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Camp Me Happy by Michelle - 1w ago
Has the camping world gone inflatable mad?

Maybe.

In this post we are going to look at what inflatable camping gear and accessories are available on the market and whether we think they are worth the investment.

Like all camping gear it comes down to personal choice and as always, we recommend you do your own research before committing on larger purchases.  Hopefully, this post may provide some inspiration for some of your future purchases.

As campers, well at least the type of campers who like to take whatever they can to make camping comfortable and as luxurious as possible on their trips seem to be investing more and more into inflatable camping gear.

Even hikers and wild campers have been switching to lighter weight inflatable camping gear over the years.

The fact is inflatable gear is more compact when packed for transportation thus allowing us to take more home comforts or items for adventure with us on our holidays and travels.

We will look at everything from beds to lights and kayaks to games.

Some items can be quite weighty so try to take this into consideration if you go on your own or are the only adult in the group, especially when it comes to inflatable tents, which are not discussed in this post.

  Beds and Mattresses

These were one of the first inflatable items that people started taking camping and they have come a long way since then, especially the SIMs and inflatable sleeping mats.

For me and many others if you get a good nights sleep it makes your camping trip so much better.  I would always recommend that you invest well in this area.  It is worth spending a little extra to get the best nights sleep possible. For me, I often get a better nights sleep when camping this is because I have managed to just about perfect my sleeping set up and being out in the fresh air longer during the day and having fresher air to breathe during the night.

Even if you use framed camping beds like posadas an inflatable mat on top can often be better than a SIM.

Mattresses

We have used these in the past and they are great. They provide height for anyone who struggles to get up and down from a low bed. They are comfortable to sleep on and when fully inflated and firm it feels like sleeping on your own bed.

We like the following ones from Intex and most Intex ones come with their own carry bag to keep it safe while in storage.

The Double

Ideal for two adults or even if your kids don’t mind sharing. These are also available in single sizes. These come with built-in pumps for easy inflation and topping up should you need to. The pump also allows all the air to be pumped out effortlessly when it comes to packing away again. You can buy them here.

 

The Cot

If you have toddlers that like to move about a lot during the night these inflatable cot beds are ideal.  With raised sides, they will keep your child where they need to be while sleeping and saves them rolling off onto the cold floor of the tent.  This comes with a separate pump (so little hands can’t deflate it) and the inner mattress also comes out for ease of cleaning. You can buy cot beds from here.

 

 

Car Bed

What about camping in your car with this great inflatable car bed. If you like to get away for a night on your own these inflatable mattresses fit over you back seats with inflated bolsters that fit into the back footwell of your car to extend the sleeping area.

These aren’t for use in small cars or sports cars but if you have a family car, SUV, Truck or MPV there are mattresses like these to fit your car.

Most come with pillows for added comfort so if you are just looking to grab some kit and go on a Friday after work these can be great. Click here to see the full range for all vehicle types.

 

Lightweight Sleeping Mats

If you are more of a wild camper or like to go more lightweight with your camping gear these small lightweight camping mats are ideal. They give good comfort while being really compact and lightweight. Ideal if camping while backpacking.

We like these paired with an insulated mat while wild camping and on top of our framed beds as a mattress when away with a larger setup.  There are many varieties of lightweight mats and depending on how you camp, seasons, temperatures and carry weight these are worth researching before purchase and here have a great range to choose from. 

 

What about Inflatable Pillows?

There are loads of inflatable pillows on the market now from cheap pound ones to ones a little more luxurious.

We love the Quechua Pillow, read our review here.


 

Another good pillow is the Treckology pillow that is great on its own or team it up with the lightweight sleeping mat above. These come in a range of colours so you can match with sleeping bags and decore colour if you wish. See the colour range here.

 

Sofas and Seating

Becoming increasingly popular with those who like a home from home feel inflatable sofas are really trending on the campsites and there are now some great ranges to choose from. How about some of the following.

Intex Inflatable Corner Sofa

A touch of home comfort and some space saving living with this corner sofa from Intex. This will comfortably fit a family in the evening while relaxing this stylish sofa looks great in the living area. The flocked material gives this sofa a soft warm feel and a bit of added comfort.

 

 

Campeze Inflatable Sofa, Chairs and Footstool

If the corner sofa is too large you could always buy either single chairs or 2 seater sofas instead. We love this set from Campeze and all items can be purchased separately to suit your needs. They are stylish and strong with a fabric cover to give that touch of home.  If you would like to explore this inflatable set further you can visit this page.

 

 

Maybe you just want something compact but comfortable for relaxing on at the end of a day and for couples who may only take a smaller tent we find these ones are great. Enough space for two to cosy up and have a cuppa or just relax and talk about the day’s adventures.

These 2 seaters from Vango are just the job, comfortable and compact.

 For us, this sofa is ideal as it is small and compact. We only have a small 5 person tent as it is often only the two of us and this fits just nicely in our living area. Read more here about the Vango Sofa.

 

Inflatable Camping Accessories

 

What about transporting all those great inflatable camping essentials? For some these inflatable roof racks are an ideal way to allow us to transport that little bit more without the expense of having static roof bars installed on our cars.

HandiRack Roof Bars

These ones from HandiRack fit most cars and can be used when transporting some of your lighter gear back and forth to the campsites. You can see a full range of inflatable roof racks here.

There are some pretty cool inflatable camping accessories on the market now, have you seen some of these? We think you’ll love some of these and hope they give some inspiration to pimping up your tent.

Inflatable Solar Lights

These ones by Luci are fab. You can purchase them in white or colour lights and the inflatable shade throws more light. The fact they are solar rechargeable is also an advantage for those who don’t go with electrics and no need to worry about forgetting batteries.

 Chair Wedge Relaxers

These inflatable chair wedges are great whether chilling out about the campsite, down the beach,  in the forest or even in your own backyard. These come in a variety of colours and can be purchased here.

