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Carbon monoxide alarms in tents - yes or no?

The Club's carbon monoxide warning poster

Over the last few months the Club has changed its position on the use of carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in tents. If you’ve followed our deliberations you may remember we were concerned the current European standard (EN 50291) didn’t seem to cover the conditions found inside a tent.

My colleague Ian Hewlett and I met with Leigh Greenham from CoGDEM last year. CoGDEM is the organisation for members of the gas detection industry. It obviously has an interest in selling CO detection systems, but its members are also doing significant research into the efficacy of sensors and alarms, sadly often prompted by loss of life. Leigh was able to share with us some ‘company confidential’ CO alarm testing data that’s not generally available.

In cases like these I tend to use my Jonathan Jones test, named after a friend who’s a professional sceptic. I simply ask myself “Would Jonathan consider this sufficient proof in this case?”

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Candy Evans avatar Posted by
Candy Evans

Candy Evans

Candy Evans avatar

Candy Evans is Test Editor for Camping & Caravanning. She took a less conventional path into magazine journalism via physics and a decade in computer consultancy, turning to caravanning and writing during a career break as a full-time mum. Her interests are wide and include the Club’s Archive – though she’s careful to wash her hands after checking 1919 editions of the Club’s magazine to avoid lurking traces of influenza.

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Christmas camping

So here I sit, well lay actually, writing this blog on my last camp of the year.
I'm at Blackmore Club Site in a Vango Force 10 Vortex 300 and it's Christmas Eve Eve.
I always try to have a dads and lads Christmas camping trip with my two sons, Tom, aged 14, and 11-year-old Elliot. It's become a bit of a tradition and Blackmore is our usual destination.
We pitched up yesterday in record time as the rain was just about to start and then jumped back in the car to head into the Malvern Hills. We drove towards our starting point with that sinking feeling as the rain was getting worse, as was the complaints from the 'lads' about getting wet on the hill.
But undeterred we found a parking spot that shortens the walk up to the highest point in the Malverns and found ourselves in what turned out to be the perfect pocket of good weather.
More grumbles from the lads (Tom actually) soon disappeared as they got stuck into the walk, which gave us great views of the English and Welsh countryside. We ploughed on through the cold wind until we reached our summit, the top of Worcestershire Beacon.
Bacon sandwiches were consumed and I then suggested we head back before it got too dark. But no. The lads wanted another summit under their belts so we headed on to Sugarloaf Hill.
Then it definitely was time to head back.
Bracing but lovely is the best way to describe the late afternoon walk.
Our reward on the return to Blackmore was another walk but this time to the Swan at Hanley Swan where dinner and drinks awaited and a good dads and lads chinwag (subjects being Facebook, Twitter, school, the Hobbit - you get the idea).
Then back to the tent to watch a Top Gear special on the iPad (another little tradition) before bedding down for the night.
It was pretty cold outside, worsened by the wind chill factor (3 degrees) but inside we were toasty with our thermal mats, Snugpak sleeping bags and 16 layers of clothing!
But we all slept well, though a noisy owl did try to interrupt our visit to the land of nod at about 1am. But we'll forgive him that - this is more his home than ours.
So now all that's left is for me to climb out of the sleeping bag and tent, get on with breakfast in the rain while the lads stay snug in their beds (funnily enough another tradition), before heading for home.
Good thing these traditions.

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Simon McGrath avatar Posted by
Simon McGrath

Simon McGrath

Simon McGrath avatar

Editor, Camping & Caravanning I've been a journalist for more than 20 years and a magazine editor for at least a dozen of them. I have a love of the great outdoors, not to mention camping in all its forms, which is a great way to get out there. But I don't just like admiring the countryside, I love getting active by sailing, trekking and walking, canoeing (when I get the chance) and mountain-biking.

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Lighting up dark skies

Dark skies are the perfect excuse to go camping

One piece of news that caught my eye today is that Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water and Forest Park has been made Europe's largest Dark Sky Park.

This is fantastic news, not only to seasoned stargazers but to anyone who has even a vague interest in astronomy.

I probably fall into the latter category. I don't even own a pair of binoculars let alone a telescope, but I still take every opportunity I can get to stare skywards on a starry night.

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Stuart Kidman avatar Posted by
Stuart Kidman

Stuart Kidman

Stuart Kidman avatar

Stuart Kidman is the magazine's Deputy Editor. He has been a journalist for ten years, writing for local newspapers before joining the Club in 2009. He loves camping and enjoys nothing better than trekking off into the wilderness to 'rough it' for a couple of nights.

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