Now the summer is well underway and the rain is slightly less intense, it can mean only one thing – camping time! And what better way to kick off the season than with great camping gear reviews.
As a single mum of two, I’m always on the lookout for great camping gear that will make our summer adventures as stress-free as possible.
So in the interest of a easy life, I’ve been testing out some useful camping products sent over by the good people at Mountain Warehouse and Pyramid Travel Products, as well as a nifty device from Kinetik which could answer the prayers of hay fever suffers. The following reviews are unsponsored and based entirely on my own opinion of the products.
Protect Natural Insect Repellent (Pyramid Travel Products)
Hyped as the best natural mosquito repellent on the market, Protect Natural Insect Repellent is an alternative to products that contain DEET – a registered pesticide.
Protect Natural is made using the natural repellent Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (Citriodiol®) which has a strong but not unpleasant smell. It’s alcohol-free, making it a good option for those with sensitive skin, and is safe to use on babies aged 6 months and over.
Once applied the spray lasts up to 10 hours and can repel a variety of biting insects, such as mosquitoes, midges, ticks, sand flies, and black flies. If you’re travelling to regions where you could be at risk from serious insect-borne diseases, then a DEET insect repellent is recommended. But for low-risk, non-malarial destinations, Protect Natural Insect Repellent is ideal for health-aware parents who want to keep annoying bugs at bay.
Pyramid Biodegradable Soap (Pyramid Travel Products)
Pyramid Biodegradable Soap is wonderful in its simplicity. This liquid soap is made from ingredients that are 100% biodegradable, and can be used to wash skin, hair, clothes, dishes and anything else that needs a quick clean.
As it suitable for use with either fresh or salt water, it’s ideal for camping trips, days at the beach, and walks in the countryside. A real backpack (or handbag!) essential.
One 60ml bottle contains enough soap to last one person around seven days. Available at £3.30 from www.healthy-travel.co.uk
Summit 250 Sleeping Bag (Mountain Warehouse)
A good sleeping bag is a must on any camping trip. The Summit 250 Sleeping Bag is a 3-4 season bag, which is perfect for outdoor use in cold to very cold weather (1C to 4C). Testing this on a cool summer’s night, I found the mummy shape kept me feeling very snug and I just unzipped it half-way as the sun came up and warmed the tent.
The zip system has a two-way closure system, so you can access your legs/feet with unzipping the entire thing. You can also buy another bag and zip them both together to create a double sleeping bag – ideal for nighttime cuddles with a partner or young children.
The Summit 250 Sleeping Bag is currently reduced from £59.99 to £29.99 at www.mountainwarehouse.com
Pop Up Double Skin 3 Man Tent (Mountain Warehouse)
Having spent around 20% of my childhood huddled in tents of various shapes and sizes, I now consider myself somewhat of a tent connoisseur. And this one’s a real thing of beauty that’s perfect for small families.
What I love most about this offering from Mountain Warehouse is how easy it is to pitch and take down. Simply open the bag and the tent pings open in seconds (my kids were seriously impressed). After that it took me no more than five minutes to peg it into place. Easy peasy!
I’ll admit, I was a little worried about taking it down again though. In four years I’ve never been able to wrestle my kids’ pop-up playhouse back in its original storage bag, so I was expecting a repeat of that excruciating performance here. WRONG! It only took me two minutes to fold it back into its circular shape and bag. I had to read the instruction a couple of times to get the knack right, but it was actually very straightforward. Hurray for great engineering!
This tent’s also extremely lightweight (3kg), has a double layer to reduce condensation and an inner mesh door for airflow. It’s not fully waterproof, but it can repel light showers so is best suited for summer use.
The Pop Up Double Skin 3 Man Tent is currently reduced from £99.99 to £49.99 and can be purchased from www.mountainwarehouse.com
Ultimate Self Inflating Mat (Mountain Warehouse)
The Ultimate Self Inflating Mat is a top bit of kit for anyone averse to sleeping on hard ground (i.e. everyone). Simply remove it from its storage bag and turn a valve to let it self-inflate. You can add a couple of additional breaths too if you prefer a slightly firmer surface (but not too many as this could cause damage).
The fabric is very hard-wearing so I had no concerns about anyone accidently popping it. While the mat could be too short for people around 6 foot +, for most campers it will provide a huge step up from your typical foam camping mat.
For its durability, comfort, and sensible size, this Self-Inflating Mat is well worth the investment. Very lightweight, great for insulation and easy to pack away.
The Ultimate Self Inflating Mat is currently reduced from £59.99 to £24.99 at www.mountainwarehouse.com
Kinetik’s Allergy Reliever
Hay fever is the blight of my summers. Feeling ill from April – July isn’t much fun, especially when you’re trying to enjoy some outdoor adventures.
The Kinetik’s Allergy Reliever uses red light therapy to suppress the cells that release histamine (the substance that is released during an allergic reaction) and also improve blood flow. The light is directed into the nose using two nasal probes, and after three minutes the device automatically turns itself off.
It’s easy to be sceptical about medical machines, and from reading other reviews it’s clear that not everyone is totally satisfied. However, there were plenty of positive reviews and after four days of using the Allergy Reliever three times a day, I did begin to notice my symptoms lessening. Placebo effect, maybe? I can’t say for sure, but either way my heavy head is lifting and the sneezing is almost gone.
Although this device won’t appeal to everyone, it could be a solution for anyone who wants to avoid/reduce the use of anti-histamines or other drug treatments.
The Kinetik’s Allergy Reliever costs £19.99 and available from kinetikwellbeing.com, as well as Amazon, Asda & Tesco.
*Edited 18/07/2016 to change product name Trek Natural to Protect Natural.