New gear: 7 kit for caravanning reviews - October 2019
Here’s our October 2019 round-up of new gear reviews to help your caravanning life a little more comfortable.
1. Thetford Concentrate
Toilet chemicals are one of those less savoury things that take up space in our caravans. Well, now you can free up the space for much more exciting stuff with Thetford’s new concentrated range.
A smaller required dose means instead of carrying a two-litre bottle of Aqua Kem Blue, you now get the same 13 doses in a smaller 780ml bottle. Less weight and less space used.
This also applies to the Lavender Aqua Kem Blue, while the 1.5-litre Aqua Kem Green and Aqua Rinse bottles have been compressed to 750ml offering 10 and 15 doses respectively.
Obviously, these doses will change (use less in temperatures under 15˚C and more in temperatures over 30˚C).
Price from £12
2. Tilley Hiker Hat
‘If you want to get ahead, get a hat!’, the 1940s marketing slogan is as true today for our hot summers as it was when advertisers coined it.
Hiking without a hat in the hot sun all day is a recipe for sunburn at best or heat stroke at worst. Canadian company Tilley’s Hiker Hat is more than a wide-brimmed hat with a chin strap to keep it on your head when it’s windy.
The Hiker Hat has a removable pad in the crown that you soak in water, which acts as a cooling device. The insert’s evaporative effect cools you on hot days, and the brim keeps your head shaded. Plus, there’s a mesh on the top edge of the hat to let heat and moisture out.
Made from 98% organic cotton and 2% Spandex, the Tilley Hiker Hat is tough but comfortable and is a must-have item for hot hiking days.
Price RRP £85
3. Oboz Sawtooth II hiking boots
Oboz has a new boot in its Sawtooth II collection, the Mid B-Dry. The distinctive sole is as tough as it looks. And, thanks to their great insoles, the boots are remarkably comfortable, too. The Mid B-Dry boots work well on rough, rocky ground, protecting your feet and ankles from injuries.
An essential element is the waterproof, breathable membrane in the boots. Keeping water out and letting moisture evaporate mean you get all-day comfort with these high-quality boots.
Plus, with the tough soles and durable uppers, which provide a firm flex, the Oboz Sawtooth II Mid B-Dry boots are an excellent choice for anyone who wants a seriously tough and comfortable hiking boot.
Our tester has worn them over the Yorkshire Dales and along the Norfolk Coast Path, and swears by them for durability and out-of-the-box comfort.
Price Mens Mid RRP £129.99 Womens £129.99
4. Outwell Cornillon L
How excited can you get by a box that’s also a seat? Well, very, if you are us. This Outwell product would not look out of place in a designer home in a fetching grey.
Simply unfold it, put the supportive wall in the middle and place the cushioned lid on top.
Voilà! Storage that can double as a nifty coffee table or an extra seat. It’s pretty strong, taking the full weight of a colleague (she stood on it and it still held, although we don’t suggest you try that at home — it supports 80kg).
You get 40 litres of space with a 49cm by 30cm footprint and a height of 29.5cm when in box form and 6.5cm when folded up.
Price £28 (large), £22 (small)
5. Sprayway Kalmar softshell jacket
You’re too hot or too cool — that’s the challenge with walking and hiking in the hills. It’s tricky to find clothing that helps you keep at just the right temperature in spring, summer and autumn.
That’s where the Sprayway Kalmar softshell jacket fits in perfectly for any walkers or hikers.
It’s a jacket you can wear all day on a walk. Made from a tough, stretchy material, the Kalmar gives you freedom of movement when walking and wearing a backpack. Its outer layer is durable and will take the demands of outdoor activities.
The Kalmar keeps the wind off to keep you warm, and wicks moisture away to keep you comfortable. The coating keeps light rain off and it dries quickly.
With two hand pockets and a chest pocket, you can keep compasses secure and your hands out of the wind. The elasticated hood has a wired peak, too.
Our tester says it’s one item he now always takes hiking, no matter the season.
Price RRP £110
6. Camping & Caravanning Atlas of Britain
In these days of sat-navs and Google Maps, you’d be forgiven for thinking the traditional printed road atlas has had its day.
But while it’s easy to stick a postcode into a device and hit the road, we always have a map close to hand on big trips. There’s nothing like the perspective you get from looking at a proper map and if you want to deviate from the GPS-determined route for any reason, an atlas is invaluable.
And let’s not forget the joy that comes from scouring the index for the country’s funniest place names (current favourites are Great Snoring, Blubberhouses and Crackpot).
This hefty tome, created for campers in association with the Camping and Caravanning Club, is a classic of its kind.
It features the locations of more than 2,300 sites and includes 100 town and city plans as well as a six-page route planner.
The mapping is clear and easy to read with loads of useful details, like local attractions, and there’s some essential information about bridge heights and weight limits included for caravanners and motorhomers.
Price around £24.99
7. Mio MiVue 798
This dash cam is so easy to set up the tester didn’t really read the instructions. Unfortunately, this also meant they didn’t know about the GPS camera warnings and spent a whole three-hour journey wondering what the strange bleeping sound was. It’s a neat little device that fixes firmly to the windscreen and starts recording instantly.
Transfer the footage to a phone or tablet by WiFi or use a micro SD adaptor to load them onto your computer – you’ll also need to buy a micro SD card to plug into this thing.
The event function (permanently records anything unusual in driving mode) works perfectly, recording two separate incidents (jiggling of the camera to get it in the right position to start off with and pulling into an incredibly potholed layby).
However, we found it didn’t work as well in bad weather and low light conditions, so don’t rely on it fully to record your amazing holiday routes, although it’s more than adequate for incident reports in such conditions.
You can buy direct through Mio or via Amazon, Very, Currys, Littlewoods and more.