A Camp Caddy being assembled.

Camp Caddy: A camp kitchen in a box

A Lacombe couple think they’ve invented an easy way to transport cooking equipment from home to campsite, and they’re counting on crowdfunding to turn their idea into an international product.

A Lacombe couple think they’ve invented an easy way to transport cooking equipment from home to campsite, and they’re counting on crowdfunding to turn their idea into an international product.

Greg and Melissa Petersen have developed a cooler-sized box that converts into a camp kitchen. With legs that fold down, a heat-resistant aluminum top that folds up, and easily accessible storage cupboards in between, the Camp Caddy simplifies the process of outdoor cooking.

The idea came to the Petersens several years ago while they were camping with their young children. When an infant needed a bottle, Greg found himself fumbling through their supplies.

“It was a complete disaster trying to get everything out,” he remembered.

After searching in vain for equipment that would make camp cooking easier, Greg remembered the “chuck boxes” that scouts used to store equipment when he was younger. He set to work developing a wooden box that could carry his families cooking supplies, and was rewarded with a functional product that the Petersens began using on their camping trips.

“One day, we were sitting around the campfire and we said, ‘Everyone needs this; we should plasticize it.’”

After a few plywood prototypes, Greg had an early version of the Camp Caddy. It had wings that folded up to create the surface, and retractable legs.

“It’s a true grab-and-go-type system,” he said of the creation.

A plastic and aluminum version of the Camp Caddy was built in Toronto, and now the Petersens are poised to engage the services of a plastics manufacturer. First, however, they need to raise the money to build the moulds.

That’s where Kickstarter comes in. The crowdfunding platform allows people to pledge financial support to creative projects.

In the case of Camp Caddy, a $200,000 goal has been set. If that much money is raised, the Petersens will go into production and provide a Camp Caddy unit to everyone who provided $200 or more. Those who pledged less will receive products like T-shirts, hand-made bottle openers, and an essential camping supply list.

Camp Caddy’s Kickstarter campaign was launched on Friday. By mid-afternoon on Tuesday it had attracted 33 pledges for a total of more than $6,000.

“We’re just starting to build momentum here,” said Greg, who’s been promoting the product on social media.

“The feedback is starting to come back on that. Already we have 288 Shares on Facebook.”

The patent-pending invention has applications that extend beyond camping, said Greg.

“Anytime you need portable storage that’s also a table, this product is for you,” he said, listing trade show and farmers market displays as possibilities.

Greg, who works as a grain marketer, and Melissa, who is a stay-at-home mom, have lived in Lacombe for seven years. Both have business-related educations, and Greg is a self-described tinkerer.

“International is our goal,” he said of their plans for Camp Caddy. “The shipping company we’ve lined up, it has warehouses throughout the world.”

Additional information about the Camp Caddy and a link to Kickstarter can be found online at www.campcaddy.com.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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