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Most people do not pack their blender when heading out for a weekend camping trip. Margaritas, blended coffee, and smoothies are not typical camp fare. So I was very intrigued and courious about a hand-cranked blender from impressive product line of GSI Outdoors.

The Vortex Blender is a nesting, two-speed, hand-cranked blender that attaches to any table top (most park campgrounds have picnic tables that work well) or it will attach to the optional Vortex Trailer Hitch Table for those sites that are more off the beaten path.

The Vortex Blender’s construction is very durable, solid, and comfortable to use. The pitcher and shot cap are made of Lexan® resin making them virtually-indestructable.

Packing a blender on our trip allowed us to round out our Tex-Mex menu on one particular trip with margaritas and salsa. The versatible Vortex Blender can be used to crush ice or work as a food processor. We were very impressed with the two-speed option. The crank can be fitted to the low speed position to pulse fruit or vegetables, blend sauces, or batters. Dropping into “four” low we were highly impressed by the raw power pulled from our unexpected new friend as we cranked out batch after batch of frozen ritas. When you’re through being creative the base fits right into the pitcher making it very convenient to pack and store.

The GSI Outdoors site boasts that increasing your popularity, making new friends, and picking up ladies, are just a few of the hidden benefits of owning their hand-cranked blender. Overwhelmed with the cooking and beverage possibilities alone, I suppose I underestimated this awesome gadget according to their claims. What ever your reasons and wishful intentions may be for purchasing the GSI Outdoors Vortex Blender, you would not be disappointed. It would certainly make a very unique and highly appreciated gift to your favorite camp cook.

Rating:  5 out of 5

* Published by JPFreek Jeep Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

Real items for real adventure and real trail use. That’s the 4-1-1 on the Epicurean Camp Series Cutting Board and why we, as Jeep adventure enthusiasts and backcountry cuisine afficianados, dig this product!
Adventure usefulness and/or Jeep usefulness:     

This earth friendly cutting board made from dense recycled cardboard fibers proved very useful on my last trip to the mecca…for the Moab Easter Jeep Safari. I particularlly liked the dual use aspect of cutting board and strainer. In the past I had carried an extra colander that took up valuable space. This product helped solve that! Thank you Epicurean!!

Durability of the item in the field:     

The cutting board held up to multiple applications of typical Chef abuse such as the slicing, dicing, and chopping of a wide variety of produce and proteins. One of the better features in particular in this unit was the strainer aspect. Make sure to properly wash and sanitize in between cutting produce and meats and strainer use. I would recommend cutting all produce, especially ready to eat raw vegetables that might not get cooked such as salads and vegetable snacks prior to using anything else. A
quick wash in hot soapy water, rinse and wipe down with moist bleach towelette proved to do the job. It proved itself over again and again by handling the production of enough food for three dinners for at least 15 people. If that isn’t a testament to a product I don’t know what is. I will be sure to continue using it as part of my camp kitchen for sure. It proved to meet every claim that the company makes.

Value of product in relation to competitors’ product:     

The only competition I can remotely even think of or find is those little plastic roll up ones…and by far they don’t come close on several levels. The value of this product is definitely well worth every penny. I am going to additionally look into purchasing some of the larger sized ones for camping as well one or two potentially for the house from several of their other series of cutting boards.

Quality of product:     

At first I must candidly admit my initial thought was “recycled cardboard fiber…how will this hold up to knife banging even more so hot pasta water from straining a pot”! After putting the board the rigors of my trail testing my doubts were proved wrong. That’s not to say I wouldn’t recommend soaking the board in water for any extended periods of time.

Ease of use:     

Place the board on a table, place the product on the board and cut away, it really doesn’t get any easier. The only slight imperfection and this is by far only a picky little chef thing, was that it wasn’t non-slip. I only say this as I like to have either a small rubber mat or moist towel under my cutting board where it contacts the table so it doesn’t slide around when slicing at super chef speeds. My simple fix was to do what I normally do with any cutting board…place a moist towel or small rubber mat under it. Great product and overall easy to use for sure!

Specifications of product per the manufacturer:

Epicurean Cutting Surfaces® are commercial grade cutting surfaces for the outdoor gourmet. Made from recycled cardboard fiber that will last for years of use, these premium surfaces are exceedingly durable, easy to handle and store, and won’t dull expensive knives. And unlike wood cutting boards, these nonporous surfaces will not harbor bacteria and can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher.

THIN & LIGHTWEIGHT
All Epicurean® Camp Series are light and slim enough to handle comfortably, clean, and store efficiently.

HEAT RESISTANT
Epicurean® cutting surfaces are heat resistant up to 350˚F/176˚C. You can use them as a trivet and not leave a blemish.

RECYCLED CARDBOARD
Epicurean® cutting surfaces are made using recycled cardboard fiber.

MADE IN USA
Epicurean® cutting surfaces are exclusively designed and manufactured in the United States of America.

DISHWASHER SAFE
Unlike wood and bamboo cutting boards, Epicurean® food preparation surfaces are dishwasher safe.

* Published by JPFreek Jeep Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

Food is an essential part of any climbing, hiking, or mountaineering trip. Food is so important, that it can make or break a trip. So deciding how much, how often, and what kind of food, is an equally important part of any expedition. Read the rest of this entry »

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