Smartspace Cookware Bundle Review after 3 years of camping

When we started camping, we used old pots and pans that we had from home. After melting a part of our old camper trailer stove, though, I did some research and found that the frying pan we had been using was actually larger than their recommendations, so we went back to the drawing board, and ended up with a Space Saver Pot and Pan set.

We’ve been using this for about 3 years now, and literally living from them full time for 14 months on our Big Lap of Australia.

The pans and pots are square or rectangle, and fit onto the gas stoves much better, with enough room to cook what you want without exceeding the dimensions.

This product is made by Smart space, and they sell the pot and pan sets to campers, caravan owners, yacht owners and so on.

Looking online, you’ll find its quite hard to find square pots, or rectangular frying pans. You might find the odd unit, but a set is rare, and you really need a set for full time travel.

Smartspace pots
Our Smartspace set

Want to know our thoughts on other camp cooking gear? We’ve got a heap of other posts for you.

What does the set come with?

The set that we purchased comes with 3 pots, and a rectangular pan. Each pot has its own lid, with the frying pan not having one. It also comes with silicon mats that sit inside the pots and frying pan to stack them without scratching.

How much is the space saver pot and pan set?

This set retails for $330. 

Is it induction cooker friendly?

Yes, these are suitable for induction cook tops, which is fantastic as we’ll be getting one soon and it means we won’t have to upgrade anything.

I’d say that they are not suitable for use on a fire, or you’d probably wreck them quickly. We do occasionally use the frying pan in the weber too, which works well (just remove the handle!).

Camping induction Cooktop
They work perfectly on induction cooktops

Where can you get them from?

Funny enough, we got ours from Supercheap Auto. Not exactly a cooking shop, but you can get them from a number of different retail locations. You can get them from Outback Equipment, Camec distributors and believe it or not, Supercheap Auto.

What’s good about them?

They stack together

The best thing about this set is that you can stack everything together, with the lids on and it takes up very little room. The silicon mats do a good job of stopping damage on the bottom of each pan and pot, and they really are easy to grab out and use.

Smartspace pots
They stack together very well

They are easy to use and clean

These hold a surprising amount of volume, and are very easy to use and even easier to clean. The non stick surface makes it a breeze, and knowing that even after your cooking skills have burnt food to the pan again it will just wipe off is a good feeling.

You could literally grab a paper towel under most instances and wipe them out, and they’d come up spotless. Good luck doing that to a normal stainless pot!

The volumes are great

I remember looking at the pots when they first arrived, and wondering whether they would actually do the trick. The size is deceptive, and you can fit a huge amount of food into the biggest one. For our family of 4, we often use all 3 sizes, and the frying pan gets a lot of use.

Even the frying pan seems to hold a lot of food, and we’ve never really wished it was larger.

EDIT – with a 5 and 7 year old boy, there are now times where we’d like the frying pan to be a bit larger, but if we need anything bigger we just use one of the pots.

Smartspace square pots
These are unique, and actually work pretty well

The handles are interchangeable

Each set comes with a couple of handles, which are interchangeable between each pot and pan. They are pretty easy to put on and off once you get used to it, and provide a solid way of moving your pots around without getting burnt.

What’s not good about the space saver pot and pan set?

They can scratch easily

The ongoing battle with non stick cookware is that you have to be seriously careful with the surface. Our first frying pan came with a little defect and we had it swapped out, and we have a couple of little marks on our frying pan too. I suspect that over the years the coating will start to peel, and will need to be replaced.

In some ways I’d love an old pot that you don’t really care about, but that is annoyingly hard to clean and really isn’t much better. We went out and bought silicon spoons, spatchulas and even a silicon potato masher so we’d be sure that it would stay scratch free.

EDIT – we’ve had no peeling or scratching issues, despite 14 months of full time travel on all sorts of roads around Australia. We do use a baby wrap to keep them all snug, and to stop any parts rubbing together, but they’ve proven to be very durable.

On our frying pan though, the food does stick a lot easier in the middle, and they’re starting to loose their ‘non stick’ ability, which is annoying.

