Have we found the best camping stove? Testing the Cadac

People seem to love their Cadac camping stoves – from an almost perfect record on Amazon reviews to hearty recommendations on the VW California campervan forum.

So, we wanted to see for ourselves. Would we love them too?

 
Latest update: May 2020

safari chef tailgate m#F4DF

Why the Cadac?

Which are some of the most-read articles on Campfire Magazine? The reviews of the Cobb and Lotus Grill. This tells us that people take their outdoor cooking and barbecuing very seriously.

There’s an added incentive in trying Cadac stoves..they’re like a less-messy barbecue and can also boil a kettle. Multipurpose is always  right up our street. Final reason? Many gas camping stoves are cheap and nasty affairs and we’d prefer something solid and long-lasting.

Which Cadac should we buy?

These are the portable models of Cadac camping stoves.

Carri Chef 2

The Cadac Carri Chef 2 stands on long legs for cooking without bending (much). It has piezo ignition and adjustable temperature. The domed top  attaches as a windshield. 47cm diameter and around £220 for the set

Safari Chef 2

Cadac Safari Chef

The Safari Chef 2 has folding legs that allow you to stand it on the floor or (folded) on a table. Piezo ignition, lots of accessories and a neat bag. High pressure canister (HP) or low pressure gas bottle options too (LP). 28cm diameter. Around £110 with accessories.

 

Cadac 2 Cook

Cadac have also brought out a more traditional-looking camping stoves with two burners – the 2 Cook.

 The Pro Deluxe is the one to go for because it has piezo ignition, two burners that also take a flat fry plate and a ridged grill plate plus a carry bag for around £90.

The Grillo Chef

The tabletop Grillo Chef (around £130) has a 40cm diameter cooking area and an enamelled pan to catch drips. Piezo ignition and uses a gas bottle with hose.

Grillo Chef 2

The Grillo Chef 2 has long, but stable, legs and a 38cm diameter cooking area. It takes a hose and gas bottle, has piezo ignition and all packs down neatly (though not as small as some). Around £150.

 

The high-pressure Safari Chef 2 is our choice

We thought the Cadac Safari Chef 2 looked the best size for portability and cooking options.

It’s foldable, comes with all the accessories we need and has the option of extras such as a baking stone, wok and more.

The price was reasonable, we wanted a stove that was powered with a refillable gas bottle rather than a throwaway canister and lastly, it’s quick to set up and pack away.

 

 

Testing the Safari Chef

The Safari Chef was simple to unpackage and was standing on its little legs within seconds. Within minutes, we’d attached the hose and larger refillable gas cylinder.

This LP (low pressure) version gives higher cooking temperatures, but because of the gas bottle is more suited to car, campervan and caravan users. The HP version (which takes canisters) is probably better for people wanting to keep weight down.

Cadac Safari Chef folded

Folded into a small packable piece of cooking kit

The overall size of the Cadac in its neat storage bag is about 38cm in diameter and weighs around 3.6kg. Probably not for backpackers, but easy to tuck into a well-loaded car!

The test results

Our LP version came with a carrybag, a set of basic instructions (no recipes), a bottom deflector and top deflector, a grille, a reversible griddle/frying pan, a lid that doubles as a wok or large pan and a pizza or baking stone.

 

Our first test was a litre of water, which took eight minutes to boil with a slight wind. A windbreak would make a difference.

Then it was on to the exciting cooking – crabcakes, a stirfry and a seafood chowder. We used all but the baking stone and found the surfaces easy to cook on and easy to clean. It was fairly simple to control the heat (once we got the hang of the knob) and, although charcoal cooking has its advantages, the speed and lack of smoke was lovely!

Another factor is that many European campsites don’t allow charcoal barbecues these days because of the fire risk. The Cadac is more gas stove than barbecue so shouldn’t bring an angry owner rushing to your tent.

You’ll find our recipes below. Meanwhile, what was the verdict?

What we liked

  • The pop-out legs are nifty and spring out into place very easily. 
  • No charcoal, so things stay cleaner and you’re cooking straight away.
  • Good range of cooking surfaces
  • Neat size
  • Good size cooking surface for two people
  • Can stand on the floor or a table
  • Fairly easy to clean, though we didn’t cook any fatty meat/sausages

Would we buy one? Yes! The Safari Chef 2, LP version for us.

 

What could be improved

  • It takes a bit of practice to get the gas to the level you need for a simmer.
  • The design is functional – if you’re into sleek stainless steel, you might prefer the Cobb or Lotus Grill, although these are charcoal burners.
  • You’ll need a larger model for bigger family meals.
  • There are no lifting tools so that you can swap hot sections as you need them. You’ll need gloves. Mind you, because there are no coals to burn down, it cools quickly.

