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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cook Sets > GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper > Test Report by Chuck Carnes

GSI Outdoors
Full Set
P I N N A C L E    C A M P E R
Cook Set

Initial Report: September 26, 2009
Field Report: December 17, 2009
Long Term Report: February 15, 2010


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Biographical Information
Name: Chuck Carnes
Age: 39
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 175 lbs (79 kg)
E-mail Address: ctcarnes AT yahoo DOT com
City, State, Country: Greenville, South Carolina, USA
Backpacking Background
I love the outdoors – I’ve spent time camping in the outdoors since I was born, and have been actively hiking and backpacking since then. I consider myself a lightweight hiker, usually carrying 20 – 30 pounds (9-13 kg) for hikes up to a week in length. I hike at an easy pace, averaging 2 mph (3 kph). I am a one-man tent camper for now. I like to carry a single trekking pole when I hike to help relieve stress to my legs and knees. I like to get out on the trail as often as I can.

I N I T I A L    R E P O R T
September 26, 2009
PackedPRODUCT INFORMATION
Manufacturer: GSI Outdoors
Model: Pinnacle Camper (made in China)
Packed Size: 9.1 in. x 9.1 in. x 5.8 in. (23 cm x 23 cm x 14 cm)
Included Pieces: 3.0 L (101  fl. oz.) pot, 2.0 L (68 fl. oz.) pot, 2 strainer lids, 9 in. (22 cm.) fry pan, four 14 fl. oz. (414 ml.) insulated mugs, four 14 fl. oz. (414 ml.) bowls, four 7.5 in. (19 cm.) plates, four Sip-It tops, Folded pot gripper and Welded sink
Year of manufacture: 2009
URL: http://www.gsioutdoors.com

Listed Weight: 3 lbs. 8 oz. (1.59 kg.)
Actual Weight: 3 lbs. 6 oz. (1.53 kg.) 

MSRP: $119.95 (USD)

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
The GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper is a cook set from their NFORM Crossover line. The Crossover line is designed to pack a lot of essential cooking gear into one package. All of the items fit into one another and some single items function as two things. All of the cookware that is needed for a group of four is neatly stacked and integrated into each other and held together in this very unique package. This cookware uses Teflon with Radiance technology which is approved to be used with this cookware. The Pinnacle Camper is also part of GSI's Infinity line. It is an ultra-lightweight, completely recyclable BPA-free alternative to polycarbonate resins.


INITIAL IMPRESSIONS
I was very interested in seeing how all of this was put together. When the box showed up and had an exploded view of the Pinnacle Camper on the side of the box, I was thinking there was no way all of this could be in this package. After removing it from the box I started pulling items off and out of each other. I was absolutely amazed at how all of the items were designed to fit in and on one another.

The first thing that is pulled from the stack is the 9 in. (22 cm.) fry pan. The fry pan acts as a lid and has a metal tab on the side with slots. This is where the pot griper is placed and locked into position when ready to be used. The next two items are the lids for the pots. These lids have strainer holes on one side and an orange plastic tab on the top. This tab can be raised so that it stands straight up so when it's time to pull the lid from the pot, fingers won't get burned trying to lift it off the lid.

   Mugs and BowlsBowls and Pans
           Insulated Mugs                           Mugs, Bowls stored in Pot

Once the two lids were removed, a group of four, triangle shaped insulated mugs were resting inside the 2.0 L (68.0 fl. oz.) pot as seen in the picture above. At first I was thinking that I saw four cups and four mugs on the web site. And when I saw that there were only four mugs I figured maybe I was seeing things wrong on the site. It turns out that the insulated mugs fit inside the bowls. Once I figured this out I was truly impressed. All four of the mugs and bowls are colored in red, blue, green and orange. The mugs have Sip-It lids which helps keep younger kids from spilling the contents and helps keep any hot liquids, warm while drinking from them. Another nice addition to the mugs is that they are marked with measuring cup markings for 1 and 2 cup (200 and 400 ml).

