Thursday, 21 February 2013

First Test & Review Of My Folding BBQ By Gelert

Having received a Gelert Foldable Barbeque - Silver for Christmas, I thought it was about time I blew the cobwebs off and gave it a maiden test.
On a cold afternoon in February, my 6 year old son and I ventured out into the garden with my new Gelert foldable bbq and a box full of sticks and wood offcuts. My son couldn't contain his excitement at the prospect of building a fire, so I set to work assembling this portable folding bbq.
My initial impressions, were that the setup of bbq was really easy and the seperate componenets fitted together relatively well. The overall quality of the product was also looking good. I would say that from opening the bag that keeps everything together, and setting the bbq up, it takes well under a minute (20-30 seconds with practice).
The bbq is constructed from stainless steel and folded down measures 31 x 4.5 x 20cm, the weight comes in at 1.8Kg and when folded down fits nicely into the sturdy carry bag, which also includes an instruction leaflet, showing you how to set the bbq up.

The Seperate Components Are As Follows :
(1) Folding Framework Stand
(2) Folding BBQ Side Walls
(3) Ash Plate
(4) Bottom Grate
(5) Grill
(6) Carry Bag & Instruction Leaflet

Once constructed, we then used tumble dryer fluff and silver birch bark along with a firesteel to get the fire started. With the tinder ignited, we continued building the fire using smaller twigs, followed by bundles of larger twigs. Due to the clever construction of the bbq walls and the raised lower grate, a good draught flow is produced, ensuring that the fire takes hold quickly and spreads throughout the fire wood material.

We soon had a substantial fire going, in the generously sized main pit and were able to sit the cooking grill in the top section of the bbq. This gives you ample cooking space to make a brew using a BCB Crusader Canteen Cup for example, leaving you plenty of room for billy cans, frying pans or simply placing sausages directly onto the grill.

The only problem I found at this point, was that with grill in place you were unable to add extra fuel to the fire. We got round this by turning the grill 45 degrees, sitting it on top of the bbq walls, rather than in the top portion of the walled section. Extra sticks could now be fed in at the corners quite easily. If you were using bbq brickettes you wouldnt have this problem as they are slow burning, but in a fire pit configuration you would need to make this alteration.
We continued to fuel the fire for a good hour and a half and to my surprise there was hardly any traces of ash being deposited through the bottom section of the bbq onto the ground. There is an ash plate that sits at the bottom of the walled section, under the lower grate and is only sat there, not secured in any way. And despite all the wood being thrown in and my son prodding it consistanlty throughout, little or no ash found its way through the bottom. This is great when using the bbq in woodland areas, where risk of fire could be an issue and you wouldn't have to worry about your LNT principles either, causing fire scares. This was a plus point in my eyes.

Having used the bbq for some considerable time, you would expect there to be some distortion in the sheet stainless steel walls, due to the heat. But this was not a problem and the structure held its shape very well.

Having brewed up successfully and exhausted our wood supplies, we let the fire die down, which left us with a few embers in the bottom of the grate. With a suitable stick I simply lifted the grate out, tipped the ash plate up and allowed the remaining embers (now extinguished) to drop to the floor. The whole structure was then left to cool down, before dismantling and folding up ready to go back in its carry bag.

For such a reasonably priced piece of kit (Approx £13.00) this cleverly designed folding barbeque scores highly for me and I will definitely be using this in my pack when going out on woodland walks with the family or just on my own. It makes a refreshing alternative to gas or meths stoves, especially if you know there are good sources of wood to fuel your fire.

Due to its small pack size, it would fit well into any rucksack you may be using and if you like to cook on an open fire, gives you the option to do so, but raised off the ground eliminating any damage to the ground.

I have used Gelert products before and they have always been a quality item at the cheaper end of the scale. And this folding portable bbq certainly ticks all the boxes.

I plan to do a full review of this Gelert Folding BBQ at a later date, when out in the field. For now please feel free to enjoy this video of its first setup and test. Also look out for some funny comments from my 6 year old son, who has a knack of coming out with some little gems. As you would expect from a little boy, it includes bogies... Enjoy !
If you have one of these portable folding barbeques, I would be interested to hear any comments or experieinces you have had with them, either as a fire pit for cooking in the woods or just as a portable bbq for in the garden, beach etc.