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Inexpensive gear for beginners.

  • #2
    Registered Users Posts: 9,554 ✭✭✭ Pat Mustard


    In this thread, I am hoping to throw out some ideas for people who wonder what gear to get if they want to head out camping in Ireland.

    1. Tent

    Maybe this Vango Alpha 300. At 3.65kg, it's on the heavy side. It's bulky. Over a hike of a few miles, the extra weight of gear will begin to tell, but I like it because it's quite good, waterproof, and well made. I've previously seen this for sale for €60. It's no mountain tent, and it is heavy, but I think that it's a reasonable tent for a beginner.

    Alternatives: Vango Alpha 250 and Vango Alpha 200 are similar spec but smaller and a little lighter. The Vango Banshee 200 is a better tent with a better spec (more waterproof, only a little over 2kg, etc), but it costs more. It wasn't for me, but it looks like a good tent.

    2. Sleeping Bag
    In cold weather, I think that a serious sleeping bag is needed. Below are okay sleeping bags, which will not really do on their own for winter. The sleeping bag needs to be long enough to suit the person, so like anything else, it's best to do some research first. Highlander has some decent gear that's relatively cheap. Vango are a little higher priced but are generally good. Snugpak produces some good stuff.

    The spec in this one looks good enough for general use. Highlander Echo 350. £43 + delivery from Amazon UK. This Highlander Echo 400 looks as though it should stand up to somewhat colder temperatures, if the spec and reviews are correct. At £47.75 + delivery, it could be a good option with a comfort limit of -2 degrees celcius.

    This Vango Ultralite II is reasonable for general use.

    Obviously, if you spend more, you'll get a better sleeping bag, maybe something filled with down, that packs away small and light.

    3. Sleeping Mat

    The sleeping mat is useful for comfort, but more importantly, it acts as a layer of insulation between you and the ground, stopping your body heat from escaping.

    If you are just getting started, you may get away with a foam mat for a tenner, provided that it is not very cold.

    Closed cell mats are better than ordinary foam mats apparently, but I've never tried one.

    A basic inflatable Thermarest is a good sleeping mat which is pretty comfortable. Although not cheap, it's a good piece of kit. People who shop around will find places that sell them for more reasonable money.

    Exped make great gear, but it's not cheap.

    4. Rucksack
    People who pack well can bring less gear and have smaller backpacks. Some people bring this down to a fine art. I'm not one of these people, so I like to bring a big rucksack and lots of gear for various activities. It's the wrong way to do it, I know. The ultralight backpacking people probably do it the right way.

    Anyway, there are a number of ways to look at getting a rucksack.

    First, if you intend on using a rucksack a lot, you might as well get a decent one. The one that I have is a now-discontinued Lowe Alpine that I got for £100 from ebay. I see this 65-85 litre Lowe Alpine rucksack is £112 + delivery from ebay. It gets good reviews here.

    Secondly, if you are unsure if you are going to use it so much, or if you don't intend to spend that kind of money, you could look at something like Highlander, which has traditionally offered reasonable quality at very reasonable prices. This one is a massive 88 litres. It may be too big. Mostly good reviews, some bad. Something like this may be worth checking.

    Thirdly, if you want something better, check out the Live for the Outdoors website. I think that it's a great site for gear reviews, overall.

    5. Camping stool
    Something like this is often sold for less than a fiver in Tesco. Fits in your rucksack. Much handier than lugging a camping chair.

    6. Cooking gear

    Some people don't cook at all. They just bring cold food. That's an option. However, if you want to cook, you could use some camping pots and a cheap hexamine stove. (I'm a bit wary of the hex fumes, so I don't use one any more).

    People also use gas stoves, which heat food quickly. Something like this Vango Compact may be worth considering for £10 + delivery. It gets good reviews and is pretty cheap, but you may find that outdoor shops are the only places that stock the gas fuel. Probably worth checking a bricks and mortar shop like Millets or Great Outdoors for a price on this.

