Outdoor equipment

Stuff and outdoor equipment you might need for camping trips outdoors

Including camping and outdoor equipment, kit, shops, gadgets and maps etc.

Outdoor equipment - Vango Iris 600 tent

I have maps, and books and a compass. Just not sure how to use the compass outdoors yet 🙂

We have a Vango Iris 600 tent which we bought last September to replace our old Coleman X5. It’s so much lighter and easier to put up although we loved the Coleman as it withstood gales force winds in Dorset, torrential rain in Wales and two muddy Glastonbury trips. The Vango is basic but has more mode cons than the Coleman, the only downside is our bedrooms are divided by just one ‘wall’, whereas the Coleman had two separate ‘rooms’ on opposite sides of the tent. It means I’m trapped between two snorers 😉

We bought our Vango Iris as it is much easier and quicker to put up with only 3 poles being a tunnel tent. It’s lighter in weight and much cosier inside as our old one was a bit dark, the lime green colour is much friendlier and calm.

The bedrooms have a special lining with makes that part darker while the living area is light and spacious. I particularly like having the choice of using a side door instead of just a front or back door. The internal pockets are positioned perfectly for using for torches and odd bits and bobs, and there are plenty of them. I also like the tuck away pockets for the zipped doors, as makes things very tidy and less likely to get ripped.

Ventilation is also very good with extra vents in various places that can be closed or left open as needed. We haven’t had to use the tension bands yet although we did put them up once when the forecast was for 30mph gusts during the day when we were out and the tent was still standing when we returned to it so it must be ok.

The windows are very clear to see out of, hardly fuzzy at all so you can enjoy a view from the privacy of the living space. Plenty of headroom to walk upright as well as plenty of space for luggage, chairs and tables etc. A family of four could comfortably sit around a table to eat inside if needed. I’m sure you could fit 6 adults in the sleeping areas but it’d be a bit of a squash.

The inner tent sleeping area has a separate divider to hang up if you want it, or not. I only realised it had high visibility guy ropes when I was comparing them to some extra luminous yellow guys I had bought just incase. They show up very well under torch light so you’re much less likely to trip over them in the dark.

Actually love this tent, and it’s already been on 8 trips with us in 9 months. Only issue was our own fault and ripped a small hole in the groundsheet by accidentally leaving a peg sticking up underneath the tent. We’ve only had to replace one split pole so far, still our fault for rushing the tensioning of the tent correctly when we erected it one time. It’s easy to order replacement poles from Vango as they are standard sizes.

An added bonus is the option of buying the Vango extension for this tent but at £175 seems a bit steep for an awning that only adds one room, although if you are a family of six, or going on a week or more abroad it’d be worth it.

Pacmat packable waterproof outdoor picnic mat

This is the best of the best picnic mat ever, a Pacmat picnic mat. It’s spacious to sit on but tiny to pack away and light to carry, washable and waterproof. And it comes in some lovely designs which are definitely NOT tartan or boring stripes. I’ve used it for more than a year now on various camping trips, picnics and fell walks around the country and it still looks pristine. There are load more colours, sizes and designs available at Rubbastuff’s website too now.

We haven’t camping in it in storm force winds (Dorset one year on a cliff at Eweleaze Farm) or torrential rain (Arran and Wales several times at Gwerniago campsite near Machynlleth) yet, but I’ll definitely write down my thoughts on how it coped compared to our old tent when we have that dubious pleasure.

I really , REALLY want one of these. A cast iron tripod for cooking over our firepit.

Great site for Festival flags and windsocks.