Outdoor Gear Blog - CheapTents

CheapTents Outdoor Gear Blog

…not just tents…a camping equipment blog too!

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Forest Xplorer is the Forestry Commission for England’s free mobile app, for Android and iPhone. The app, which you can download today, is a great little companion app to have with you whether you enjoy a walk in the forest or enjoy camping in the forest.

free forestry commission mobile app

Forest Xplorer Free Mobile App - Forestry Commission

The app is one of the best guides we’ve seen in the “forest sector”, it has a handy events finder and one of the best features we think is the UK tree identifier utility (more about this later).

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Here at CheapTents we love looking at maps! Whilst Ordnance Survey undoubtedly produce the best quality mapping in the UK, Google have provided us with their maps online for free. Combined with Street View and Google Earth, Google Maps is arguably one of the best things on the internet. Not only do Google do great maps, they also like a bit of a laugh and this year for April Fool’s day they have produced 8-bit mapping. For those of us who can remember computer graphics from the 1980s these maps are a bit of a flashback! Below are screenshots of most of England and Wales and East Warrington with Google’s 8-bit mapping. Below that is The Adventure Centre on 8 bit Street View. Awesome!

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Have you ever been out hiking and found that when you came down from the fells, you felt that your experience of your walk was not quite as it should have been? Your body feels like you’ve been walking but your memory of the walk is a bit sketchy? We have received an increasing number of accounts like this, to the point that they were causing concern. So we decided to exchange our Lowe Alpine mountain caps for Sherlock Holmes Deer Stalkers and do some amateur sleuthing. We found a shocking truth that we are only now able to reveal…

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The family fun begins this weekend with many schools starting their Easter break, though some start their holiday next week. With this in mind we’ve done some digging around and found some great events across the UK in the coming weeks, fun for all the family.

We’ve done our best to segment our list by location (eg Manchester, London, Devon etc) but unfortunately we can’t cover everywhere. So if you can’t see a location near you then scroll to the bottom of this article and we’ve listed some great resources for finding events just like the ones we are listing today.

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With the advent of Smart Phones, hiking and travelling are taking on a new dimension. Through websites such as Social Hiking you can Share Your Adventure on the internet in real time. Using your smart phone and a Social Hiking account you can chart your route on a map as you go, and if you tweet or upload a photo or video, this is also recorded on the map too. You are not restricted to hiking, you could also be cycling, motorbiking, driving or travelling over any time scale.

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Time has flown by since the beginning on the new Millennium! Its hard to imagine that the now iconic structures of the London Eye and the Millennium Dome were brand new, and that they were supposed to be only temporary. At that time the internet was becoming more and more mainstream but it certainly wasn’t the everyday business, communication, entertainment and information media that it has become today.

Yet way back in the year 2000, at Adventure Centre Ltd, we started work on CheapTents. At that time there were several well-known discounting websites such as Cheap Flights. From this the idea of the CheapTents brand was born. It made perfect sense since we were selling top quality outdoor gear at discounted prices, but of course, Not Just Tents!

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For the past three years the CheapTents team have been writing outdoor blog posts! Whether its gear, getting out and about, industry news, interviews or wildlife, there is a lot going on in the great outdoors. To celebrate our birthdays we like to put together a collection of our favourite posts from the past 12 months. This year we’ll dispense with the long, rambling approach and get straight to the links!

Outdoor Gear

It’s no surprise that we love our outdoor gear and tent reviews are always popular!

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Mobile phones could soon be ‘powered by walking’ according to a recent report on the BBC news website. Boffins at the University of Wisconsin have come up with a technique for generating electricity using a device that is placed in your shoe.

The device captures the energy of moving micro droplets and converts it into electrical current.

View of walking boots from wearer

These lazy feet could be generating electricity! Source: Flickr by goose3five

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The Sony Walkman allowed people to listen to music whilst they were doing outdoor sports.

Sony Walkmans were massive! Source: Flickr by daryl_mitchell

Ever since the invention of the Sony Walkman outdoor enthusiasts have been able to take their music with them on their adventures. Back in the good old days it meant lots of extra weight, there was not an ultralight option! If you moved abruptly the cassette anti-rolling mechanism couldn’t cope and your tunes would speed up or slow down. Not to mention that if you wanted more than 90 minutes of music you needed to carry a collection of cassettes. Now with ipods and smart phones the technical issues have long been resolved and you can take more music than you can shake your walking pole at for around 100 grams.

Motivational Music
for Mountain Climbing

Having your music with you when you are walking, running or climbing is great for motivation and can keep you going when pain and/or boredom sets in. Maybe you dance along to the beat or at least run in time to it!

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Despite the technological advances in comfortable sports foot wear over the past decade or so, there has been a recent shift towards barefoot running. For those who don’t want their feet to get too dirty, Vibram have even brought out the Five Fingers range of footwear. But its not just the world of running that has seen a shift away from high specification footwear. The world of hiking is also seeing a shift back to basics. More and more hikers are abandoning their hiking boots and have begun wearing Dutch Clogs when they’re out on the hills.

Muddy wooden clogs with gaietr

Dutch clogs are the new hiking boots. Source: Wikimedia Commons by Ra Boe.

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