The CAMP-A-BOX COMPLETE is a seven piece functional, durable, compact and lightweight mess kit system originally conceived in Sweden forty years ago, writes Bob Morrison.
For some time I have been on the lookout for suitable mess kit to use for decanting heated / reconstituted ration pack meals into when photographing them for review and in the CAMP-A-BOX I now believe I have found what I was seeking.
Naturally I own conventional aluminium alloy mess tins, though for heating rations I prefer my BCB Crusader lidded stainless steel equivalent, but I have found neither to be ideal for studio photography of prepared meals so have mostly resorted to using a white porcelain bowl or side-plate indoors and a metal mess tin outdoors. The porcelain did the job okay, but never seemed to be just what was required, and most camping plastic crockery I looked at was far too colourful – then at the recent Outdoor Trade Show I spotted the CAMP-A-BOX COMPLETE set in Desert (sand and grey) colours and reckoned it could be ideal for my needs.
Measuring 190 x 130 x 50mm when stacked, the seven-piece COMPLETE set comfortably fits a Medium Utility Pouch – the pouch in the photo is from the WARRIOR range supplied by UK TACTICAL – but when opened up the kit contains: two plates / bowls, one of which acts as the lid for the set; a cutting / food preparation board; an original 250ml FOLD-A-CUP; a 600ml FOLD-A-CUP BIG, which can also be used as a soup bowl; a 165mm long spork; and a three-compartment 18g dry condiment / spice shaker. All components stack inside the shaped (grey) plate / bowl, designed for left hand holding and right hand eating, and the second (sand) plate / bowl clips over everything to both hold secure and keep everything rattle-free.
There is not much else to be said about the rectangular plates / bowls, other than that they are made from BPA-free plastic, or about either the spork and the cutting or food preparation board, but the shaker is worth further comment. Similar is shape to an old 35mm film cannister, this container has a removable lid to allow the user to add salt, pepper and sugar or spice – I opt for the latter – and there are small pop-up lids at the opposite end for dispensing the contents to personal taste.
The FOLD-A-CUP design, which others have now copied, has been around since the creation of the company we now know as WILDO. Started in 1979 by outdoor enthusiast Ingvar Svantesson, with the help of his Swedish Army officer Jan Andersson, whose son now runs the business, the company has always produced high quality camping utensils but their polypropylene 250ml folding cup design is a true classic. I have carried one of these, courtesy of SNUGPAK, for many years and more recently outdoor gear distributors New Heights supplied me with another as a trade fair gizzit. If you don’t have a FOLD-A-CUP stowed somewhere on or in your kit when out in the field I reckon you are improperly equipped.
Five different CAMP-A-BOX combinations are available, ranging from the seven-piece 265g COMPLETE, illustrated here, down to the 140g three-piece BASIC for extreme outdoor sports enthusiasts who need to travel light. There is even a DUO LIGHT kit for couples which includes two plates, two cups and two sporks. Fourteen two-tone colour combinations are available, mostly quite bright, but the Sand & Grey, Olive & Black and Black & Grey versions are all reasonably tactical.
You may have already spotted the CAMP-A-BOX popping up in Rations articles and I reckon it is going to appear in quite a lot more as, just like WILDO claim, it is both functional and compact.
[ images © Bob Morrison ]