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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Cook Sets > GSI Outdoors Pack Kitchen 8 > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

Test Report
GSI Pack Kitchen 8

Initial Report - 31 March 2013
Long Term Report - 1 August 2013

Name:  Dawn Larsen
Age: 52
Gender: female
Height: 5' 4" (163 cm)
Weight: 155 lb (70 kg)
Email address: vicioushillbilly AT gmail DOT com
Florence, South Carolina USA

Backpacking Background:
I used to backpack in college a zillion years ago and just in the last several years have backpacked private trails in Tennessee, Missouri and most recently South Carolina. I have been an avid car-camper and paddler in South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. I use a lot of the same equipment for both. I hike hilly/rocky trails especially in Missouri (my home state) and Arkansas. I live in South Carolina and am busy checking out the terrain here with my nineteen year-old son.

Manufacturer:  GSI Outdoors
Manufacturer and Measured Dimensions: 7.5 (297 mm) x 5 (196 mm) x 2.5 (51mm) in
Manufacturer  Weight:   3.7 oz (105 g)
Tested Weight without tag:   3.75 oz (106 g)
Pouche's capacity:  2 fl oz (60 ml)
Model Year 2013
MSRP $16.95

Initial Report
31 March 2013

The Pack Kitchen arrived in a box packaged as shown in the picture below. All components were packaged in a mesh bag with a hangtag attached.  The components include:  pack spatula, pack spoon, mini salt and pepper shaker, two condiment pouches, two extra "spurt lids," camp towel, and scouring pad (second picture).

packed kit  unpacked

Initial Observations

The first thing I noticed was the two little caps.  I think it's ingenious that GSI realized that you would have to have a cap that seals well for packing and a cap that "spurts" well for cooking.  Good on them!

The salt and pepper shaker:

This thing is very well thought out.  The waterproof container has two separate wells. I plan to use one for salt and the other for powdered garlic maybe. The two plastic shaker caps are really great.  One snaps on the top of the container and the other is stored in the base.  The orange lid snaps on the base to keep the extra shaker top in place and then the gray lid screws on the top.  I only worry that I might lose the little shaker tops.  

Pouches:  The pouches are very cool too. GSI says they are BPA free.  The sealing lid is attached to a cord so I won't lose it.  I'll have to think a while about what I would put in those. I assume, considering the yellow and red color, GSI thinks it should be catsup and mustard?  I don't use either.

Cloths:  The dishcloth seems durable.  The scrubby thing is not any different from what I could buy anywhere.  I will put them both to good use.  I wonder if the dish cloth will wash clean or if it will stain and retain odor and grease.

Utensils:  I like that they are lightweight and they seem just the correct size for my JetBoil system. I also like the hooks on the end to hang of the sides of a pot or cup.

Missing:  I wish they would have included something for oil. That is the worst for me because it gets on everything. Maybe that is what I will use one of the pouches for.

What I like
The salt and pepper shaker is one of the coolest things I've seen
Utensils are a nice size.
I like that the lids on the pouches are corded.

What I don't like

I wish there was an oil container, but...
Maybe that is what I will use the pouches for (which might otherwise be unnecessary for me).

Long Term Report
1 August 2013

Field Use
I used this kit on several types of trips:
I car camped in 20-21 May in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  The weather averaged 80 F (27 C) during the day and 60 F
(16 C) at night and clear.  
I kayak camped 14-16 June
in Van Buren, Missouri. The weather averaged 80 F (27 C) during the day and 60 F (16 C) at night and it rained one day.
I backpacked the Ozark Trail 20-23 June near Van Buren, Missouri.
The weather averaged 85 F (29 C) during the day and 65 F (18 C) at night and it was clear.
I backpacked the Buffalo River Trail near Jasper, Arkansas for two different trips, 7-9 July and 20-23 July. The weather averaged around 95 F
(35 C) during the day and 70 F (21 C) at night on both trips.  It was very hot and dry.

The main advantage to this kit is its small size and light weight.  It was easy to pack.

If you look at the picture below, I used the green pouch for oil.  The "spurt" cap worked great for oil.  However, the cord got twisted on the corded cap when I closed it.  Because it has no base to sit upright with, I had to use both hands to close it and then lay it down, which meant when I was using the corded lid, I had to close it in order to sit it down. Also, when I was in a hurry and the cord wrapped around the neck of the pouch, it would keep the lid from tightening and it leaked.  I was sure to check that after it happened the first time. I used the other pouch for half and half on my kayak trip.  It was really too small for that purpose.

The blue scrubby thing that came with the kit scratched the teflon surface of my expensive backpack mess kit, see below.  I point out that it's expensive because I have used plastic scrubby pads before on that pan without incident.  That was disappointing.
pot damage

The shaker worked very well. I used it for salt and garlic powder.  I put a few rice grains in each side because the weather in South Carolina, Missouri, and Arkansas is so humid and salt tends to stick together.  I found that I only used the pour cap for the garlic powder and used the shaker cap for salt.  

I liked that I could use the camp towel for a pot holder too.  Double purpose is always a good thing! The camp towel laundered well.

The utensils are unecessary for backpacking, in my opinion.  I used them and they worked well, but seemed extraneous.  I used the spoon to stir with and eat with.
The spoon held one tablespoon plus one-half teaspoon of liquid. I used the spatula, but didn't really need it when I backpacked.  I would rather take my spork because it uses less space in the pack.    

Though this is a groovy kit in theory, in practice many of the items seemed unecessary.  I will continue to use the pouch for oil probably, the spice shaker, and the camp towel, but will probably leave the rest at home on backpacking trips. I prefer a spork over the two utensils and plan to throw that scrubby thing away.  I will probably use the utensils and second pouch for car and kayak camping when space is not such an issue, though
they are really too small for car camping.

What I liked
The spice shaker works very well.
I like the size and multi-use function of the camp towel

What I didn't like
The cord on the corded lid gets tangled up.
The utensils are extraneous for backpacking.
I couldn't set the pouches upright.

This concludes my Long Term Report. Many thanks to GSI and for the opportunity to test their Pack Kitchen 8.

Read more reviews of GSI Outdoors gear
Read more gear reviews by Dawn Larsen

Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Cook Sets > GSI Outdoors Pack Kitchen 8 > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

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