Prior to our recent trip to the Grand Canyon, some very amazing PR people working with Easy Camp asked if we were interested in a real-life field test/review of some of their product.
We got ourselves checked in with the wonderfully helpful ranger and hit up campsite 266B. While it is a decent size, a majority of the site is rocky, with a spot of dirt perfectly fitted for the shiny new Galaxy 400 tent we got from Easy Camp.
This is where you can tell that we were not paid for this review: setting this thing up SUCKED. The instructions were as minimal as Ikea furniture, but without any of the goofy illustrations to at least give you an idea of what you are supposed to do. We’ve set up our share of tents before, but never one where you put up the fly first and then the tent. Images/better instructions would have saved us a bunch of time, effort, and exasperated noises made at each other.
For example, there is a ground cover for the little patio area, and it has a notch in one side. Does it go in the front? Back? One of the sides? The answer is right next to the front of the tent, as a stake from the tent needs to go right through the notch. We discovered this after we staked it backwards, unstaked it, and re-staked it correctly. Oh, and those straps that were on the top when we unfolded it? They definitely go on the bottom. Honestly, Easy Camp, just add some doodles to help us out. We had no service to watch your “tutorial,” which also isn’t that great.
Having said all that, the tent, once put up, was absolutely worth it. Honestly, once set up, it’s GREAT. It felt as sturdy as our Teton Sports tent, but was tall enough for me to stand up in and get changed in (I’m just shy of 6’). There was plenty of space for us to lay out, and have our bags in there. What we called our front porch was a perfect size for a couple camp chairs, the cooler, and any food or gear we wanted to keep from some very brazen ravens. There were a couple of windows in the front, as well as one in the back. I’d also like to commend Easy Camp on the sheer number of stakes they offer, even if they are the thin metal ones that I’m not a huge fan of. Especially when we bent three of them trying to stake through some random rocks beneath the surface.
While we often go for a big batch of chili, we opted for foil-wrapped meal pouches, partly because they are a great way to minimize dishes and pans to be washed, but mostly because we wanted an excuse to review the Easy Camp Sarin Camp Kitchen.
Since we knew we might not eat the healthiest food around the park, we went with chicken breast with a seasoning of ginger, garlic, turmeric, and curry powder, potatoes, and salt and peppered green beans. As we usually do, we made the seasoning blends before hand in reused plastic seasoning jars.
The Sarin was a pretty solid set-up, with far less of a learning curve as the Galaxy 400. The thing basically unfolds, two of the legs telescope out, and you hang the little shelf unit up. Done and done. Maybeeeeee a minute and a half to set it up, but only that long because we kept trying to look for instructions just in case. Dinner itself was pretty easy, especially on the Sarin’s prep tables: chop up everything to desired size, wrap in foil, and put on grill. Easy peasy.
I do have to say, with the recent (as of April 13th, 2017) world events, Easy Camp may want to consider renaming this thing.
Usually for this style of cooking, we have to stack the foil packets on top of each other because the campsite grills that come attached to the firerings at most sites only cover about 1/3 of the fire. In comes Easy Camp review #3: The Easy Camp Campfire Tripod, a three-legged grill that goes directly over the fire.
This bad boy was also super easy to set up, with a little chain that you can use to adjust the distance between the grill and the fire. And, unlike the built-in grill, you can adjust the grill if the fire catches better on a different side.
The last Easy Camp piece we reviewed on the trip was the Duggite, a small, single-button LED lamp that springs open. Other than wishing it had a cute little robot face, it was pretty simple to operate, and bright enough to read by in the tent without being blinding.
Overall, we feel that the Easy Camp instructions leave a lot to be desired to make it live up to it’s namesake, but the products themselves are pretty solid for recreational camping.