Essential Cooking Gear for the Great Outdoors: Behind the Design of OXO Outdoor
OXO Outdoor is a new line of essential gear for the outdoors and camping – kitchen not required.
At OXO, we’re all about making every day better, anywhere. With more people camping (and cooking) outdoors than ever before we designed tools that can help every step of the way.
We partnered with the outdoor everything experts at REI to curate a collection of must-have cooking and cleaning tools that deserve a spot in every camp kit. These rugged and reliable tools will elevate your camping kitchen and help you create better meals in the outdoors.
OXO Outdoor includes 12 tools to help get the job done, including two tools for cleaning up your camping kitchen. We’re taking you behind the scenes with the OXO product and design team to see how each tool was developed and engineered for wherever adventure takes you:
Our Approach to OXO Outdoor
A group of OXO industrial designers, engineers and product managers helped bring OXO Outdoor to life. Through consumer research, observation trips and user testing, the team discovered a kitchen hierarchy when it comes to packing and setting up a camp kitchen. Everything counts when camping, but the packability and size of items trumps other features. While this is a different approach to other OXO products, the team was excited to iterate on our current products and dive into this new category. Bonus that this brought the team outside, testing products in parks, campsites and local picnic spots.
Food Prep in the Camp Kitchen
Just because you’re camp-side, doesn’t mean you have to keep it to hotdogs and s’mores, though we’re here for that too (hello hot dog toppings and skillet s’mores!). The OXO design team developed a Santoku Knife with Protective Sheath and Steady Surface Cutting Board so you can actually dice, slice and cook with confidence in the outdoors. The design team noticed people often bring dull, rusty knives in macgyvered sheaths made from aluminum foil or carboard when they’re headed for camp. The OXO knife is designed with the outdoors in mind. It’s an in-between size, doing the job of a paring knife and a traditional chef’s knife so you only need one. The sheath has a small locking tab that locks onto the blade, preventing it from coming out. You can toss the knife in a camping bin or backpack with no worries. Plus, we know that packing up camp can sometimes be a rush – maybe there isn’t time to wipe everything down—so we polished the knife to make it more corrosion resistant.
To go along with the shiny knife is a dependable Cutting Board. The double-sided cutting board will give you a stable service at any camp kitchen set up.
One of the biggest observations we noticed when watching campers set up outdoor camp kitchens was the struggle to pack olive oil. Many delicious, open-fire meals start with olive oil, which just so happens to be the most infuriating ingredient if it leaks. We wanted to develop a solution for carrying oil and other condiments and designed the Condiment Bottles, which are completely leakproof. Our engineers designed a lid that screws on and has a silicone seal, across either tip size (thinner for oils, thicker for condiments). Plus the cap is attached to the bottle, so it’s one less thing you don’t have to worry about losing.
The last prep item is a trusty can opener. One of our favorite camp meals is enchiladas so the can opener, which doubles as a bottle opener, comes in handy.
Camp Stove Utensils
Once the food is prepped, it’s time to start cooking in the outdoor camp kitchen. Just because you’re outside doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice functionality. We want our campers equipped to properly flip, sauté and stir those delicious camp meals. Our Camp Stove Griddle Turner, Camp Stove Silicone Turner, Camp Stove Silicone Spoon and Camp Stove Tongs are designed similarly to our kitchen utensils, but with the camp kitchen hierarchy in mind. The tools are slightly smaller than kitchen utensils and nest together more compactly. Some of the tool heads are steel and some are silicone, which both can withstand high heat.
Clean surfaces are hard to come by when camping so we decided to pack one for you. The Camp Stove Tool Rest wraps around all the utensils and keeps them neatly together for transport. Then when you’re ready to cook, unwrap and you’ve got a clean surface to lay tools on when cooking in the camp kitchen.
Clean Up Helpers for the Camp Kitchen
Cleaning can be a real pain point when camping. With limited water at campsites, no sinks or even time to air dry, we wanted to design cleaning products to make the process better. After cheesy enchiladas or sticky egg scrambles, reach for the 3-in-1 Squeegee and Scraper. Taking cues from our Dish Squeegee, we upped the design to include a stainless steel scraper with a notch that helps remove burnt-on bits from grill grates and pans.
We also observed that some people bring disposable sponges to their camp kitchens. These can get pretty icky and wasteful. Our solution? The Heavy Duty Brush with Cover. The cover can be used to ladle hot water into pans to help clean them, but it also protects the brush bristles in your camp bin during transport.
The team is excited for these tools to travel with you—whether it’s to picnics in the park or car camping in the mountains, OXO Outdoor is making adventures better – kitchen not required.