Cooking with wood for fuel has to be the cheapest way to make a camping meal.

Here’s our guide to woodburning campstoves.

Frontier stove

Have you thought about cooking on electric when you’re at a campsite?

Have a look at our suggestions for fast camp cooking using induction hobs, Instant Pot and more.

Crabcakes, a chowder and a simple stirfry

crabcakesCrabcakes

A quick mix and something a bit special. Serve with salad or even with the vegetable stirfry that follows below.

  • 100g bulgur wheat (or couscous)
  • 150g crab meat (fresh brown meat is best, but you can even use tinned)
  • two tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • finely chopped shallot, onion or spring onions
  • parsley, chervil, coriander…whatever you like or have
  • green or red chilli chopped
  • zest of a small lemon
  • an egg
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper, plus sumac if you have any (though entirely optional)
  1. Boil the bulgur with twice its volume of water and simmer for three to four minutes. Strain and leave to cool.
  2. Put all the other ingredients in a bowl. Squeeze any water out of the cool bulgur and add the grains to the bowl.
  3. Form into burger shapes –as big or as small as you like and fry on the Cadac’s smooth frying surface in hot oil till golden and crispy on the outside.
  4. Serve with a squeeze of lemon over the top and maybe a yoghurty dipping sauce or garlic mayonnaise.

Vegetable stirfry

veg stirfryAnything can go in a stirfry…well, almost anything. Here’s what we had hanging around:

  • spring onion
  • kale (pak choi’s nicer!)
  • tenderstem broccoli
  • mushrooms
  • beansprouts
  • garlic
  • chilli

Then we mixed the following in a jamjar

  • two tablespoons of soy sauce and two of vinegar
  • a tablespoon of  sweet chilli sauce
  • a pinch of pepper
  1. Put a little oil in the Cadac wok or a big frying pan. Get it nice and hot.
  2. Add the chunkier vegetables that will take more cooking and cook till they’re losing a bit of their crispness.
  3. Add the garlic and chilli. Ginger would be good too.
  4. Add the rest of the veg and keep it moving. When everything’s cooked (but not mushy), shake your jar and pour the dressing over – not all at once, you might want to save some for adding while you eat. Serve after a few seconds of warming through.
  5. If you have some ready-cooked noodles, you could add these to the stirfry before adding the dressing. Just stir well and heat through.

Seafood chowderseafood chowder

Gorgeous and creamy and fishy and smoky all at once. Delicious with crusty bread and a green salad on the side.

The only problem is keeping raw fish cool before you cook. Have a look at our article on buying a camping fridge, or even better, camp next to a fishing boat.

  • butter or oil
  • a medium onion sliced or diced
  • a couple of rashers of bacon, pancetta or even a bit of chorizo (chopped chunkily, and optional)
  • about 350g raw fish – we used smoked haddock, salmon and some cleaned mussels (in shells or not)
  • a medium potato in chunks (use a leftover cooked one, or leave it out if needs be)
  • double cream (or we like Oatly ‘cream’ as a non-dairy alternative)
  • milk (or an unsweetened non-dairy alternative)
  • a tablespoon of flour
  • herbs – parsley, chives, chervil, dill are all nice, but whatever you have)
  • Pepper to season. Try pimenton too – smoked paprika adds a bit of depth, especially if you haven’t used smoked fish. And a squeeze of lemon can lift the dish.
  1. Using either the Cadac’s deep pan/wok or your own pan on the Cadac’s pot-stand, heat the butter or oil and add the bacon and onion. Cook until they’re starting to brown/crisp.
  2. Add your potato (if using), fish and milk. Simmer for 10 minutes or so. You want the fish to be just-cooked rather than disappearing
  3. Add the flour to thicken the sauce a bit – slake it with a little milk or water to stop it going lumpy. Stir and then add the cream.
  4. Mix in your chopped herbs and season with black pepper. You probably won’t need salt if you’re using smoked fish.
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2 Comments

  1. John oleary

    Hi I purchased a safari chef 1 2 years ago ,I am disappointed wi the overall finish on the coating round tne burner which seems is rusting I contacted Cadac in Clitheroe but was told about the metal it was made with being a engineer for 50 + years I was not happy with the response sorry Cadac but only 1* ED: That’s sad to hear, John. Ours is four years old and still looking good and working well.

  2. Gray Wilson

    We have had a CADAC since 2002 it is the older Global version about twice the size of the one you tested
    It does everything yours does but for more people (or people with bigger appetites) have not had problems with it it’s a fantastic tool with all it’s accessories so you can cook in numerous styles even down to boiling the kettle
    Cooking with the Skottle is an art but it does provide wonderful tasting meat

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