Pedal Commander Overview

We ended up with a 2016 SR5 4Runner to replace our Chevy Suburban this past September. Not only as my daily driver but also as our primary adventure rig. One thing I read about and was noticeable right away was the delay in the pedal. It wasn’t terrible, but there was some room for improvement. This was the reason for purchasing a Pedal Commander.

The whole Pedal Commander unit and harness.

My usage of the Pedal Commander was done with the vehicle being driven entirely on the pavement. I have not had a chance to see how the Pedal Commander is going to change off-road driving. I do a lot of city driving and use the cruise control every chance I get to try and save fuel.  It’s not a huge delay, but it is noticeable. Is it a deal-breaker on driving a 4Runner? No. Will it cause some problems when you start adding heavy stuff? Probably.

If you don’t know what Pedal Commander is, it’s a small controller box that plugs into the pedal and the pedal wiring harness. Once plugged in, you can adjust the response on the pedal by selecting four different options; Eco, City, Sport, and Sport+. You can also change the sensitivity up or down for each selection as well.

Pedal Commander plugs into the pedal, and the pedal harness plugs into the Pedal Commander.

Each mode makes the throttle response markedly different. I was pleasantly surprised using the city mode to find how much it changed the response on the vehicle. On average, it didn’t change my MPG much from the stock pedal. I was still getting 16-17 MPG in and around the city.

The control box makes switching between settings easy.

I tried the Eco mode for about a week. Pedal Commander claims that it can help save you fuel; however, I would disagree with that. Driving in this mode cuts the response by 50%, which is a noticeable change in the pedal response. I found myself pushing the pedal down more in response to the vehicle not moving as quickly as it would in stock or city mode.

You have to be generous with not having a heavy foot to see any savings. My mileage was almost worse because of this. Honestly, I found that driving in the city with this setting was a terrible idea. If you live in a smaller town or city, then this might work for you. In major metropolitan areas, where people are always in a hurry, this setting is not a good idea.

I briefly tried sport mode for a couple of days. It was considerably different than city mode and is not something I would continue to use. And as far as sport plus, haven’t even given it a thought. Pedal Commander’s instructions on that one state that it should be used at the track. I’m not planning on taking my 4Runner to M1 Concourse anytime soon.

The controller I bought can also be app-controlled from my phone or tablet. The box itself is super easy to use, but the app makes it even easier. Especially if you mount the Pedal Commander somewhere, it becomes non-accessible. I installed the control box where I could get at, but found I was using the app just as much.

If you find your Toyota, or whatever vehicle you drive, has poor pedal control, then the Pedal Commander might be right for you. It’s not a cheap option at roughly $300, but it makes a difference in response time.

GSI Outdoors Destination Kitchen Set Review

destination kitchen packed up

GSI is known for making outdoors cooking and mess gear. They make everything from beverage holders to cooking kits in various forms. From backpacking specific to car camping gear, they’ve probably got you covered. And at a reasonable price also. I’ve got two cook sets from them, the Haululite Dualist and the Haululite Ketalist. I’ve wanted to add a utensil set for a while now, and I finally got the chance when Field & Stream was running a sale on the 24 piece Outdoor Destination Kitchen Set.

The Case

The case itself zips up all the way around allowing for easy access of items, and everything is held in place by bungee straps. The left side of the case houses the cutting board in a larger pocket and the towel and scrubber in mesh pockets.

destination kitchen
Everything packs easily into the case and the middle is even removable.

The right side holds the cooking utensils again held in place by sewn-in elastic straps. Everything is held in place nicely but getting some of the pieces back into place can be a pain. This doesn’t deter from the overall functionality of the case. The middle divider only holds the knife on the back side facing the cooking utensils. The opposite side has mesh pockets that hold the condiment containers. The middle section is held in place by Velcro and can be removed.

What’s Inside

The Destination Kitchen set comes equipped a 12 piece cutlery set, cutting board, spice holder, whisk, spoon, a grater, spatula, knife, two condiment containers, a scrubber, and a nylon towel all packed into the nylon carrying case. For the price, if you can find it on sale, this is a good amount of items.

camp utensils
The full set in that comes in the carrying case.

The fork, spoon, and knife are made of hard plastic. I’ve purchased other brands utensils that are almost identical to the GSI ones, and they’ve held up for an extremely long time. Short of physically breaking them, they stand up to regular abuse.

eating utensils
The eating utensils are probably the sturdiest items in the bag, should stand up to regular use, and last a long time.

The knife isn’t huge by any means, but it will get the necessary cutting done on small to medium-sized vegetables. It can also double as a steak knife when the plastic butter knife doesn’t cut it (pun intended).

cooking utensils
The knife, folding utensils, grater, and spice container are nice to haves in the case.

Pivoting Cooking Utensils

The greatest asset in this kitchen set is the cooking utensils. Instead of having to lug around full-size cooking utensils, GSI makes theirs foldable, making keeping everything in the carrying case simple. The handles pivot out quickly enough, and I never felt like they were flimsy or where going to fold back on themselves.

The pivoting cooking utensils pack down nicely and are sturdy enough for camp cooking.

Everything Else

The other items in the kit are great but for me will probably not get used unless I plan to backpack and need to carry small quantities of seasoning or condiments. The seasoning containers are similar to GSI’ spice missile where each end unscrews from the overall piece allowing whatever spice you carry to come out. Whereas the spice missile is a four-part piece, the one included in this kit is only two so if you want more than salt and pepper you’re out of luck.

GSI included a wash cloth, drying rag, cutting board, and two containers for liquid as well.

What’s Missing

This kitchen set is pretty solid as far as things go but adding a set of tongs would go a long way. GSI does offer a foldable set that I will probably pick up at some point to add in. Trying to cook brats in an already small pan with the spatula can be tricky. The kit only needs two sets of utensils and tongs could replace one set of the utensils. A dish scrubber, which GSI sells, would be a welcome addition as well.

Final Thoughts

Overall I am pretty pleased with this kit. It has most of the utensils I had in my regular kitchen kit in a smaller more manageable setup. The one thing I did not have before was a cutting board, so the addition of this in my kitchen kit is a plus. The whole kit compliments my previous setup and reduces the footprint it had. Instead of a huge bin of items I’ve got everything I need in a small case. For the money at $50, it’s not a bad buy.