Categories
Things to do

How an Annual Memberships Helps a Holiday

Travelling and holidays can get expensive, with most visitor attractions charging a fee.  Often when you buy a ticket the price of entry is priced such that you wonder if you would be better off buying annual membership.

We’ve picked The National Trust and English Heritage in this post as they both have properties and sites spread across the whole of the UK.  Membership of one of these could give you more options of places to visit during your holiday without worrying about the cost building up every visit.

The National Trust

The National Trust has over 200 properties throughout the UK, mainly these are country homes with a historic significance, usually these have beautiful gardens and a good tea room too!  Many of these homes contain artworks, furniture and other pieces on display.

Additionally the National Trust own many Parklands, part of National parks and coastal paths.

 

Scotney Castle in Kent
Scotney Castle in Kent

Some of the highlights include Stourhead, Wakehurst Place, Polesden Lacey, The Giant’s Causeway but there are many more, and in fact some of our favourites are the smaller local properties that give a real insight into a piece of history.

Use this handy National Trust Map to find a property near your destination.

What does it cost?

An Annual Membership at the National Trust costs

  • Individual – £60
  • Joint (2 Adults) – £99
  • Family (2 Adults) – £104
  • Family (1 Adult) – £65
  • Young Person (13 – 25) – £30
  • Child (5 – 12) – £30

(Based on 2015 Prices)

As an example an individual visit to all of Stourhead will cost £15.20, different properties vary in prices, but to give a guide we think you need to visit 7 properties in a year to make membership worthwhile.

Find out more about the National Trust

English Heritage

When you think English Heritage, you think castles.  In fact English Heritage have over 400 of England’s historic buildings, monuments and sites.

Some of the more famous of these include Stonehenge, Hadrian’s Wall, Battle Abbey, Dover Castle and Tintagel Castle.

See the English Heritage Locations on this map.

What does it cost?

An Annual Membership with English Heritage costs

  • Individual – £50
  • Joint (2 Adults) – £88
  • Senior (60+) – £41
  • Joint Senior (60+) – £63
  • Family (2 Adults) – £88
  • Family (1 Adult) – £50
  • Adult & Senior – £74
  • Student – £41

(Based on 2015 Prices)

As you would expect there are significant differences in price between different locations, Dover Castle will cost £19.80 to visit as an individual so it would only take 3 visits to be worthwhile, though many properties are much less.

Find out more about English Heritage

What are your favourite Memberships?

Do you have a membership card which is pulled out each time you go camping or travelling, or one place you keep going back to?  Share it with us in the comments.

Categories
Sleeping

Alpkit Double Dozer Sleeping Mat

I’m a big fan of Alpkit Sleeping Mats, they are great quality mats, reasonably priced and have never failed me.  So I’m excited to hear and that they are extending their range with the Alpkit Double Dozer.  This is a double bed sized version of their Dozer (coincidentally the one I own).

doubledozer.174939

The Double Dozer is almost the size of a standard Double bed!  It is 196cm by 129cm which is just 10cm slimmer than a standard double mattress and a 7.5cm thickness which will ensure there is air space between you and the ground.

As you’d expect though from a double mattress sized sleeping mat the luxury of a comfy mat comes with a larger pack size.  I won’t be hiking with one of these, but if you take the car to your basecamp it’s actually smaller packed up than you would expect.  The Double Dozer packs down to 115cm in length and a circumference of 121 cm.  The mat weighs in at 4kg.

double_dozer_rolled_1200_800autoThis is what Alpkit say about the Double Dozer –

Dozer is an institution. Known for its unrelenting pure comfort and hours and hours of blissful sleep. It has converted many an apprehensive camper into a zealous regular. Double Dozer is double the comfort and double the fun. In fact, it is just double the everything.

For unadulterated comfort, Dozer is designed for those people who want to share the comfort around- sharing is caring, you know? But also ideal for those that don’t want to share and just want to starfish. Perfect for those who want optimum comfort and weight is not an issue. The foam has been cored laterally to reduce weight and die cut in at less load bearing areas to reduce pack size. Composed from soft-touch polyester for that extra ‘ah’ factor when you settle down for the night.