 

Simply inflate the wedge for somewhere comfortable to sit and relax, your weight on the attached mat keeps the wedge in place and your clothes clean and dirt free.

The Inflatable Projector Screen 

And although this can be a contentious and touchy subject amongst campers, I thought I would include it anyway. Even if you don’t use it for camping but a big family get together, I think they are great.

Sorry but if you are away together as a big family and are not going to disturb anyone else, maybe if wild camping or somewhere remote I think this would be a night for the kids to remember. They come bigger than this too! Check out all the available sizes here.

Inflatable Fun and Adventure

Going camping is also about fun and adventure so we thought we’d show you a few space-saving fun games and some inflatable adventure items to make your camping trips that little more special.

One item we love to take if camping near water is our kayak. With inflatable kayaks being relatively cheap these days they are a great way to get out and explore the lochs and waterways near where you are camping.  Please remember to be safe and wear lifejackets and buoyancy aids when out.

The Sevylor Riviera Kayak 

This 2-person Kayak (the one we have) is great, it inflates easily and is rigid and strong in the water. With removable seats it allows you to find your optimal comfort position for paddling and this also allows it to be easily converted for use by a single person. The carry handles allow for easy manoeuvring out the water and once packed is stored in a backpack for ease of transport. Find out a little more by clicking here.

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

Another great kayak which we had the chance of trying out was the Intex Challenger K1 single kayak.  Go on your own or together but in individual kayaks. These are great with their handy storage area at the front if you want to take a few essentials with you for the day.

Again, this comes in a carry pack for ease of transport and storage. These are available here along with a few more to choose from.

If kayaking is maybe not your thing on the water why not try a paddle board. Test out your balance before going off to explore. Once you get the hang of this it can be a lot of fun and allow you to spend a day on the water or paddling out and exploring nearby islands. Many paddleboards now have clip in seats so you don’t even have to spend all your time standing.

Aquaplanet 10ft Allround Paddleboard Starter Set

The Aquaplanet 10ft Allround Starter Set is a great way to start exploring this popular sport. Just add a lifejacket and you are good to go. See more about paddleboards here.

Family games are also a great way of spending time together while away camping and the fact they pack down means you don’t have to be choosy about what you take.

This inflatable limbo looks great fun for people of all ages.

Or maybe this inflatable throwing ring game would help keep the kids occupied while you rustle up a meal or snack for them.

Even inflatable kites to add a bit of colour and fun into your day.

 You can find many different types of inflatable games here that will keep both kids and adults entertained on site and that will greatly reduce the risk of damage to anyones tents.

Let’s Get Inflating

Now we have shown you some of the great inflatable camping items on offer at the moment what about inflating them?

Well as you will have noticed some come with built-in pumps while others come complete with pumps when you purchase them. But what about the rest?

Well, some only need some good old puff while others may need substantially more air than you can give.

Here are 3 of our top picks when it comes to pumps.

For those who camp taking the car, we recommend the Coleman 12V QuickPump.

Simply plug into your cars electrics and start inflating. With it’s easy to hold handle, extension hose and various nozzles, this is a great all-round pump.

This is also ideal for those who would like to invest in inflatable water sport items that you can use on weekends when not away camping too.

If without electrics a Dual Action Hand Pump is a good investment. These can even be used on inflatable tents. Our pick with this type of pump is one from Campingaz. These are great all rounder pumps and come with various sized nozzles so are compatible with most inflatable items.

If you don’t fancy doing the inflating by hand when without electrics a battery powered pump may be what you need. These come in both a rechargeable battery and disposable battery options. But you will need to ensure it has enough battery life to inflate and deflate what you need it to. Especially if you are going off the beaten track so to speak.

You could have peace of mind and invest in a multi-powered one such as this one from Dr Meter. As you can see from the picture below it takes batteries and can use both A/C and 12v adapters.

 We hope that by reading this post you may have some new ideas for your next trip or are able to share this with others. You can of course share on social media via the links. 

If you already use some inflatable camping gear why not leave a comment and let us know what you have and your thoughts on it or even any of the items shared above.

Thanks for reading.

 

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Olpro have designed this tent with a home from home set up in mind. This large family tent has varying areas designed with your needs in mind.

This tent also comes with a carpet for the living area as standard!

Yes, not an optional extra as most other tents have. Olpro believe that your living area in this tent should have a carpet for both comfort and safety so have included it with the tent. How fantastic is that?

So, what design features have Olpro included to make your camping holiday even better?

The Tent

This is a 5-person family tent designed with families and ease of use in mind.

They have started with making this an inflatable tent as these are now beginning to become increasingly popular with campers due to the ease of setting up and packing away.

A hydrostatic head of 5000mm and fully sewn in groundsheet in most of the tent means it will stay cosy and bug free during your trip.

Porch area at the tent entry point is ideal for keeping wet and dirty gear outside the main tent. There is also an enclosed area to one side of this porch which is ideal for using as a toilet if you so wished. There are windows on both sides of the porch but privacy curtains can be used if using the small vestibule as a toilet. This area has an open floor (no groundsheet here) so no need to worry about toilet spills or misses or wet and dirty shoes.

From here you pass into the main living area that you do get a carpet as standard for.

All windows have privacy curtains and are large enough to allow plenty of light in.

Central hanging point for lantern and some handy Velcro point should you wish to run cable or lights up and across beam.

The handy kitchen/larder annex has a large mesh ventilation panel that can be zipped open and no groundsheet in this area either. This is also in case of spills. This area can be zipped closed when not in use to help keep the tent both tidy and keep the bugs out since it doesn’t have the sewn-in ground sheet that the rest of tent has.

Please note: you should never cook inside your tent if you choose to use this area as a kitchen it should only be for storage when not in use.

There are handy storage pockets in the living area and these are on the outside of the bedroom pods as with most tents.

