Kitbag: Essential camping gear and accessories
In the latest Kitbag review, Camping magazine takes a closer look at some of the very latest gear and accessories available for the keen camper - including a medical kit from AMK, a lantern from Lomo and a clever 5-in-1 jacket from Kathmandu (pictured right).
Storm Mid and Baselayers Wash
If you’re into doing energetic stuff outdoors then you’ll know the benefits of wearing specialist clothing. Going for a swim in jeans and a knitted jumper, for example, isn’t ideal. However, while bog surfing may be less horrific in proper clothing, your base and mid-layers will only remain in good working order if you wash the mud out properly. So the next time you’re about to take your very expensive fleece down to the river to beat it on a rock, don’t. Much better instead to use this specialist product from Storm.
Near the Motorways
We regularly receive each update of this book and yet we still look forward to receiving the latest edition. Near the Motorways is an antidote to the horror of motorway services. It’s the perfect book for campers as it encourages you to make the journey part of the holiday, never settling for soggy sausage rolls and lukewarm roast dinners. Now in its 12th edition, the book contains 200 restaurants, hotels and pubs that are just a five-minute drive from a motorway junction. Each section contains brief information about the towns you could stop at and there are also some listings with places of interest nearby, too. The illustrations are lovely, while the simple maps offer clear directions.
AMK Mountain Backpacker Medical Kit
A first aid kit is the one piece of camping gear you never want to use – but you need to know you can rely on it in the worst case scenario.
AMK’s kits are always of the highest quality and this compact kit contains enough supplies for two people on a multi-day hiking adventure but it’s just as useful to have around the tent or in your backpack for less-ambitious days out.
The water-resistant medical bag includes a selection of bandages, a trauma pad to stop bleeding, dressings, adhesive tape and a splinter removal tool.
There’s a pouch for storing any medication you might need, too. And of course it contains that vital piece of first aid kit – the safety pin!
Zippo Nappa Bi-Fold Wallet
Zippo started out in the 1930s and its history dates back to a time when smoking seemed like a great idea.
During World War 2, for example, it ceased production of lighters for the public in order to focus on supplying the US Army. After all, war couldn’t be won without smokes.
Then came the movie stars, and cowboys… riding a horse with one hand while smoking with the other is a stroke of genius – it’s odd they don’t do it in the Grand National.
Anyhow, Zippo eventually branched out and now makes things like this Nappa leather wallet, which features RFID blocking to protect your information, as well as funky red stitching.
Black & Blum Flask
Who says that something practical has to be ugly?
Part of the enjoyment of food is the presentation, and though this stylish flask from Lakeland may not rival Michelin-starred food it does put a little bit of beauty back into the art of eating.
Catering for one person, this 400ml stainless-steel flask comes with a green ladle-type spoon to help you consume the contents.
The vegan leather strap keeps the spoon attached to the side of the flask. It keeps food hot for up to six hours or chilled grub cold for up to eight – just fill it with the relevant hot or cold water for a few minutes before adding food.
At 16cm high and 8.5cm in diameter it will stash away easily in your day sack and won’t take up too much space in the storage box.
Lomo Camping Lantern
Robust and powerful, the Camping Lantern from Lomo is ideal as a main light source for your tent when you don’t have electric hook-up. This battery-powered lamp has four lighting levels with the brightest setting providing a maximum of 1,000 lumens. The lantern is made from durable plastic with rubber trims so is rugged enough to take on any camping trip. It’s also weather resistant, so can handle being used outdoors, in damp or wet conditions. The four LEDs give you 360˚ of light and the carry handle folds flat so it doesn’t get in the way when not in use.
Manfrotto XPro 5 monopod
Are your holiday snaps often blurry? Do your hands shake every time you attempt to capture a photo of your partner in a glorious location, giving family and friends double vision when attending the holiday slideshow? You need help. Not just generally, but in the form of this excellent photographic aid. The Manfrotto XPro monopod screws onto the base of your camera, or a smartphone mount, with one-quarter-inch or three-eighth-inch threads. This feature means the outer part pushes down for the narrower threads when needed. It’s got a durable rubber grip and solid, firm clips to secure the four extension sections. Its weight (700g) and compact design (41cm long when packed and 141cm long when extended) mean it can be stashed easily in a rucksack when out and about. If you need a smartphone mount, the Manfrotto-specific one will set you back another £17.95.
Kathmandu Benmore 5-in-1 Jacket
If you were a superhero, you wouldn’t have to worry about what clothes to pack for camping trips.
Come rain or shine, saving the world or just showing off, an ill-fitting, garishly coloured Lycra suit seems apt for all occasions. But if you don’t want to go around looking like a deflated balloon then the Benmore Jacket is a great alternative.
It’s a five-in-one jacket that has a waterproof outer shell with a removable hood. A 100% RDS certified down bomber-style jacket zips inside, or can be worn independently.
This also has removable sleeves, turning it into a gilet.
Biolite HeadLamp 200
BioLite is one of the most interesting outdoor brands around at the moment and we’ve loved its products since the launch of the first stove a few years ago. The brand has a reputation for developing sleek-looking kit that performs brilliantly – and the new HeadLamp 200 is no exception.
A head torch is a camping essential but to be honest they are not always the most stylish or comfortable things to wear. BioLite has created a modern, slimline headlamp, which is incredibly comfy, really light and provides a superb beam of light. It has various lighting modes, a tilting light and uses USB recharging, so no need for bulky batteries.