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

Recycling your camping gear

Camping can be a ‘green’ way to holiday, but your choices can make a difference to how eco it is.

I was pleased to see this advert in my local Cotswold Outdoors store.

The man workng there explained to me that good stuff is reused by charities and other stuff is broken down into it’s constituent parts and recycled. Apparently shoes become that spongy surfacing in playgrounds!

I’ll have to have a rumage in my loft and see what I can recycle!

L

Be sure to label the body bag!

I have been enjoying making use of the gazebo in the garden to enable me to meet up with friends but still be compliant with lockdown rules.  I don’t have a garage for storage, so in the boot of my car I have what looks suspiciously like a body bag that contains the gazebo!  (I’ve never actually had the mis-fortune to need to see a body bag, but it’s what I imagine one to look like!)

We’re realistic, we know our limitations… and we know that we will never manage to fold up the tents neatly enough to get them back into their original bags, so we buy oversized ones and don’t worry about it.  We fold them how we fancy and pop them in.

Thing is that it means you can then easily forget what’s in each bag.  Especially if you rearrange your packing system and the bag you used to use for one thing now contains something else!  So, what we needed was labels.

And here’s what I made:

Brightly coloured in a variety of shades to aid recognition and laminated to make them waterproof!

It’s a bit of a shame not to be able to put my groceries in the car boot because it’s full of gazebo in an oversized bag… but who knows, one day there might be a gazebo-based emergency?! It’s never happened yet, but if it does then I’ll be just the woman for job!

L

Don’t forget…

Most camping trips we forget something.  Last time it was the coffee.  Other times we’ve forgotten less important things like a sleeping mat or the tent pole!

The organised goat learnt from this and has lots of lists she double checks.  The less-organised goat doesn’t… and it’s a bit of a worry.

When our top follower of this blog heard about this, she took matters into her own hand and compiled a generic camping packing list.  Here it is to help you pack too:

Shelter

  • Tent
  • Tent poles
  • pegs
  • mallet
  • Gazebo
  • Chair
  • Bedding
  • Sleeping mat
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Pillow
  • Hot Water Bottle
  • Eye mask

Clothes

  • Flipflops
  • Wellies
  • Pyjamas
  • Hat
  • fingerless gloves
  • body warmer or fleece
  • waterproofs (including trousers)
  • underwear
  • spare trousers
  • spare top
  • Jumper

Toiletries

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • hair brush
  • baby wipes
  • deodorant
  • flannel
  • shower gel
  • towel

Miscellaneous

  • Lantern
  • Headtorch
  • Penknife
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • insect repellent
  • map
  • hand sanitizer
  • face mask
  • water bottle
  • phone
  • phone charger and/or battery pack

The obvious thing that is missing from this list are food and drink… but those are whole other lists of their own!! 

Hopefully now nothing will be forgotten on your next trip either!

Happy camping

R & L (& friend!)

In training…

Sadly we can’t go camping yet.

(Well not anywhere other than our own gardens … and I’m afraid my garden isn’t exciting enough to be worth the effort!!)

… but I have started getting in training!  I put this up in 15 mins – all by myself!!!

Super fast inflatable gazebo!

Super fast inflatable gazebo!

 

 

 

I can assure you that Snoopy dog was no help at all… he only came out afterwards to inspect my work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow morning my neighbour is hosting a socially distanced prayer meeting in her garden… and there’s a chance of rain.  Hopefully now it will be able to go ahead whatever the weather!!

It did make me nostalgic for camping trips… hopefully not long now.

L

PS you can read our review of our much loved inflatable gazebo & the other gazebos in our lives here

Caught in the head lights!

I’ve never had a headtorch that I’m really happy with.

Having a headtorch when you’re camping makes life so much easier.  Not only can you see where you’re going, but if you are cooking or eating or pitching your tent or searching for your toothbrush after dark, it’s useful to have both hands free.  It makes a trip to the compost loo in the middle of the night less scary and when you’re not wearing it you can use the elastic to strap it to your tent pole like a little hanging light.

I’ve owned both Petzl and Black Diamond ones, but never been very satisfied with them.

The other goat recently left hers behind on a trip to a youth hostel, so she purchased some new ones to try out.  Headtorch purchasing is always a bit confusing as you can pay anything between £4 and £40 and not really understand the difference.

The assistant manager in our local branch of Blacks was very helpful and tried his best to explain about checking for the battery life as well as the lumens.  Apparently ‘CREE’ is a good word to look out for.  We would add that the bulky ones are annoying to wear and if the button sticks out too much you can easily accidentally turn it on in your bag and waste your battery!

Is red light worthwhile?  Possibly – it can allow you to read without attracting insects to your lamp.  It can also be handy if you want to read while your tent buddy is trying to sleep as it is less bright.

Anyway, on this on this occasion the little goat got overwhelmed and ended up buying two – on the justification that our camping guests never remember their torches, and so a spare would be handy!

Purchase 1:  Eurohike 6 LED headtorch20200110_202114

Only 30 lumens, beam distance 10-12 metres battery life of about 8 hours.  White, bright and red settings and a bargain at only £4 (in the sale, normally £6).

So far it’s only been tried out in the loft – need a camping trip to try it properly, but so far so good.

 

 

 

 

Purchase 2: Technicals 150L CREE head torch

This one cost £10, which is still reasonably priced. It has an optional strap for top of your head, but this can be removed.  However, when turning the torch around to try and fit the straps on for the first use, a little nut dropped out!  It’s from the hinge which allows you to move the angle of the torch…  Needless to say, we will never find out how this one performs as it is going straight back to the shop!

R