During Winter many campsites close up shop, preferring to save on overheads and get a well-earned rest during the off-season.
This is great news for the exhausted campsite owners and tired pitches, but not so good for us happy campers who like to pitch up all the year round.
Thankfully, you’re not completely bereft of options, especially if you don’t mind taking a risk and asking around for a place to camp. That’s exactly what I did last weekend with my Dad, with the express purpose of road testing some new gadgets that I’d managed to get my hands on and also prove that you don’t need the summer sun to enjoy a lovely weekend of camping.
During the summer months, the North Wales region is crammed full of tourists from the UK and beyond, but during the winter months you’ll find more room in the campsites, car parks and tea rooms making for a much more relaxing (if brisk) weekend away. One of the benefits of camping in the off-season is that you can usually take advantage of much quieter campsites, allowing you to get your distance from your crotchety Dad should you both need a bit of head-space. Our destination for this month’s trip was the Llyn Peninsula, one of my favourite places to visit in North Wales.
There are a few gadgets and tools that make camping during this time of the year a much more comfortable experience. Over the years, my Father and I have slowly built up an array of these nifty bits and bobs, including a killer set of portable speakers, so I thought I’d share a few with you today:
The monthly excursions I enjoy with my Father are frequent highlights of my year. We tend not to stay in touch that much outside of them, preferring to leave our catching up for the time we spend together. When we were both more spritely, we’d be a Dad and lad in one tent, however these days we’re both too old, smelly and generally irritable to handle sharing a tent together so we opt for separate tents pitched at a sensible distance from each other.
After cycling through a handful of different models we’ve finally settled on the REI Co-op Quarter Dome 1 Tent. This is a fantastically rugged, practically designed piece of kit that gives a single occupant more than enough space to stretch out as well as keep their gear dry and protected. The only downside? It’s really hard to get hold of, importing from the US seems to be the best option – once you’ve got one you’ll be sorted for a long time!
Whilst many campers swear by their favourite 10-year old stuff sacks, we all know that the best sleeping tech is always going to be the newest. Before you start snorting derisively through your ripstop nylon, I’d recommend you take a SelkBag 5G for a spin.
If you’re one of those restless sleepers who always finds themselves rolling around and unable to stretch out in a traditional sleeping bag then this will be just the ticket for you. The SelkBag 5G Original (and it’s Lite version) are effectively jumpsuits made out of highly insulated sleeping bag material. Each suit comes complete with removable booties, hand holes and kangaroo pouch for added practicality. At around £120, these are by no means a budget option, but are well worth investing in.
Gone are the days of cooking on bulky, heavy-duty trangias with the stench of mentholated spirits imbuing every meal (and rucksack) that you have. The development of the camping stove has moved on a fair bit since those days: from the retro trangias to the practical but pricey ‘pocket-rockets’, to today’s incarnation of biomass cooker systems that might cost you a pretty penny, but will pay dividends in the long run.
As ever, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’ve got any questions about the products I mention – I’m always eager to talk camping.