Dr Zigs Giant Bubbles!
We review an awful lot of practical and useful camping and caravanning accessories and products, and really enjoy bringing you news on innovative new products which will make your trip as enjoyable as possible.
Every now and again, however, a product comes our way which is just, well, a lot more fun. One of these, Dr Zigs Giant Bubble Kits, came our way sometime before Christmas last year. Of course, our mini ice age style weather this season has meant outdoor activities have been rather curtailed, but now that the sun has shown his face on a couple of occasions, we finally had a chance to give the kit a try.
Dr Zigs are manufactured by a small, British family business who developed the product to keep their young son entertained on the beach. There are a variety of different sizes available, and the company kindly sent us a few to try.
The kits consist of a high strength bubble solution (and plenty of it) plus several different shaped wands. The Dragon Bubble Kit we received has 80cm long wands made of sustainable wood and natural untreated cotton, which creates truly enormous bubbles. You pour the mix into a bowl, dip the wand, allow the excess to drip and then gently wave the sticks in the air and away you go. The kit comes with instructions, but we found it easy to use, with even our 3 year old getting the knack very quickly. The mix is great quality, and kids and adults alike love watching these bubbles float off into the sky.
The kids absolutely adored this kit – what child doesn’t like bubbles, after all, and these giant bubbles are perfect for a day on the beach or out in the country, although we tested it in the garden on a sunny day. The mix does get used quite quickly with such big bubbles, but the amount supplied was very generous, and more can be ordered quite easily. Dr Zigs Dragon Bubbles are a really fun product (hopefully we’ll see some more quirky ideas further into Spring) and a perfect way to keep them entertained whilst you relax in the great outdoors!
More details can be found at www.doctorzigs.com, www.facebook.com/DrZigs, and the kits are also available on Amazon, RRP from around £15.
Banshee 200 and an Ultralite 350 Sleeping Bag
Vango are one of the market leading manufacturers of backpacking tents, so we were very pleased to receive the Banshee 200 model for review recently. The weather thus far this year has not been particularly conducive to that kind of camping, so it is only now we have finally had a chance to unpack the tent and see what it is made of.
The Banshee 200 comes in at just 2kg, making it one of the lightest on the market, and packs down into a compact and easy to carry bag, making it ideal for back packers.
The erected tent is compact, low to the ground and rather sleek. It has side entry for easier access and has a full length ‘porch’. The inner is attached to the flysheet so that they are pitched together, and the poles are colour coded for easier erection. There is also a mesh upper section and extra vents to avoid condensation. A couple of large pockets on the inside provide handy storage space to keep belongings off the floor and close to hand.
The Banshee 200 was very easy to pitch, and the tent seemed nicely stable once up. Our reviewer took it out as a single man tent, being a strapping 6 foot 4 lad, and while it was ample for him, sharing might have been a bit tricky. The side entrance is great, but does mean some clambering over a tent mate if 2 are sharing; and our reviewer had the same to say about the porch, which might be rather small to hold two sets of boots and wet gear.
Headroom is limited on this model, given its 85cm height, particularly for our tall reviewer, but those of us who don’t reach such great height (!) will also find it a squeeze. That being said, the weight and ease of carrying this more than make up for the minimal head space – this would be fantastic for backpackers, fishing trips of festivals.
Packing the tent away is pretty simple, and for a change, our reviewer was well pleased at the ease at which it slid back into it’s pack! We like the Vango Banshee 200. It’s not huge, but ample, well designed, attractive and simple to use – a definite winner in the back packing category.
Along with the Banshee, we also received a Vango Ultralite 350 sleeping bag. This is a nice little bag, very lightweight, warm and cosy, and with a handful of useful features to boot.
We received the red and black version, which looks very smart, and weighs in at a mere 750g. It is a 2 season bag, with a recommended use in 5 – 25°. It is very lightweight, and as a result is probably best suited to summer use, although in fact we thought the recommended temperatures were pretty accurate. It is a mummy shaped, hooded, nylon ripstop bag, and unpacks at around 215 cm x 80 cm at its widest.
There is plenty of foot room, as well as ample headspace with the hood, and the finish and stitching is typical of Vango’s usual high quality. This Vango product is also very compact when packed away, but still warm and cosy. The finish is water resistant, and we liked hanging loops and internal pocket. The zip has a reflective tab, making it fairly fumble proof in the dark, and is robust with generous baffle to prevent heat loss. The hood has multi cord closure for maximum comfort. Its weight and size when packed makes this an ideal bag for long distance backpackers.
Camping Chic: The Comfortable Solution to Camping with Halfords
Want to camp in style? It has never been easier with the brand new camping accessory range at Halfords. Check out the range and bring home comfort to your campsite!
The Urban Escape Atago 5 Person Tent, currently retailing at £179.99 features a large, roomy living area with sizeable front door which can be used as a sun canopy with the supplied poles. It also boasts a large, 5 person bedroom, a fully sewn in groundsheet to avoid draughts and insects, and 300HH fabric to keep out the elements. Window blinds are included to provide extra privacy, and the double skin offers excellent insulation as well as reducing compensation.