    A really inexpensive option is this old Swedish Army Trangia cookset. At £15.99, it's pretty much for nothing. An upgrade from that would be this Trangia cookset. The meths fuel is easy to get for a Trangia. Mycroft H's Christmas Gear thread has more details along these lines.

    7. Lighting
    I think that this Cyba Lite lamp is good. It gives off 300 lumens - pretty bright. As an LED lantern, it claims to have a battery life of six days. You could just use a head-torch, of course. Cheaper and lighter.

    People will also need warm clothes and waterproofs.

    There must be a lot of other gear that should also be mentioned, but this is a start, hopefully.


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Comments

  • #2


    i always find a head torch useful as it gives you light and leaves your hands free


  • #2


    Led torches are fairly dirt cheap, the german supermarkets have them for 2-4 euros every now and then, they also usually have smaller batteries which weigh less and last longer (the led torches, not the smaller batteries)
    I'd second the head-torch idea for hands free use.
    A small red bike light is handy to have if you have one to preserve nightvision if you get a clear night to skywatch

    I've used a foam mat on Glaciers, and it's pretty insulating, never used a thermarest or the likes, dunno how much more comfort they give, but they're a lot dearer.

    You can get sleeping bag liners, which add a fair bit of heat for little cost, also have a bit of hygiene, as they can be washed easier.

    I used to use a tangia, but used a MSR in the alps and it actually worked and cooked food promptly. I'd never go back. Petrol works at very low temps, unlike Butane with boiling temp of aound 0C or meths which will struggle in the cold.
    Plus petrol is widely available.


  • #2


    Great thread!

    Have you seen anything that can keep the inside of the tent a bit warmer - I camp with dogs so while a good sleeping bag is good for me, I need to make sure they are warm too. (they won't stay in a bag :pac:)


  • #2


    Whispered wrote: »
    Great thread!

    Have you seen anything that can keep the inside of the tent a bit warmer - I camp with dogs so while a good sleeping bag is good for me, I need to make sure they are warm too. (they won't stay in a bag :pac:)

    Couple of hot water bottles! Boil water, fill bottles, put under a blanket...sorted!


  • #2


    I've never tried this, but I've read that you could heat up rocks at the side of a fire, wrap the warmed rocks in towels, and bring them into the tent.


  • #2


    rochemedia wrote: »
    In Tesco's and Woodies you can get a campingaz lantern. These work great both for light and for heating up a small tent. You need to be careful with them and I wouldn't recommend one for a first time camper but someone more experienced could well benefit.

    Terrible, terrible advice. Never use any campingaz products inside a small tent unless it is fully ventilated (so never for heating). Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a well known killer.

    Even Campingaz themselves warn never to do this
    http://www.outdoorgear.co.uk/pix/guides/using_gas_appliances.pdf


  • #2


    Fine, I have done this many many times and it has never presented a problem and kept me warm many a night. In the name of safety and for Tabnabs to keep their knickers untwisted, I do not advise anyone else to do this and I have removed my previous post. In future I'll follow the rule book and user manuals to the letter.


  • #2


    For keeping warm in your tent even in the depts of winter try a tent stove. A small metal box that you can burn fire wood in. I've seen on YouTube a lot of people making them from ammo boxes so naturally I have picked me up one and started building. I'll let you all know when it's done and tested. Welcome to come along also for the first trip in the mountains as a field test


  • #2


    SNAKEDOC wrote: »
    For keeping warm in your tent even in the depts of winter try a tent stove. A small metal box that you can burn fire wood in. I've seen on YouTube a lot of people making them from ammo boxes so naturally I have picked me up one and started building. I'll let you all know when it's done and tested. Welcome to come along also for the first trip in the mountains as a field test

    Really interested in how this works. Looking forward to hearing how it goes.


