grey ash tone that announces that they're ready for you to start cooking. If it's windy you'll be covered in flying ash and sparks. And in the morning you'll have a pile of ash to remove before you clean the grill.

So, what about gas barbecues? They're clean, controllable, heat up in a few minutes to cooking temperature, and create no fire risk. Gas grills are permitted on most campsites and as long as you keep them a little way off the grass, they'll cause no damage to the pitch at all. What's not to like, right?

The choice is yours, and one of the major deciding factors might be the location you have in mind for most of your caravan holidays. If you're heading to the warmer climes of France, Spain and Portugal, you may find that charcoal barbecues are banned, due to the fire risk. But if you favour some of the wilder, more spacious campsites in the UK where camp fires are permitted, you can choose whichever you like.

If you've chosen to select one of the charcoal-burning camping barbecues for sale in Britain today, check out our reviews. In this test we focus on the Bodum Fyrkat, which costs £50.

The Fyrkat is a beautifully well-thought-out charcoal barbecue from Bodum and, while the model is available in different colours, we love the swish powder-coated shiny steel finish and chrome-plated steel legs of this one — particularly because you don’t have to pay a premium for the shiny finish. The other colours are black and bright red. 

As charcoal barbecues go, this must rank as one of the safest: there are very few places where hot ash can escape the main tub, and there’s a shelf beneath to stop any stray ash making it to the floor.

There's a heatproof silicone handle on the top of the lid, so that you can use the lid to adjust the draught and therefore the cooking speed. The removable grille is dishwasher-proof, so after the holiday you can give it a good clean.

The 37cm-diameter top grille gives a deceptively spacious cooking area, but the 37cm-diameter x 44cm-high pack-down size means it requires more room to store than many rival products. 

Technical specs

Size38cm deep x 38cm wide x 45.5cm high
Grill area37cm diameter
Pack-down size37cm diameter x 44cm height
ColoursRed, black, shiny steel
BodyPowder-coated steel
LegsChrome-plated steel
Handle and lid's locking clipsCool-touch silicone

Verdict

Shop around if you've decided to buy the Bodum Fyrkat, because we've seen the price range from just shy of £30 to £50, depending on the retailer. We've awarded it a three-star rating compared to rival products in our latest group barbecue test.

Check out our other BBQ test results and Practical Caravan camping accessories reviews. We review and rate the Olpro SAfire charcoal barbecue at £94.99, the Weber Go Anywhere gas BBQ, costing £103, the Quest Folding BBQ at £21.99, the Campingaz 1 Series Compact EX CV at £95.95 and the Outwell Cazal, at just £19.99.

Conclusion

Pros

  • There's a shelf to catch the ash
  • You can put a lid on it if it's windy
  • More colours are available
  • Well designed product

Cons

  • Large to store
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