Thrifty Thursday: Cheap and cheerful camping gear

I love Thrifty Thursdays! To be honest, I’m possibly not the world’s most discerning shopper when it comes to finding crafty ways to save money on gear you really want to take with you wherever you go, but every week I like to think I’m getting a little better at it!! So here’s this weeks round-up of some fun stuff I’d happily take camping with me and best of all? There’s still money left over for a cheeky pub lunch!

Melamine is a favourite camping staple of mine. It doesn’t chip or break and is super light to carry. I don’t think I’ve ever been camping and not wished I had a few more trays on hand to carry BBQ’d goodies to and from the campfire. I’m loving these twin whale trays by New Yorker Thomas Paul. He started out in fashion and worked with the likes of Diane von Furstenburg and Calvin Klein before the lure of lifestyle captured his imagination. He now creates collections of everything from tableware – his melamine designs are brilliant – and bed linens, to lamps and stationary. You can order these trays online from Rocket St George. It’s £36 for the set.

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Camping requires much tea and coffee to kick start the mornings, which tend to be early if you’re camping with kiddies, who tend to wake with the sun. Pack an OYOY tea cozy and you’ll be able to get away with boiling a kettle once. £16 from Bruno + Beanteacozy

Never underestimate just how useful clothes pegs can be! From hanging sopping tea towels to skinny tree branches, securing fairy lights to your tent or fashioning an impromptu sun shelter. Seriously. Pack them, and you’ll use them. I’m mad about these Batman Pegs from funky French boutique Serendipity. They’re only €3.50 and you can order them from here. Shine a torch behind them and you could easily get some good shadow-play going too.batmanpegsOne night on my last camping trip, a friend of mine brought out these great Wood Flares to add extra light and warmth around the campfire. They were brilliant! And strangely mesmerising. It’s taken a little while to track them down but I finally managed to find them at Cox & Cox. They’re £16.50 and you can order yours here. I’d advise lighting them once the kiddies are safely tucked up in their sleeping bags!!
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Thrifty Thursday camping gear: the Omnia Oven

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Have you ever been camping on a chilly night and found yourself hankering for an indulgent potato and celeriac dauphinoise to go alongside that delicious BBQ’s steak? Have you had the kids nag you for their favourite baked chicken and rice after a busy day making stick shelters? If you’ve snaffled yourself an Omnia Oven, well, there’s you and your kids left satisfied right there. These little beauties have recently been reintroduced to the UK and are only £39.95. They have a 2 litre capacity and are a great option for cooking on a campsite that doesn’t allow campfires (Boo! Hiss!). If you can bake it, you can make it in one of these.

omnia-2The Omnia Oven has a steel base, an aluminium main section and an enamelled aluminium lid and cooks by convection with heat coming in through the base and also via the top. Order one from Pirates Cave Chandlery or visit Omnia Sweden for more international stockists.

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Great camping finds on Kickstarter

Have you ever spent any time checking out Kickstarter? I like to for a bit of inspiration and to help get my creative juices flowing. It’s incredible to see the things people are coming up with and some of the things you can find and fund are seriously brilliant. This morning I found some great stuff for campers on there too. Some of you might even like to fund something yourself!

Here are my favourites:

KANGAROO LIGHT

712 backers so far. £39,911 raised. 4 days to go.

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The funky creatives behind Studio Banana have come up with this brilliant flexible light that you can take anywhere. It’s made with a white, high-quality silicone exterior, meaning it’s splash proof and is simple to keep clean. You can fold it, bend it and roll it and think how brilliant it would be to light up your tent at night. It has 24 built-in LED lights that emit a soft glow on one side. It’s outfitted with a lithium-ion battery that gives you 2.5 hours of non-stop light and then it easily recharges via a USB port. Fund it here.

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CAMPFIRE IN A CAN

231 backers. $US29,751 raised. 37 days to go.

Campfire In A Can is a great little portable campfire and stove. It burns wood, charcoal  and fire logs in a vertical burn chamber. It’s designed to house all the parts inside the canister which also makes storage easy. The fire is simply extinguished by putting the canister over the base. And you can cook on it too and they’ve  included the tools you need to make it easy whether you’re cooking over charcoal or wood coals. Fund it here.

TYNY TOOLS

830 backers. $US25,719 raised. 8 days to go.

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Key clips, swivel clips and lock bands make up the first TYNY Tools Collection. Created by a Californian-based cyclist to enable him to carry stuff while cycling but these little goodies would be hugely helpful on a camping trip. Fund it here.

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SPICEOLOGIST

325 backers. $US21,637 raised. $1,637 over their goal.

This is what happens when a chef and a food blogger at Farmgirl Gourmet, put their heads together. This collection of spice blends just sounds magic, and I’m seriously hoping it won’t be too long before I can get my hands on some. All their spice blends are 100% natural (no msg, no artificial ingredients, no preservatives, no funky stuff).  They’re also gluten free, dairy free, soy free and blended with the freshest spices known to man and there are 10 super delicious flavours to choose from like smokey honey habanero, purple haze and cowboy crust. Yummo. Keep up with Spiceologist here.