The Urban escape range has even more features for the ultimate in comfort, including an easy access electric cable point, built in storage pockets and point for hanging your lantern
The Vacanza by Outwell Caress (Double Airbed) is a luxurious product designed to make sleepless nights a thing of the past. Priced at £97.99, the Vacanza includes a comfortable double duvet to guarantee you a warm and restful night, and has a clever function to enable you to raise it to a sitting position so you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast in bed or peruse the newspapers in comfort. The single version is also available at £69.99.
Also by Vacanza by Outwell, Matar 3 Shelf Storage is a nifty solution to clothing storage, keeping them dry and crease free when camping and in small, confined spaces. It’s a portable wardrobe which protects your clothes and reduces storage space problems in tents and caravans, to ensure you really are ‘glamping’!
Finally, Halfords are also stocking the Vacanza Triple Mains Kit priced at £39.99. Use in conjunction with any onsite hook up this kit provides fast, safe outdoor electrical access, so forget roughing it, bring your hair straighteners and hair dryer along!
For more information on other camping products in the Halfords range visit www.halfords.co.uk or see in store for more details.
Drayton Manor Campsite
Are you thinking of planning a ‘staycation’ in 2013? We think you should consider Drayton Manor Theme Park’s popular campsite, which is operated by The Camping and Caravanning Club.
The 90-pitch, full-facility campsite is right at the heart of one of the UK’s most popular family attractions, located near Tamworth, in Staffordshire, and was awarded a four star rating in 2012 by Quality in Tourism, the assessment service for Visit England.
The site scored particularly well in cleanliness (92%) and touring facilities (88%), with other categories scoring 80% or higher.
The campsite has an electrical hook-up for caravans and an adventure playground to keep the children occupied. The campsite is just a short walk away from local amenities and, of course, Drayton Manor. The park is home to a range of rides and attractions, including the adrenaline-inducing drop-tower, Apocalypse, stand-up coaster, Shockwave, the splash-tastic log flume, Stormforce 10, and stomach-churning gyro-swing, Maelstrom.
For the younger visitors, there is Europe’s only Thomas Land™, where families can experience the magic of Sodor and interact with their favourite characters like never before. Drayton Manor also boasts a fantastic 15-acre zoo within the theme park’s grounds, which houses over 100 different species of animals.
For more information, prices, or to book, visit www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/draytonmanor
Halfords Solution to Al Fresco Dining Planning a camping holiday? Want to be a camping Jamie Oliver? The cooking no longer needs to be limited to the campfire. In the spirit of adventure, outdoor cooking can now be embraced. Halfords have introduced and exciting new range of cooking essentials specifically designed to offer a gastronomic solution to campsite cooking.
The Campingaz Vario Double Burner ands Grill which is priced at £49.99 makes one pot cookery a thing of the past. With a double burner you can now leave dull meals behind and have 2 pots simmering away while you use the grill underneath for your campsite breakfast or grilling meat and vegetables. The Grill folds away for easy storage into it’s own small case, and comes complete with child safe push and turn knobs and Piezo ignition. To run the Vario Double burner you will need power – try the Campingaz Empty Cylinder, £19.99 and Campingaz Regulator, £9.99. All three come as a package at Halfords for just £79.99 in an exclusive bundle deal. On purchasing the bundle simply arrange to exchange your empty cylinder for a full one free of charge (normally £24.99). This can arranged to be delivered to either your home or collected from one of 11,000 sites nationwide. The Campingaz Bistro 300 is touted as a user friendly, compact single burner stove. State of the art design priced at £19.99, the stove is complete with a compact carry case to keep it pristine during travel, and it also feature the Piezo ignition and precise power adjustment. The Bistro 300 is powered using Campingaz CU300 cartridges at only £4.99 each. Sunny day? How about a barbecue? Now you can barbecue in limited space with the Vacanza by Outwell Folding BBQ, currently priced at £19.99. The barbecue folds completely flat for compact storage and easy transportation, and be reused over and again. Like toast with your campsite breakfast? Try the Halfords Folding Toaster currently priced at £4.99 which easily toasts bread and folds flat for easy storage and fast assembly. Keep your food chilled with the Vacanza by Outwell ECOCool 24l Coolbox for only £64.99. The ECO-friendly coolbox is ideal for environmentally conscious campers. Possessing the latest in energy saving technology with PU insulation for enhanced performance. This modern coolbox features futuristic lines and colours that reflect its advanced nature and power source. The Halfords 40L Electric Coolbox is currently priced at £54.99. With cooling capacity of up to 16°, this electric coolbox can also be powered from your car’s 12v accessory socket. The Coolbox casing is made from polypropylene, which is tough and designed to be durable. The interior can be wiped clean; to make sure it remains a hygienic place to transport your food and drink. Complete your camping culinary essentials with the Halfords Complete Cookset and Kettle for only £19.99. This aluminium cookset with grip style handles includes 3 saucepans ranging in size, a non-stick frying pan and kettle. The set can be packed altogether allowing for easy storage and transporting. For more information on other camping products in the Halfords range visit www.halfords.co.uk or see in store for more details.