Outdoor Gear Blog - CheapTents

CheapTents Outdoor Gear Blog

…not just tents…a camping equipment blog too!

One of the most exciting aspects of walking can be an unexpected sighting of birds or other wildlife. Some of our most popular blog posts are about the wildlife we can encounter whilst out in the countryside, such as birds or prey, bats and hares. In this interview we find out about an iconic bird that is in trouble and how walking and adventure are helping to bring attention its plight.

The Turtle Dove is smaller than a collared dove

The Turtle Dove has distinctively mottled with chestnut and black upperparts. Source: Flickr by Andy Morffew.


That bird is the Turtle Dove and our interview is with naturalist Jonny Rankin who is campaigning to save it from extinction. Jonny is a bird watcher, beer drinker and BMX biker who has has combined bird watching, walking and adventure to raise money and awareness for the Turtle Dove.

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Going walking in the Autumn can provide an awesome visual experience with views of trees changing colour from green through to yellow and red. Bracken on the hillside becoming brown gives the fells a whole new look. On sunny days, with the nights drawing in, you can often see the countryside in the glow of the golden hour just before the sun goes down.

Lake District Fells with brown bracken on the lower slopes

Shades of brown in the Lake District during Autumn. Source: Flickr by Marilyn Peddle.

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If you’ve been out walking when the weather is mild but showery you’ll know that keeping comfortable can be a bit awkward. If you keep your waterproofs on all the time you end up overheating, but then you don’t want to get wet when it rains. This is where softshell jackets come in. During changeable, mild weather, they are ideal for use as a mid-layer or outer shell. Softshells keep you warm without you getting too overheated and are also water resistant so will keep you dry in a light shower.

Softshell Outdoors Jacket from The North Face

The North Face Durango Hoodie Softshell designed for use in the mountains

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When you’re out in the cold and wet its vital to keep warm. The warmest outdoor jackets use an insulation material sandwiched between a outer shell. Just like with sleeping bags, there are two main choices for insulation material. These are either down or synthetic. Both of these insulation materials loft up, trapping air voids which is warmed by your body heat. Outdoor gear manufacturers are constantly trying to come up with new ways to advance insulation technology and one such product is PrimaLoft’s ThermoBall. This is a down-like synthetic fill used exclusively by The North Face.

Insulation materials for outdoor jackets and sleeping bags

Primaloft ThermoBall, Synthetic and Down Insulation

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If you’ve not had a chance to visit our outdoor gear store, why not do the next best thing? In the video below, Martyn, one of our friendly gear experts, will take you on a guided tour around the various sections of our bricks and mortar shop. You can see our outdoor clothing, running gear, rucksacks and footwear before ascending to our large permanent tent display on the first floor.

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So you’re thinking of going on a trek and you’ve got to carry all you kit, and you’re wondering if you’ve got the boots for the job? The following guide will give you some advice and show you what to look for when buying the right boots for backpacking.

North Face Verbera Footwear Range

Hiking/Trekking Boots? Walking Boots? Arghhhhhh!!! Thankfully The North Face Verbera range covers walking and light/heavy trekking.

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For many years The North Face have produced a wide variety of very high quality tents that have been favoured by outdoor enthusiasts. In this range they have always included a well designed model aimed at campers who are looking for a tent to use as a weekend base from where they can enjoy the great outdoors.

North Face Talus 2 Tent

This image shows The North Face Talus 2 EU. The Talus 3 EU is slightly larger but from this angle looks the same.

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Update: We are not currently stocking the RG Delta range. For alternative waterproofs, 3 in 1s and insulated waterproofs please see our men’s jackets and women’s jackets.

Manufacturers, within their own brand will have many different sub-brands or ranges. As consumers and retailers we automatically understand this. If I was to buy something from the Berghaus Extrem or The North Face Summit Series ranges for example, than I would know that I would be buying a product primarily designed for active use in within a mountain environment. As opposed to products outside these ranges which I know will be made to the normal Berghaus/The North Face high standards, but have not necessarily been designed for mountaineering use.

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At only 950 grams the Nordisk Telemark 2 LW is currently our lightest 2 person backpacking tent. It is suitable for 3 season use, even in high winds and has plenty of useful features.

Outside view of the Nordisk Telemark 2 LW

At 950 grams the Nordisk Telemark 2 LW is currently our lightest 2 man tent.

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Recently I read a question about the failure of waterproofs on an outdoor forum. The explanation was that the moisture had come from sweat due to the waterproofs wetting out in the persistent rain. I suggested cleaning & treating the waterproofs with Nikwax products, whilst another forum member suggested using a similar product from Aldi or Lidl.

Logos of TNF, Berghaus, Mountain Equipment, Salomon and more!

We ask “What added value do outdoor brands
provide for outdoor enthusiasts?”


This discussion concentrated my thoughts on the benefits of buying branded outdoor products instead of similar products from a supermarket.

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Ultralight tents from Vango, Vaude, MSR and more