The living area alone measures a comfortable 3m x3.3, giving you enough space to retreat to and spend time inside should weather decline or simply to enjoy your meals indoors should you wish.

Large bedroom to the rear of the tent. Bedroom area is an inner tent that can sleep 5 on airbeds. This can be separated into 2 room using dividers if required.

Bedrooms also have lantern hanging points.

To the rear or the bedrooms is another large ventilation panel that can be opened during the day to allow air to flow through the tent and clear any condensation if it should occur.

The Specs

Structure Reinforced TPU inflatable beams

Guy Lines Strong, webbed, pre-attached, fluorescent guy lines to provide this tent with super stability in all weather.

Fabrics The tent is made from strong 190T OLTech rip-stop polyester that will reduce damage should an accident occur to the tent material. The rip stop material will help contain damage till you are able to repair it.

Cable Entry No

Windows There are 4 large windows in this tent all with curtains to allow privacy first thing in the morning and at night.

Doors There is one main door to the tent and that is to the front.

Ventilation There are plenty of ventilation panels around the tent and these are held open with a toughened Velcro strap.

Bedrooms 2 large bedroom areas separated with a divider.

Living Area Comes with carpet for living area as standard.

Large living area has 2 windows, 2 in main living area and one mesh panel in annex that will also let light in. the annex also helps in adding to your living space as your kitchen/larder will be tucked away neatly in the space provided.

Optional Extras: Groundsheet/Footprint.

Person 5 person

Bedroom 2 bedrooms with divider.

Hydrostatic Head 5000mm

Standing Room Yes

Weight 25 kg

Pitch Time 25 minutes

Price £599.99

Pre-order offer of £599.99 then £769.99

*please note that price was correct at time of publishing and will be updated on a regular basis.

Conclusion

We think that is a fabulously designed tent where consideration has been made for the space families really need. The kitchen storage/larder annex and toilet area would be welcomed additions by most families especially in adverse weather or if pitched a distance away from toilet and shower blocks.

The large living area allows families/campers time together relaxing/eating in the tent and the bedrooms are spacious too. Very few tents allow this much room per person.

The only thing we feel that lets this tent down in any way is that there is no cable entry point and we know that many families and campers now look for this.

But if you can go all gas or run your electrics into the porch or annex then to main tent this should not pose a problem for most.

We also love the colour. The 2 tone grey with fluorescent band and highlighted ventilation panels is sure to stand out on any campsite.

Like this tent you can buy it from the Olpro Shop by clicking this link

Do you have this tent? How do you rate it?

Tell others about your experience of using it and help them make a more informed decision.

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Have you tried camping towels? Are you a lover or a loather? Learn more about camping towels, best ways to use them and other useful information in this post.

We have been using our camping towels now for almost 3 years and we have to say we love them. We love the fact they are so much more compact than your average household towel and super quick to dry.

We enjoy both site camping and wild camping, so the matter of weight and size of certain products is often taken into consideration when making our purchases. With our camping towels we have to say it was a no-brainer when it came to help reduce the size of our kit.

Here is a photo of how much it can reduce your kit. the pink and green are our camping towels, 2 bath sheets and 4 hand towels and the greys normal household towels of the same size. (well almost, camping towels are actually a little longer)

Not All Camping Towels are Equal

Firstly, you will need to consider is size. Camping towels come in various sizes from small hand towels to bath sheets just as normal household towels do. Will one bath towel or sheet be enough per person or do you like a second, smaller towel for your hair.

Will you be buying say bath sheets for adults and maybe bath towels for kids? Make sure you work this out before making any purchases.

Secondly, which material you choose would be a personal choice. Most towels are advertised as microfibre towels, but they are often different to the touch. Some feel like your microfibre cloths you get for the kitchen and others have a slightly suede or soft chamois feel. We prefer the latter and feel they do dry you slightly better. These are the ones we use here.

The last thing is colour. There is a rainbow of colours to choose from in these towels. So, whether you want them to match your tent or buy different colours for each member of your family I’m sure you will end up spoiled for choice.

No matter which towels you do choose one thing is for sure they will all dry much quicker than your average household towel. This is another big attraction of these towels; they dry super quick. Even after being fully washed at home they take around 20 minutes tops to dry outside. The super lightweight of them also means if you are hanging them over your guy lines or makeshift washing line while away you are far less likely to cause damage to the tent or have them snap your line.

Another advantage is that most come in their own little storage bags that make transporting and storing them easy.

Some Advice on Use and Care

It is worth noting that it is best to pat yourself dry rather than rub. You are advised to do this with any towel as it’s kinder to the skin. But I feel especially with these towels the fact the material is thinner means the material sometimes rolls if you try to rub yourself dry.

Do not use fabric conditioner when washing them. Again, this is true for all towels as it reduces the drying effect of them and their ability to hold moisture.

Wash before first use, as always before using anything next to your skin and also to check for colour transfer. We had a little colour run on our first wash of our pink towels, but they have fine ever since. This most probably will have been excess colour from the manufacturing of them.

Other Uses

These towels are great and so versatile that we use them elsewhere in our camping kit too. Due to the various sizes they come in it means that you can them in other ways too.

They are advertised as bathroom towels but also make good dish towels too. With them being quick drying, it means they are dry in time for the next set of meal dishes.

We have a spare hand towel size one for using when showering as bathmat when stepping out of the shower. We are a little wary of catching things such as verruca’s and not all shower rooms have mats or boards for when coming out the shower. We think that these are ideal for this use.

Other activities – such as visiting the beach, taking on walks if you know you will be doing river crossings or when the weather is poor. We like to keep one in the car during the summer months just in case we fancy a paddle on the beach in the good weather. It fits nicely in the boot tidy of car and as most come in their own little bags they are easy to store.

Also great for drying of your furry friends if you take them out and about or camping with you.

I hope this article helps you if you are thinking of purchasing some. We think they are great with their multi-functional uses. Why not even buy a small one one and give it a try before making a larger purchase for the family. We are pretty sure you will love them as much as we do.