The Double Dozer is available to Pre Order now for £90 (£30 more than the single), if you’re looking for a double sleeping mat definitely check out the Double Dozer and let us know what you think in the comments!

Categories
Books & Guides

Our Favourite Outdoor Magazines

I don’t think you can beat a magazine subscription, the excitement each month as you return home from work and find a fresh copy on the doormat.  Outdoor magazines are a great way to find out about camping gear, find ideas for adventure and be generally inspired to get off the sofa!

Here are a few of our must reads…

Trail

Trail_August_2015

Trail Magazine describes itself as the UK’s Bestselling hillwalking magazine, it specialises in the UK and Europe, following different routes and adventures.  A favourite for us is there regular Gear guide where the review the latest in walking and camping equipment, or all brands of one product to identify the best.

As an example of its content the August 2015 issue includes –

– Gateway to a Getaway  – a really wild adventure in Glen Affric.
– Shy Mountain – find a secret view in the Lake District.
– A Walk in the Woods – Lakeland ghyll scrambling with Alan Hinkes .
– Chain Reaction –  linking multiple scrambles in Snowdonia.
– No Pain No Dorain – a daftly steep ascent in the South Highlands.
– Mountain of Mountains –  the 150 year anniversary of the first ascent of The Matterhorn.
– Mountain Guide – Skills and knowledge for better hill days
– Gear – The latest kit, exciting products and in-depth reviews.
– Routes – Walks from the UK with guides, mapping and GPS data

Subscribe to Trail Magazine

Country Walking Magazine

Country Walking MagazineCountry Walking Magazine shows the beauty of Britain.  With everything from low level walks to challenging hikes, a key highlight of the magazine is the route cards.  Each month there are at least 26 routes printed on a stronger glossy card/paper that you can cut out from the magazine and save.  These routes use Ordnance Survey maps so you can be sure of where you are going.

As an example of its content the July 2015 issue includes –

– DIGITAL DETOX – go off the grid in the Lakeland wilderness of BACK O’ SKIDDA
– WILD CAMPING – get out and stay out on DARTMOOR
– Take the train to the wild Scottish yonder of LOCH OSSIAN
– AVEBURY TO STONEHENGE – make a weekend out of the epic Stones Way
– THE EDGE OF ESSEX – discover dark secrets and celebrity islands in the Blackwater Estuary
– WALKING IS REBELLION – why comedian MARK THOMAS wants you to loiter with intent
– GO LIGHT! The best lightweight kit for summer adventures
– The perfect walking weekend in PEEBLES
– Go car-free in Switzerland’s spectacular ALETSCH ARENA
– 27 POCKET-SIZED ROUTE CARDS: from teashop trail to mountain trek

Subscribe to Country Walking Magazine

The Great Outdoors

TheGreatOutdoors

The Great Outdoors Magazine was formerly known as just TGO.  It was first published in 1978 and has all the News, Gear, Routes and more that you would expect from an outdoors magazine.

In the August 2015 issue The Great Outdoors covers –

-The West Highland Way – Everything you need to know to take on this 100 mile route
-The Worlds Classic Trails – The Great Outdoors favourite long distance routes that can be life changing
– Britain’s Bothies – In celebration of the Mountain Bothies Associations 50th Birthday a tour of some of Britain’s finest Bothies.
– Wild Swimming with Ed Bryne – Hillwalking comedian Ed Bryne trys wild swimming
– Gear Reviews – This month Trail shoes, and Technical Sunglasses
– Hill Skills for Walking with Kids

Subscribe to The Great Outdoors

Summary

So there you have it, some of our favourite magazines which give us a taste of the outdoors and help us plan adventure when we’re stuck indoors, leave a comment with your own favourites, as we’re always keen of a read.

Categories
Activity Essentials

Ordnance Survey Explorer Mobile Maps

Have you ever wished you could get your Ordnance Survey Explorer maps on your phone?  Well now you can.  Ordnance Survey are rereleasing their Explorer series of maps with a free mobile download included in your purchase.

Mobile Ordnance Survey Map

How does it work?

It’s simple, just download the Ordnance Survey OS Maps app for Apple or for Android.

