Crankshaft Culture Gear Garage: On-the-Go Camp Essentials

Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear in sand

We’re all at that breaking point. We’ve been cooped up for over a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, political unrest is clawing its way throughout the globe, and job insecurities have us nervous. However, the new norm for taking your mind off of daily challenges may have transitioned from what was into enjoying the outdoors—while socially distancing, of course. We all need on-the-go camp essentials. Camping and finding solitude within your own vehicle (like our Delica van) has far surpassed the days of jet-setting around the country. Gone are the days of gulping down mediocre meals while sky-high, here are home-made delicious dinners and classic cocktails made from premium ingredients.

Having the right type of on-the-go camp essentials can help you store food simply, keep liquids hot, and stow utensils easily. It can help brighten your life, if even for a weekend around the campfire.

Klean Kanteen Food Boxes and TK Cansiter sets
Klean Kanteen’s Food Boxes and TKCansiter set

Fresh Way to Store Food

One of the worst things about traveling via vehicle is food spills. This happens primarily due to poorly designed or inferior-quality containers. There’s nothing like grabbing salsa from your on-board fridge and realizing the container got mashed. It’s leaking from the top shelf all the way to your eggs. No!

To combat this issue, Klean Kanteen has designed two unique products: Food Box Complete Set and their TKCanister Complete Set. Each made from stainless steel with BPA-free materials; these products carry food simply, securely, and stylishly. You just might find these to be your next on-the-go camp essentials.

Klean Kanteen Food Boxes with food
Klean Kanteen Food Boxes can keep a variety of food types secure

Food Box Fill-Up

Klean Kanteen’s Food Box Set comes with three different on-the-go camp essential sizes: a seven ounce snack size, 20 ounce lunch size, and 34 ounce meal size. Each food box is crafted with a unique brightly colored lid and is made from food-grade stainless steel and silicone materials. Leak-proof and stackable, these food boxes are easy to use and a cinch to store.

Klean Kanteen Food Boxes and snap-and-lock tabs
Klean Kanteen Food Boxes feature snap-and-lock tabs

Constructed with press-fit lids, the lunch and meal food box bases boasts two “snap-and-lock” tabs on opposing sides. This ensures the lid snaps on appropriately, helping to stop food leaks. One end of each food box has a larger silicone overhang, making a flexible corner that’s easy for venting. However, we kept gravitating to it for opening each box, instead.

Durable food-grade stainless steel bases can take a beating without denting, although we had a hard time keeping fingerprints off of the outsides.   

Klean Kanteen Food Boxes incorporate press-fit lids
Klean Kanteen Food Boxes incorporate press-fit lids but can show fingerprints easily

During our testing period, we used the Klean Kanteen Food Box Complete Set for a variety of food items. All-in-all, our food stored inside of each container easily, although rigid items like nuts were a challenge to fill completely and still have the lid fit on appropriately. Price: $59.95

Pros:

  • Easily nested
  • Sturdy design
  • Competitive price
  • Food-conscious materials

Cons:

  • Silicone lids attract dust
  • Shows fingerprints easily
  • Snap-and-lock tab longevity?
Klean Kanteen TKCanister collection
Klean Kanteen TKCanister collection offers three different sizes

Carry My Canisters

In addition to Klean Kanteen’s Food Box Complete Set, they offer the Insulated TKCanister Complete Set. The TKCanister set dons three different on-the-go camp essential sizes: eight ounces, 16 ounces, and 32 ounces. They’re double-walled, stainless steel, and are stackable and dishwasher safe.

The newly designed TKCanister interiors showcase bowl-shaped bottoms, making them easier to clean than their flat-bottomed competitors. Although these food containers can take both liquid and solid foods, be aware not to fill it completely—we’ve run into issues closing the vacuum insulated Climate Lock lid when rigid food is close to the lid line.

Klean Kanteen and a removal silicone lid insert
Klean Kanteen TKCanisters have removal silicone lid inserts

The TKCanister lid is designed with a special internal thread design that increases thermal performance—perfect for keeping soup hot or ice cold for several hours. This works especially well when stashing ready-to-eat items when arriving late to camp!

The lid also boasts a quarter-turn feature that locks it in place quickly. Additionally, the TKCanisters incorporate an easy-to-carry handle. Flip it up when needed; snap it into its flush-mounted place when not.