There is a wide range for you to view here.

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The Devils Pulpit or Finnich Glen as it is otherwise known is a real hidden gem here in Scotland and is a stunning place for a walk or even to go and photograph. This location was also used for filming parts of Outlander, you may recognise this when looking at our pictures.

If you are camping around or near Loch Lomond and the Trossachs or Glasgow area I would certainly recommend a visit.

This is a 100ft lush bright green gorge with what looks like a red river running through it. It is not a red river though just the red sandstone that the water flows over giving it that effect. The pictures don’t always do it justice and it is not a difficult or far walk but the path or stairs down can be quite treacherous.

Where is it?

The Devil’s Pulpit sits between Glasgow and Stirling, or at the back of Bearsden if you roughly know the area. Neither the parking or the glen are signposted but I’ll try to explain where is best to park and how to get there.

From Glasgow head for Drymen, this can be typed into your sat nav. Keep an eye out for the A809 as this is the road you will be parking on or near. The A809 is a fairly long stretch of road so don’t worry that you’ve missed it.

You will first pass parking at Queens View car park; this will be on your left-hand side if heading north. Then about 3 miles further up this road, you will start to look for a small layby at the side of the road on the left-hand side. If you reach an open crossroad you have gone too far, although this is the second parking area. The parking area here will be on your right-hand side. (See Map Below)

The best place to park is on the A809 just across from the entrance if you can, there is only space for about 3 small cars, but you may be lucky. The other is just a bit further along the road at a crossroads where again there is space for a few cars, but this requires a bit more of a walk to get back to the entrance.

Be Prepared

I thought I best advise on how to prepare for this walk as there is both the risk of getting dirty and possibly wet if you want to get some nice photos.

Good shoes are a must. When I say this make sure they are old but have a good grip and decent soles on them. We passed young girls coming out when we arrived the last time who were wearing white trainers and light-coloured jeans looking rather annoyed and embarrassed at how dirty they had become.

I’d recommend using old trainers, a pair of shorts if you don’t mind getting a little wet or you want to explore a little further. You may get away and stay dry with wearing a pair of wellies if the weather has been good and the water level low. But as always take care when going down and back up as it can be slippery and is very steep.

Also, bring dry clothes and shoes to change into once back at the car and a bag to put wet gear in.

The Walk Along

If you have managed to park across from the entrance, cross the road and climb over the small wall. Here you will see a sign on the dangers of this gorge. Please pay attention and if going with kids keep them close to ensure they do not veer near the edges as these are not stable and it’s a huge drop down.

After the sign, follow the path for around 5 mins where you will come to an opening leading down to the gorge. There are trees and areas where if you are careful you will be able to take some pictures looking down to The Devil’s Pulpit from above.

You will come across an opening which leads down, this is also known as Jacob’s Ladder. You will see from the top just how steep it is and although it starts with some large concrete steps there are a few missing on the way down and some are very uneven.

There used to be a rope that you could use to help to get up and down but that is no longer there. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty or wearing gloves, you’d be better scrambling down.

If you do have children, I would recommend that an adult goes at the front both to help if any little ones fall or need help and to help keep a slow and safe pace.

Once Down in the Gorge

Now that you have gotten yourself down you will start to see just how different this place is and how it opens up.

If you head off to your left, you will come to some mini waterfalls that are great to capture on camera. You can if you wish to walk through the gorge to both sides if you don’t mind getting wet. Personally, I think you can capture better pictures if you just immerse yourself in the surroundings including getting in the water.

There may be some logs and tree trunks about, this changes with each time we go. There are also some eels in the water if you are ever lucky enough to spot them.

I recommend you just take your time and enjoy the beauty of it. For some this may be taking pictures, others like a swim and some like to just sit by the “pulpit” and enjoy the scenery.

Retrace

Once you are finished simply retrace your steps up Jacob’s Ladder and along the path back to the car.

Remember and leave the place as you found it if not better. By this I mean take all your litter home and if you see any and can manage to take it too. There is a bin next to the parking at the layby where you can dispose of rubbish.

If you do visit and are looking for something else to do in the area or want to make a day of it I would also recommend going up The Whangie. You can do this by parking at Queens View car park (also on the A908) and following the path.

Should you visit either The Devil’s Pulpit or go a walk up The Whangie please feel free to share some of your own photos with us, we would love to see them.

Stay safe and enjoy.
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Are you one of the thousands of people who suffer from insect bites during the better weather? Me too!

I don’t know what it is about me, but mosquitoes and midges seem to love to feast on me. Once bitten I tent to come out in the biggest and itchiest spots ever and it’s never just one bit it is always multiples. This may be something to do with the fact once they find a food source, they give of a pheromone to signal to others to come and feast.

I’ve now tried many different lotions and potions, bracelets and patches as well as electronic repellents and thought I’d share my best products with you lovely people. I’ve tried both products with and without deet in them but prefer to use deet free products and even the odd natural product if I am caught out or to ease the itching once bitten.

The Females of the Species Are Deadlier Than the Male!

This is true in this case anyway as it is only the females that bite and feed on us humans while the males will feed on pollen. This is true for both midges and mosquitoes.

The reason for this is that females emerge with only enough fat reserves for one batch of eggs and if they are to lay more eggs they need to stock up on nutrients and fats to do this. This is why they feast on our blood.

While midges will feed more from animals than humans (although it doesn’t always feel like that), mosquitoes will only choose humans for feeding.

Mosquitoes will lay their eggs in water while midges lay them in soil mud. Both areas where us campers like to be around when away on our leisure time.

Midge Weather (as we call it in Scotland)

There are times and weather conditions that will also affect getting bitten by either of these little blighters.

Around dawn and dusk when the light is low are the times when you are most likely to get bitten by both mosquitoes and midges.