When you buy a map which is marked as “Now includes Mobile Download” on the cover, there will be a unique code inside the map (hidden with silver like a scratch card), type in the code to your app and then you can download the app to your phone.

What can you do with the app?

Obviously one of the most helpful functions of a map on your phone, is that you can be sure of where you are!  The app will show you your current location, you can plan and save a route for later and you can search for places by name.  The maps are saved down to your phone so you don’t need to worry about not having a mobile signal.

Which maps can I buy?

Currently Ordnance Survey have soft launched these new maps by just releasing Britains National Parks and the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but later in 2015 all explorer maps will be available and in 2016 Landranger too!

Don’t forget the map!

It may be very handy to have an OS map on your phone but at Procamping we never travel without a physical paper map, you just don’t know when your phone is going to run out of batteries!

Shop –

Shop for Maps at the official Ordnance Survey Website (Make sure you look for the blue “includes mobile download on the cover”

Download the app for Apple or for Android.

Categories
News and Events

The Camping Survey 2014

At ProCamping we love a good infographic and the team at GoOutdoors have outdone themselves with the 2014 Camping Survey which presents research they did on 2831 British Campers.  How much do you fit the norm or what do you do differently.  We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Some of the key findings included

48% of those surveyed had been camping for over 20 years, and 20% for less than 5 years, so quite a mix of veteran campers and new.  The most popular age group for camping is 30 – 49 which covered more than 68% of those surveyed.

The most popular place for camping was shared between Pooley Bridge and Keswick.  Here in the Procamping tent we were discussing our favourites, its a struggle to pick just one, but probably camping ontop of the rugged Pembrokeshire coastline.  What are your favourite camping spots?

Its not just about traditional camping either, theres a whole host of camping ideas that people are trying including – Wild camping, Glamping, Yurts, VW Campers, Snowholing, Teepees, and more!

Of course its the camping stories that we love the most, thats what makes camping so fun, you always have a story or experience to share.  Without further ado here is the Survey, let us know what you think and your Camping experiences and favourites in the comments!

GO Outdoors - Camping Survey Infographic - FINAL

Categories
Cooking

Jetboil Joule Camping Stove

I’m a big fan of the Jetboil brand and they have now added the Jetboil Joule to their range, I have a Jetboil Flash which I often take walking and camping.  The downside of the Jetboil Flash has always been as the name suggests that it is primarily for boiling water which it does very quickly.  However this means it’s not possible to cook with.  The New Jetboil Joule however is designed for cooking!

Jetboil Joule

 

About the Jetboil Joule

Jetboil have kept everything that I love about the Jetboil and built on it.  The whole system (including the fuel) packs away inside the pot so everything is really compact inside the 2.5 litre pot for carrying.  They have now inverted the fuel bottle which both allows every last drop of fuel to be used and also helps preheat the fuel for more efficient output which Jetboil say will match the efficiency of a liquid/multifuel stove.  It also has a new simmer mode so that you can effectively cook a dehydrated meal or other foods in the pot.

Click here to buy the Jetboil Joule

Specifications

  • Weight: 720g
  • Volume: 2.5 L
  • Dimensions: 165 mm x 203 mm
  • Water boiled: 24 Liters per 230g Jetpower canister
  • High 10,000 BTU output
  • Inverted canister design with Liquid Feed Regulator
  • Thermo-Regulate technology, consistent heat to 10°F/-12°C
  • Convenient and reliable push-button igniter
  • 2.5 Litre FluxRing insulated cooking vessel
  • Stable locking handle that folds for storage
  • See through lid with built in strainer

Click here to buy the Jetboil Joule

Categories
Activity Essentials

Ordnance Survey Locate

OS Locate

Ordnance Survey have just released a new iPhone App to help you pinpoint your exact location in the United Kingdom.  Whether you are completely lost or on a long trek and just want some reassurance this is a helpful app to show you where you are.

The App uses your GPS location and converts this into OS grid references, so that you can plot your exact position on a paper map.  As it uses GPS it doesn’t need an internet connection to work.

The App also contains a digital compass, and an about section full of tips and tricks to help you navigate.

As always at Procamping we love how technology can be used to assist your adventures, but do not rely on technology alone, too many times we have been out to find our phone battery die mid hike!

