AT a recent 4WD show we had the pleasure of bumping into Jim and Janet Crawford from Top End Campgear.
As we got chatting, we found that Jim had spent 40 years as a long-haul truck driver. Not wanting to spend all his hard-earned on meals at truck stops, he began to carry a tucker box and a gas cooker in the ’70s.
As the years went by, his mobile kitchen evolved from an old army ammunition box to one made of plywood and then of steel. Once he’d settled on his ideal requirements, he generated a stainless steel multipurpose camp kitchen and, on retirement as a truckie, this became the genesis of his Top End Campgear Camp Kitchen.
The Camp Kitchen comes in aluminium with either a powdercoated or metal finish. It’s dust- and water-resistant and has carpet lining to help reduce rattling containers and eliminate noise and broken jars.
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Jim has developed three versions to cater for different rig setups and user requirements: The Longhaul, The Overlander and The Squatter. They have roughly the same interior layout, but vary in height.
The Longhaul is the company’s flagship model. It’s 600mm high x 650mm wide x 520mm deep. It comes standard with a domed lid (a flat lid is optional) which provides 30mm extra height to accommodate taller containers.
This model includes eight canisters (for coffee, sugar, rice, pasta etc.), a washing-up dish, a two-burner gas stove, a bamboo chopping board, and an Anderson plug that feeds the three LED lights. The lights are strategically placed with one over the stove, one over the chopping board and the third on the lid to illuminate the storage area.
The gas stove is fitted to a slide which tucks it away into the base of the unit.
The Overlander and The Squatter kitchens feature a flat lid as standard, though the domed version is optional.
The Overlander measures 500mm high x 650mm wide x 520mm deep. The drop in height is due to the omission of the gas burner. However, it still has a slide that can be used as a prep bench or to place your own stove, but it lacks the Longhaul’s windbreak.
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The Squatter measures in at 400mm high x 650mm wide x 520mm deep and suits vertically challenged rigs. Because of its low height, you’d probably want to be sourcing flat-pack, silicon-style bowls.
This model has the same slide as The Overlander for your own cooktop and preparation space. Within all models is a recessed area at the rear of the top storage area, which is suitable for your favourite sauce bottles that are taller than most.
The entire range can operate as standalone items and be taken out when needed. Alternatively, they can be fitted on a slide or pivot. To maximise space there’s an option to purchase a slide drawer for an additional $450.
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Available from: www.topendcampgear.com.au
RRP: From $1350-$1950
We Say: Tough, compact and convenient.