They do not like direct and strong sunlight nor do they like it if it’s too breezy. Midges will rarely come out if the wind speed is above 7mph as they are so small they get blown about and mosquitoes can’t handle it if it gets much higher either.

However, if it’s drizzly rain and humid they will most certainly will be out and about looking for their next feeding source.

Repellents

Repellents come in many forms these days from creams, oils, sprays, bracelets, patches, wipes, electronic gadgets and nets. We normally talk about them in three ways. Deet products, deet free products and natural products.

Deet (diethyltoluamide) is a slightly yellowish oil that is used in repellent and does not dilute in water and has been used from 1946 after being developed by the U.S. Army. Deet is a toxin and is absorbed through the skin although not thought to be harmful to humans it is very harmful to fish and other water-dwelling creatures.

This is why we tend to stay deet free with our repellents as we do not want to be responsible for spreading toxins anywhere in nature. Deet is also banned in some countries.

Our Top 5 Repellents Smidge

Smidge was developed and tested in Scotland, where the midges are plentiful. Many people in the UK often ask about the midges when coming to Scotland, especially the highland.

This works by the Smidge ingredients throwing midges and mosquitoes off our scent.

Smidge can be used from ages 2+ and is effective for up to 8 hours.

Smidge does not contain Deet.

I often use smidge when out and about. I first purchased a few years back when heading up north of Scotland on a trip and it did me proud. Although I still got a few bites (2-3 over a weekend), this could have been more with me forgetting to re-apply later in the day. A great product with a pleasant scent.

Buy Smidge Here

Pitch & Trek Bracelets

These Pitch and Trek bracelets come in packs of 10 with 5 different colours and can last up to 10 days.

They are designed to be worn on ankles and wrists to mask your smell. They use all-natural ingredients in the repellent. These are 60% Geranium Oil, 25% Lemongrass Oil, 10% Citronella and 5% Lemon Oil.

We love that you can put these bracelets on and just forget about your protection from insect pests for the rest of your holiday. They even keep you protected during the night and early in the morning, times when most bites occur. This is often due to either not having protection on or having washed it off in the shower.

These are fantastic for kids with their bright colours, but I would be careful with toddlers due to the design as they could become a choking hazard.

Buy Here

Skin So Soft Original

Skin so Soft from Avon, although available elsewhere has been used by many people with mixed results at times. There are a few dry oils from Skin so Soft, but it is the original one that is used for an insect repellent.

This is a dry oil spray that can be used all over your skin and will not leave you oily or sticky as some others do. The product contains citronella in jojoba oil.

I remember reading that the Forestry Commission recommended this oil as an insect repellent but unsure if this is true or not.

I have used this several times with success as an insect repellent. If you store in a cool or cold place the liquid will solidify. If this happens simply place in some warm water or out in the sun and it will come back to its liquid form.

Buy Skin So Soft Here

USB Rechargeable Camping Insect Repellent and Light

We reckon that this is a great little bit of kit for your tent. As well as being an insect repellent it is also a light and it runs for up to 36 hours before you need to recharge it via the USB port. With a retractable hook and being lightweight, it is worth spending a few extra pounds to get this if you are going to purchase a light anyway.

The ultraviolet light attracts any flying insects in a 5m radius and will kill them on contact. This is great for inside your tent in the evening to ensure all biting bugs are gone before you settle to sleep. Simply close up the tent, open bedroom pod doors and switch on. With three light modes, you’ll be able to get ready to settle down for the evening while the bug zapper rids your tent of pests.

If any stick to the light you can simply rinse under running water to clean before storing away until your next trip.

Buy Here

Thermacell MR300 Insect Repeller

The Thermacell Repeller works using a butane gas cartridge to gently heat an insertable insect repellent cartridge to give off a repellent for a 15ft radius wherever you are.

These are great for using outdoors, whether on the beach or in the garden it will keep the area you are using pest free.

You can also buy a holster clip so it can be used while you are on the go. So if you like to get and about while camping this is a great solution.

See how Thermacell MR300 Portable Mosquito Repellers Work - YouTube
You can purchase the Thermacell MR300 here.

This is on the more expensive side of our top 5 and also uses consumables such as the gas and insect repellent cartridges but if you don’t like to wear creams or lotions and the bracelets are not your thing, well this could be it.

A more macho approach to killing off those pesky bugs while you just get on and do your thing. Whether having a BBQ or climbing a mountain simply turn on and be fully protected within 15 minutes.

Other Deterants

If you know you are going somewhere that the midges or mosquitoes are particularly bad it is worth considering other options such as mosquito head nets or suits. We carry our head nets just in case when we go camping, more to keep them off our hair, in areas we know are notorious for midges and mosquitoes.

Treatment After a Bite

If you do happen to get a bite, there are many ways you can treat it depending on where you are.

Bites can often become raised, itchy spots and if like me, they can drive you mad with the itch. But you must try hard not to scratch as this is what can cause infection. Any dirt under your nail can cause the bite site to become infected if you scratch. It will also continue to itch.

Scratching also removes layers of skin around the bite and this is what will cause a scab to form over the bite site in the days following a bite. These can be a little unsightly and may also leave you with a small scar if you are not careful.

The best treatment is to apply some antihistamine cream direct to the bite site. I personally would recommend Anthisan cream.

If you have no cream at hand you can also use something alcohol based to ease the itch. I have often used vinegar, aftershave, alcohol-based hand wash and even a squeeze of lemon juice all to help relieve the itch.

You can also help disperse the histamines which cause the itching with a hot or cold treatment. Apply a cool pack or ice cube for cold dispersal or dip a teaspoon in some hot water and place over the bite for a few minutes for a hot dispersal.

What Are Your Favourite Products and Remedies?

We hope you have enjoyed this read and it has helped. If so feel free to share so others can enjoy it too, you may just save someone from a nasty attack of these little blighters.

If you have a favourite product or remedy why not leave us a comment and share with other campers and outdoor enthusiasts.