The OS Locate app is available for free from the iTunes app store here.

An Android version is coming soon.

Categories
Cooking

Lightweight Camping Stoves

In this post we round up a selection of the lightest weight camping stoves.  Each has different attributes and may suit different purposes so the best advice is always to be prepared, consider what you would be cooking, do you need to carry water for cooking (in addition to drinking!) or will you be able to get water at the location, can you eat out or use a stove at your location – ok so perhaps thats not quite the attitude but the lightest weight stove would be the one you don’t need to carry!

Vango Ultralight Stove

A lightweight stove is invariably going to be a compact stove that screws directly into a gas bottle.  The Vango ultralight is the lightest of our selection at just 72 grams.  The pot supports fold away making it easier to pack and there is a flame adjuster so that you can control the burner, at the time of writing £23 so lightweight doesn’t have to be expensive.

Vango Lightweight

MSR Pocket Rocket

MSR are synonomous with camping equipment and particularly cooking stoves.  Their Pocket Rocket weighs in at 85g and neatly folds down for storage.  It has been available for some time and is a firm favourite among campers.  At the time of writing priced at £30.

Pocket Rocket

Jetboil Sol Titanium

The Jetboil Sol Titanium is our wildcard choice, its all very well us saying a stove is 72g but of course you need to bring all your cooking pots and accessories on top of that.  The Jetboil range is a new breed of stove which includes a large (0.8litre) cooking cup, the stove and small gas canister pack away into the cup making it easy to carry.  Without the gas canister the weight is 245g, currently priced at £160 (but the titanium version is top of the range, others are available).

Jetboil Titanium

Cooking Accessories

If you’re just taking a gas stove like the MSR Pocket Rocket don’t forget your cooking equipment, at a minimum you’ll want a pot, a spork (for both cooking and eating), and probably a mug for a nice cup of tea.  If you can afford it Titanium will be both lightweight and strong for all the accessories.  A great option is the MSR 0.8l Kettle.  You won’t get much lighter than this at 118g, and it can be used as a pot, a mug or a bowl with a tight fitting lid and a none drip spout.  At £50 its a great investment but if you don’t want to stretch this far Aluminum is an option, not a strong as titanium, but much cheaper and still light.

MSR Kettle

What are your tips

What tips do you have for lightweight camp cooking?  Any favourite meals, must have equipment or other cooking secrets?  Share away in the comments.

 

Categories
Outdoor Clothing

Top T-Shirts for the Outdoors

I thought it was about time for a T-Shirt post, as I write this in late May the Sun is out, the air is warm so time to throw your fleeces into storage and break out the short sleeve T-Shirts.  Here are a selection of Tees to look great whatever your sport be it running, camping, climbing, hiking or just chilling out.

Logo T-Shirts

An obvious starting point is a Logo T-Shirt.  You can’t go wrong with a Logo T-Shirt of your favourite brands.

The North Face

The North Face Woodcut T-shirt is available in Cosmic Blue or Coffee Brown and the North Face Logo appears with a Woodcut style background.

RAB Stacked Logo Tee

The Rab Stacked Logo T-Shirt contains the Rab Logo stacked up.  From a distance it almost looks blurred or some sort of 3D image, available in Grey, Blue and Green.

Mammut T-Shirt

The Mammut MMammouth T-Shirt contains everyone’s favourite Woolly Mammouth on the front centre of the T-Shirt and the brand name Mammut across the shoulders on the reverse.  Available in Black, Red, Dark and Light Blue.

Salomon T-Shirt

The Salomon T-Shirt contains the phrase “Mountain Sports Progression Born in the French Alps”.  A clean design available in Blue or a Dark Orange.

Mountain Equipment Free Spirt T-Shirt

 This Yellow Mountain Equipment Free Spirit T-Shirt looks like a standard logo T-Shirt at first glance but on closer inspection their is a climber hanging from the base of the mountain logo and clipped into the Q and M of Equipment!Jack Wolfskin Echo T ShirtThe Jack Wolfskin Echo T-Shirt shows the Classic Jack Wolfskin name with the paw print logo repeated in an Echo 3 times across the front of the T-Shirt.  Available in three colours Blue, Green and Granite.

