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As our motorhome is quite small and storage space is at a premium, we use camping saucepans that pack away inside each other to save space (and weight). We recently received two sets of Vango camping cookware to review – a 2 person stainless steel cook kit and a 4 person non-stick cook kit. Both types of cookware are available in kits to suit between one and eight people.
Although the sets were different, both had a 1400ml pan, so we used this pan from both tests for our milk boiling test. To simulate making an evening hot drink, we boiled 300ml of milk and water in each pan. Each pan was rated on how easy the handles were to use when hot and full, how well they poured and how long the liquid took to come to the boil
Vango 4 Person Non-Stick Cook Kit (£22.00)
We prefer non-stick cookware because it makes washing up so much easier. The downside is that it lacks the indestructible quality of stainless steel cookware – but we feel it is worth it when away in the van as it makes washing up easier to manage with minimal water.
- Storage bag
- 4 x plastic cups
- 1 x 1400ml pan
- 1 x 1800ml pan
- 2 x pan lids
- 1 x 18cm frying pan
All the pans are non-stick, very lightweight, and have folding handles. The cups have moulded plastic handles.
Our specialist motorhome chef (my wife!) found that the folding handles on the non-stick kit required careful use. The two parts of the handle fold together to form the handle, which is fairly solid when used correctly.
The only weakness of the design is that if you do not bring the two parts of the handle together dead square, one half of the handle rides up over the other half, tilting the pan over to one side. This is worst when the pan is full, due to the extra weight, so care is required when picking up the pan. However, the plastic insulation on the handles means that they do not get hot in use.
The non-stick worked as well as it always does and made washing the pan after boiling milk in it very easy. Pouring was accomplished without making a mess, although none of the pans has a pouring spout.
Milk boiling time (300ml): 2 minutes 10 seconds
Vango 2 Person Stainless Steel Cook Kit (£19.00)
The advantage of stainless steel cookware is that it can be abused without too much risk of damaging it. Stirring with metal spoons and scrubbing with abrasive scouring pads won’t do any harm.
As a result, stainless steel pans tend to last much longer than non-stick pans because the finish does not get damaged or worn over time.
However, depending on what you’ve been cooking, they can be harder to get clean.
- Storage bag
- 2 x plastic cups
- 1 x 900ml pan
- 1 x 1400ml pan
- 2 x pan lids
- 1 x removable pan handle
- 1 x 16cm frying pan
All the pans are stainless steel with a copper-plated bottom. Although light, they are heavier than the non-stick pans. The cups are plastic with moulded handles.
All of these stainless steel pans have a copper bottom, which provides “improved heat conductivity”, according to Vango. In use, we found that the detachable handle provides a robust, balanced grip when it is in place – but you cannot very easily leave it in place when cooking, as it tends to fall off. It would also be likely to get hot, as it is metal.
The boiling milk was poured out without any mess, although the pans don’t have pouring spouts.
Milk boiling time (300ml): 2 minutes 32 seconds
We were surprised that the milk in the steel pan took a full 22 seconds longer to boil (thus using more gas) than in the non-stick pan. I think this must be due to the steel pans being made of thicker metal than the non-stick pans. The steel pans do feel as if they will last longer, though.
Both of us prefer to use non-stick pans when away in the van as it tends to make washing up easier and quicker. However, we were divided over the handles – I preferred the greater security of the stainless steel pans’ detachable handle, while my wife preferred the convenience of the permanently attached handles on the non-stick pans.
Price-wise, Vango’s stainless steel cook kits are a few pounds more than the equivalent non-stick cook kits, but there is not really enough difference in price for it to matter when purchasing a set.