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As the British weather continues to improve many people are making the most of it and starting to get out more. Whether this is on walks, hikes, day trips or weekends away most of us are taking advantage of the better weather.

As we are heading on out and starting to explore most of us are finding that we need to either buy or replace some items to make our leisure time more enjoyable, comfortable and easier. We are no exception and recently had to replace one of our back packs.

Now we have had this pack out and about several times now we thought we’d write a review and share it for others who may be looking to purchase something the same or similar to aid their adventures.

We hope that this review helps you to decide on a backpack, even if it’s not this one we hope some of the features we will discuss gives you some food for thought before making your next purchase.

Our Review

Today we are going to review the Vango Roam 35 Back Packs. Vango have a range of packs in this range from 20 – 39l and in two colours. We have the Vango Roam 25 from this range in volt blue colour for this review, the only difference amongst the range is size and colour.

We chose this bag as it was from a well-regarded brand and was the size and style, we were looking for in a day pack.

It is lightweight, has a compact design and we also really liked the volt blue colour. This with some of the bags extra features made it stand out to us in the shop. We stuffed a few of our other shopping items into it to try it on for size and comfort and it felt good on. It sat well on both our backs and the padded shoulder straps did not dig in and sat comfortably.

The Bag

This bag from Vango is made from polyester and has a PU coating making it durable and strong but also lightweight, weighing in at only 700g.

The bag has an air force system on the back with cushioned back panels and shoulder straps. This keeping you and the contents of your pack cooler while maintaining that all important comfort factor if you are wearing your pack for any length of time.

The pack also has sternum and waist straps that are adjustable, this making sure you get a good fit around your body for comfort.

The bag has 2 good sized side pocket which are ideal for storing maps, snacks, drinks and more. It also features a dual top pocket for keeping small items. One is accessible from the outside of the pack and the other from the inside.

The pack is also compatible with most hydration packs should you wish to use one. There is a handy pouch on the inside of the pack to keep the hydration bladder secure and a covered exit point for the drinking tube on the top, back, right hand side of the bag.

This bag also has a non-detachable built in rain cover which is stored in a little zipped pouch on the underside of the bag. It is worth noting that while this may keep the outer of the bag dry if you are out in very heavy rain that the water that runs between your back and bag may cause items in the bag to become wet. As with all bags if you are going to be using them in such adverse weather conditions or while walking through gorges or water you would be advised to place all your belongings inside a dry bag before placing them into a bag.

Last, but not least is that the bag also has a webbed carry handle between shoulder straps for off the back handling and straps for attaching your walking poles, ice axes, solar units etc.

Our Thoughts

Now we have given you some specs of the bag, what do we think now we’ve used it several times? Well we have come to really like this little bag. It does exactly what we need it to and fits what we need to take with us on day trips nicely. I tend to carry more than I need to if there is space, so the compact design has helped me rethink what I take.

There is enough room for our food and drink for the day, a seat pad, purse, phone, camera, first aid kit and a few other items depending on what we are doing on any particular day.

We especially like the built-in rain cover and walking pole holders. As we have said earlier the padded straps and back panel make this bag very comfortable to wear and the sternum and waist straps adjust easily while on the move if you need to re-adjust them.

We really hope this review has helped in your decision making before purchase and helped you to think what you may need from your chosen backpack including the little extras like openings for hydration bladders or straps for walking poles. All these little extras can make all the difference once out for the day.

If you do like this particular bag we bought it here.

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About the Tent

If you love the idea of a bell tent but are unsure of making a switch over, we think that this tent is especially worth considering. With its bell tent or teepee style living area, separate sleeping areas and a front porch we think that this is a perfect mix of both.

One thing is for sure, it will certainly stand out in the campsite or at the festival with its unusual shape and bright colour fabric.

Skandika is a German company who specialize in fitness and camping gear. Skandika tents are now becoming more popular with campers and I know I am seeing far more popping up on campsites.

This is a large 5-person tent and comes with a fully sewn in groundsheet, helping to keep bugs and drafts out. An impressive 5000HH to keep you dry in adverse weather. Plenty of ventilation panels around the tent to help reduce the risk of condensation and a wet tent. 2 large windows with privacy curtains for early mornings and evenings.

The tent has a zipped cable entry point to allow you to run electric hook up into your tent if required. However, ensure you are using the correct type of EHU and are doing so safely, read our camping with electrics if you are unsure.

There are bedroom pods to the rear of this tent which are divided into a 3+2 and both rooms have storage pockets for securing your valuables off the tent floor. If you are a light sleeper it is worth noting that there is no darkened material on bedroom pods and with the tent being light colored the light does come in on a morning. You could always just buy a nighttime eye mask to combat this.

All doors have integrated bug mesh to help keep the bugs out while letting the air in if you wish, this also helps in reducing condensation by allowing air to flow freely through the tent.

A front porch is also a great addition for not only allowing you to enter and exit while keeping main tent dry in adverse weather but also storage to keep wet or muddy shoes and clothes out of main tent. The porch area also has windows to allow light into the tent.

The Specs

Structure Teepee style living area, 2 bedroom pods to rear and porch to front. Front and rear use fibreglass poles and main living area uses one centre pole on inside of tent.

Guy Lines Pre-attached guy lines around tent.

Fabrics A polyester tent made with lightweight fabric.

Cable Entry Yes, the tent has EHU cable entry point.

Windows 2 large windows in living area and 2 in front porch which will allow plenty of light.

Doors The tent has 1 door to the front of the tent. This has an integrated fly mesh door which can be used on its own to allow plenty of fresh air.

Ventilation Lots of ventilation throughout tent with ventilation panels above windows, at the top of living area and to rear of tent behind sleeping area.

Bedrooms 2 bedrooms with divider, 3+2 design, storage pockets on the sides and plenty of ventilation to the back of tent behind bedrooms.

