A few years ago, Maeve and Bradd at Cruising Solutions gave me a GSI Stainless Toaster to use and write a review. Disclosure: yes, I got it for free and yes, they do advertise on TBG. That said, I’m still giving my honest opinion: I love it and use it every day!
2016 update: I originally wrote this in 2014 and I’ve continued to use this toaster almost every day and continue to recommend it.
Okay, we’ll start with the obvious: it makes great toast very easily. Turn the burner up to high, place the toaster on the burner and put a piece of bread on it. Let it go 15 to 30 seconds, depending on the bread and how hot your burner is, flip and toast the other side. You do have to watch it; you can’t just start it and walk away as with a typical electric toaster. The only down side is that it makes only one piece of toast at a time, but it toasts relatively quickly so I didn’t find it a problem to make 4 slices of toast for the 2 of us.
You can use it with any type of burner except induction (I’ve read that it will work with an induction burner if you use an induction plate but I’m a bit skeptical that it will develop the radiant heat needed for good toast). I’ve tried it with a propane burner, a white gas burner and an electric burner and all give great results.
It’s small. It folds up quite ingeniously — but easily, no spending hours figuring it out — to 6-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ and just over 1/2″ thick. Here it is with The Boat Galley Cookbook for comparison (and everybody knows how big that is, right?):
It comes with a nice little travel bag, but I really can’t imagine putting it there after every use. It’s easy to clean — I just tap it a couple of times to get crumbs off. You can wash the screen if you really need to and you can remove it if necessary.
It’s well constructed, being made of 18/8 stainless (read more about stainless grades). I’m guessing that you may have to replace the stainless screen on the bottom after a few years. For other applications, I’ve been able to get stainless screen (absolutely don’t get plastic or fiberglass; plain steel will quickly rust) variously at hardware stores, home improvement stores, machine shops and places that make custom screens. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to who does or doesn’t have it on hand — but when we’ve found it, we’ve usually gotten a small piece very cheaply out of a scrap pile. If you Google “stainless screen mesh” you can also find lots available online, some fairly cheaply, some not.
Once you have the screen mesh, cut it to size, making it about 3/4″ to 1″ wider than the toaster. There are no clamps holding the screen on; it is simply wrapped around the bar and the metal screen bent so that it stays in place. Pliers can help to make it bend if your fingers aren’t strong enough. Note: I haven’t done the repair on this toaster, but I’ve worked with stainless screen in other applications. Getting it to start bending just where you want it can be tricky but once it’s started, the rest is easy.
The GSI Camping Toaster is sold by Cruising Solutions, a great company owned and operated by experienced cruisers and on Amazon:
- See and buy the toaster from Cruising Solutions.
- It’s also available from Amazon for slightly less (and free shipping with Prime).
A number of outdoor stores sell it both online and in their stores.