Bear Grylls T-Shirt

This Bear Grylls 74 T-Shirt from Craghoppers contains the words Bear Grylls and 74 across the front.  74 representing the year of his birth.  Available in Blue, Grey and Khaki.

Graphic T-Shirts

Sometimes the best type of T-Shirt contains a design that you aspire to, a climber up a mountain, a long road ahead and more.

Mountain Equipment Shivling T-Shirt

The Mountain Equipment Shivling T-Shirt celebrates Doug Scott’s ’83 first ascent of the East Pillar of the Shivling Mountain in the Himalayas.

Jack Wolfskin Roped T-Shirt

The Jack Wolfskin Roped T-Shirt shows the outline of two climbers roped together ascending a mountain.  Available in Blue or Black.

Evolution T-Shirt

The Evolution Peter Storm T-Shirt is a walkers twist on the classic Evolution image,  Showing mans evolution from ape and caveman through to Backpacker!

Sayings and Slogan T-Shirts

Of course lets not forget T-Shirts that contain inspirational Slogans or perhaps just a funny saying!

Home Sweet Dome

This Dome Tent T-Shirt from The North Face contains a picture of their popular Dome Tent with the saying “Home Sweet Dome”.

What are your favourites?

If you have a favourite T-Shirt that we haven’t included leave a comment with a link and we’ll try and add it in!

Categories
Things to do

The North Downs Way

The Start

The North Downs Way is a 153 mile route from Farnham in Surrey to the Coast at Dover in Kent. The route is one of fifteen National Trails in England and Wales and a great one for weekend walkers or campers as it is easy to split up into sections ending at train stations which serve London, but equally it’s possible to walk in one go stopping off at campsites or B&B’s.

A brief history of the North Downs Way

The North Downs Way was created in 1978 running through 2 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Surrey Hills and the Kent Downs.  The route is often compared to the Pilgrims Way as the route goes West to East with the opportunity to go through Cantebury Cathedral but although it follows much of the Pilgrims trail it is a different route along the ridge of the North Downs which is more scenic.

The route was updated to create a split east of Boughton Lees allowing the walker to choose two routes to Dover.  Either East through Canterbury past the Cathedral or South and East through Folkestone taking in the White Cliffs of Dover in the final miles.

The Route Sign at Farnham
The Route Sign at Farnham

 Planning your journey

Although the route is well sign posted its worth taking a map or guidebook with you to ensure you are on the right route and to see where you can cut off route to a local town or village.  I recommend the National Trail Guides: North Downs Way which I used, this was updated in March 2013 and it contains detailed Ordnance Survey maps of the route complete with local information and turn by turn instructions.

Many including the guide book recommend splitting the route into 15 stages (if you are to complete both routes at the split to Dover).

Start Finish Miles
Farnham Guildford 11
Guildford Westhumble 13
Westhumble Merstham 10
Merstham Oxted 8
Oxted Otford 11.8
Otford Cuxton 15
Cuxton Detling 12.5
Detling Lenham 14.9
Lenham Boughton Lees or Wye 11.1
Wye Etchinghill 18.1
Etchinghill Dover 12
Boughton Lees Chilham 5.9
Chilham Canterbury 7.2
Canterbury Shepherdswell 10.4
Shepherdswell Dover 8.5

Though the Guide book is sufficently detailed that you are able to plan your own stages.  The suggested 13 or so miles a day is easily achievable with an average walking pace of 2.5 – 3 mph in 5 hours allowing you time to stop and take in the sights or enjoy various tea rooms and attractions along the route.  However keener walkers may want to create their own route as some of the days are a little short.

At the end of each section the guide lists Public Transport, Refreshments and Toilets, and Accommodation.  The accommodation is predominantly Hotels, B&B’s and Hostels but there are a few campsites scattered along the route.

To do the full 153 North Downs way you need to complete both paths where the route splits at Boughton Lees/Wye.  For this you could either do the second leg in reverse once you get to Dover or return to Wye by train to start heading to Dover again on the other spur.

Your Say

Have you walked the North Downs Way?  Leave your tips in the comments, what was your favourite part?  Know a good tea room?  Leave a comment.

North Downs Way Guide