 

Thrifty Thursday: The Scrubba washing bag

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A couple of years ago, Aussie patent lawyer Ash Newland was plotting a trip to Africa to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. Packing light brought up the issue of how to clean their clothes while on the move. This led to thoughts about the washboards women used in ye olde days, which then led to the idea of incorporating a washboard-like surface encased in a waterproof sealable bag. Newland tested a rough prototype on his trip and a couple of years later, The Scrubba was let loose on the world.

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Designed to be usable and durable, The Scrubba was originally created for backpackers, but you can see why campers have embraced this little gem of a product too. You can have clean clothes in under five minutes using very little water and it packs up so small you’ll barely notice it in your camping kit! You could also use it to quickly wash smalls or shirts on a business trip. Handy.

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And the best thing? Order one before June 26 or like them on Facebook and the team at Scrubba will donate $AUD1 for each new like. Their charity of choice? A project which will provide the infrastructure required to plumb a water system for a school in Bangladesh.

So hurry! Order yours from here for $AUD64.95 or from Firebox for £39.99.

Camping gear you never knew you wanted (but seriously do) by Fredericks & Mae

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Fredericks & Mae is the art/design team of Brooklyn-based designers Jolie Mae Signorile and Gabriel Fredericks Cohen. The two met began their collaboration amongst piles of feathers, thread, gold and paper in 2007 and it’s been going strong ever since. Together they create beautiful, useful, playful objects for the home, garden and sky. I’m a recent convert to their bright and quirky solutions and their ever so cheeky nod to the traditional in the creation of their goodies. They have designed many things I would happily take on a camping trip. It’s about thinking outside the box when putting your camping kit together and remembering that not everything has to be khaki and of dodgy appearance to be useful …

For example, who wouldn’t enjoy sweeping out the tent if you could use one of these gorgeous thread-wrapped horse hair brooms (pictured above)? They’re just the kind of thing you’d buy the glamper who has everything. And these maple and horse hair hoop brushes would do the job just as nicely too don’t you think…?

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My other favourites are these cute windsocks which could come in handy when deciding where to put the campfire, or where to sit once it’s lit so you can avoid most of the smoke!

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And who wouldn’t like a post campfire cocktail game of bocce when the kit is as cute as this:

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Use your imagination a little and bring a dash of colourful cleverness to every little camping moment. Trust me. You’ll enjoy the whole thing even more if you do.

Thrifty Thursday: Feetz Pocket Wellies

 

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I know it’s seriously sunny at the moment, but I couldn’t wait to share these fabulous insta-wellies with you! Feetz launched at the end of last year, and they’re bound to be a mega hit. Basically you stick them in your pocket and when it rains, or you’re dealing with mud, you just slide these over whatever shoes you’re wearing and you’re away! How cool is that?!

feetz-4feetz-3Great for a weekend camping trip or a festival, they’ve been tested in water, mud and even snow. When the weather clears, just give them a wash and stick them back in your pocket. Hopefully they’ll bring out a kids’ range too. They’re only £9.99 and you can order them in black, yellow, blue or white from here.

More great Father’s Day gift ideas for camping dads

Father’s Day is creeping ever closer! As promised, here are some more fab pressie ideas:

THE MIGHTY BOOMBALL SPEAKER

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Small and round = big sound! The Mighty BoomBall Speaker, £15,  can turn almost anything into a powerful music system by using its audio-vibration-conduction-system. In other words, the BoomBall effectively uses any empty space as an amplifier, so the larger the space, the bigger the sound. It’s only tiny so can be hung on a keyring or simply put in your pocket. Then, whenever you need to pump up the jams, you can just stick it to any nearby object and transform it into a speaker. Fantastic for cranking some tunes while putting up your tent.

 

WETTERLINGS SCOUT HATCHET

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The recently reissued Wetterlings Scout Hatchet with its green head and lacquered red handle are something of an outdoor icon. Handmade in Sweden, the company has been around since 1880 and employs only nine craftsmen. Hugely popular between 1930 and 1950, this general use, small forest axe is all your camping man will need to keep the campfire stoked this Summer. The Scout Hatchet comes with a 10-page booklet of axe knowledge and an embroidered patch. You can order one from The Quiet Farm for €83.

 

BBQ BRANDING IRON

brand-1What dad out there could resist that weirdly satisfying “phsstt” as he brands his own steak? You’ll bring out his inner cowboy with this BBQ Branding Iron for sure. It’s only £14.99, has 52 letters and eight blank spaces and you can order it from Firebox.

You can check out my other Father’s Day ideas here and here.

 

 

Camping Gear: The Amazing Origami Kayak that folds into it’s own carrying case!

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There are some people who take notice of what’s happening to them and in the midst of change, spy opportunity and a chance. When architect and product designer Anton Willis moved to a small San Francisco apartment and had to leave his beloved kayak in storage because he had nowhere to put it, simply reading an article on origami sent him straight down a new path. Or rather up a creek. With a paddle.

