Whether you’re car camping or deep in the backcountry, having your cooking equipment dialled in can make or break the experience. Efficiencies do not go unnoticed, be it in cook times, fuel usage, weight, or volume. GSI specializes in making food-related gear for the outdoors and they are not one to gloss over any of the above-listed efficiencies. We’ll be diving into a few different items from GSI in this review, namely the GSI 540 Selkirk Camp Stove, GSI Macro Table, GSI Escape HS 3L Pot + Frypan, GSI Pinnacle Dualist HS as well as few other items and a Gas Growler from Ignik.
GSI offers a full range of cookware and stoves for the backcountry and car camper.
Price: $124.95 US
Weight: 4.5kg / 10lbs
Dimensions: 54.3 x 32.7 x 9.6cm / 21.4 x 12.9 x 3.8in
Fuel type: Canister
Includes: Regulator, 2 burner heads, 2 flame adjusters, pot support, upper windscreen, side windscreen, igniter, handle
The 540 Selkirk camp stove is a step away from the usual compact backpacking cooking supplies offered by GSI. This award-winning stove is designed for car camping or outdoor cookouts with friends and family. The stove features twin 10,000 BTU/h burners each offering precision control with individual control valves. These can be used for anything from simmering to quick boiling and the stove top has room for two 10 inch pots or pans side-by-side.
Better yet, the stove includes push-button ignition for simple and safe ignition and a built-in carrying handle for easy transport.
The powder-coated stainless steel exterior features wrap-around windscreens to shield your cookout from the elements which can be folded out of the way on calmer days so you have more room to cook. Welded, nickel-chrome-plated, 4mm diameter steel pot supports offer sturdy surfaces for your pots and pans.
Weight: 1.96kg / 4.33lbs
Major Dimensions: 61 x 46.7cm / 24 x 18.4in
Dimensions: 12 x 6.3 x 62.7cm / 4.7 x 2.5 x 24.7in
Max Capacity: 9kg / 20lbs
Table height: 21.3 or 37.4cm / 8.5 or 14.7in
The Macro Table is a lightweight, collapsible table that can be stowed in an impressively small package. The table offers a 24 by 18.4 inch surface yet can be packed down to less than 0.15 cu. Ft. (24 x 2.4 x 4.8 in).
In order to collapse or set up the table, two small metal rods are slipped through holes on either end. The legs fold into (or out from) one of the table sections, and the sections all fold together sort of like an accordion.
Weight: 0.83kg / 1.84lbs
Major Dimension: 3.2 qt.
Dimensions: 26.2 x 22.86 x 6.3cm / 10.3 x 9 x 2.5in
Includes: 3L collapsible pot with folding handles, strainer lid, 9” frying pan with folding locking handle, stuff sack.
The Escape HS pot is all about efficiency. The collapsible silicone body cuts packed volume by 53%, while the anodized aluminum base increases cooking speeds by up to 30%. The increased cooking speeds allow you to eat sooner while reducing fuel usage.
The pot lid doubles as a strainer and features silicone pads to help grip the pot without burning your hands. The silicone pot body is graduated for easy measuring and has two handles that match the silicone pads on the lid to facilitate handling the pot. These handles fold out for use and clip onto the silicone pads on the lid for secure and compact storage
The pot also features a heat sync at the bottom for maximum efficiency.
A frying pan nests with the pot for storage and is designed for efficient, even heating.
Both the pan and pot cooking surfaces are made with garnet-hard, non-reactive, hard-anodized aluminum with Teflon and Radiance Technology. These are not only non-stick but resistant to scratches and abrasion. The whole package can be pack down to only 2.5 inches and stows away in a storage bag.
Weight: 0.65kg / 1.44lbs
Major Dimension: 1.9 qt.
Dimensions: 15.75 x 14.7 x 15cm / 6.2 x 5.8 x 5.9in
Includes: 1.8L pot, strainer lid, 2x 20oz mug with insulated sleeves and sip-through lids, 2x 20oz bowls, 2x folding Foon, storage bag/sink
The Pinnacle Dualist HS features the same PFOA-free Teflon and Radiance Technology as the Escape HS, but instead of collapsing down for smaller storage, the Pinnacle Dualist HS includes all your eating gear stowed inside the pot. This pot lid also features strainer holes which is very handy in the field.
The GSI Pinnacle Dualist HS kit includes two 20oz wide-mouth mugs with insulating sleeves and Sip-It lids, two 20oz bowls, and two Foons, which are folding sporks. All this gear nests neatly inside the pot and still leaves room for a fuel canister. Better yet, the whole system fits snuggly inside a rugged welded bag that can be used as a camp sink when not storing the cooking and eating gear.
Speaking of eating and cooking gear, GSI makes a bunch of other goodies for your camp cookouts. One such example is their folding cutting board ($7.95US). This polyethylene prep-surface is 4.4mm thick and 12.6 by 9 inches when unfolded. This flexible, foldable cutting board includes a gutter to contain run-away fluids and only weighs 0.62 lbs. Complete your GSI camp cook set with the pack spoon/spatula set ($7.95US). These cook tools measure 7.4 inches long and weigh only 0.06 lbs. They’re made from durable, reinforced high-temperature Nylon and feature integrated hooks so they can be hung up when not in use.
Price: $199CAN / $129.99US
Includes: Refillable 5 lb. propane tank, 4 ft. adaptor hose, rugged carrying case
The Ignik Gas Growler is a 5-pound refillable propane tank. Functionally the same as a standard-sized refillable propane tank, this Growler sized tank is better suited to travel and camping and was designed with the idea of replacing the 1 pound green bottles.
