We bring you some of the latest products available for campers and caravanners.
A rainy visit to the Club's Eskdale Site for Dubfest gave Leda Reynolds the perfect opportunity to road test some Bogs.
Attending Club meets and visiting Club Sites in all weathers, waterproof footwear is an essential part of my working wardrobe - even in the summer.
The need to keep dry while still looking good drew me to these Herringbone Bogs. They looked smart and their stylish herringbone design meant I could comfortably wear them on site or around town.
I found the Bogs ideal for our changeable weather. Their capabilities were severely tested at Eskdale where the heavens opened and the ground conditions were very wet and slippy. The boot's slip resistant outsole ensured I remained upright and rubber/neoprene boot keep my feet snug and dry.
The handles on either side of the boot means you can easily pull them on. The down side is they are a little difficult to remove but I found using a step as a lever the best option. That said, I’m so attached to them, I may as well just leave them on all the time.
The Bogs are available in a range of colours, you could even get one to match your raincoat.
Buy now »
Cost: From £49.99
They’re bold, they’re bright, they’re fun. Claire Stevens puts a pair of Rockfish Wellingtons to the test.
Wellington boots – the camper’s friend and more than ever a must-have fashion accessory for everyone from festival-goers to city slickers and parents on the school run.
Wellies are a staple of my wardrobe. I use them when camping, walking my two dogs or on those days when it just pours.
With this in mind my wellies need to be hard wearing and most of all they need to be comfortable and as I like to look good, they need to look good too.
For me Rockfish wellies tick all the boxes. Available in range of rainbow colours, there’s
a boot to suit every mood not to mention outfit that you may want to wear them with.
Rockfish Wellingtons are handmade from natural rubber and have a moulded deep-ridged sole for extra grip so that even in the muddiest conditions you still feel safe underfoot. The adjustable waterproof gusset strap and buckle allows a little extra room when tucking in trousers. The lining of the boot is contrasting, durable and soft to touch.
Overall, I found Rockfish to be a great fitting boot, great looking and I liked the fact they're available in a wide choice of colours with a matt or gloss finish. And you can choose from a full or half leg style.
Craghoppers Stefan trousers combine waterproof protection with stretch fabric that will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts.
Features include three zipped pockets, a Velcro hem adjuster and part elasticated waist. The trousers mix the waterproof and breathable AquaDry membrane with Pro Stretch technology, which our tester said resulted in a comfy and reliable pair of trousers during a recent hillwalking trip.
He added: “I’ve previously had a similar pair of Craghoppers trousers featuring SolarDry that were really good at keeping out the wet and meant I didn’t need to wear overtrousers. Over time and a lot of use the trousers lost their ability to keep my legs dry - the Stefan trousers have so far been a good replacement.”
Cost: From £17.50
The Butler Bottle Hugger is a slimline lightweight baby bottle holder that fits effortlessly into any baby-changing bag.
The Butler is hand-made in the UK from neoprene, the same material used to made wetsuits. The fabric’s flexible and stretchy properties mean the Butler will hold almost any baby bottle (actual dimensions are 19cm high, 8cm diameter), and is leak proof as well as washable.
Our testers Sam and Gareth Stevens said the Butler Bottle Hugger made life much easier for them, especially for night-time feeds and while out and about.
Sam said: “Using the Butler meant we didn’t need to make bottles in the middle of the night, or use bowls of hot water to stand the baby bottle in which normally means having to make an already hungry baby wait.
“For the night feed we made up a bottle before bed, popped it in the Butler and attached it using the velcro strap to the side of the cot – so we knew exactly where it was.”
The couple also reported that the Butler Bottle Holder holds its contents’ temperature very well. Sam said: “We were pleasantly surprised that the milk was still at a perfect temperature after four hours and at a good room temperature after eight hours. We also loved the design of the Black Splat Butler we tested.”
The Butler Bottle Hugger is available in other designs including, Blue Flower, Pink Flower and Red Circle.
MARSHA RYE packed the Vango Freedom 60+20L and put it to the test on an Asian backpacking adventure...
I’m very picky about how I pack and being used to the structure of a suitcase, I didn’t fancy the prospect of cramming all my possessions into a rucksack. With the Vango Freedom 60+20L however, I was able to unzip it on three sides - allowing full access to organise everything as I wished, not to mention find it again without causing mass disruption! Two straps across the main section and a drawstring helped secure everything in place before zipping up.
Pockets on the inside of the front flap and one on the outside (behind where the daysack attaches), although handy, are best just for papers and a small guidebook, as keeping too much here makes it tricky to close the bag if it’s already fairly full. That said, although the bag may not seem to have as much spare space as some more flexible designs, I was able to fit in plenty of souvenirs. Even when packed to its limit, the zips and seams barely seemed to flinch at the strain.
The daysack is a very welcome addition with plenty of space, including a zippered compartment on the front and elasticated net pockets on either side, big enough to take a 500ml bottle. Two clips near the handle at the top allowed me to attach a pack-away rain jacket, sleeping bag liner and travel towel when I was travelling overnight with just the daysack. Inside there are lots of handy pockets, one large one across the back and several smaller ones as well as a clip and pen slots.
This rucksack offers plenty of adjustments to the straps to make it a comfortable fit. I found myself making little tweaks during the first few wears as I got used to how it sat, but after that it became a part of me. When transferring at airports though, I opted to carry it as a holdall, using its side handle, as I’d have the straps stowed away in its handy flight cover – a great way to prevent damage or finding that your ideally adjusted straps have shifted in transit.
