Home Home & Garden Front Runner Camp Kitchen Utensil Set – Review

Front Runner Camp Kitchen Utensil Set – Review

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Sometimes the best quality comes at a modest price, Sonya Schoeman discovers, testing the Front Runner Camp Kitchen Utensil Set while exploring the Karoo.

Search for any variation on “camping kitchen set” and there’s not much that will compare to this 24-piece set for R649. A web search kicked up a few smaller camping sets and numerous picnic sets, but I wouldn’t think of opting for one of those instead. They do not seem as robust (by far), nor as neat and compact, and the price of this one really is incomparable in terms of value. Fruugo offers one for R724 (8 pieces), and from there it goes upwards in price, some sets asking into the thousands.

What’s in the box?

The 24-piece Front Runner Camp Kitchen Utensil Set comes wrapped in a strong, synthetic, thick canvas-style fabric storage holder that rolls up into a compact chef’s set. It unrolls into a base of about 56cms wide and 43cm deep, and a 35cm flap that folds over the utensils. Each one is satisfyingly encased in a snug material sheath. An additional, thick elastic band above each sheath secures each utensil further.

There are two carabiner clips on the inside of the holder so one can clip the exposed set onto roof racks or, in our case, a handy rope strung up close to the braai. This way, everything is easy to hand and, satisfyingly, away from the general mess that accumulates on a camping table. For this alone this set deserves to be in every regular camper’s gear.

The set includes:

1 x fabric storage holder
4 x serrated knives
4 x steak forks
4 x dessert spoons
4 x tea spoons
1 x chopping board
1 x paring knife
1 x bread knife
1 x carving knife
1 x serving spoon
1 x spatula
1 x campfire fork
1 x bottle opener and corkscrew

Setting up

We headed out to Gecko Rock Private Nature Reserve, close to Touws Rivier in the Western Cape. It’s the rugged Karoo. Our campsite was a cleared hard-ground site under a copse of trees, no electricity.

It was lovely (the trees were full of very active and charmingly vocal weavers and sugarbirds, and a couple of Heuglins robins and olive thrushes). Other than the fabulous solar-heated showers, there were no frills, no electricity. A camping table was provided, and we strung up a rope and clipped the Front Runner Camp Kitchen Utensil Set onto that. Nice and neat.

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Using the Front Runner Camp Kitchen Utensil Set

The Kitchen Utensil Set is one of Front Runner’s great products; it’s a simple, smart design and offers great quality (although we have one criticism). The micro-serrated steak knives and forks are strong and firm, and the black poly handles feel substantial. There are three chillingly sharp knives with professional, forged blades (paring, bread and carving). The triple-riveted handles also provide good grip and are robust.

What we loved about it

The holder folds up and into itself, preventing dust from getting in and the utensils from falling out. Nothing is worse than a set that discards its pieces if it’s upended. Once the holder folds up it clips shut with two buckles, and there’s a handle to carry it neatly. Folded out the set is nice and spacious. The fact that it can hang up (and stay more-or-less straight) is such a boon.

Often travelling utensils feel weak and insubstantial, but thanks to the reinforced handles and forged blades, it could and would last a lifetime if looked after. We also love the fact that the paring, bread and carving knives come in solid, protective plastic sheaths that it’s wise to keep on. A friend “tested” the sharpness before using and blood flowed. Oh, and a bonus for once you get back to a life where electricity exists, it is dishwasher-safe.

What Front Runner could improve

There is only one criticism I have about this set: the braai fork, spatula and spoon feel like they come from a different set. The stainless steel felt thinner and the handles feel like cheap plastic, a marked difference from the double- and triple-riveted handles of the rest of the set. Even so, I would buy this set. If I wanted to make it my dream camping set, I’d simply replace those three items – still totally worth the price.

Conclusion and rating

Front Runner specialises in camping gear. It’s a South African brand, so the gear has been conceived by local campers and has been created for, and tested in, the African environment. The brand’s philosophy is one of constant evolution and improvement on its products, it states on its website. The Camp Kitchen Utensil Set delivers unbeatable quality, especially at the price.

Rating: 4 out 5 (replace those 3 items, Front Runner, and it’ll be a hearty 5/5)

4.0 out of 5.0 stars
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