Pot Gripper
Pot Gripper

Inside one of the mugs was the folded pot gripper. Although this is not a standard pot gripper that grips the pot like a pair of pliers, it does snap onto the metal tabs on the side of the pots and fry pan. Once the gripper is into position to slide onto the metal tab in the up position, the orange slide button is slid back to allow the gripper to be seated on the tabs. The orange tab is released and a pin is placed into a hole on the metal tab to keep the gripper from sliding off. When I went to release the gripper my first action was grabbing the pot to hold it. This would not have been good if I was cooking and the pot was hot. So, I tried it again one handed and without touching the pot to see if it would come off without holding the pot. It did, and I'm sure it will be easier when there are contents in the pot.

Below the 2.0 L (68.0 fl. oz.) pot were the four colored plates. These fit perfectly, stacked at the bottom of the 3.0 L (101 fl. oz.) pot. These also come in red, blue, green and orange. These plates are pleasantly thick and seem very durable. The 3.0 L (101 fl. oz.) pot fits inside, what GSI calls, the sink. The sink is almost seamless except for one side and it is sealed with some type of fabric tape. The sinks main function is to keep this whole package together. the handles for The sink connect together over the fry pan by hook and loop fastener and keeps it all nice and neat.

I am very excited about using the GSI Pinnacle Camper cook set on my fall and winter camping trips. I will see if things tend to stick to the Teflon or if I have to scrub more than normal to get the pot or pan clean. I will see how well the Pot Gripper works with a pot full of water to see if there is any danger in this design of it slipping off of the tabs. Many more tests will be run through out this testing series.

F I E L D    R E P O R T
December 17, 2009
The GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper has been a great addition to my camping cookware. I took it on a family weekend trip to Cascade Lake Campground in N.C. The elevation was at 2,200 ft. ( m) and the temperatures through the weekend was between 70 F to 85 F (38 C to 47 C) during the day and 45 F to 50 F (25 C to 27 C) at night. This was a great time to try the Pinnacle Camper out since I had all but one of my family with me. It is a four place setting aside from the pots and lids, that's how many we had so the numbers worked out.

Coffee
Making Coffee

The first order of business was to make coffee the first morning. I didn't use the set the night before when we came in because it was too late to start dinner. So the following morning, it was coffee first. Although this was simply boiling water, it gave me a chance to sort of inspect it while I was waiting for it to boil. It's hard to see from the picture but the plastic lid did not quit make a complete seal around the entire lip of the pot. On two opposite quadrants of the pot, the lid made a complete seal but as I looked around the lip I could see that it was raised slightly at the adjacent quadrants. This did not affect the operation of the pot. The lid already has perforated holes for staining so I knew that it was not going to make an air tight seal. It was just something I noticed and thought back about to see if I remember ever packing it so that it could have bent during transportation, but no instance came to mind.

After fixing my coffee in a French Press I poured it up in one of the mugs and snapped the lid on. This worked very well and the mug actually felt ergonomically correct in my hand. I could feel the warmth of the coffee on my hand but not hot enough to where I couldn't hold it. It felt nice and warm on that cold morning.

Eggs
Making Eggs

My next task was to make eggs in the frying pan. I did use a small amount of cooking spray. I didn't want to test out the stickiness of the food just yet. I typically break the eggs into the pan and stir them around while they cook instead of whisking them in a bowl and then pouring them in. What is seen in the picture is four eggs and as you can see, there is plenty of room for more if needed. After the eggs cooked I used the pot gripper to remove the pan from the stove. This was an easy task as all it took was to slip the pot gripper into the groves of the pan at the metal tab and it snapped into place, very secure.

Dinner1
Making Spaghetti and Meatballs

Dinner 2Dinner 3
Serving and Eating

Dinner was another big task for the Pinnacle Camper. I deliberately wanted to make spaghetti so I could have both pots going at the same time and also to get a variety of texture and boiling points in the food and to see how well it all turned out.  The noodles cooked up very quickly and I was able to turn the stove down to a nice rolling boil to keep them going while the sauce and meatballs were finishing up. I also made sure that the sauce came to a good temperature so that it would make bubbles to splatter all over the inside and out of the pan and the underside of the lid. As seen in the picture above, I accomplished my goal.