Due to the lack of proper recycling programs for the 1 pound green bottles, an estimated 48 million find their way into landfills every year! The Ignik Gas Growler holds the equivalent of 5 green bottles and is roughly the same cost to fill as the cost of a single green bottle, which means that after 5 fills, the Ignik Gas Growler will be saving you money. If saving you money is not incentive enough this Growler will greatly reduce your environmental footprint when compared to the 1 pound green bottles.
Here's the math in Canadian dollars: 5lb of propane is $6.50; A 1 pound Coleman canister is $9. The Ignik Gas Growler can hold five times the fuel of the Coleman canister so you save $38.50 for every fill of the Ignik Gas Growler so after 5 fills you'll save $194 which is pretty darn close to the cost of it.
The Growler comes with everything you need; the tank, carrying case, and hose. The molded carrying case is made from durable fabric, features a thick tank pad, and sturdy tank cradle in order to protect the tank from impact and insulate the propane. To access the tank or stow the tank, there is a zipper near the top of the case.
Molle webbing at the upper and lower ends of the case offer convenient locations for either securing the tank for transport, or attaching optional accessories. For those curious, Molle is an acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment and is used to define the current generation of load-bearing equipment used by a number of NATO armed forces.
The case also features a heavy-duty webbing handle with internal padding.
The hose that comes with the Gas Growler fits the same adaptors as the 1-pound green bottles but seeing as the connection on the tank is the same as the standard 20-pound tank, you can use the Gas Growler for your home BBQ or other propane devices that use the 20-pound tank. This also means refilling the Gas Growler can be done anywhere that refills 20-pound tanks.
A lot to unpack in this review! Hard to find much to complain about with any of these items. The takeaway is that each item serves a niche and each caters to that niche particularly well.
The Selkirk 540 is a super dialled-in portable dual burner. The twin burners put out a lot of heat! When I first turned the stove on, I nearly burned my food right away, but with a bit more care I was able to get my simmer on. This thing is a rocket if you want to heat something quick!
The stove as a whole is very well thought out. From the fold-down windscreens to the carrying handle and lightweight nature of the stove, it feels like there is attention to detail throughout the entire design. The only thing I'd ask for is a soft cover for it so that it can be protected when stored or during transport in the car/van.
My first impression of the Ignik Gas Growler Delux is that it was a pretty awesome idea. Turns out it’s not only an awesome idea but awesome in practice as well. I feel it’s the perfect size for car camping, van life, and picnics, and I appreciate that it’s compatible with the more standard refillable tank hoses.
At first glance, I thought the price tag was kind of prohibitive but after a bit more consideration it’s not that overpriced, especially when you factor in that it pays itself after only 5 fills. You can get just the tank and the hose if you want to save some money, but the addition of the carry case is welcome if you can spare the change.
Depending on where you live, the trick might be getting the tank filled. It seems many places providing propane tend to offer the tank trade-in program, which is unlikely to work with the growler considering its novelty. It’s for this reason that I removed half a point in the “ease of use” category in the rating section of the review.
All in all, I have to say it’s a pretty smart buy if you find yourself using a lot of 1lb bottles (providing you can find a spot to fill it). Not to mention when combined with the Selkirk 540 it’s sort of like an ultra-light car camping set up. I’m not sure how many glampers are counting grams, but this combo is especially nice if you have to carry your cook-out down to the beach (not to mention taking up less room in the vehicle).
I also don’t want to gloss over the thought behind making a more environmentally friendly alternative to the current “go-to” camping gear. Our gear habits have huge environmental footprints, so the opportunity to reduce this cannot be understated.
The Macro Table is pretty cool and goes quite well with the above items as the ultimate lightweight glamping set up. It provides a generous amount of surface area for something that becomes so compact. I also enjoyed the carrying case with the shoulder strap and how easily adjustable the height of the table is with the fold-down legs.
I’ll admit it’s pretty awkward to slide the rods through the table sections when assembling the table. The sections are held together with elastic cords so they move around quite a bit during set up. Once the rod is through it becomes surprisingly sturdy. I was even comfortable lifting the whole table to adjust the height mid-cook out without worrying about losing anything.
Of the two camp pot setups, the Escape HS is definitely the (more) cool one. A big pot and pan that nest and pack down to the size of a frisbee? Heck yeah! The compressed volume is pretty impressive considering the usable volume. I thought the silicone pads on the lid were quite thoughtful too, especially when combined with the strainer holes and pot handles.
The Pinnacle Dualist HS is the less cool for car campers but totally capable and practical sibling in the GSI pot setups, especially if you are backpacking and want everything contained in one nice and neat little package. Trading in the collapsible walls of the Escape for the rigid walls of the Dualist means that while it doesn’t pack down as small, it offers an opportunity for storage space. GSI used this space to stow away your cups, bowls, utensils, and stove should you have one small enough to fit inside.
I found the bowls and cups in the dualist to be very similar, perhaps even too similar... basically you get 4 bowls, but two of them have sippy lids and sleeves. For their purpose, they do perform as cups, but they lack the comfortable cup ergonomics that something with a smaller diameter might have.
If forced to choose between the two, I would likely pick the Escape due to the fact that it comes with a pan and it’s collapsible and nesting features. The lure of the cups and bowls is not enough to steer me away from that compact design but for backcountry travel the Dualist wins hands down. As far as cooking goes, the Teflon and Radiance Technology cooking surfaces are exactly the same and definitely live up to the hype with energy efficiency and heat transfer.
As for the rest of the cooking utensils, they certainly all serve their purpose and will boost your glamping game. The one item I was not all that sold on was the cutting board. The way it folds means you have to support both ends if you want to pick up the board without dumping your prepped food items. Also, the juice gutters don’t catch, they just funnel out the sides so that the juicy mess is only redirected instead of avoided. I suppose this is what gutters do so they remain true to their name, but perhaps juice moats would be preferable.
See above in review.
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