Review: Vango COMBI IR Grill Cooker

An easy to use, compact stove ideal for cooking up a storm at the campsite

Feature type Review

Read time 4 mins

Published Dec 11, 2023

Author Vicki Trotter

Vicki Trotter Vicki is a North Cumbria based doctor, marathoner and adventurer. Passionate about exercise and the outdoors, when not at work, she’ll be found hiking, mountain biking or running – usually with the kids and dog in tow.

OUR VERDICT

An easy to use, compact combination camping stove; ideal for cooking up a storm at a campsite! A family and wallet friendly-option, the Vango Combi IR is now on sale at outdoorworlddirect.co.uk.

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Features Twin 1.9kw burners and 0.6kw infrared grill, individual heat controls, auto piezo ignition, removable drip tray, fold away system

Pros

  • Compact and folds up easily
  • Three separate areas for cooking that can be used easily at once
  • Easy to use
  • Fuel efficient

Cons

  • Have to source a separate gas regular and hose; this does not come with the product
  • Wind can easily disrupt cooking process
  • No carrying handle makes it cumbersome to transport

WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR

As a mum of two children, I always enjoy our camping holidays in the great outdoors escaping usual routines of busy work, school and household schedules. Our car is always crammed with bikes, holiday equipment and the dog; we therefore need a compact and portable camping cooker. Previously we have only travelled with a basic, single hob camping stove. As a family of four, I’m keen to improve our culinary repertoire when camping and of course have the ability to boil the kettle for that important cuppa while multi-tasking cooking the meal too!

Our car is always crammed with bikes, holiday equipment and the dog; we therefore need a compact and portable camping cooker

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I was surprised how large the box was when I first saw the Vango cooker; it was even larger than I expected and I was a bit worried how this would be for transporting on camping holidays. It was a pleasant surprise to feel how light the cooker felt despite its size – it weighs less than 4kg.

Unboxing the product revealed a smart looking cooker that is very easy to use. The lid locks were impressive and once opened revealed the two stainless steel burners (1.9Kw) with a 0.6kW Infrared Grill. The Infrared reflector directs downward heat; meaning it is low on fuel consumption and high on heat output. On reading the manual, I was impressed to learn that this saves 10% on fuel and 90% reduction on emissions for a cleaner cooking experience.

The oven then collapses neatly back down and secures well with the lid locks which were one of my favourite parts! It was frustrating to not have a lid handle to transport the cooker around, however.

I was keen to put this cooker to the test immediately; however, we first had to order a separate gas hose and regulator. For a product like this I personally would have expected this to be included in the kit.

THE TEST

We planned to take the cooker on our next camping excursion, however the gas regulator and hose was still on order so we resorted to our old basic Stove. The test happened later in the season during a glamping trip to Scotland. It was a cold, windy Autumnal family holiday with the dog. The camping cooker did fit in the car, but do be aware the dimensions are quite large; L59.5 x H14.5 x W34.5cm.

I was impressed that the cooker was easy to assemble and use. The anti-slip feet and design of the cooker made it feel secure. Unfortunately despite trying to find a sheltered areas the wind often disrupted the cooking process. The cooker easily fit 2 large pans while grilling at the same time. It was a revelation to boil a kettle while grilling bacon and cooking eggs all at the same time! The family certainly enjoyed the food on offer for this camping holiday.

WHO IS THIS STOVE FOR?

The Vango combi IR grill cooker is suited to a keen outdoor chef travelling with their family or a large group.

This cooker is for longer camping holidays if you wish to enjoy al-fresco dining and have plenty of boot space for the cooker, gas and cooking equipment required. The cooker ideally needs a good shelter around it as it has minimal wind resistance.

 

The Vango combi IR grill cooker is suited to a keen outdoor chef travelling with their family

WHAT STANDS OUT?

WIND RESISTANCE

Unfortunately the wind can easily impact the cooking process. Previous models appear to have had side panels to aim to block out wind. We could only use the cooker with a wind break around or in a very sheltered location.

EASY TO USE

The Vango Cooker is easy to set up thanks to its simple design. The auto piezo ignition ensures that the cooker is easy to use and lights quickly. The cooker felt very stable which is crucial when cooking multiple items.

FUEL EFFICIENCY

The Vango Combi IR Grill Cooker is a 2-burner stove with infrared grill offering a high heat output. This complements Vango’s drive for reducing their carbon footprint, however it also remains low on fuel consumption.

COOKING CAPACITY

The Vango Combi IR Grill Cooker offers two large 1.9kW burner and a 0.6kW infrared grill. This allows for two saucepans and grill to function at the same time. The cooker offers brass flame control valves; each burner has its own individual control valve, allowing you to use different heat levels for varying types of food.

VALUE FOR MONEY

This is a budget friendly family camping cooker that is well built with multiple cooking options to keep a chef happy. The camping cooker offers value for money however, do budget for the fuel regulator and hose that needs to be purchased in addition to this; approximately £20 extra.

BASE BOTTOM LINE

The Vango Combi IR is a budget and family friendly camping cooker that can cook up a storm when on holiday and is sure to keep a crowd happy. The cooker stands out due to its focus on fuel efficiency modifications and cooking capacity options. There are some design features which could be improved; mainly around wind protection and portability. However, this is still an impressive camping cooker well suited to a family camping holiday.

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