Outwell Explorer Tent
It’s a 4 person tent with 2 separate sleeping quarters and a large ‘living’ area big enough to stand up in and keep your other stuff. I was glad we had this extra space as it would have been virtually impossible to and cook / eat when the weather got bad.
Packed up the bag was heavy so it’s not what I would go for if I was backpacking, but if you have a car this tent is perfect for a family. Over the weekend it was given a proper test, surviving torrential rain and heavy winds unscathed.
The luminous guide ropes and pegs, a zip hole for a mains cable (if needed), storage racks and the dinosaur designs in the kids area are all small details but make the difference. It also even comes with a cool ball game for the kids
The Explorer won the 2010 Tent of the Year award from Camping Magazine so it must be good, I spoke to a couple of other (more experienced) campers on the site and they were well impressed with the tent (and slightly envious). You can buy cheaper, but I wanted something that was tough and would last. You can pick them up online for around £270-300.
We also chose two really warm Outwell Sleeping Bags and although the nights weren’t particularly cold I was so cosy when I woke it took me a second to remember I wasn’t at home.
This lamp was great, make sure you charge it up BEFORE you go, and it comes with a car charge connector in addition to a regular plug. Loved the little compass on the top and the old school styling.. around £30-40.
One of the reasons we went for Outwell gear was all the brilliant instructional information videos they have made. Why doesn’t everyone go to this much trouble to explain their products?
Their short and simple demo videos (like the one above), take the mystery away, and give you the confidence to make your own mind up about what you need. They were a great help to inexperienced campers like us.
We took 2 of these things with us, particularly useful for midnight trips across a campsite in the dark. I got my daughter a funky pink one (Siju). They take 2 watch type batteries (included) and if you keep your finger on the button it has a ‘flashing’ mode if you got into trouble (or just like being different). The lights are very bright and come in a self contained protective sheath (not one of those!) for protection. From £15-40.
Mine was the larger Otus, and the light is so powerful in an emergency you could almost strap it to the front of your car! Both headlamps are tough and will survive the rigors of a month long trek through the Amazon (and a weekend in Norfolk). This leads me on nicely to the….
Bear Grylls Ultimate Kit
I wanted to feel we were going back to nature even if it was just for the weekend. The survival kit is about the size of a make up bag but contains everything you might need when things get tough.. waterproof matches, a brilliant striking flint for making fires the old fashioned way.
A hand saw, fishing set, whistle, handy tool thing, one of those silver blanket things… a keyring with light, sewing kit.. etc, etc.. there is even a small mirror tool (with instructions) on how to signal passing aeroplane by reflecting the sun.
There is no kitchen sink, but there is instructions on how to collect rain water, so that is sort of covered too..
Too be honest we didn’t need most of it, but it was reassuring to have and along with the headlights something definitely worth having in your camping bag. Around RRP £49.99