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general camping gear questions

Travel Forums Travel Gear general camping gear questions

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1. Posted by jaxstar84 (Respected Member 415 posts) 8y

So im buying some gear for a 5 week trip around portugal and croatia, and im wondering about the gear i should have. im on a mega super budget, so im looking for things on the cheap!

Im wondering if its worth spending the extra few £ on an aluminium lined rollmat rather than just the normal one... considering ill be in portugal and croatia which are normally quite warm, will i need it? its only a few £ but in my case that few pound can get me a meal somewhere, and it all adds up...

Also, with tents, can anyone recommend a lightweight, small tent that i can carry around with me in my backpack, or strapped onto it thats cheap? there are lots of "festival" tents, which are between £14-25 which ill probably get, but will they last 5 weeks? im going to couchsurf where i can so it wont be day in day out use of the tent but i reckon itll get a fair bit of use! im looking at a Gelert rocky 2 berth tent (£24.99) or an easycamp bari dome tent (£14.99)... any thoughts? what about those popout tents?

im only looking at buying a tent, sleeping bag, inflatable pillow and a rollmat... so any advice would be great! if you think theres anything else that i need to consider, please let me know! this is the first time i will have been camping on my own for more than a weekend, so id love to get some advice!!

2. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 8y

Jax get an inflatable mat - they're much more comfortable and much lighter. The official thermarest ones are quite expensive but you can get generic copies for about £15. Your back will thank you. Failing that look for an army surplus store - the camping mats they sell are more durable and cheaper than the ones you can buy from normal camp shops (just a few £ normally).

I don't think you need to worry about the aluminium lining in Portugal and Croatia.

Cheap popout tents definitely won't last 5 weeks.

You might be OK with a standard festival tent as long as there's absolutely no bad weather - any serious downpour will soak you, and any strong winds will risk ripping or snapping something. It depends what time of year you're going. If you're going to be there at any time between November and April I wouldn't even consider it.

If it were me I'd save up just a teeny bit more and get something like a Vango Trek - I got one for about £40 last year, and it withstood stormy weather in the Welsh mountains earlier this year so I reckon it would stand up to anything that the Med could throw at you.

3. Posted by jaxstar84 (Respected Member 415 posts) 8y

cheers for the info!

im going from aug 26th-sep30th so im assuming the weathers gonna be pretty mild? if it would be winter then theres NO chance id be camping!!

alot of the things ive been looking at have been vangos actually... ill check out that tent you mentioned. im hoping places wil be having sales in the next few weeks since the high season is slowing down somewhat...

the inflatable mats - are they the ones you let the valve out and they inflate themselves?

4. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 8y

Yes, inflateable are the ones with the valve that supposedly inflate themselves. When you open the valve they do draw in some air, but in the end you got to blow 'em up with your mouth to get the full comfort.

The problem with the Gelert pop-up tent is that it has such an inconvenient packing size. It is a circle with 50 cm in diameter - there is no backpack that you can stow it in and so you always have to carry the dratted thing in your hand.

BTW, if you are serious about camping I would spent a little bit more on the tent. You are going from aug 26th-sep30th, during the period of over one month there is a decent chance of getting into a thunderstorm and a strong downpour even at the med.

I got the Nordisk Pasch, bought it for 99 EUR a few months ago - absolutely rain proof, tested in 3 days of cats and dogs rain in Austria. I also like the Salewa Micra, available from 130 EUR on.

BTW, since a bed in a hostel is usually around 20 EUR and a place at a camping site is usually around 10 EUR you can pay 200 EUR for a tent and still start saving money after 20 days of using the tent. If you camp wild the tent has earned its price after 10 days of camping wild.

I can promise you that if you buy a cheap festival tent you'll soon start looking for something rainproof. So save the money you intend to spend on the festival tent - it will be burnt money.

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 11, 2008, at 3:40 PM by t_maia ]

5. Posted by jaxstar84 (Respected Member 415 posts) 8y

lol i would love to get a better tent. but i just dont have the money. if i spend that much money on a tent which im gonna have to just leave behind anyway... then i run outta money and get stuck somewhere... theres nooooo way im spending €100 on a tent! im thinking max £30... cos im going to be CSing and hostelling sometimes too... i won tbe using it every night. nad yeah i noticed that crappy size of the fold up tent!not handy! i figure ill just buy a cheap one... if that dies ill buy another cheap one... then im still not spending as much i would be hostelling all the time... its lame i know... but... badly planned by me, moneywise!

how are the waterproof sprays?? do they work enough? a tent with a Hydrostatic head of 2000mm is meant to be enough tho right? for a decent rainy night?

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 11, 2008, at 3:44 PM by jaxstar84 ]

6. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 8y

Quoting jaxstar84

a tent with a Hydrostatic head of 2000mm is meant to be enough tho right? for a decent rainy night?


I'd look for a tent that has at least a Hydrostatic head of 3000mm. I'd also make damn sure that the seams are taped.

My old tent had a hydrostatic head of 5000mm, but the water leaked in at the seams like nothing. Cheap festival tents never have their seams taped, you need to buy seam grip for 5 GBP, spread out the tent and then apply the seam grip.

I can assure you that it is a completely messy business.

I do not recommend that you buy a festival tent at all. Trust me, I've been there and done it - total waste of money.

7. Posted by jaxstar84 (Respected Member 415 posts) 8y

yeah ive seen a few that ive had my eye on that have had the seams taped... so thats good news.
i cant be arsed with anything messy. actually, the tents ive been looking at have seemed ok, there are some tents which just look shit, and im not gonna get those ones.

im thinking of either a dome or tube style tent for stability in the wind (pitching the tent into the wind if its a tube)...
ok, a higher HH than 2000mm... that sucks, thats the highest ive seen for my price, but hey.. we'll keep looking, maybe raise the budget slightly :P

can i buy waterproofing spray from the shops to better the performance of a 2000mm? does it work like that?

8. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 8y

Quoting jaxstar84

can i buy waterproofing spray from the shops to better the performance of a 2000mm? does it work like that?

Not anymore. It used to work in the 80's and early 90's, but by now the chemicals don't mix anymore. You usually do more damage than good.

If you buy a McKinley tent you can get McKinley tent-proof and use it, but I doubt that spending another 25 EUR on 1 liter of the stuff and then trying to spread it with a paint brush on your el cheapo tent is a good idea.

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 11, 2008, at 4:23 PM by t_maia ]

9. Posted by jaxstar84 (Respected Member 415 posts) 8y

HA no i wont do that!
might have to go over my numbers one more time i think.... see how i go with that! but im def not spending mroe than £50 on a tent.....

if anyone knows of a decent tent for that price let me know!
any thoughts on this one?

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 11, 2008, at 4:49 PM by jaxstar84 ]

10. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 8y

The link doesn't work.

But almost all the tents I looked at at the site were pretty heavy. Try to find a tent that doesn't weigh more than 3 kgs and that has aluminium poles. Fibreglass poles can be an indication of bad quality, since they aren't normally used anymore.