Kitbag: Essential new camping gear and accessories
The latest round-up of camping and outdoor gear from Camping magazine features an electric mains kit, a new brand from the USA and a really useful tarp to extend your tent
Kelty Low Love Seat
Expect to pay £90
Kelty is a big name in the outdoor world across the pond and now its range of camping accessories is available on these shores, too. The Kelty range is stylish and practical with more than a dash of humour. The adjustable armrests on the Loveseat are fitted with insulated drinks holders emblazoned with the question: “Need a Refill?” – to which the answer is always yes. The Loveseat is a comfortable double camping chair that lets you and your loved one get cosy in the outdoors. It comes folded up in a padded roll bag with a carry handle and takes seconds to set up.
Outwell Mensa roller mains kit
Expect to pay £85
A mains kit might not be the most glamorous piece of camping equipment in itself, but it opens up a world of opportunity. You don’t need to be a genius to see the benefits of the Mensa (geddit?). With three UK sockets, it gives you access to power, light and heat at the flick of a switch as well as a couple of USB ports for charging your devices. The 15m cable should be sufficient for most campsites and there are plenty of safety measures built in for peace of mind, including a circuit breaker and polarity warning light.
Easy Camp Coast
Expect to pay £29.99.
Umbrellas are essential as rain protectors in this country but, with the recent high temperatures (earlier this summer, the UK reached its highest recorded temperature at almost 39˚C), it turns out they can make pretty good sunshades, too. A good example is the Coast from Easy Camp, essentially a beach brolly that has a back piece that fixes on with an attached groundsheet. If you don’t want to use it as a shelter, you can also use it as a standard beach brolly by not attaching the shelter and floor bit, so it’s very flexible and is great for shade on the beach or campsite for you and your coolbox! And, while it is primarily designed for sunscreen purposes (with a +50UV protection factor), the polyester fabric does have a degree of rain protection, too, for sudden summer showers. Plus, it’s light (1.7kg) and packs down into a carry bag, making you look like a picnic pro.
Henrietta’s Kitchen Camping Kit Tea Towel & Greeting Card set
Expect to pay £8
Campers might like to think they stand out from the crowd by being into something different when, in reality, we’re no different to anyone else with a hobby. We like to demonstrate our passion by adorning our houses and tents in a load of hobby-related paraphernalia so that visitors cannot fail to miss what we’re into. As you can imagine, the camping sector is a huge market, which Henrietta taps into perfectly with hand-drawn designs used to create her Essential List of Camping Kit tea towel and matching gift cards. Postcards and recipe cards are also available! It’s a quirky range that brings a smile to your face and, therefore, makes a perfect gift for fellow campers.
JSK Collapsible Silicone Containers
Expect to pay £19.99
We love JSK here at Camping HQ! It’s a great little one-woman-band company run by Jacquie, who lives in a teardrop caravan in Australia and invents some great accessories for the camping kitchen. New for 2020 is a range of collapsible silicone airtight containers with wire rims for stability, which can be used in the oven, microwave, fridge and freezer. The rectangular containers shown here come in a two-pack, each measuring 17.5cm long by 11.5cm wide and 6cm high, collapsing to 2.5cm.
Expect to pay £20
Who is your camping bestie and would you want to snuggle up beside them under a blanket, assuming they’re in your ‘bubble’, of course? If you would, we’ve found just the thing – and it’s got the most appropriate name. This cosy blanket has soft-brushed fabric on both sides, so it’s soft on the skin. It can be used to keep warm on chilly nights around the campfire, trips to the beach, picnics, festivals or as an extra layer on top of your sleeping bag. We’ve even used it as an alternative to a sleeping bag during sweltering summer nights. It comes in four colours, is lightweight and packs small so is perfect to carry around with you.
Outdoor Revolution Pronto windbreak
Expect to pay £129.99
You may not think it, but the windbreak is a touchy subject. We’ve all seen those empire builders who use six to cordon off a patch of campsite next to their pitch (what are they doing behind those walls?), but I have fond memories of my parents hammering wooden poles in to create a wall of colourful stripy material to provide shelter from those breezes.
But today’s windbreaks, like this Pronto from Outdoor Revolution, is a far cry away from the ones of yesteryear. This one has a pop-up fibreglass frame allowing you to encircle your camp (up to 5m) in a matter of seconds. Peg it down at the base and add the included guylines for extra stability. There are four panels made of all-weather polyester in a neutral grey (candy stripes are not popular any more). Two small PVC windows in the middle two panels means you get to look at the outside world, which of course means that others can see in, so no furtive naughty business allowed. It easily and quickly packs away into the supplied carry bag, so you can take it to the beach, or make a speedy getaway from the campsite if you tried the aforementioned outdoor activity.
Robens Tarp 4x4m
Expect to pay £106
The trouble with tent extensions is that they can be heavy and bulky, expensive and difficult to pitch. So, if you’re just after something simple, yet versatile, that can offer shade or shelter from the rain, you might be better off with a flysheet tarp. This one measures 4m by 4m and weighs just 1.6kg. It’s pretty tough, too, being made from ripstop, waterproof and fire-retardant fabric. With several guylines to tie to trees, your tent, etc, it can be put up in a number of ways and you can also pick up a pair of telescopic Tarp Clip Poles (£26.99 each), which extent to 2m high, so it can be used like a tent without sides. Perfect for the campsite as well as down the beach or on a picnic.
Zippo Flex Neck Utility Lighter
Expect to pay £24.99
Zippo is a household name that’s synonymous with cigarette lighters. Nowadays, however, since being a smoker makes you about as popular as having syphilis did back in the days when smoking was cool, Zippo has had to branch out and now offers a whole range of stuff for the outdoors, like this butane-fuelled Utility Lighter. It’s designed for lighting things like barbecues and campfires and the flexible swan neck makes it ideal for lighting awkward camping grills, too. It’s got an anti-slip rubberised handle so it doesn’t accidentally fly off and set fire to the curtains, while a hook means you can hang it out of harm’s way when not in use.