Not all my camping adventures involve wild camping. There are many times when I just need somewhere as a base, somewhere to relax after a days adventure with the dogs. And I am sure the majority of campers out there want to enjoy their holidays comfortably.
That involves a more comfortable and spacious tent for example and bigger and better outdoor cooking systems.
I have been testing some new kit ready for the next camping season courtesy of Outdoor World Direct. I needed a new bigger base tent with Pete the Pointer now a member of the family as well as Malc, plus my old bigger cooking system had rusted beyond repair.
Here are my views on my new kit and what I like about them. And whilst I work and put up camp, Malc gets comfy in his camping chair.
Coleman Castle Pines 4L Blackout Tent
You know, I never realised I needed a blackout bedroomed tent per se, but as is usually the case, once you start using something you didn’t realise you was missing something.
You know how it goes. Mid Summer camping and you stir slightly awake at silly o clock and it starts getting light really early. The light is shining in the tent and the body clock is arguing with you whether it is time to get up or not.
Anyway I digress, I will come onto the blackout bedrooms shortly. So this Coleman Castle Pines 4L Blackout Tent is a large 4 berth. And when they say large for 4, it certainly is large for 4. The design is the ‘tunnel’ type with the bedrooms as an inner tent within the back section.
The communal space outside the bedrooms is massive enough for sure plus no problem standing for all those people well over 6 ft too.
For 4 berth think 2 spacious bedrooms side by side. But these are blackout bedrooms and when I say blackout I mean blackout. Pitch black and good for a sounder sleep. If you are using as a family tent then all the better for helping the young ones sleep too. For me, it stops the dogs thinking it is time for walkies at silly o’clock.
And in the huge living area you can choose to have the massive window blinds open or closed for huge views or privacy.
The groundsheet is sewn in and integrated plus the entrance opening is big, wide and high! There is no step over to get in either which reduces accidents and trip ups that you get with other tents. Plus the living space is big enough to have a second entrance option down the side too.
Some tech specs for you. It has a hydrostatic head of 6000mm which is more than enough for British camping and uses 5 fibreglass poles.
To erect after one practice I found that it takes 2 people really around 30 minutes or so to set up. That is no time for something this size.
Vango Combi IR Grill Cooker
Now then, after getting back from a days hiking or adventuring it is good to get back to camp and refuel. As I am camping normal and not sleeping under stars but in a big tent I can sit relax and cook properly with a great bit of portable gear.
The Vango Combi IR Grill Cooker is great for size and weight, minimal packing, yet packs a punch when cooking a meal up that involves more than one pan and even a good efficient grill.
It has 2 burning stoves up top but the 600W Infrared (IR) grill is a more advanced technology than my last cooker. Being IR it reduces gas usage by 10% and reduces emissions by a whopping 90% which is not just that bit better for the wallet but a lot better for the environment.
It also has an Auto Piezo Ignition which means it is extremely quick and easy to ignite and start cooking.
If I am away on a campsite there is no excuse to not cook a meal like home with kits like these now.
Outwell Sleepin 10cm Single Self Inflating Mattress
Now then. This bit of kit, a self inflating mattress is so often underrated or an afterthought when buying camping gear. Many people are put off camping due to lack of sleep and I hear people complain of sleeping on hard or cold surfaces or bumpy grass as the reason.
A good self inflation mattress is effective, efficient and can stop all those complaints if you get the right one.
This Outwell Sleepin 10cm Single Self Inflating Mattress is fantastic. It has a few features that many inferior models don’t get right for me and it can really make your camping trips a whole lot more comfortable and help you get sleep when you need it.
It is light and compact when rolled up and deflated in its stuff sac, so easy to carry and pack. But when self inflated it gives a whole 10cm of cushion which is a lot in compact camping mattress terms. Enough to keep the cold floor at bay.
It also has the patented Outwell AFC for inflation and deflation or top up. No fiddly screws to mess with and no small valve that doesn’t let enough air in. The toggle switches from deflate, inflate and airtight to lock. And it works quickly too. Which when you are trying to set up or pull down camp can take away one of those little time consuming issues.
The link above is to the single version I have but they also do a double version if you want to double up as a couple.
Ready For The Next Camping Season
Great, I am good to go next season. I have renewed some essential stuff that was a long time in the planning. Actually why wait for next season? A few nice walking days before Spring could have me out on a campsite base exploring a new part of Britain or an old haunt.
Now I am looking for excuses to use this kit more and why not? Outdoor World Direct have a huge stock of items well beyond what I have here from them. What do you need for your next camping adventure?