Willis got to work and, five years on, his unique origami kayak, Oru Kayak, has just been named the Product of the Year at ISPO 2014 in Munich, the international leading sports business trade show and was named Outside Magazine’s Best in Show at the 2013 Outdoor Retailer trade show in Utah. And rightly so. Each Oru Kayak is made from a single, seamless sheet of double-layered, recyclable plastic. A permanent pattern of folds transforms the flat sheet into sleek, fast, minimalist watercraft. Packed up, the Oru Kayak is the size of a large artist’s portfolio. Five minutes of assembly later, it is a strong, durable boat – ideal for exploring bays, lakes, or rivers. It’s fully recyclable and uses 70% less petroleum to manufacture than a standard kayak.

 

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The Wall Street Journal called it “elegant, even romantic …. and freeing”. Men’s Journal reckons it’s able to “compete with standard kayaks in terms of comfort and handling”. It can also be checked in on planes as luggage, carried on the back of a bike, or added to your camping kit for your next lake or river-side camping trip. There are accessories to, from paddles to float bags, but I’m mad about the solar lights that turn the kayak into a lantern for a midnight paddle.

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20-DSC_0407-001Oru Kayaks are designed and manufactured in California, and ship internationally. Prices start at $US1395 and you can order yours here.

I want one. Don’t you?!

 

Camping Gear: Fashionable Father’s Day gift ideas for camping dads

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I could stare at this picture of the Peak District all day. It just makes me want to hurl my tent into the back of the car and hit the road. But there’s Father’s Day gift-gathering to grapple with, so here are some more fantastic suggestions for you guys:

MAMNICK CLOTHING

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Mamnick is the road that leaves Hope valley and begins it’s steady ascent of Mam Tor, deep in the Peak District. It’s also the name of a slick, manly fashion and lifestyle brand inspired by these scenes. And it’s the place where these great shirts, and everything else they make, are made. Mamnick is a company that openly reveres Britain’s manufacturing heritage and they aim to carry on in that tradition by working with skilled, talented local artisans. The brand ethos? “Do one thing at a time, as beautifully as possible”. Here, here. What Daddy wouldn’t want to be a part of all that good stuff every time he shrugs an extra layer on at a campsite? I’ve got my eye on the Bagshaw Vest, £93, pictured above. But I’m probably even more seriously tempted by the very handsome Bubnell Gilet, £114, pictured below.

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And why stop there? There’s always this Pilsley Shirt, £95. Or the Litton Shirt, £90. He’ll be the sharpest camper round the fire.

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WAKA-WAKA SOLAR LIGHT AND CHARGER

 

WWP_Yellow_1The Waka Waka is the most efficient solar lamp in the world. A few hours in the sun and you’ll get more than 40 hours of light. There are four increasing brightness levels and an SOS signal in case the tent caves in or something equally nightmarish happens on your next camping trip. It’s lightweight and portable, and has a stand that enables it to be attached to the top of a bottle or hung from the tent top or tree. You can also use it to fully charge your phone and iPad. And you can charge it through the mains as well, which is pretty handy. Not only that, the beautiful people behind Waka Waka (which means ‘shine bright’ in Swahili) launched a ‘buy one, give one’ campaign that has raised over $US700,000 and provided 12,000 LED lamps to Haitian families living without electricity. They are now sending Wakas to Syria. This is one purchase that you can feel darn good about buying and using. You can order one directly from Waka Waka for $US79 and join in these campaigns or from Firebox for £59.99 with free delivery.

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Thrifty Thursday Camping Gear: Brilliant SipSnap drinking lids

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I have three kids. Boys. All of them. And all of whom, particularly one (luckily) cute one, managed to develop a startling and unfathomable talent for knocking over any beverage that happened to find itself within a one mile radius. Over the years I have developed a passionate, bordering on irrational dislike of those cumbersome plastic sippy cups and if I totalled the hours I have wasted searching for matching lids and cups (all non-twin sets were strictly NOT ACCEPTABLE) and, well, you get the picture. I guess what I’m really trying to say here is there is absolutely no decent, reasonable or remotely acceptable excuse as to why I didn’t come up with these bloody gloriously simple, effective SipSnap lids myself.

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Created by two American mums who clearly managed to maintain cognitive function while growing and tending to little humans, Sativa Turner and Michelle Ivankovic have formed a design company called Double Double and this is their first foray into product design. And what a start. I’m already keen to see what they come up with next.

SipSnap are universal drinking lids that will fit over any cup you already own. They come in a Tot version (with the bite-proof spout) and a Kid version that fits straws of all sizes. They’re BPA, phthalate and latex-free, can handle dishwashers and boiling water, are easily portable and come with a case so you can keep some in your bag. And how perfect for keeping drinks safe on wobbly camping tables.

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I know you don’t need any more convincing, so order yours here. They’re $US21 for a set of three lids and a carrying case. Get on it.