Reviewed by Andrew Kennedy
Every now and again, a simple but truly innovative product falls through the letterbox for me to review. The concept is such a perfect solution to a recurring problem that it begs the question "Why didn't I think of that?"! One such product is the SteadyRig, from Essex-based company, Rig Innovations. So what is the SteadyRig? Believe it or not, it's a product designed for safe and easy positioning of a camp stove or lantern!
How I wish this product had been around a few years ago, when I was spending regular night sessions on the drains fishing for zander. So many times I set up my Coleman stove on a frozen, lumpy bankside and managed to partially boil a kettle, only for it to topple and spill my much-needed hot water!
The SteadyRig has been designed to fit all popular brands of portable stove. There are ridges machined into the base plate, into which the lip on the base of a stove will locate to prevent it from slipping. Attached to the lightweight base are three adjustable legs, with removable mud feet for use on soft ground. The locking screws the leg adjustment have large-diameter knurled heads, making adjustment easy even with cold fingers. At the centre of the SteadyRig base is a circular spirit level, which allows accurate 360 degree levelling. It's a clever little feature which really finishes the SteadyRig off.
The model I have is actually a prototype, built to a very similar specification as the soon to be available retail version, which should be available from May 2006. The main difference between the two models is that whilst the prototype base is made from machined aluminium, the released version will instead be made of durable polypropylene, which will make the unit even lighter. The other hardware, namely the legs and screws, are made of high quality stainless steel for trouble-free long life.
I tried out this product with my Coleman picnic stove with an extra-large gas canister attached. After some quick adjustment aided by the spirit level, I was surprised at exactly how stable the SteadyRig is. The bottom of the gas canister snugly fit into the groove on the base plate and I would be very confident using this product when cooking a fry-up or boiling a kettle on the bank.
The potential market for the SteadyRig, I feel, extends beyond anglers, to include hikers, backpackers, campers and festival-goers. All of these people use the same brands of stove that anglers use and I'm sure they face the same problems finding some level ground to place their stove upon. With the SteadyRig being as lightweight and compact as it is, I'm sure it will make it's way into many a hikers rucksack.
One small criticism I would make with the SteadyRig is that the legs and mud feet are all separate parts, which causes a problem when in transit. A simple case or cloth bag to store all these parts, or the entire kit, would help prevent frustration when you reach the bank and can only find two legs! On future models it would be nice to maybe see a set of grooves cast into the underside of the base, allowing the legs to simply clip in for storage and transport.
Overall, this is a well thought-out design, which was obviously spawned through real anglers' frustration at keeping their stoves upright. If you own one of the upright style camping stoves, for angling or any other outdoor pursuit, then I would recommend you take a look at this product.
For further information from Rig Innovations, please either visit their website at www.churchgatelakes.co.uk or call Tony Runnalls direct on 07798 902315.
Reviewed by Andrew Kennedy.