The latest in our round-up of well-designed kit for camping and the outdoors (with a few tangential bits and pieces now and then!). Let us know if there’s something you’ve found that works perfectly for you – whether it’s a £5 workaround or a £50 piece of designer kit. And if there’s anything you’d tell others to avoid….share that too.
A lifesaver…literally. This smart cat-feeder is designed for households with a number of animals, and where one of them isn’t getting its fair share. In our case, it was one cat and a greedy interloper. When we go camping, someone visits the cat every day to feed, stroke and play with him, but – unknown to us – most of his food was being snaffled by next door’s cat.
The high-tech Sureflap only opens for one cat, who wears a transmitter on his collar. If your cat is microchipped, then that will work instead of the collar device. There’s a training mode to get your pet used to the opening and closing and you can set the lid closure delay to suit your cat’s needs.
It works fantastically well and absolutely saved our cat from starvation. It looks cool too. One of our best buys in a long time. Around £70.
After using a Waeco fridge for a couple of years, we were excited to try this new range. We tested the CFX28, which is a good size for a couple on a long trip. For a family, though, the CFX35 (32-litre) is probably a better size. Both have a flat top, positive close, sturdy carrying handle and a divider for the internal wire basket to make things stay in place. They’re tall enough for bottles (unless you place them at the sides because the lip of the lid comes down inside a little), and also have a digital display for temperature (set from below freezing to fridge temperature or higher), USB charging port and interior light. Not cheap (from £450 upwards), but essential for long European summers because they stay at the temperature you want whatever the sun is doing! Use it as a spare fridge at home to justify the cost!
Small, neat and light on-ear headphones that you could probably wear comfortably in bed if you happen to be on a noisy campsite. They’re Bluetooth, so no wires, and have a range of around 10m depending on what gets in the way. We’re told the Bluetooth 4.0 and CSR chipsets give a balance between performance and battery life. The lithium battery promises up to 10 hours’ playback, 185 standby hours and 2.5 hours’ charging time. There’s also a 3.5mm audio cable in case you run out of battery.
The one downside is that the built-in mic isn’t terribly good. If you make a lot of calls, you may find it a bit buggy.
They fold flattish to fit into a carrying pouch and have a good sound. You can also use the built-in mic for calls. The audio controls on the right ear are a bit fiddly at first. They come in black, white, blue, orange and green with a soft touch finish. Around £20.
Shave Well camping mirrors
A simple (unbreakable) mirror in a choice of options – suction cup for the window of a campervan or hanging chain for in a tent. Nothing fancy, just a clear reflection and a rather heartwarming back-story. The mirrors are made at Sunshine Industries, a vocational training place for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Knoxville, Tennessee.
We spoke to the owner of the company and suggested he’d double his sales if he marketed his mirrors as ‘Make-Up Well’ too. He liked the suggestion. Remember, life is like a mirror. We get the best results when we smile at it! Around £9.