From eco-cabins to kit to help you breathe underwater…here’s a round-up of the latest camping and outdoor kit we’ve been checking out. Don’t forget to leave a comment or send us a message if you’ve come across something you love (or hate!).
A Tentsile for backpackers
We’ve featured Tentsile’s off-ground tents before, but the company has now brought out some lightweight versions aimed at backpackers and hikers. These two-person tree tents get you off the wet, muddy or bumpy ground and away from insects and snakes. They have insect mesh and a waterproof flysheet.
We haven’t tried them yet, and – at first glance – they seems a bit like a standard bivvy hammock (have a look at the Exped and Amok ones here), albeit with three connections rather than two. We’ll report back when we’ve spent a night.
From around £130 at Amazon.
The Camp Champ kitchen
This is a monster of a field kitchen. This simple-looking ‘crate’ unfolds to reveal a top-end mobile kitchen with a powerful expedition stove, a selection of kitchen utensils, a knife block with chef’s knives, handmade cutlery, a big grill plate, pots and a pan, spice rack, dishes glasses for six and much more. Every item is held inside and secured for moving around.
Mind you, moving around isn’t a lightweight job – as you might expect with so much kit. The Camp Champ weighs 70kg, The cabinet is made of marine-grade ply painted with three layers of heavy duty PUR paint. The working surface is layered with a high pressure laminate.
Around €6,000. Campchamp
The Ameo Powerbreather
Designed as a training aid for professional athletes, we don’t see why we amateur snorkelers can’t benefit from the Powerbreather too. It’s a long away from the standard snorkel. It has a central mouthpiece and two tubes which promise only fresh air to breathe (rather than air mixed with your own carbon-dioxide out-breaths). It’s very adjustable (though watch you don’t wind your hair into the fastener if you’re not wearing a swimming cap). We haven’t given it a thorough test in the sea yet, but a pool test proved interesting. It does take a bit of getting used to. There’s some resistance to the breathing that feels scary at first; there’s a tendency for it to slip off your head if you don’t wear
a cap. It could be on our permanent pack-list for trips to the coast, and we’ll report back when we’ve taken it into waves.
There are three versions. The cheapest is the Sport at £70. They’re all available here
PowerMonkey solar charger
We’ve used PowerMonkey’s neat phone battery chargers before. The slim Solarmonkey Extreme charger has an integrated battery, a selection of connection leads and a protective storage case. It can be charged by sunlight, mains or USB and is water and shock-resistant. It weighs 450g and charges devices of 5V or 12V. It incorporates Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT) technology to enable it to charge during low-light conditions, and auto-load and self sensing switching technology, meaning when a device is connected, it will automatically sense whether the device needs power and will optimise charging.
From around £90. Solarmonkey
It seems that very soon there won’t be a field, mountain-top or bit of woodland that doesn’t have some cabin or chic-shed plonked in it. The Ecocapsule is a bit special in that it’s totally off-grid with its own power and water supply. There’s solar, wind and rainwater harvesting, funky looks and plenty of comfort. The downsides seem to be a lack of space and light, a hint of flimsiness (though this may be ironed out once it’s properly in production) and the cost. Designed and made in Slovakia, it’s €79,000 (ex VAT) for the first 50, but guaranteed cheaper if you can wait till the next batch. EcoCapsule