Petromax Fire Anchor Review
I’m going to get the cons out of the way early so that I don’t get carried away with my love of this cooking system and forget to point them out. The weight. It is heavy. It’s all cast iron so it does have some heft and that means I wont be taking it out every time but, as long as your not planning any long hikes, the Petromax Fire Anchor has no real rival. The size is little bulky and the grill obviously has a large footprint so, again, not going on every trip.
The last issue with this, although it is more down to the user than the product, is you need to get it set up as strait as possible. We set it up pretty well the first time and had no real issues but after that first cook we knew exactly how to do it in the future. We now no longer set it up next to the fire, instead, we set the fire up next to it. This means we can find the best bit of firm ground and get it straight before we get a fire going and notice it’s not sitting properly. So do yourselves a favour and find the good ground first. You have the benefit of being able to take the main pole out of the spike and capping the spike while you do all of the rest of your fire building.
The design is great. Everything sits well and has a specific purpose, while being able to adapt to different styles of cooking. Its going to last decades or even generations if you clean and maintain it correctly. The spike being able to be left in the ground so you can store the rest when not in use is genius. The fully adjustable height for the arms is almost perfect. In terms of design there isn’t much, if any, room for improvement. Maybe some type of carbon fibre main spike (or something weird like that) could be an option for it being lighter and possible then also being able to screw it together to reduce packed length. I don’t know, I’m not an engineer (well not that type of engineer) and I don’t have the money to find out but, short of some fancy materials its pretty much the best it can be.
The way the arms sit on the main spike is remarkably effective. I thought there may be some issue with them slipping but that does not happen even when turning them (update after a few trips, turns out they do slip under certain conditions although I have yet to figure out what those conditions are but, with the weight of a pot on there, slipping stopped immediately). That brings me to the second part. You can turn them. I had to remind Gav of this while he was melting his flesh over the camp fire (I could have told him sooner but I wanted him to suffer). This means you can stir/add or remove your ingredients wile avoiding loosing your eyebrows. Gav assured me it was a much nicer way of cooking. I haven’t really used the grill part yet as we have been enjoying dutch oven recipes now we have one but, I have placed a heavy pan and a kettle on it and found it to hold them quite well with good stability.
This is with out contest my favourite piece of cooking equipment. Its simple to use and very effective for a range of cooking styles and equipment. Want to grill some steak? You can. Want a place to cook up a full English? This will do it. Want to hang your dutch oven and slow cook some leg of lamb while making a brew? Petromax got you covered. I will admit it has its issues. The weight and length.
Overall the Petromax Fire Anchor is a brilliant piece of equipment that has been on my list for such a long time and has lived up to my expectations and then some. It was one of those items where I thought I could never justify the cost but, after using it, I cant see how it’s not worth every penny. It’s a bargain. The quality is amazing and I know I am never going to need to replace it. It is more than capable of handling multiple heavy items at the same time. Only downsize is weight of the system. I took the spike and a dutch oven on a camping trip a couple of weeks ago and the combined weight was more than the rest of my gear together. So it’s not a backpacking item. I certainly suffered on the return journey to the car but, for taking to campsites or for pulling up at a spot in a car (maybe the beach) perfect.