I can’t conclude this review without commenting on the fantastic purple colour this rucksack comes in, making it really stand out from the crowd. Don’t worry though, if that’s not your style, they do both this size and an 80+20L in black.
Overall the Vango Freedom is ideal for those who like everything to be in its place. The rucksack is brilliantly designed for women, in terms of both fit and style. With the handy detachable daysack included, the Vango Freedom 60+20L, is ideal for backpackers, very good value for money and looks like it’s built to last.
Cost: From £199
BARRY NORRIS looks at a kit with some helpful features that could help you receive satellite TV on your travels
When you’re out and about you might just dip into television for the news and weather or you might want to keep up with your favourite programmes. Either way you don’t want to waste much time setting up your TV reception on-site.
For campers in the UK, terrestrial TV through a roof aerial can provide the answer although in some rural areas this can have disappointing results. Or, perhaps like me you have a fixed rooftop satellite dish where your sight of the satellite is sometimes spoiled by a tree next to your pitch. For these situations and for those who currently have no way of receiving TV signals a portable dish is a good option. They can be relatively cheap and can be located to facilitate a good line of sight to the satellites.
The Maxview Precision dish system claims to be taller, stronger, lighter and easier to set up than any other satellite system on the market, so it seemed a good idea to test it.
The kit (which is supplied without a receiver) comes in two main parts – the robust and lightweight aluminium tripod and the dish complete with the LNB (the receiving device) and mounting support. The compact tripod folds out quickly and is secured to the ground with the three steel pegs provided. Use the compass to align the marked leg to face south and use the spirit level on the base of the tripod to try to get it as level as possible. It’s not essential to get the tripod dead level but it does help to ease the location of the satellite you want to receive.
Then it’s simply a matter of sliding the dish unit on top of the tripod post. The dish is then connected to your satellite receiver with the provided 10m of cable, which gives good scope for locating the dish for alignment to the satellite. The blue cable is claimed to be extra flexible and it was certainly easier to coil up compactly than a standard extension cable. With the dish elevated according to the instructions you can then turn it around in a horizontal plane to align with the satellite and clamp it in place.
Finally use the precision adjuster screw in conjunction with the built-in signal strength meter to achieve the correct elevation of the dish for maximum signal strength. Having used cheaper dish systems that require assembly and then having the hit-and-miss task of adjusting elevation by crude clamps, the elevation screw eased the process of tuning in to the maximum signal strength.
The system comes with two zipped bags that neatly store the dish and tripod and enable the kit to be packed away and stored quickly. The LNB folds forward and is held against the dish by a magnetic catch.
The dish is available in two sizes – 55cm and 65cm – and can be bought with either a single or twin LNB if you like to simultaneously record one programme while watching another. The 55cm version is more than adequate for receiving Freesat in the UK and should be okay for northern France, but the larger size would be better for travelling further south.
Verdict: It does what it says, is quick and easy to set up and adjustment can be achieved in a precise manner. If you’re looking for a portable satellite system and you want to keep the hassle of setting up to a minimum this portable satellite dish is worth considering.
Dish size: 55 or 65cm
LNB: single or twin
Weight: 6.1kg (55cm) 6.6kg (65cm)
Cost: From £25
As it's etiquette to ‘pick up' after your pooch, especially on site CLAIRE STEVENS put the Dicky Bag to the test
The Dicky Bag is a British invention, which is a neoprene bag with a built-in freshener. It conveniently clips on to your belt or backpack via a carabiner or can be worn across the body using the strap provided. It gives you a discreet and hygienic way to carry dog waste until you can dispose of it in an appropriate bin.
The bag is completely airtight and even has room for the girls’ favourite ball. I liked the fact the zipped lid doubles up as a handy store for waste bags and a bottle of hand sanitiser - both of which come with the Dicky Bag.
No more walks carrying the dreaded and rather awkward knotted bag desperately searching for a bin.
Made from neoprene, the Dicky Bag is not only waterproof, it’s also lightweight, washable and built to last.
You can choose from a variety of colours, designs and sizes, so whether you have a chihuahua or a great Dane there’s a Dicky Bag for you.
The V-Lite SpHike Mid Waterproof boot is a hybrid between a sports shoe and more traditional walking boot
This boot is part of Hi-Tec’s Sport Hiking range. It has a lightweight design, which includes ‘liquid rubber’ protection on the toe bumper and heel, yet feels sturdy. Its Vibram rubber outsole comes in a striking red.
Out tester found these boots noticeably lightweight, comfortable and didn’t take any breaking in. He said: "I found them an ideal outdoor boot for when I didn’t want to use a heavier ‘full-scale’ walking boot. And due to the red sole, even my teenage son thought they looked good.
"I find long wet grass a good test for waterproof properties and they performed well up to a point though on their last outing I did get slightly damp feet."
Members get a 30 per cent discount in our Members Marketplace. RRP £79.99. hi-tec.com
Aqua Connect is a simple solution for those caravanners with more than one Aquaroll or other external water barrels.
This adaptor connects your external water barrels and works on a gravity-fed system by means of one way valves and screw caps.
The system enables you to double or even treble your water reserve by using this interconnecting system, reducing the chance of running out of water.
Large and active family groups with high water consumption could benefit from this accessory, which eliminates the often-inconvenient switch between supplies.
It’s important to note the Aqua Connect can only be used with the larger filling cap and one Aquaroll or water barrel must have two filling/pump access points. The joins have non-return-valves so you separate them without losing water too.