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Camping equipment - John C. Kirk
May. 26th, 2012
06:52 pm -
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June 4th, 2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
Inexpensive and good-quality camping gear can be had from Alpkit - http://www.alpkit.com/shop/
Sleeping mats were one of their earlier products, and they have a whole range of sizes, lengths and weights. I'd definitely recommend the self-inflating type camping mattress over every other kind. Don't buy a down camping mattress (or for that matter a down sleeping bag or down jacket) for use in the UK, they're hopeless when they get wet and you have to be careful how you store them. I have an Alpkit Wideboy mat, which is a compromise between pack size and comfort.
I second elvum's comment about an empty pillowcase.
I also second his comment about electrical hookups. Don't bother - the kit you need is going to be too bulky to take with you. Charging your appliances in a cafe is a much better idea.
I bought an MSR "Hubba Hubba" lightweight tent a couple of years ago and am very impressed with it. A particularly nice feature is that you can use it on its own for ultralight trips, but add a thicker groundsheet ("footprint", sold separately) to protect it if needed. They even sell an extension unit for it (called a "gear shed") that gives extra space for storing stuff in the dry.
My polar guide chums all vouch for the general excellence of Hilleberg tents, so should you ever wish to ski to the South Pole you'll find that you already own a suitable tent!
Stoves: I have a mini Camping Gaz stove, the kind that fits onto the top of a small gas cylinder. Buy the kind that takes the more modern resealable cartridges (CV 270, CV300, CV 470) because these allow you to remove the stove from the cartridge without leaking gas everywhere. Camping Gaz are a French company and their cartridges are widely available in Europe. Gas stoves don't perform as well at low temperatures (i.e < +5C) as liquid-fuel stoves, but they are light, convenient and very easy to use. I would strongly recommend one.
Cookware: Alpkit have excellent lightweight titanium cookware at very sensible prices. My brother and sister-in-law used the Orikaso folding plastic plates/bowls on their cycle-tour of Europe and found them to be pretty good.