Yes, camping gear! Aldi never fail to amaze me with their range of random items nestling between the freezers and fresh fruit. We’re not usually so organised, but this year we have been prompted by some friends to get our summer holiday sorted early and have our little square of Dorset camp-site already cordoned off and some fine weather requested. You may remember our camping exploits of a couple of years ago, when our – not that very old – tent decided to leak. A lot. We had many a night spent holding tea-towels to the roof in an attempt to stop our bedding getting wet and spent a small fortune on waterproofing spray which did bugger all. Last year we’d had enough and went for a bit of ‘glamping’. It’s all very nice turning up to a ready-made bed and home-comforts such as a log-burner and a…kitchen and bathroom (yes!), but we do like to camp ‘proper’, so took receipt of a new and heavily waterproof tent the other week. It was perfect timing, then, to receive some camping gear to review and give our trip a little more comfort.
*For the sake of taking photos, I have used a small assistant, but the items are all adult size and generously proportioned ;)*
First of all is the self-inflating ground mat. We normally use our now quite old roll-up mats that are little more than a yoga mat, but this is really rather good. As it was new, it took a little while longer to inflate, but once it had, it went from this:
It’s pretty comfy and will certainly give you plenty of distance between you and the cold ground, so contributing to some night-time warmth.
My glamorous assistant also had a go in the sleeping bag (I say ‘had a go’, he did a great impression of a caterpillar up and down the hall and played a making-objects-disappear-then-reappear-through-the-hole-at-the-bottom game…). I also had a lie in the sleeping bag, because I stopped using a ‘mummy’ type sleeping bag a few years ago, finding them a little restrictive, but this one if very roomy and I felt quite able to spread out a bit in it.
There are some useful details that make it better than the mummy bags I’ve used previously: it’s big and the ‘hood’ area is wide and doesn’t pull your head down, there is a draw-string around your shoulders to pull it tighter for warmth, there is a little internal zip pocket for valuables and this nifty little foot-zip is great if you’re tall, or just want some space/air around your feet.
We also tried out a little light:
It’s just the right size to hang in the bedroom space, using the handy little clip and has different settings, including flashing. I did wonder for a while when this might come in useful and arrived at the verdict that it could be handy to find your tent when you pop to the loo in the dark 🙂 All of the items in the Aldi range are perfect for a family camping adventure and a great budget option for festival-goers, with tents costing as little as £19.99 for a hiking tent and £29.99 for a dome tent. A few of my friends are throwing themselves wholeheartedly into the 12/24 hour endurance relay events that are happening during the summer, so the items such as sleeping bags (£17.99), lights (£3.49) and inflatable mats (£13.99) are perfect for a one-off weekend away (in fact I’ve lent the sleeping bag to one such friend for this coming weekend!).
The next date for the camping range at Aldi is June 25th, so get down there with all your rugged, outdoorsy needs and stock up while you can. And they have nice chocolate too, for a campfire treat 😉