Living Area Living area is large with 2 large windows, lantern hanging point, storage pockets on the outside of bedroom pods and a top height of a massive 295cm.

Optional Extras: None

Person 5 person

Bedroom 2 rooms, 3+2 with divider

Hydrostatic Head 5000mm

Standing Room Yes

Weight 21 kg

Pitch Time 20 minutes

Price £319.00

*please note that price was correct at time of publishing and will be updated on a regular basis.

Conclusion

We really do love this tent as it seems like a hybrid of a tunnel tent and bell tent. We love the space the teepee or bell tent living area gives and the privacy of having the bedroom pods to the rear. The porch area is also great allowing you that little extra space and a means of keeping the main tent and living area dry and clean.

The tent is easy to pitch with one central pole and 3 smaller fiberglass poles. 1 at the porch and 2 over the bedroom area. The only fault we found with this tent is that the light comes in the bedroom areas in the morning. However, as we stated earlier in the post, you could just buy an eye mask.

Like what you see? You can purchase this tent here.

Do you have this tent? How do you rate it?

Tell others about your experience of using it and help them make a more informed decision.

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Today I’ll be reviewing the Helium Camping/Travel Pillow from Quechua.

For many of us getting a good night’s sleep when camping is super important. If you are like me, you can deal with almost anything when you’ve had a good night’s sleep.

For anyone just starting out camping I always recommend making sure your sleeping gear is right for you. I will always spend a little more when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. For me making sure you’re comfortable and warm during the night for a well-rested sleep is the best recipe for a good camping experience.

Camping Pillows – A Personal Choice

Camping pillows come in all shapes and sizes and for many people they take their own from home. Apart from wanting to be warm at night being comfortable is just as important and that is split between the bed you use and your pillow.

We have tried many pillows in the past. We have taken our own from home, which was good, but they just take up too much room and we can’t take them if going away wild camping where we are carrying our gear. We even made our own half size pillows; these were great as smaller and still comfortable but not small enough for our wilder camps.

We have tried soft stuff sack pillows with polyester fillings but felt these were too soft and rather small for a rested night’s sleep. Cheaper inflatable flock pillows, these were OK, folded down to a small enough size but were rather cold some nights and didn’t have a cover or pillowcase.

Have We Found the One?

So, have we found the one with the Quechua Helium? Well it is certainly one of the best we’ve tried. It packs down small, is lightweight enough to throw in our rucksacks, has a detachable cover, so it can be washed, has its own little carry bag too.

As you can see the pillow in its small stuff sack packs down pretty small and weighs in at just 6oz (170g).

When you get it out the bag it takes just a few puffs to fully inflate. There are warning signs with this pillow that it should only be inflated by mouth. You should never use a hand, foot or electric pump on it. It is not difficult to inflate anyway, and the valve has a stop valve on it to stop air escaping between breaths.

When the pillow is inflated it measures a decent 36cmx25cmx7cm (14.1×9.8×2.7inchs). you can also adjust how firm you want your pillow too. I always fully inflate and leave a while, just to ensure there are no leaks, especially if the temperature is fluctuating. If you want it a little softer just tap on the stopper inside the valve to let some air escape and get it to your desired firmness.

When packing up simply open the valve, press the inner air control valve to let all the air out, roll up and put in stuff sack.

We must admit we got a good sleep with this pillow. Personally, I feel due to its rectangular shape and not being so rounded at the edges my head stayed on the pillow. Some other pillows I have tried leave me wakening up in the night looking for them as my head has rolled off them.

Conclusion

We think that this is a fantastic pillow and it’s available from Decathlon who make the Quechua range. It is currently priced at £12.99. We think due to being able to have it soft or firm, the removable, washable pillow case and giving us such a great nights sleep it is definately worth the money.

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With such a spotlight on the damage plastics are causing on our planet, in our seas and the fact that it can take decades for plastic to degrade. We feel it is time that we look for other materials that give us the same uses as plastic, even when we go camping. Although bamboo is seen as a sustainable substitute for plastic, we also need to ensure fewer chemicals are being used in the production of these items, so the material and it’s uses are lowering our carbon footprint.

If you’d like to see further details for any of these products just click on the pictures.

Why Use Bamboo

Bamboo as well as being made from a renewable and sustainable material for an eco-friendly alternative than plastics. Bamboo can grow at an astonishing rate and once harvested more can be planted.

Most products are just as strong, if not stronger and just as lightweight as their plastic counterparts. They are fully biodegradable and dishwasher safe, should you use a dishwasher once at home. Don’t think anyone uses them when camping, although you never can tell with some set-ups some folk have ????

Bamboo Dinner Sets

We love these fantastic dinner sets from Vango that come in a variety of designs, can be put in the dishwasher and are fully biodegradable. These can be bought in 2 or 4 people set. Vango also does kids dinner sets with cutlery.

Bamboo Cutlery

To match with your bamboo dinner sets we also love these bamboo cutlery sets by TreeGuy. What’s more, it’s not just cutlery. You will also get chopsticks, a straw, straw cleaning brush and toothbrush. These come beautifully wrapped in their own carry/storage bag.

Bamboo Utensils

These utensils would be just as nice in your home as they would be in your tent. A lovely set of 6 utensils with their own little holder to keep them nicely stored when not in use. Consisting of spoons, spatulas and a set of tongs, made with a non-stick wood so they are easily cleaned after use.

For the Glampers

For all who love Glamping we reckon that this outdoor wine and cheese table could be a very welcome addition to your set up. This table comes with 4 cheese board utensils, corkscrew and bottle opener and will hold 6 wine glasses. You will be the envy of your fellow campers and friends when you pull out this little beauty.

Folding Camping/Picnic Table with Stools

This is another great addition to any setup. This aluminium and bamboo camping/picnic table with four stools fold neatly away with the folding stools being stored inside the folded table. This is ideal for enjoying meals inside or outside your tent. It even has a central opening for a parasol to fit through to help keep you shaded in the warmer summer months.