This meal gave us a chance to try out the plates and mugs and to see how sturdy the plates were. Pouring the water out through the lid strainer area was very nice and easy. I didn't have to have a separate colander to strain the noodles and this kept an extra piece of camping gear at home. My wife actually decided to use one of the bowls with the mug inside to eat the spaghetti and meatballs from. She said the mug kept her food warm and it was actually easier to eat from. I on the other hand went the traditional route and used a plate. The plates are a decent size but if one is hungry, there may need to be several trips made to fulfill a big appetite.

Clean up was fairly easy. After the meal with the eggs, I simply rinsed the pan and wiped clean with a paper towel. After the meal with the spaghetti and meatballs, I washed the pots with biodegradable soap and everything came clean. The Teflon seemed to do its job and made clean up very easy. The plates and mugs cleaned up fairly easy as well. After I got home I put all of the Pinnacle Camper, except the sink and foam insulators for the mugs, into the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning. Now they are ready for another trip.

Overall I like the set. I didn't really find anything that I didn't like about it. At first I was concerned about the lid not fitting the pot but it appeared to not affect the function of the pot. I will keep a close eye on it to see if it warps any more.

L O N G   T E R M    R E P O R T
February 15, 2010
The Pinnacle Camper has worked out great for the small group cooking that I have been doing here lately. I have gone on two weekend outings with my son and his Boy Scout troop where we used the cook set as our stand alone cook set for both weekends. The first weekend was to the Railroad museum in North Carolina where there was an area roped off for several troops to come, camp for the whole weekend and learn about railroading. The temperatures ranged from 75 F to 85 F (41 C to 47 C) during the day and 35 F to 45 F (19 C to 25 C) during the night.

The cook set worked great as we had eight people in our patrol which was made up of two adults and six kids. The set was just the right size for this group and we were able to cook many different types of meals. We cooked eggs in the skillet and made grits in the pot. I was very concerned about how the grits were going to do in the pot and if they were going to stick or not. I did coat the pot with some cooking spray just to be safe. As it turned out, the eggs did great and the grits didn't leave much behind in the pot, they came out pretty easy as well. For the dinners we had chili and beans one night and chicken soup the other night with grilled ham and cheese sandwiches which we fried up in the skillet. The bowls worked perfect for the soup, but obviously only four of us were able to use them. I was actually one of them and it was nice being able to just drink the broth that was left over from the chicken soup.

After the meals the boys had to clean up and they never once complained about the pots being hard to clean. We used biodegradable soap and washed them with a sponge. A few of us were able to use the plates and the ones that didn't use the plates were able to use the mugs and bowls.

On the second weekend trip we went to a campground that our scout district owns which is on a lake in South Carolina. The temperatures were a little bit colder on this weekend. They ranged from 60 F to 65 F (33 C to 36 C) during the day and 30 F to 35 F (16 C to 19 C) during the night. This time on both mornings we just used the pots to heat water for oatmeal. We did use the four bowls for that and actually was able to use the four mugs for them as well and had enough for the troop. Cleaning wasn't too bad getting the oatmeal out. I boiled some water in the pots that we used and poured into the bowls and mugs and let them sit for a little bit. That seemed to do the trick and made clean up easier.

For these two nights for dinner we ate Tomato soup one night and Fettuccini Alfredo with white cream sauce the other night. That made for some interesting clean up. After a half hour of scrubbing I final got it cleaned. The noodles stuck really bad with the cream sauce but II finally scrubbed it clean. Again we used the bowls and mugs for the soup and the four plates for the Alfredo.

All in all the Pinnacle Camper has been a great group cook set. I have been very pleased with its performance as an outdoor cook set. The durability has been top notch and I feel I have put it through some good tests for cookware. The only issue I had was the plastic lids never sealed completely on the pots but other than that everything worked great. I do see some wear on the plates, bowls and mugs but that is typical with most plastics. Just normal scratches from silverware but nothing to impede the stability or its performance. I never did use the carrier as a sink but hope to in the future and it's nice to know that I can use it as that if I need to.

This concludes this test series
Thank you GSI Outdoors and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity.


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Read more gear reviews by Chuck Carnes

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