01/08/2015
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Hot New Camping Gear For 2016: Part 2

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Here's PART TWO of our quick run-through of some of the family camping highlights of OutDoor 2015.

Hundreds of exhibitors filled 12 enormous exhibition halls in the German town of Friedrichshafen with brand new products, as they showed off all the camping and outdoor kit they've got lined up for next year.

As always, the Camping team was there. Over a few swelteringly hot days in July, we saw hundreds of new products that will be in the shops in spring/summer 2016 - from tents to torches and everything in between.

There was plenty that caught our eye – a James Bond-style brolly; a zipless sleeping bag; a machine that creates custom insoles in minutes; socks made out of recycled fishing nets; solar powered tents; new technology that could extend the life of torch batteries for years and a super-luxury, inflatable canvas tent.

Many of the brands that fill the shelves on your local outdoor shop were there. Vango, Outwell, Coleman, Easy Camp, Robens, Snugpak, Craghoppers, Sprayway, Thermarest, Vaude, Campingaz, Life Venture, Karrimor, Berghaus, MSR, SmartWool, Hi Tec and Kozi Kidz, to name but a few.


 

PART TWO


In Part One we looked at three of the big-name brands in the UK - Outwell, Coleman and Vango. Now let's take a look at some of the other gear that was on show. Remember these products won't be available in the shops until the spring of 2016 at the earliest.



First stop was the Therm-A-Rest stand, where they were showing off the new NeoAir Camper SV sleeping mat - which inflates three times faster than similar sized mattresses with traditional valves. You can have the mat fully inflated using less than 10 breaths, while deflation is almost instantaneous.

Another newcomer from Therm-A-Rest was the Quadra chair - the four-legged cousin to last year's award-winning Treo, which itself is available in a range of new colours.

The Quadra has a bigger weight capacity than the Treo and with the four legs is a bit more stable. It's a full-sized chair but packs away to the size of a two-litre drinks bottle, making it small and light enough to carry in your backpack or in the corner of the car boot.




This Angry Birds kayak from Tahe Outdoors caught our eye





As did these, the new Spiderman sleeping bag suit from Selk'bag and LittleLife's latest kids' backpack, based on the Gruffalo.



Outside, we got a sneak peek at Easy Camp's new instant pitch tents, complete with pre-attached telescopic steel pole frame that is released at the press of as button. This is the five berth model, the Richmond 500.



If Easy Camp is at the entry-level, what about this one? The Airforce 1 is true top of the range stuff from New Zealand-based Zempire, whose tents are distributed in the UK by Sprayway. It's a stunning eight-berth inflatable tent, made out of traditional canvas. It will cost somewhere in the region of £3,000 but it's already been a huge success in the New Zealand market andthere's hjopes it will appeal to campers here too.




We also liked this innovation from the American company Big Agnes. They've teamed up with the solar power specialists Goal Zero to create a solar powered tent, complete with LED lighting and power sockets. Ideal if you're camping on a site without EHU. No-one could tell us if these would be available in the UK, but if they're not, hopefully some eagle-eyed tent manufacturer will be "inspired" (ahem) to come up with their own version.



If James Bond was a lover of the great outdoors rather than an international spy then this is the umbrella he'd use. Probably. From Craghoppers, it's the Umbrella/Torch. The handle appears to be a regular flashlight, but at the flick of a switch the umbrella unfolds, complete with special high-tech panels that stop it from blowing inside out. The torch head also swivels to allow you to use it to light your way as you carry the umbrella above your head. Ingenious stuff we reckon, and will prove invaluable on late night trips to the campsite loo in the rain.

Speaking of James Bond, this might look like the sort of torture instrument a Bond villain like Dr No would use, but it's actually the latest state of-the art technology designed to give you the most comfortable insoles. 

The new Superfeet FitPod machine is being installed in outdoor shops around the country and it allows the retail staff to create bespoke insoles custom-designed for your feet, in around 15 minutes. It uses laser and vacuum pack technology to mould the insole to the exact shape of your feet.

Speaking of foot-based technology, Edinburgh-based sock brand Teko unveiled their latest range of socks at Friedrichshafen - and were rewarded with an award for sustainable innovation. The new Regenerate Me Super Cushion multi-sport socks are no ordinary socks. They are made from a polyamide that is recycled from commercial fishing nets recovered from the sea.

The yarn is regenerated, dyed and knitted all within a radius of 300km. After a year, customers who register at the time of purchase will be able to part exchange their old socks for another pair, while the old ones will be used to make new socks.






A couple of dramatically different tents to finish with. The VW Campervan tent from Monster Factory has been a popular fun product for a couple of years - and from next year you'll be able to buy an inflatable version. It's certain to be popular festival-goers.

At the other end of the scale, is the new Abisko Shape from Fjallraven, a lightweight tunnel tent with an innovative design that allows the flysheet to be rolled up at both ends, providing excellent ventilation through the tent while still keeping gear dry.



Want to see more new gear? Have a look at PART ONE of our round-up from OutDoor 2015

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