As you can see these are all great quality products and would make great additions to both camping kits and in the home. So the next time you are replacing any of your plastics remember and think bamboo or even what can I buy that will be better for the environment and reduce my carbon footprint.

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Tent pegs are a vital part of our camping equipment and set up and when we buy a new tent, they come with the bog-standard wire pegs that can be used on good ground for fair weather camping. But, as most of us campers know our peg bags need to be stocked with more than just your average wire peg to ensure that you are ready to be able to pitch on almost any surface and in any weather to ensure you get the most from your tent and your holiday.

Tent pegs now come in differing materials of all shapes, and sizes. Getting to know what tent pegs are used on what surfaces or in what weather conditions can be a really useful piece of knowledge and by ensuring you have pegs for all occasions, ensures you get the best from your tent and pitch whilst on holiday.

Before we go on to talk about the different tent pegs on offer these days I’d like to speak a little about using tent pegs.

Using Tent Pegs

Firstly, it is recommended to use a mallet to put your pegs in the ground. Many people and I have done it myself in the past when forgetting my mallet, will stick a peg in then use their foot to push it further down into the ground. This is not advised as you may not be putting your peg in at the desired angle to the best hold your tent securely and it is also a sure-fire way to damage or break your tent pegs.

When pulling your pegs out at the end of your stay it is also best to use a peg puller. As well as reducing damage to pegs it saves you hurting your hands or being cut. The one thing you should NEVER do is to pull your pegs out with your guy line. This will weaken or could break or damage your guy lines.

If you do damage pegs while away on a camping trip please ensure you discard of them in a proper way, there is no need to leave them laying about. If you can bin them at the campsite, please do. Please take them home and discard of them.

Groundsheet Pegs

These are small lightweight pegs with a rounded head for keeping your footprint or groundsheet in a fixed place. Groundsheet Pegs are placed straight into the ground and are absolute lifesavers if setting up in the wind. These will securely hold your footprint or groundsheet in place while you pitch the tent. The round head means they won’t damage your tent once put on top of the footprint or groundsheet. Ideal for soft to firm ground, may not work so well on gravel unless ground underneath is softer.

Round Wire Pegs

Round Wire Pegs are the most recognisable pegs and normally come supplied when you buy a tent. These pegs come in various lengths and thicknesses and are made from varying strengths of metals. They are good for pitching on grass that is of soft to medium firmness. They do tend to bend easily if you hit a buried stone or rock with them.

Skewer Pegs

Skewer Pegs are similar to the above round wire pegs with various lengths and metals. The difference with these pegs is as you can see the metal is twisted on the length of the peg. This helps the peg grip the ground better but as with the round wire pegs they can bend and break easily if you hit a buried rock or stone with them.

Ripple Pegs

Ripple pegs are a more flattened peg with ripples down the length of it. The flattened shape means the peg covers more ground surface and the ripple effect helps with the grip on the ground. Again, these are made of varying metals and strengths and can bend. These are good on soft grounds and even sand from what we hear, although we have never used them in sand.

Plastic Pegs

The Plastic Peg is another common peg you will see campers using. They provide great grip once in the ground and most have good surface coverage due to their shape (many are T shaped). Like the above pegs they can bend or break on stones or brinks underground.

*Top Tip – if they are only slightly bent you can soak them in boiling water for a few minutes and if not too badly damaged they will regain their shape. Don’t use for a few days to allow them to strengthen again.

Delta Pegs (ground anchors)

The Delta Peg, the peg that most campers love. Once you use a delta peg you are very unlikely to go back to using any other, especially if you have a large tent. These angled pegs are designed to sit flush in the ground and if that wind gets strong and your guy lines are pulling all the delta peg will do is dig that little bit deeper.

Half Round U-Pegs

Like the ripple pegs these pegs give good ground coverage and come in varying lengths. These are normally made from steel so are a little more durable and can be used on soft to firm ground. The head of these pegs have a low profile and sit closer to the ground to prevent trip hazards.

Tent Stakes

Tent Stakes are more commonly used by wild campers and backpackers. Made from a light but tough alloy material they can help keep your carry weight down while ensuring you have a peg that can be used on almost any surface. These to come in varying lengths and if weight is a main priority ensure you only carry the size you need dependent on the size of tent you use.

Screw Pegs

Screw Pegs do exactly as they say and screw into the ground with either a handheld attachment or cordless drill with adapter. These can be used on firm to soft ground but not on rocky or concrete areas unless you were to drill a hole with the drill first.

Rock Pegs

Rock Pegs as the name suggests is for using in rocky or hard standing areas. These pegs are like large over sized nails and can be hammered into place with a conventional hammer rather than a mallet.

Some rock pegs have plastic tops to help hold the guy lines, but these can break over time. Others may have a prefabricated cross at the top to hold guy lines in place.

Screw type Rock Pegs

As above these are designed to be used on rocky or hard areas and the screw shaft is designed to turn slightly if you hit a stone underground. These give some additional grip compared to the straight shaft one’s above and if the head of the peg is compatible can even be put in the ground with a drill.

Biodegradable Pegs

These newer Biodegradable Pegs are mage from a degradable plastic and are designed to degrade if left in the ground by accident. Although this would take some time, but it is less damaging to the environment. There are now varying types of degradable pegs on the market, so it is worth shopping around for one’s to suit your needs.

So which do we think is best?

There really is no right or wrong here.  It really depends on your preferences and where you camp.  If wild camping we always choose to take tent stakes as they are suitable for most ground types and we never know where we will be setting up before we leave.

If going to a camping site where the ground is going to be of slightly better quality on grass we would be taking plastic pegs or Delta ground anchors.

Don’t worry too much unless you are planning on going away in a storm, these can always be added to your kit once you have your other essensials and it is always good to have a mixture of pegs.

Hope this post helps solve some queries and points you in the right direction for making an informed purchase when the time comes.

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