Have you been stuck in your house for too long and are saying no more? You want to explore the outdoors in a new-to-you-way: car camping. If you’re looking for solid camp gear or you’re just getting into the sport, we check out a few camp gear items that’ll help you store food efficiently and effectively, and eat it in style while sipping your favorite whiskey around the campfire.
Klean Kanteen is known for its stylish and durable drinking canteens but did you know they also make a variety of containers to house food and liquids? We tested each product’s durability and usability while stowing it in our camp box, using it while adventuring, and cleaning it up after each use. What did we like and what could be improved?
Read on to find out.
Klean Kanteen has been around for quite a while. Ever-evolving, the company has designed a few new products, one being their Insulated TKCanister Complete Set. Carefully packaged in three various sizes, eight oz., 16 oz., and 32 oz., each canister comes ready for years of use.
The TKCanister set boasts several features: they are stainless steel, are dishwasher safe, and also come with a handy carry handle. Additionally, each container dons a bowl-shaped bottom—no messing around to clean crusty food at the bottom of flat-walled canisters.
After testing the Klean Kanteen TKCanister set with various types of foods and liquids, we were impressed with their sturdy design and leak-proof design. This design allows contents to stay hot or cold for several hours. Note: don’t fill TKCanisters to the brim as you may not be able to close the lid. Leaving some space for the tall-designed top to quarter screw-on is best.
Additionally, a silicone seal on the interior of the lid should be removed for cleaning. We didn’t know they removed it until we pulled it apart using the incorporated pull-tab. Care must be taken to clean food particulates out of the lid’s slit-style chase, too. If not cleaned properly, this could lead to food buildup or more.
The TKCanister set is stylish and heavy in weight but can show fingerprints easily. If that’s not of concern while van camping or using for mobile dining, it doesn’t affect the product but can be difficult to clean after usage. We’d like to see powder-coated options available. The price is $89.95.
Food Box Options
Along with the TKCanister set, Klean Kanteen offers a Food Box Set. Available in a small seven-ounce size, a medium-sized box for snacks, and a large one to house meals, they’re made from stainless steel and are surprisingly durable.
Each food box is constructed with a press-and-fit lid and snap-to-close side tabs (tabs aren’t incorporated on the smallest unit). Brightly colored silicone is used to highlight each container’s lid, with one corner larger than the rest for venting.
We stored various foods in each food box without issue. The lids securely push into each base easily, although if you stuff too much food into them, they may slightly lift up. Tip, if you purchase the food box set, both smaller containers nest into the meal-sized box and the lids stack easily on top.
Tip: We used a large rubber band when securing the food boxes together when stowing them in our camp box or the lids had a tendency to “walk” if not bound together as a set. Klean Kanteen, if you’re listening, we’d pay an extra few bucks if you devise a handy strap to secure the Food Box Set in a nested fashion.
Same as the TKCanisters, the Klean Kanteen Food Box Set shows fingerprints and grease fairly easily. Additionally, the dark-colored silicone lid shows dust and particulates more than its lighter-colored siblings. Perhaps another lighter color would solve this aesthetic issue?
In short, the fingerprint issue paled in comparison to the hefty nature of the Klean Kanteen Food Box design and construction. As with their other products, this company thinks about longevity, and when you’re continually camping, that takes our cake. The price is $59.95.
Unique Utensil System
If you’re looking for a simple, efficient, and lightweight utensil set, look no further than Gerber’s ComplEAT system. Armed with 10 tools (that include a basic spoon and fork, this uniquely designed toolset may make you eat happy.
The ComplEAT utensil set is made from corrosion-resistant materials and can be pulled apart for easy usage. Along with its fork and knife, this handy set offers up a set of tongs (once you slip either fork or knife against the spatula holder) and a multi-purpose tool. This small tool contains a can opener, a sharp veggie peeler, bottle opener, and a small serrated package opener.
Note: don’t lose any part of the Gerber ComplEAT system or you lose its nesting/storing capability.
Arriving in its nested state, the ComplEAT setup is tricky to pull apart. We found it’s best to push up on the bottom of the set to dismantle it. However, it’s best to nest them together and push them onto the spatula chase from the top down. Buy the set and test it for yourself. You’ll know what we mean.
All-in-all, we found this little powerhouse multi-utensil set to be very functional, clever, and of high quality. It’s lightweight, too, in case you wanted to hike to an overlook for lunch and bring it along. Our only negatives were to not lose any part of this setup or you’ll lose its nesting ability and the veggie peeler gets a little “too” friendly with its adjoining utensil—it shaved off some of the finish after continual use of the nesting system. The price is $29.00.
It doesn’t matter if you’re new to car camping or if you’re in the market for camp gear upgrades, using high-quality tools like those mentioned above can help make your life easier, simpler, and happier while adventuring your way through life. They can be used at any point of the day, especially when sitting around the campfire while eating a hearty dinner while sipping your favorite TINCUP whiskey.
Disclaimer: Mercedes Lilienthal was supplied these items at no cost in exchange for this honest, unbiased review. All images copyright 2021 Hooniverse/Mercedes Lilienthal. -KK