GSI Bugaboo Camp Cookset Review
The GSI Bugaboo Camper cookset is a fully-equipped set for a four person car camping trip, but versatile and compact enough to be used for a two or four person backpacking trip. With 24 pieces—3 liter pot/saucepan, 2 liter pot/saucepan, 2 strainer lids, 9″ frypan, 4 14 fluid ounce insulated mugs, 4 14 fluid ounce bowls, 4 7.5″ plates, 4 Sip-It tops, folding pot gripper, and welded sink—the Bugaboo Camper allows you to cook up even the most gourmet of camp meals.
Our testers couldn’t say enough about how well the cookware in the GSI Bugaboo Camper performed. The saucepans and frypan are Teflon coated and our testers couldn’t get anything to stick to them. After several meals including Alfredo sauce with cheese, cheesy egg scramble, over cooked eggs, bacon, fried eggs, and more not a single thing stuck to the cookware. While our testers used plastic utensils to stir, flip, and mix they did seem to think that the Teflon coating was durable and would not begin to chip, scratch or peel if taken care of properly.
While the GSI Bugaboo Camper comes in a compact package, the cookware was plenty big enough to make enough food for four people. The 3 liter pot boiled water quickly and was large enough to cook an entire pound of pasta at once. The fry pan was large enough to cook a half-pound of bacon at once and also fit three fried eggs simultaneously.
Through cooking bacon and eggs our testers found the cookware to heat evenly without hot spots over an older camp stove with limited temperature adjustability. While our testers primarily tested the cookware over a full two-burner camp stove, the size and balance of the cookware would work very well over a single burner backpacking stove without risk of tipping.
While making pasta, our testers really appreciated the well-fitting strainer lids that allowed them to easily drain water out of the pot without the risk of losing any food or burning themselves. The strainer lids are a rubberized silicone material with a flip up tab for easy grip. The lids did a fairly good job of mitigating the heat from boiling water, but leaving your fingers on the lids for an extended period of time would get pretty hot. The larger lid can be used on both the 3 liter pot and the saucepan.
The GSI Bugaboo Camper comes with one folding pot gripper that is designed to easily be attached and removed from each piece of cookware. While our testers really appreciated the idea of this, in actuality it was a bit challenging to attach and remove the handle while cooking in any of the pieces, especially if there wasn’t a lot weight to hold the pot/pan down. Our testers would love to see a second handle included in the set and would also recommend using a potholder to steady the pot/pan while attaching and removing the handle. GSI claims the handle is heat resistant, but our testers found that leaving it attached to the cookware with the stove on did heat the handle up enough that it could burn someone if left long enough.
The GSI Bugaboo Camper tableware is made of durable, lightweight plastic in four color-coordinated colors. The plates measure about eight inches around and are sturdy and plenty large enough to fit a full meal on. After using metal silverware on the plates and cutting vegetables and meat on them a couple times our testers noticed that the plates did begin to scratch. The scratches are superficial and do not impact the usability of the plates.
The bowls and mugs are nearly the same – both quarter round 14 fluid ounce vessels. The mugs are wrapped in what appears to be neoprene which keeps hands insulated from hot or cold liquids and maintains the temperature of the contents longer. The Bugaboo Camper set also comes with sip-it lids that can be snapped onto the mugs to prevent spills and keep coffee, tea, etc. hot longer. One of our female testers appreciated that the insulated wrap on the mug did allow just enough heat to pass through to keep fingers a bit warmer on chilly mornings. Both the cups and bowls are an easy shape to hold on to with bare hands or with gloves or mittens on.
Size & Packability
All 24 pieces of the GSI Bugaboo Camper nest into each other forming a compact self-contained set that measures just over nine inches round and about six inches tall and weighs 58.1 ounces. GSI calls this nesting and scalable format their nForm Crossover Technology. Our testers really appreciated that the nForm features of this set which allow it to be self-contained keeping everything together rather than pieces floating around with other camping gear. Our testers primarily used it for car camping, but did notice that it would be easy to lighten up or condense the set for backpacking by removing pieces and the set will still nest together. When the set is fully packed there is still additional room within the mugs to pack smaller items such as spices, fold-able utensils, soap, and napkins for added convenience.
Cleaning up after camp cooking can be a bit of a challenge, but with the GSI Bugaboo Camper clean-up is a breeze. Our testers found that the Teflon coating and hard plastic material of the tableware prevented most anything from sticking to it, so no scraping was needed to clean up. The carrying case for the set is a welded nylon material that doubles as a sink. Our testers filled it with a bit of warm water, camp suds, and the dirty pieces of the set and found that with a quick rub with a microfiber cloth the pieces came clean very easily. While you can put dirty items directly into the “sink” our testers learned the hard way that the sides can be a bit flimsy and tip or fold down allowing the water to spill. Our testers found that rinsing and drying could be a bit of a challenge, but that if the large pot is washed first it could be used a rinse bucket. The insulated wrap on the mugs does absorb a bit of water, so allow it to dry before nesting them into the bowls.
If you have a camp box filled with mis-matched cookware and tableware you should strongly consider the GSI Bugaboo Camper. This set is versatile enough for car camping, backpacking, and everything from the most basic to gourmet meals.