  • #2


    SNAKEDOC wrote: »
    For keeping warm in your tent even in the depts of winter try a tent stove. A small metal box that you can burn fire wood in. I've seen on YouTube a lot of people making them from ammo boxes so naturally I have picked me up one and started building. I'll let you all know when it's done and tested. Welcome to come along also for the first trip in the mountains as a field test

    Really interested in how this works. Looking forward to hearing how it goes.


  • #2


    So am I. The scary part for me is having to install a stove jack in my tent which involves cutting it.:( think the tarp might be better.


  • #2


    3. Sleeping Mat[/B]
    The sleeping mat is useful for comfort, but more importantly, it acts as a layer of insulation between you and the ground, stopping your body heat from escaping.
    I have a Vango selfinflating one - find it very comfortable and good insulation. Cost me €22 in Great Outdoors.
    A really inexpensive option is this old Swedish Army Trangia cookset. At £15.99, it's pretty much for nothing. An upgrade from that would be this Trangia cookset. The meths fuel is easy to get for a Trangia. Mycroft H's Christmas Gear thread has more details along these lines.
    Love my Triangia. Use it all the time. Mine is the 27 anodised steel version but there's nothing wrong with the stainless steel one. One thing to note is meths is a lot cheaper in a pharmacy than in a hardware store. I got 3 litres for €8 in a pharmacy in Boyle last year.


  • #2


    Orion wrote: »
    I have a Vango selfinflating one - find it very comfortable and good insulation. Cost me €22 in Great Outdoors.
    Didn't know Vango were doing sleeping mats. Good stuff. Sounds like another good option so.

    Orion wrote: »
    Love my Triangia. Use it all the time. Mine is the 27 anodised steel version but there's nothing wrong with the stainless steel one. One thing to note is meths is a lot cheaper in a pharmacy than in a hardware store. I got 3 litres for €8 in a pharmacy in Boyle last year.
    That price is excellent. I got a 500ml bottle of meths in a local chemist for about €8, I think. IIRC I think that the cheapest that I managed to find was 2.5l in Woodies for €18.


  • #2


    Try here http://www.sportsdirect.com/pages/outdoor tents from €20 sleeping bags from €12 enamel cups plates bowls from €1.79 they have a little bit of everything from the cheapest budget upwards


  • #2


    ShadowFox wrote: »
    Try here http://www.sportsdirect.com/pages/outdoor tents from €20 sleeping bags from €12 enamel cups plates bowls from €1.79 they have a little bit of everything from the cheapest budget upwards

    Seriously good price on the Karrimor rucksacks there. Karrimor used to have a great rep. My dad still has one for fishing that he must have bought in the 80s, or possibly even the 70s. I've used it myself, and it seriously still looks like a new bag. A great rucksack. Dunno if Karrimor has the same rep any more but it used to be considered top quality for bags.

    I'm not sure if I'd go for Karrimor for a pair of boots.


  • #2



    I'm not sure if I'd go for Karrimor for a pair of boots.
    I use the karrimor hiking /walking shoes as my daily footware I get about 10 months to a year out of a pair is walk 4 to 5 miles a day they are very comfortable


  • #2


    Karrimor was an excellent brand, but it went bust a few years ago, and their brand was bought by same people who owns sportsdirect (and lonsdale i think). So it's basically just a name and not the old karrimor. Some products are still good, but alot are bad quality from what I hear.

    Also sports direct, who sell karrimor, have really questionable marketing. Alot of the karrimor stuff for sale, will be marked at 30-50% off, or more, but the RRP price on those products is nothing like they should be, like they'll put a rucksack for sale for £80 and have it's RRP at £140 or so, but the product would be worth nowhere near 140.

    I'd do my research before buying any karrimor products now where quality is required. Some are decent, but some fall to bit it seems.


  • #2


    Bought a good bit of Karrimor gear, including boots, runners & clothing. Excellent value for money. Have bought from Heatons & Sportsdirect.


