Outdoor Gear Blog - CheapTents

CheapTents Outdoor Gear Blog

…not just tents…a camping equipment blog too!

After my last post explaining why we are doing a charity hike for St Rocco’s Hospice. I thought that the next logical step was to look at how we are training. However it seems that events have overtaken me with our local paper taking up the story and sending down a photographer.

Making Headlines

Resplendent in our St Rocco’s T Shirts, we strike a pose for the Warrington Guardian

It was quite a nervous experience on Tuesday (18th June) when arriving at our shop for the photo shoot with the Warrington Guardian. I was, being a “prima donna” disappointed to find that I had not been allocated my own changing room or make up artist, however I did remember the hairbrush to sort out the remaining few strands of my hair.

The photographer arrived and duly made myself, Martyn and Daniel pose with our St Rocco’s T Shirts in front of a tent, holding rucksacks and walking poles, in a set up akin to early big game hunters. Indeed, all that was missing to create such an image was a couple of dead animals, although Martyn does his best by looking like he’s just been stuffed! Paul the final member of the team managed to hide during all the fun, and missed out on getting his picture in the paper.

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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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It was back in September 2011 that we last interviewed Alastair Humphreys about his adventures large and micro. At the time Alastair was part way through his year of Microadventures. The concept of a microadventure being that it is an adventure close to home that is cheap, easy to organise and most of all, fun!

Alastair Humphreys enjoying a coffee at Grisedale tarn

Alastair Humphreys enjoying a coffee at Grisedale tarn
during a Lake District Microadventure

In all my corporate talks I was aware that nobody in the room would ever set off to spend 4 years on an expedition. Yet I felt that the spirit and the benefits of adventures in wild places were important for everyone, perhaps even more so for people who have not done much in the great outdoors before. Alastair Humphreys.

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You may recall a while back we did an interview with Andrew Skurka following his 7 month Alaska-Yukon-Expedition. Since then there has been plenty of interest in Andrew from all parties, including National Geographic who called him a “superman among trekkers”, a sentiment we fully agree with a Cheap Tents.

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Erliah China: The border crossing between Mongolia and China.

Leon McCarron and Rob Lilwall arrive in China

Way back in November last year, two men embarked on an amazing adventure that would involve hiking 3,100 miles from Ulaan Baator to Hong Kong. “After 195 days, 10 million steps and far too many instant noodles” Leon McCarron and Rob Lilwall have completed their epic Walk Home From Mongolia!

The journey took Leon and Rob from the capital city of Mongolia, straight out into the wilderness of the Gobi desert. In the middle of winter they crossed through the border into Northern China. Heading south, the Great Wall led them down to frozen Yellow River. After visiting the ancient city of Xi An they crossed the mountains of central China and Guilin, before passing through GuangZhou and finally arriving in Hong Kong.

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Snow covered mountains

Nanga Parbat (Killer Mountain)
Source: Flickr by Faisal.Saeed.

Whilst it is fairly true to say that health and safety regulations protect us from harm, injury and death in many circumstances, they can be a bureaucratic nightmare that end up stopping us from doing things that we enjoy. Some people believe that we live in a Nanny State that has taken health and safety so far that it is impinging upon our civil liberties.

Outdoor pursuits, such as hiking, climbing and mountaineering carry risks and as such health and safety must be considered, especially by companies that provide guiding services or by schools and other groups that take children on these activities. However, the inherent risk is one of the aspects of outdoor activities that makes them so rewarding. By placing health and safety restrictions on outdoor enthusiasts is our personal freedom being curtailed?

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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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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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Paul Roberts climbing a crag

Paul Roberts climbs Pitch 2 of the El (5.8.3)

Following on from our recent blog post, in which solo climber Mike Dunne talks about his loves and hates of the climbing in the Lake District, we are pleased to present a post written by a climber from the United States.

Paul Roberts is from New York state and has spent the past 3 years climbing in many parts of the USA, from New Hampshire to California. In June this year he’ll be launching a cross country/get to college/climbing trip that will take him climbing all over the country, ending in Prescott Arizona where he’ll be studying adventure education and environmental policy at college.

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Rafal Krol exploring the jungle in Haiti

Rafał Król during his expedition in Haiti. Photo: Paweł Łączny.

Rafał Król is a Polish adventurer and explorer who has pushed himself to the absolute limits of endurance! His expeditions include traversing the Greenland icecap in whiteout conditions, a 400-kilometer solo expedition across Spitsbergen and pioneering a route through Sarek and Padjelanta, Laponia, Sweden, which is of the largest national parks in Europe. Sponsored by Berghaus, Rafał Król has put their outdoor gear to test in extreme conditions and helped to improve their designs.

The Greenland traverse saw Rafał Król and his expedition partner Norbert Pokorski face conditions of extreme cold and near constant whiteouts. Not only was there snow but towards the end of the journey there was also rain, which resulted in a lot of their equipment becoming wet and then frozen. It took five days to hike from the coast up to the icecap, followed by 14 days for the icecap traverse. During blizzards it was not possible see anything except for the end of their skis. Beating the monotony of this extreme environment took immense mental will power.

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Ultralight tents from Vango, Vaude, MSR and more