April 12, 2021

Punching Above It’s Weight – Our Editor Reviews the Campingaz Party Grill 400 CV

It’s fair to say that we have somewhat missed our camping trips over lockdown – but it has given us a chance to check out some gizmos that we wouldn’t necessarily have considered before and which will become firm favourites when we return. We are fairly well blessed when it comes to camping gear – and outdoor cooking ‘stuff’ in particular – so could we be tempted by a little camping stove?  We weren’t sure – here’s how we got on.

Cooking big guns – can this little stove compete?

Our camping cooking equipment is somewhat overstocked, with the big Cadac Carri Chef, the much loved Cobb, the massive Multicooker, several griddles, several induction hobs and the traditional 2 burner Kampa hob and grill – as well as our big beast of a home BBQ and an Ooni on the way – so could this nifty little grill compete with all of them on the basis that it only needs a tiny amount of car space and it’s light enough to stick under a canopy for a quick al fresco meal for 2? Now, as it happens we got it during lockdown last September and haven’t been able to try it out until a recent lull in the weather saw us heading to the garden, so we’d kind of forgotten about it. Now, on the first sunny day of 2021, unable and unwilling to drag out the heavyweight BBQs and nipping to the butchers to get meat for an impromptu barbecue for 2 we figured it was time for it to shine… so how did this little grill stack up?

Ease of Setting Up

This was one of those occasions where we would normally have bought a little disposable BBQ to save the effort of dragging any of the big kit out – so it stacked up pretty well and we were impressed. Putting it together was an absolute breeze, no hassle at all, and the variety of surfaces (pot stand, flat iron griddle, BBQ grid and even a lid that turns over to be used as a wok) was more impressive than we’d expected, and frankly it all fits into a small bag. Stick the legs on, plug in a tiny gas cylinder, use the piezo ignition button and that’s cooking sorted. Easier, in fact, than standing there like an idiot repeatedly relighting the ‘instant’ BBQs after the wind blew it out (and who hasn’t been there)

Space and Capacity

The Party Grill barely takes up more space than a gas canister hob, which we often take camping to save on space, but offers a lot more versatility – and in our view, with a built in pot stand, it’s a lot safer, will certainly do that job and a whole lot more besides – but how does a small party grill stack up as a portable BBQ? Admittedly, there is only the two of us and space was never going to be a challenge on a BBQ for two. It certainly wasn’t facing a mighty feast but the Party Grill had far more space than we needed and it would easily handle 4 burgers, 4 sausages and maybe some chicken wings quite easily – although we cheated, teaming it with an induction hob to fry some onions. It would probably cope fine with a smaller family’s needs and anyway, it is the smallest in the range.

Ease of Packing Away

Of course, when you are camping, packing up is as important as pitching and here’s where this nifty little grill really came into it’s own. Unlike the BBQ or the Cadac Carri Chef, a quick wash and it’s non stick surface is spotlessly clean and packed away, clean, hassle free and very easy. So easy in fact, that it’s probably the most logical thing to use outdoors when we are partying on our own (and during lockdown, that’s been our only option). So, test complete – did the Party Grill make it into our new cut down kit for 2021?

The Verdict?

In the words of an ‘x’ factor judge – “it’s a yes from me!” This one is definitely 5 stars out of 5 and we’ll certainly pack it regularly as a replacement for the canister hob – because it just offers so many options for such little space. If it’s just the two of us, we’ll be leaving the Cadac at home too. This is just so useful in so many ways – clean, easy, safe – we loved it and it totally surpassed our expectations. I suspect it may also get a few more outings in the garden too. I still love my Cobb and my Cadac – but this offers amazing versatility for the price, highly recommended and a great bit of kit that you won’t regret making room for.