Klean Kanteen TKCanister lids are heavy in weight and sturdily made
Klean Kanteen TKCanister lids are heavy in weight and sturdily made

Heavy in weight, we wouldn’t suggest using the Klean Kanteen Insulated TKCanister Complete Set for hiking or biking endeavors. Additionally, care must be taken to clean the removable silicone interior lid cap and lid. We noticed food build-up inside the thin slit that runs around its rim. Same as the Klean Kanteen Food Box Complete Set, the TKCanisters show fingerprints pretty easily—we’d love to see a powder coated option available.

In short, the Klean Kanteen Insulated TKCanister Complete Set is a durable and leak-proof option for overlanding or vehicular-based travel adventures. Its design allows for hot food or cold cocktails in the middle of nowhere, perfect when adventuring during Covid. Price: $89.95

Klean Kanteen TKCanisters feature a bowl-shaped interior with quarter-turn lid design
Klean Kanteen TKCanisters feature a bowl-shaped interior with quarter-turn lid design

Pros:

  • Leak proof
  • Sturdy design
  • Food-conscious materials
  • Keeps contents at temperature

Cons:

  • Heavy in weight
  • Price expensive for some
  • Shows fingerprints easily
Gerber ComplEAT utensil set and a Klean Kanteen TKCanister
Gerber ComplEAT utensil set leaning against a Klean Kanteen TKCanister

Feed Me, Seymour!

If we’re talking on-the-go camp essentials, it doesn’t get more must-have than utensils. Gerber’s ComplEAT nesting utensil set features a, on-the-go camp essential fork, spoon, a four-function multi-tool, and a dual-sided spatula that sticks together with the fork (or spoon) to create sturdy tongs. They’re easy to stash in your camp kitchen and can take a beating if knocked around.

The ComplEAT setup is lightweight and sturdy. It weighs less than 2.5 ounces. Additionally, ComplEAT utensils are made of corrosion-resistant materials. It sits perfectly in any car camper, biker, or hiker’s camp kitchen.

Gerber ComplEAT utensil set pulled apart
Gerber ComplEAT utensil set pulls apart easily, once you get the hang of it

Each utensil can be grasped and used easily. They boast textured, slim handles. The fork can grab food more easily than a traditional spork and the spoon has a deep bowl to it, perfect for slurping soup. The spatula dons a hard plastic serrated side on one edge, with a high-temp nylon and silicone overmold side on the other. This allows the user finesse when cooking up a camp storm. Darn, we wish we had an actual knife, however.

ComplEAT utensil set multi-tool
ComplEAT utensil set multi-tool

Multi-Function Mania

In addition to the utensils, Gerber devised a small multi-function tool that incorporates a can opener, veggie peeler (be aware, it’s sharp!), a bottle opener (key for any camping adventure), as well as a serrated package opener. It’s a slick little system but take note: you can’t lose the small tool otherwise you won’t be able to securely nest the other utensils together. They’d slide out of their “nesting chase.”

ComplEAT utensil set connector piece
ComplEAT utensil set allows for easy nesting, just don’t lose a piece as they won’t nest after the fact

Disassembling the Gerber ComplEAT system takes a bit of getting used to. Pushing the set apart from its nested position takes a little force. Push up on the bottom of the set to it take apart, but carefully nest them together and load them back onto the spatula chase from the top down.

ComplEAT utensil tops and scratches
ComplEAT utensil tops can scratch over time

After several uses, we noticed a few scratches on the top of our spoon. This is due to the veggie peeler’s sharp edges that slide up and nest against it. Once this system is figured out, it’s great. However, the scratches are a bit unsightly.

Camp kitchens, like those in our 4×4 van, are rough-and-tumble. So, a few small scratches won’t make a bit of difference. You should see our kitchen tote’s exterior that houses our cooking essentials.

The Gerber ComplEAT tool is high-quality. Consider it for your next utensil set. Price: $29.00

Gerber ComplEAT as tongs
Gerber ComplEAT can be used as handy tongs

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • 10 total tools
  • Nesting ability

Cons:

  • Veggie peeler scratches tools
  • Lose multi-tool, lose nesting ability

No matter if you’re a seasoned camper like us, that primitively camps in our van for days on end, or someone new to overlanding, it’s important to have the right on-the-go camp essentials. This rings especially true for cooking so you have more time by the campfire crafting your favorite TINCUP Manhattans.

We were supplied these items at no cost in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

  • Tin Cup whiskeys and Manhattan cocktails

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