A Better Boat Toaster

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2013 • all rights reserved

GSIOne of the first posts I wrote was about “toast without a toaster” — one of those questions that hits most Americans when they start sleeping on their boat and realize that a conventional toaster takes up a lot of space, does just one thing, and requires a bunch of power.  But most of us like toast for breakfast and wonder how we can have it without a conventional toaster.

One of the ways that I described was using a camping toaster that goes over a burner on your stove.  The bread sort of “stands up” at an angle over the burner.  While these work, they require constant attention so that the bottom of the slice doesn’t burn when the top isn’t toasted at all.

Last spring, aboard our friends’ boat in the Sea of Cortez, Robin had a much better toaster that she had bought just in the grocery store in La Paz.  To top it off, she said that it had been fairly inexpensive — she couldn’t remember exactly, but definitely under $10.  Here’s a picture of Robin’s aboard The Cat’s Meow — if you are in Mexico you can look for one of these.


 So when we returned to the US, I looked to see if I could find a similar one.  Well, I couldn’t.  But I saw a similar one made by GSI (Glacier Stainless) at the Annapolis Boat Show, and then a couple of readers wrote to me about it, too.  They raved at several things:

  • what a good job it did — yes, you still have to pay attention and can’t go off and leave it as you can a “house” toaster — but toast is evenly done and doesn’t tend to burn easily
  • non-rusting 18/8 stainless (this isn’t the top of the line stainless, but is fairly rust resistant — read about stainless grades)
  • easy to clean
  • folds flat for storage (it does have a storage pouch, too, but I find I never use such things)
  • costs about $10

Long-time reader Leslie LaBute, aboard Afeica, wrote  to me saying, “It works much better that a camp stove 4 slice toaster and cuts down on propane consumption.”  About the only disadvantage to this style of toaster is that it makes one slice at a time.

As can be seen in the photo below, it has a screen on the bottom which lets heat through.  You simply put it on the burner over medium-high heat and put the toast on the grate, and flip when the first side is done.


The GSI Camping Toaster is now my recommended toaster for making toast on the stove top.

You can buy one from numerous online merchants — in larger cities, it may also be available from large camping/outdoors retailers, but I have not seen it:

Primus makes a fairly similar toaster, but it costs more (see on Amazon).  There are similar ones available in other countries under other names, too.  The Argau — sold in Australia — looks quite similar to the one that Robin bought in Mexico.

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  1. Stephanie Kershaw-Marsh says:

    You can also make toast using a frying pan (skillet). Heat the pan, no oil or butter needed, lay the bread on the surface of the pan over a low heat, turn when browned. Toasted sandwiches can be made the same way.

  2. Stephanie Kershaw-Marsh says:

    Sorry, I missed the first article! I haven’t had the blackened pan effect, lots of variables that could cause that!

  3. I love my cast iron skillet for toasting! It does 2-4 slices, depending on bread size and you do have to rotate, but the cast iron does not mind the heat like some other skillets might. AND of course it is a great multitasker!

  4. Is cast iron rust free?

    • thats where the can of wd40 comes in .. 🙂

    • Grace, no cast iron isn’t rust free. Using a tiny bit of cooking oil on a paper towel or rag before putting it away helps a lot, as does frequent use!

      • How does cast iron fare on a boat? We use it all the time on land without issue with as you said a bit of oil when storing, was wondering if on the boat it presented more of a challenge. Any thoughts?

        • If you live aboard and use it all the time, it does pretty well according to friends who have cast iron pans. But if you use it less frequently — particularly around salt water and hence more salt in the air — you can have problems with rust. If you get some rust, scrub it out (wet sandpaper or a stainless scrubby work well) and then re-season it.

  5. I use the pot holders to hold up the bread over the burner..it toasts it lovely

  6. Beats the old Benz-o-Matic Torch I guess….

  7. Save your money… Everyone has a frying pan, just lay the toast in dry and cook on a low heat to liking (turning once to do both sides). Just make sure you empty the crumbs between batches or they’ll burn. Easy done 😉

  8. It’s $30 on the Amazon Canada store…

    • Unfortunately, sometimes the Amazon Canada prices are just way out of line. You may be able to find something similar at another store. If you do, I’d love to know where and the price 🙂

  9. We have used the GSI toaster for 2 years and think it works great. I believe it is the most fuel efficient way to toast bread on a boat stovetop. Highly recommended !

  10. I just use a flat fork. Stick it into the bread from the bottom edge and put it over the fire. Flip it over and do the other side. Faster than a regular toaster (about 10 – 15 seconds a side) and no buying anything.

  11. Rita Atkinson says:

    Just bought one on amazon uk for £13.95, thank you for the tip

  12. Mountain Equipment Coop has them listed for $9 and, I believe, ships to both the USA and Canada

  13. Joseph Langham says:

    I like to heat a little butter in a SS frying pan, plop my bread in there to get brown with the butter, slide it out then cook my eggs in the same butter. No need to butter the bread and the eggs are deeeelicious.

  14. MEC Canada has the toasters on for $10.50.

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