Smartspace frying pan
We only use silicon utensils

The handles are heavy and you can pinch yourself

The handles are surprisingly heavy, and this actually makes the smaller pots fall over if you have nothing in them. On top of the weight (which is in general a bad thing) if you aren’t careful you can pinch your skin when you close the handles.

It’s happened a couple of times to Sarah and I, and its something you learn to be cautious of, but it does happen.

There’s no side protection

The first thing I complained about when these arrived was that when you are on a corrugated road, there’s nothing stopping each pot wearing into the one underneath it on the inside, sides.

The silicon mat is great for the bottom, but when your vehicle and trailer is bouncing around thousands of times an hour these are going to chafe each other to no end. 

Our solution is pretty simple; we just use a baby swaddling cloth that we put into the biggest pot, and then drop the next one in, and do the same for the next. You end up with a soft material preventing each pot from rattling as you drive along, and so far we’ve had no issues with side damage.

The handles can slip off

After several years of extensive use, we’ve had a couple of nasty run ins with the handles on these pots, where when you use them to pick up the biggest pot with a good amount of weight in it, and the handle pops off.

The rubber slides off, and as a result the handle comes off, and whatever you’re holding in the pot drops to the ground. Obviously this is a pretty major concern, especially if you’re carrying boiling water or soup (like we have), and so now we’re super careful not picking up too much weight.

I suspect this is a part wear and tear issue, but its made worse if you let the handles get hot, as the rubber wants to slide off easier.

SmartSpace Space Saver Pot and Pan Review

These are great bits of kit. We’ve given ours a seriously solid work out over the last few years, and would highly recommend them. They fit well on the stove (even together), are easy to use and wash, and pack up nice and compact. 

On our lap of Australia, we use the smallest pot as our kettle, and have used these extensively, in every way possible.

I’m not sure how they compare to other options out there, but we found it quite hard to find square pots and pans to begin with. I’d get them again, and I’m sure Sarah would agree.

I am very cautious of the handles after they came off a few times, but other than this, they’ve been absolutely fantastic.

Boiling water on our induction cooktop
We’ve been giving our smart space pots a flogging on the road full time

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  1. Hey Nicki,

    Unreal! I didn’t realise they’d been around for that long, and awesome to hear yours have taken a beating and are still good.

    Interesting thoughts about swapping; our burner limits the size of the pan that you can use and square pans just seem to work much better, but I know what you mean about the corners!

    Take it easy!

  2. Hey Simon,

    I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the new set. I’ve seen Cam using his in the Ziggy; worked well!

    Take care

  3. We’ve had the same SmartSpace set for over 10 years now. They started off in our camper trailer and have now transitioned to our poptop caravan.

    Ours have been on some rough roads with just the silicon base protectors inside (no baby swaddling cloths) and they have held up exceptionally well – and these pans have jumped along the Gibb River Road, been up to Steep Point, Ningaloo Station and they still look pretty much as good as the day I unboxed them.

    I can’t really fault them at all, yet have been considering swapping ours out to the Tefal InGenio Range. The Tefal pans are round, though, but also much lighter in weight. On the downside, the lids are glass with a silicone seal, they also come with an extra set of lids for storage in the fridge.

    Why am I considering getting rid of my SmartSpace pan set? It’s a personal thing – after close to 12 years, my head still struggles with cooking in a square pan, and I find that things can sometimes get stuck in the corners when stirring sauces, etc.

    Will I actually change my pans? I don’t know – the Tefal Ingenios are similar in price (if not more expensive) to the SmartSpace (Ingenio offer non-stick or stainless pans, although the frypans are non-stick only), and I’m not sure I can justify swapping them out when they weren’t cheap in the first place. Being round, the Tefal pans would be harder to pack, but have removable handles like the SmartSpace set. (The smaller Tefal pans may also tip over when empty and the handle is attached). I think I’ll sit on the fence a little longer on this one.

  4. Yep, got a set and they are great, hoping to get a lot more use out of them real soon. Good tip about the cloth inside to stop wear on the sides, I was worried about that. If you haven’t already seen it, check out this YT from Wild Touring about using the Space Saver frypan in the Ziggy.