  • #2


    trespass have a sale on at the moment


  • #2


    Some of the best gear I've bought includes

    The bates military style boots I have been using for nearly 4 years still in excellent condition,

    The outbound 80L rucksack I use ,

    MSR Pocket Rocket (I used to use trangia but after a few instances of tasting the fumes from my food I went the gas route) , If I needed to I also have an old hexamine stove at the ready,

    I use a snugpak travel pak - great bags!


  • #2


    These days Karrimore shoes are all Chinese crap I got several pairs of shoes off them recently and they only last 3 months and then the front part of the shoe starts to turn upwards like a clown's shoes.


  • #2


    Yeah the reputation of Karrimore today is very poor. I steer clear of them as a result.


  • #2


    With regards to keeping warm something I came across recently and have been meaning to get is a hand warmer. Not one of those little chemical ones a proper old school charcoal hand warmer like this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sa_lqn1SLxg

    Basically you put in a piece of smouldering charcoal and it slowly burns away over a number of hours keeping the case warm. I'd be thinking you could pop one down the end of you sleeping bag help keep your feet toasty.

    Zippo also do a similar product that uses a special catalytic burner to slowly burn fuel, over a number of hours with no flame but still giving out heat, though I think I prefer the charcoal one.

    Seems to be mainly hunting or fishing shops that sell them, I think be very handy, and then even to have a charcoal ember of which you can potentially start a fire would be handy too.


  • #2


    I bought some good gear recently from 53 degrees north.vango stove 20 euro.. vango cook set 35 euro..vango adventure self inflating mat is brilliant 40 euro..

    i like to have room in a sleeping bag so i bought the vango lunar kakune which is wider than average which is mummy shaped.3 season bag id say

    another bag i got for my son was a vango wilderness convertible.suited from 5 years right up to early teens as you can adjust the length.


  • #2


    The sleeping bag is one thing I don't scrimp on. I've a North Face 3 season bag that keeps me toasty warm in a hammock when the outside temp is around 0. Expensive though - cost me over €120.

    For summer camping though you can get some great value. I also have a Vango Lunar mummy bag from Argos for €22. http://www.argos.ie/static/Product/partNumber/9275953/Trail/searchtext%3ESLEEPING+BAG.htm


  • #2


    Orion wrote: »
    The sleeping bag is one thing I don't scrimp on. I've a North Face 3 season bag that keeps me toasty warm in a hammock when the outside temp is around 0. Expensive though - cost me over €120.

    For summer camping though you can get some great value. I also have a Vango Lunar mummy bag from Argos for €22. []

    I'm looking for a good winter bag , where did you get yours? , Ive been looking at the mammut kompakt at comfort -9c but might settle on a cheaper alternative thats not as extreme


  • #2


    Got mine in 53 Degrees North. I'll check the comfort level tonight for you.


  • #2


    I have used a sleeping bag liner as a bag summer camping and it does grand

    €20 in tk max


  • #2


    sheesh wrote: »
    I have used a sleeping bag liner as a bag summer camping and it does grand

    €20 in tk max

    I normally used a Snugpak 1 but even with layers and a liner I would sleep out past September in it as its a summer bag


  • #2


    Hi All,

    I've been looking for a 2 man hiking tent for one or two trips per year. I've a budget of around 200 euros and am pretty much decided on this guy:

    https://www.omearacamping.com/terra-nova-wild-country-coshee-2-man-lightweight-tent-8681-p.asp

    I was close to picking up the 2 man hiking tent in Decathalon but the Terra Nova one looks better for me.

    So, I was all set to buy it until I saw this in Lidl:

    https://www.lidl.ie/en/p/trek-it-out/2-person-hiking-tent/p47302

    There are no specs on the website except that it's under 2KG. My gut tells me that if it is only 23 quid then it has to be crap. There is nothing about it being waterproof so I'm thinking it is less than 1000mm HH.

    But at the same time it's 23 quid and I'd only use it the odd time.

    Does anyone have any experience with these Lidl tents? Are they any use? I think I'll call down on Monday and see if the HH rating is written on the packet or something.

    EDIT - just realised this thread has not been updated since 2014!


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