Back-packable organizer stores cooking gear and protects the flame
Back in 2013, we looked at Utah startup Grub Hub and its idea for hauling cooking gear to camp. Its wheeled kitchen-in-a-box rides to camp like a roller suitcase and sets up to give you an organized place to prep and cook. While it's a convenient way to get your kitchen from car to campsite, no one's taking such a large unit backpacking, canoeing or bikepacking, and it might even prove too much for car campsites that entail any kind of real hike-ins. For those kinds of activities, Grub Hub presents the all-new Cirque, a backpack-friendly kitchen organizer that doubles as a windscreen.
There's nothing revolutionary about a backpack kitchen organizer – there are plenty on the market, including complete sets, from outdoor brands like MSR and GSI. What makes the Cirque interesting is that it's more than just a basic organizer; it's also designed to set up as a windscreen at camp, protecting the stove's flame from the wind to increase output and decrease fuel consumption. It sets up like a mini tent, relying on shock-corded carbon poles to give the fire-resistant fabric structure and surround the stove from three sides. The three bottom corners include stake loops to secure the Cirque to the ground via included stakes (or rocks on hard or soft ground unfriendly to stakes).
In addition to protecting the stove from wind and clumsy humans, the Cirque offers advantages similar to Grub Hub's car camping unit, albeit on a much smaller scale. The included organizer hangs things like utensils and condiments right over your stove to keep them handy. The organizer is removable, something that Grub Hub explains is handy when you need to quickly stash it in a bear canister when in bear country.
Another aspect of the Cirque that sets it apart from other backpacking kitchen organizers we've seen is that it's designed to hold a typical backpacking stove, pot and fuel when packed up, not just utensils and other accessories, helping keep all your cooking gear organized in one place in your pack. It folds and zips into a handy rectangular storage bag complete with handle.
The Cirque weighs just 7 oz (198 g) and measures 12 x 3 x 2 in (30.5 x 7.6 x 5 cm) when packed, deploying to 12 x 18 x 18 in (30.5 x 45.7 x 45.7 cm) at camp.
Grub Hub says that it's tested the Cirque during backpacking trips through Utah and the Sierras, and motorcycling through Utah canyon country. Beyond backpacking, Grub Hub imagines it finding use for activities like kayaking, motorcycling and bicycle touring.
Grub Hub is raising Kickstarter funding to help "turbocharge" production. The US$19 early bird pledge level has sold out, but the Cirque unit is still available at the $24 level, which Grub Hub estimates as $15 off MSRP. The unit is sold as the organizer/windscreen with carbon poles and aluminum stakes and does not include the stove, utensils or other items, which are pictured for demonstration purposes only. The campaign has been moving along steadily but is only about a third of the way to the $10,000 goal. Should the campaign succeed, Grub Hub hopes to get stoves into backers' hands starting in July. Shipping is limited to the US.