We’ve tested good kit, bad kit, daft kit…and even camping equipment that makes us burst out laughing! Have a look at some of the camping gear that brings a smile to our faces.
Daft or great? This tray attaches to (most) steering wheels and then stores away neatly somewhere. Use it to eat a meal from, as a stand for a laptop or tablet, or to read a book.
Costs from around £6. Just don’t turn the…oh crikey, you really don’t need to be told that, do you!
Sprung a leak?
Stormsure make patches of different sizes and shapes that you simply peel off and stick on. Get the specific ones for boots and wellies if that’s where you’ve sprung a leak – the regular ones are not so great for this application. There are also special patches in the range for everything from canoes to car soft tops. The tube adhesive is for more permanent repairs, but you’ll need to use it fast as the glue hardens in the tube if you’re not careful. From £5 upwards.
We’ve recommended the McNett range of sealants, Tenacious Tape and funky patches in the past. They’ve never let us down, and we like the neoprene kits (for wetsuits) and the Gore-Tex repair kits. Again, there are products for every type of kit and prices start at just over £5.
The Happy Going
We’ve mentioned the Happy Going before, but we still love it for making us laugh and for actually being pretty useful. t’s a waterproof toilet roll holder that you can hang in a tree or on the side of your tent. And it has a built-in light. Finding the neatly tucked away switch for that and then pressing it to reveal a miniature LED striplight gave us our first bout of hysterics. We pressed it again and…oh my goodness…it had a flashing mode! Now we can give our night-time toilet trips a disco ambience.
In fact, it’s fantastically made – for example, the two ends that hold the roll inside snap into place with concealed magnets, plus the lightswitch has a waterproof cover and a little velcro tab to keep it out of the way. Costs around £5
We don’t like plastic waste, so we were happy to come across these simple, leakfree silicone food bags. They even stand up when filled, which makes them even better for camping use. And, if you can get used to the idea of eating out of a bag, you can put your food directly into it, eat from it and even microwave your food in it. Around £15 for four.
The best hanging toilet bag
Keeping bathroom things together and easy to find is a big deal when you’re in a tent or campervan, so we’re delighted when we get it right. We loved the Samsonite hanging toiletry bag, but we’ve found one that’s even better.
The Reisenthel hanging toilet bag comes in medium or large and lots of designs. We like the black with the striking orange interior! The medium size is plenty big enough, it’s easy to find things, there’s a mirror and it looks lovely. Perfect for hanging in trees, in the campervan or in the shower block.
Both are around £25.
We needed something to give us a flat surface on the backseat of our van – for standing cups and picnics on. This freeform tray is a brilliant (and smart) solution that should be useful for camping in general. Its simple perfection is worth a smile!
It’s a flat tablemat, heat resistant up to 90-degrees, that becomes a tray as soon as you pickup the handles. Very clever. It’s a decent faux leather surface and is reversible, with different colours on each side. Three sizes and lots of colour combinations. From around £11 to £20-ish.
The Aqua Quest West Coast is our top pick for good weather wild camping and bivvying. It’s basically a mini mesh tent you can set up in a minute, and you can then string up a tarp to keep off the rain. It wouldn’t work with rain AND wind.
Its big advantage is very little condensation (there was some on the green roof section, but it doesn’t touch your sleeping bag except right at the foot). It’s also roomy and a pleasure to sleep in, looking at the stars.
If you want a small, light and fast ‘thing’ to sleep in when fair-weather wild camping, this is perfect. Weighs a kilo, packs to 38cm x 13cm. Costs around £80.
We’ve got an article all about bivvying and camping in the trees, by the way.
The best swimming and water shoes
We needed something to protect our feet from rocks, but flexible enough to swim in and clever enough to let the water out quickly. Our first pick was the under £10) Gul GForce, which are very soft and easy to get on and off. There’s an insole inside that tends to slip out and trap sand, so just ditch the insole. Tighten them with the drawcord at the back. If you’re a woman with size 6 feet, you’ll need to get the children’s size 5 instead…believe me.
Don’t forget to look at our list of long-term favourite camping gear – stoves, tables, chairs, tents and every camping accessory you can think of – all tried, tested and loved.