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My Equipment

Just thought I might as well list some of equipment. Over the years I have bought various things and usually end up replacing them with a 'better' model further down the line. Didn't really lose on the not so clever purchases, as camping equipment sells for a good price on ebay (sometimes a profit can be made)

First off my cool box - my lovely iceytek

I have a electric 25l standard cigarette lighter/mains cool box I use sometimes, but by far my preference (room permitting) is the 55l iceytek. Biggest decision was what colour to go for (forest green). I usually just put 1 litre frozen water bottles in the corners and it's good for about 3-4 days. After that I usually get a bag of ice (as it's also useful for the sloe gin) to keep the temperature down. Solid as a rock, have nothing negative to say about this (well apart from the rubber catches snaffle your fingers sometimes)

UPDATE** I managed to lose the plug last week so contacted iceytek. Was pleased to see a note on their website that said they replace plugs and latches free of charge. New pair of plugs arrived 2 days later - excellent service.

Vango 7.5cm Self Inflating Mat

For the first 18 months I tried double air beds (intex, tesco every make) I then moved onto aerobed as they had a better reputation and came with a guarantee. Used this for about 12 months, but in the colder weather they can be very cold underneath, so I bought the vango sim (note it is the 7.5cm not the 5cm). Never looked back and use this regardless of the season now (the aerobed is stuck in the attic)

Pack size is not particularly small on them, so there is no space saving with a SIM

It inflates quickly (unlike the alpkit dozer i have, which i always have to blow up), and after rolling & squashing it a few times does go back in the 2 elasticated straps and bag supplied

I made a cover for it from 2 fleece blankets from dunelm mill stitched round the edges, and a strip of velcro at the bottom

Thule Easybase & Box

Although I have the trailer, I wanted to get more storage for winter trips which didn't involve dragging the trailer with me (trying to accomodate the wood stove etc takes a lot of room). Advantages are speed is no longer limited (except by the traffic police), and there is no wind resistance. It needs a existing towbar fitting on the car but was ideal on it's maiden voyage to Bakewell. Only negative is I can't open the hatchback with it on.

The rack slips over the towbar ball and you just tighten the nut with the spanner supplied.

With the box on

Additional Space

The box was more than twice the cost of the rack so it expensive. Alternatives are just invest in a garden cushion storage box (about £30) and tie it on with ratchet straps. Also the design of the box wasn't originally for this rack (you get adapter bolts), so it doesn't make the best use of the the space allowed on the rack - altho you can also strap windbreaks and possibly a bike on the rack

A softer (cheaper) bag is also available instead of the box or those with no storage

Petromax HK 500

My beloved lamp. Run on paraffin, it doesn't need any sort of meths pre-warmer messing around, as it has a rapid lighter. It comes with a service kit, but the reflector is bought seperately. I love the look of it, and it fits in perfectly with the bells. It also gives off a good amount of heat if left in the tent for a few hours.

It can be a bit fickle, overfill and you are pumping every few hours as enough pressure can't build up. I also managed to break the glass globe and crossthread the pressure cap - beauty is you can buy all the replacement parts easily. I get through a fair few mantles as well, but this can be said for any gas lamp. It's quirks are easily outweighed by it's looks!

For a more functional, but less pretty lamp I would recommend the Stellia R. It runs off a camping gaz 907 bottle and throws out the light. Very good for late dark night pitching

CRAFTY POST - My revolting conservatory-camping-store-room, really needed a makeover....

Finished!  So I get asked, where do I store all my camping kit? The answer is