Gary’s trip to A&E

Firstly, don’t panic – Gary isn’t a human! Gary is the name of our gazebo! (Yes, we know we are a bit odd – maybe that’s why we like sleeping in fields when we have perfectly good houses with beds?!).

Gary join our camp equipment family in 2019. You can read about his arrival here. He has worked hard over the last few years – he’s been a sunshade and a rain protector, he’s been battered by the wind at many campsites, been dusted in frost, held puddles of rainwater on his roof and once got weighed down by a pile of hail stones! Over lockdown he put in extra hours turning gardens into outdoor rooms hosting dinners, lunches, tea parties, beers round the fire and even a hen party. Every time he gets bowed down, he bounces right back up – literally! Although we don’t leave him up in high winds unnecessarily, it is fun to watch him be pushed right down by the wind and spring back up a moment later!

Hard work takes it’s toll and Gary developed a tiny hole along one of his seams. We hope he has many adventures ahead of him this summer, so we wanted to repair it as straight away before it got worse.

Step 1: purchase some ‘seam grip’ and some ‘tenacious tape’

Step 2: working on the inside, clean the affected area with hand-sanitizer

step 3: cut a little strip of tenacious tape, just bigger than the hole. Peel off backing and smooth over hole, pressing down firmly.

step 4: now clean the outside with hand sanitizer.

Step 5: apply seam grip over the hole. Leave it to dry a little bit.

Step 6: cut another strip of tenacious tape and apply on top of the seam grip

Hopefully Gary is now almost as good as new and looking forward to hosting many more adventures!

R & L

PS You can read our other thoughts on gazebos here.

As snug as a bug

It’s become a running joke that this goat feels the cold at night. I always wear thermals to sleep in when I’m camping, even in the height of summer. At either end of the season you might find me wearing double thermals, a wool jumper, woolly socks, woolly hat and gloves inside two sleeping bags… and it’s not as if we camp in the artic, we rarely get further than Sussex!! And of course unless it’s a super warm night I insist on a hot water bottle…but you already know that top camping tip.

The reason it is so funny is that the other goat will probably just be in her summer jammas… but cocooned in her Western Mountaineering sleeping bag. It’s so super warm that she often she doesn’t bother to zip it up!

This season I’ve decided it was time for an upgrade! I compared lots of options and in the end went with Thermarest Questar 20. It seemed a good balance of good quality down, light weight and yet not as expensive as some.

When it arrived I couldn’t wait to go camping to try it out – so I decided that I would sleep in it at home on my bed. To test out whether it was warm I put aside my winter pyjamas and slept in a summer nightie.

At first I was a bit concerned, it’s so lightweight it didn’t feel snuggly warm, but about 4.30am I woke up because I was too hot!!

There are some good features which the websites don’t really tell you about:

The thing that annoyed me most about my old sleeping bag (mountain hard wear women’s lamina 20) was that the zip always got snagged on the lining. I’ve slept in it a lot over many years, and I’ve still not got the knack of how to stop it catching. But the thing that annoys me most is that when I bought it, the sales assistant specifically told me that it had a special tape to stop the zip catching!! Anyway, I’m more hopeful about the new one as it has two thick tapes and the zipper itself has a sheath over it.

I think the website details maybe did tell me about this feature, but I didn’t understand what it was. This is a photo of the inside bottom of the sleeping bag… a special little place to tuck your toes in to keep them warm!

Similarly the web details did say it was W.A.R.M…. this label shows what that means quite nicely!

I was a bit confused why there were funny loops on the bag of the new sleeping bag – turns out it’s a way to keep the bag on your sleeping mat. Clearly I couldn’t test this out on my bed, but I’ll give it a go in the tent as it sounds a good idea.

I was also pleased to know that the down in the sleeping bag had been resourced responsibly and the ducks might have had a happy life. You can read more about it on the RDS website.

I’ll let you know how I get on when I test it out for real on a camping trip…hopefully some time soon!

L

PS this post was written last month (when it was still wintery) – sorry for the delay there was an issue with uploading the photos.

That’s handy!

Waterproof jackets are an essential and waterproof trousers are pretty useful too – keeping you warm as well as dry when you’re around the campsite. But I also love my waterproof gloves!

If you’re out walking all day and your gloves get wet, either just as your hands swing at your side or because you have to touch wet gates to open them, then you are in for cold wet hands which is miserable. Waterproof gloves are the prefect solution!

I had a pair of sealskinz a few years ago and I loved them. But I clearly loved them too much – I wore them lots, not just for long walks… and consequently I lost them! I eventually accepted they were not going to rematerialise and bought myself another pair recently.

I got them in Blacks… and made the very useful discovery, that you get a discount there if you’ve got a National Trust membership card. Very handy!

Although tight gloves feel snug and warm in the shop, if they reduce your circulation at all that won’t help with keeping your fingers warm. So I erred on the safe side and got mediums, which are actually a bit long in the fingers, but I’ve been enjoying wearing them.

L

Top camping tip #2

Here’s another top camping tip idea we came up with recently… pack a thermos flask to save hot water!

Nothing happens quickly on a campsite, but boiling the kettle seems to take forever! We spend a LOT of time waiting for the kettle to boil… although perhaps thats because we spend a lot of time drinking tea and coffee!?!

Once it has boiled, put any hot water you don’t use into a thermos flask. It will stay warm enough for washing up, or if you want another cuppa later, then using warm water in the kettle will save precious camping gas!!

R

Out of puff!

Last time I put the gazebo up the pump wasn’t working well. I remembered that when I’d last used it, before Christmas, I was suspicious it was getting less efficient, but this time it was clearly not right! I remember blogging saying I could put it up by myself in no time at all. It was now hard work and taking forever – the pump and I were both out of puff!!

I emailed outwell explaining that I’d bought the gazebo in 2019 and was disappointed the pump had stopped working – could they send me replacement valve to fix it? Yesterday I received a parcel – a brand new cyclone pump!

This morning I tried it out – and the gazebo positively sprung up!

This pump is better than the original as it deflates as well as inflates and somehow cleverly pumps both when you pull the handle up and when you push it down. So although I wasn’t impressed the first pump broke, I am very happy with the replacement – thank you Mr Outwell!

L

Spending more pennies!

In the last post, I told you about our new toilet, but you also need to think about the other toilet accessories you will need to purchase e.g. toilet brush, bin, cloths for cleaning, extra toilet roll etc.  We put ours in a little basket to keep them altogether and stop them falling over.

But most of importantly you need a toilet tent! 

For us, colour was an important factor – we like everything to blend in. 

After that we needed one that was in stock (there was a rush on them due to the pandemic!).  We went for Kampa – the colour is good, you will either love or hate the icon on the door!

It’s pretty easy to put up, but we did break one of the bungs on the end of one of the ceiling poles very quickly.  We like the little added details of a pocket to hold the toilet roll, a further pocket for storing other bits and pieces, and the ventilated roof!

Hygiene is obviously very important, and even more so in a pandemic, so we have also added a hand-washing station to our set up:

The funky water carrier with tap attachment is by Colapz.  It works well for handwashing, although it’s annoying that you can’t use the last bit of water due to the height of the tap outlet. As the name suggests it packs down small, as does the shallow collapsible basin.  The little table is by Outwell.

Our encampment is now en-suite – the height of luxury! 

R