I love a good campsite. I like the small ones with only a few basic pitches as well as the large ones with flash facilities and swanky showers. Sometimes though, a proper campsite isn’t quite up to the ‘back to nature’ feeling you might be hankering for. You don’t want running water, toilets or showers. You want to be traversing the landscape, cohabiting and existing with the natural land. This is where Wild Camping comes into it’s own. You might be after a night out in the wild, or a cheap night out of the house or even be backpacking around the countryside; whatever reason it might be, a small lightweight tent that is easy and quick to pitch up and down is exactly what you need.
Quechua Quickhiker Ultralight 2 Man Hiking Tent Review
Well, it’s exactly what I needed. We have been planning on doing some backpacking for ages and I had been shopping around for a light weight hiking tent for ages. I’ve been having somewhat of a love afair with Decathlon and their brands, including Quechua, for a while now and after much deliberation, opted for their Quecha Quickhiker Ultralight 2 Man hiking tent at just £109 and 1.96kg! Packing down small and not taking up all of you rucksack is of huge importance too and it ticks this box, popping down to just 40 x 12 x 12cm. I was able to fit the tent, sleeping bag, air mat and stove in just a 40L bag and with plenty of room to spare. It even has cinch down straps to make it even tighter.
Whilst testing out the tent, I was really impressed by lots of the little details that have been added by people who have clearly shared the same frustrations I have had with tents in the past. There are too many to list, but things like having the (one!) large pole pre-fixed to the tent, as well as the smaller upright poles sewn in. This makes this tent super fast to pitch, even in the dark. I put it up in my garden to test it out first and that took about 10 minutes, taking things really slow. Actually in practice on our first outing with it, we pitched it in well under 5 minutes, in the wind (that’s if you don’t count all the photo taking!). I have no doubt I could pitch this thing solo in less than 90 seconds, with only another minute or two to peg it down really well – it really is such a breeze.
The cool features of the tent don’t end there; it has very sturdy but lightweight pegs, the good sort that don’t bend when you push them in with your foot! As you’d expect, sleeping inside this thing with two people is snug but that is exactly what you want when you’ve got to carry it! We both had a very comfortable night sleep and it had nice touches inside like an inner pocket which I found very useful to store things like my head torch which I might need in the dark. If you wanted something larger it would make a very spacious one man tent and still would be light enough to carry yourself.
I might have worried about a tent this good value and light not being able to stand up to the great outdoors but it’s been tested on a rotating table in a wind tunnel at speeds of 70 km/h, which will have tested the tent from every angle. It also stood up against real wind on the North Coast of Cornwall – I was really impressed that a tent this light stayed as rigid throughout the wind and gusts.
Sticking with air flow, the tent has a large vent on the top of the fly sheet as well as one at the feet. This, along with the mosquito netting on the doors, allows for a comfortable sleep as it’s well ventilated and prevents condensation really well.
With a door on either side of the tent you’re not going to have to clamber over anyone in the night. They have put a small porch on one side, which I think is a great idea as it cuts down the weight of having one on each door, but still gives you somewhere to cook, eat and drink and store your pack and muddy boots over night.
There are lots of light weight hiking tents on the market and if you pay literally three times the price you can drop a few hundred grams but you need to be doing some seriously fast and long distance walking or have very deep pockets to justify this! I haven’t been able to find a 2 man hiking tent that is this good value! If you click through here to look at the tent’s page, there are some great in depth and detailed videos to show you even more.
Coleman FyreStorm Stove Review
If you’re out walking or backpacking, having something lightweight and fast to cook on is really crucial. You can’t be hulking around some huge stove or waiting for ages in the cold to get your hot beverage or meal. That’s why I’d recommend a stove like the Coleman FyreStorm Stove. It’s not just me that recommends it as Trail Magazine have awarded it their best value stove award!
As you can see in the photo above it’s really small 14 x 9.5 x 6cm and light at just 136 grams! It comes with an awesome little storage pouch which whilst weighing next to nothing will protect the stove from being bashed about in your bag.
It’s really easy to use and so simple – I didn’t even have to read the instructions, you simply twist it onto the gas canister and you’re almost there. With your thumb and forefinger you just push the red ring upwards like you were extending an umbrella and then turn it to lock it into place. This gives you a remarkably sturdy cooking surface. It’s as easy as that.
You then twist the manual opener to release the gas and ignite it with a match or lighter. With 3000w of power you can cook quickly. It’s got a boil time of just 4min 10sec in still winds! It performs well in wind which is excellent for all of us British people as that’s pretty much most days. It will still boil in 8min 50sec at 3m/s wind speed. Even better than this, it’s one of the only stoves that will still work at 6m/s wind speed – excellent for mountain goers! This is due to it’s well designed wind shields.
We love this stove and used it to knock up a quick cup of tea after we had pitched our tent. With two hours of gas in every canister it’s good for several journeys and could last a few back packing trips. I’ve been taking it all over the place and not just backpacking, as it’s so small it can fit in my fishing bag and I can make myself a brew anywhere!
Pentagon Monsoon Rain-Shell Jacket Review
When braving the elements, you’re always going to need a waterproof coat that stand up to anything – I find that military style equipment is some of the best around when it comes to this hardcore gear! After loving some Helikon trousers I’d bought from Military 1st, I decided to get a Pentagon Monsoon Rain-Shell Jacket from there.
It’s incredibly waterproof at 10,000mm water resistance! To put that in context for walking around town 2000mm should be enough, where as if you were going up a mountain they recommend somewhere in the region of 5,000-8,000mm. So this is pretty much as water resistant as you’re ever going to need! That is unless you’re a mermaid or something!
It’s also highly breathable at 5,000mm making it good for days in the forest, walking or trekking and virtually everything except high energy pursuits. I certainly felt very comfortable wearing this coat for hours, it does a brilliant job of keeping out all the elements and is an excellent shell keeping you nice and warm and dry inside.
I really love the design of the hood which fits well and didn’t let the wind inside. It had a nice brim and was adjustable by means of a hidden pull on the back. This coat definitely lives up to the name ‘monsoon’ as it has been designed from the ground up to battle heavy rain.
The fit of the coat is really great, it’s excellent for active use as it has adjustable loops and bottom hem. The pockets all have storm flaps which I think makes them look a bit more discreet and slim. They have been well placed to give you lots of places to stash kit but without getting in the way.
I’ve worn this coat on several adventures and it’s clearly built to last and cope in the worst weather. I can tell now with summer coming to a sorry end and winter on it’s way, it’s going to be getting a lot of use over the wet winter months.