Highplains Vintage Floral Popup Tent – Review

We are suckers for pretty, and we also love hassle-free, so we loved getting the chance to test out an adorable vintage flower design popup tent, from The Bedding Company. We usually camp in tents that are significantly bigger, so to get a fair opinion, we got team member Shammie (student and festival lover) to take it away for a weekend break in the Lakes. Read on to find out more!

Highplains Vintage Floral Camping Pop Up 2 Man Tent
£30 The Bedding Company

Highplains Vintage Floral Camping Pop Up 2 Man Tent

Our Verdict

Of course we loved the design, but looks aren’t everything, so no matter how pretty, we want to know that a product can stand up to real life use. For our field test we used the tent twice. The first time, team member Shammie took the tent away on a weekend trip to the Lakes. Used to sleeping in popup tents, she reported back that it was quick and easy to put up and had enough space for her and her boyfriend. However, she did say that they had to keep their rucksacks in the car as there is no porch area and not enough room in the tent for the two of them plus their gear.

We then put it up again in the garden for our shoot, and were impressed by the ease and speed of pitching the tent. It literally took us 2 minutes, and that included pegging it down and pegging the guy ropes too! Once inside, it took a little bit of getting used to. Our tents tend to be big, really big, and it’s been a long time since either of us had used a 2 man tent.

I set up my bed, took my rucksack, book and lantern inside and snuggled into my SLPY bag. The tent is quite low, so I was unable to sit up fully (I am 5.7″), but there was ample room for me with plenty of space left for my various bits and bobs including my large rucksack. I would recommend the tent for use by just one adult, unless you are looking for something easily portable and you don’t intend to do anything, but literally sleep in the tent, as with two of us inside, it was rather snug.

Popup tents are ideal for short camping trips and are best used in the summer time. This tent is waterproofed, but even so, popup tents are typically are not able to stand up well to prolonged bad weather, so for summer music festivals, sleep overs, for older kids who want a little bit of independence on a family camping trip or for those who need something light and highly portable, then this is a super little tent. The tent also comes in other patterns and there are matching sleeping bags and camp chairs available too.

Tent Details

  • Matching camp chair and sleeping bag available
  • Polyester outer with waterproof coating
  • Taped waterproof seams and single layer waterproof floor
  • Sturdy 6.9mm Fibreglass Poles
  • Ventilation window at the back
  • Double front door for extra ventilation
  • Inner mesh to keep out the bugs
  • Includes carry bag, steel pegs and ropes
  • Dimensions: L220cm x W120cm x H95cm

Vintage Floral Tent Pictures

highplains-popup-tent-review-03

highplains-popup-tent-review-04

highplains-popup-tent-review-02

Lovely attention to detail

popuptent-instructions

Clear and simple instructions, though if you aren’t familiar with how to fold away a popup tent, we recommend viewing a YouTube ‘how to’ video before your camping trip

highplains-popup-tent-review-06

highplains-popup-tent-review-09

Sturdy sewn in external peg loops

highplains-popup-tent-review-11

The gorgeous exterior of the tent (more tent designs are available here)

highplains-popup-tent-review-12

highplains-popup-tent-review-07

Me inside the tent!

highplains-popup-tent-review-13

highplains-popup-tent-review-19

Ventilation window

highplains-popup-tent-review-14
Mrs Betty Owl inside the tent to show scale

highplains-popup-tent-review-16

Tent set up with a single self inflating air mat and over sized single SLPY sleeping bag

highplains-popup-tent-review-01

Would We Recommend It?

We’d recommend this tent to anyone on a budget, who doesn’t want to compromise on looks – at just £30 (best price from The Bedding Company), it’s great value for money. The tent feels very well made, with lovely little styling features that set it aside from similarly priced competitor tents. It’s lightweight, super easy to pitch (it took us 2 minutes to pitch it, including pegging it down). Brilliant value for something that looks so distinctive and we love that you can get a matching sleeping bag and camp chair!

A big thank you to The Bedding Company who supplied the Highplains Vintage Floral Popup Tent for us to field test.

Farewell Summer Competition Prizes Worth £150!

farewell summer competition

The Summer may be drawing to a close now, but here at Camping With Style, we think the best way to let the memories live on, is by looking back at some of the pictures we’ve taken over the last few months. So to enter our latest competition, we’d like you to look back at pictures you’ve taken of your outdoors adventures this summer, and share you favourite picture with us on Twitter or Instagram.

competition

The prize includes:

  • Beautiful children’s Wigwam tent (it would make a superb Christmas present!)
  • A funky picnic rug
  • 4 person luxury picnic basket

How to Enter

All you need to do is post a picture on Twitter or Instagram  of your favourite outdoors or camping picture taken this year. We’d love to see how you camp with style, but feel free to share any summer outdoorsy picture with us.

Feel free to leave us a comment below to let us know you’ve entered, or to share the link to your picture post.

After the closing date stated below, we’ll choose one lucky winner to win the amazing prize below, supplied courtesy of wayfair.co.uk

Terms & Conditions

  • Competition is open to UK entrants/residents only – the prize will only be posted out to a UK address
  • Competition ends at 6pm GMT on Sunday 6th October 2014
  • If the prize is not claimed after 28 days, the prize is forfeit
  • No cash alternatives offered and Camping With Style maintain the right to amend the competition at any time
  • 1 entry per person
  • Pictures must be entrants (or a family members) own work – stock photography or pictures taken from other sources will be disqualified
  • Prize supplied by Wayfair.co.uk and subject to availability, if not available at the close date, an alternative of the same value will be offered

sponsored by Wayfair.co.uk

Lotus Grill BBQ – Review

The Lotus Grill is a stunning bit of kit that we were excited to get our hands on.  One of the joys of camping for me, is al fresco cooking and dining. I love the simplicity of cooking over an open fire or BBQ, and we’ve tried lots of different camping grills and BBQs over the years, read on to find out how the Lotus Grill measured up.

Lotus Grill
£129 Cuckooland.com

Lotus Grill BBQ Review

The Lotus Grill from Cuckooland.com is an award winning, portable smokeless BBQ. It has a battery-powered built in fan, which constantly supplies the charcoal with air and cooks smoke free. The Lotus Grill is also quick, ready to cook on in just 3-4 minutes.

Our Verdict

We immediately loved the fact that the grill comes in a sturdy carry bag, making it supremely portable and ideal for camping. We don’t usually ‘do’ instructions, but due to the unusual design of the Lotus Grill, we thought it would be prudent to do so. The instructions are tucked away in a little pocket inside the carry case, and we found them very clear and easy to follow and in just a couple of minutes, we had the grill lit.

One of the big benefits of the grill is that it reaches cooking temperature in well under 5 minutes, so you don’t need to sit around for ages waiting for coals to turn white in order to start cooking.

The grill cooked evenly and it cooked a lot. We used the grill for 4 adults, and cooked 4 quarter pounder burgers, 2 large pieces of salmon, 4 prawn skewers and 4 chicken breasts and corn on the cob. Pretty impressive considering the item is so compact.

The food all stayed juicy, and because the temperature is more even, we didn’t get the usual hot spots that cause the burning, that you get with a normal coal BBQs. The central part of the grill is brilliant for searing food, and there was something quite gratifying about seeing all the fat from the burgers and salmon collect in the bottom of the grill. Fat is kept away from the burning coals, which means there is very little smoke generated, making the grill pleasant to use.

Cleaning the grill was also really easy to do. We left it to cool down outside for a couple of hours before unclipping the grill and washing it. Because it is all stainless steel, hot soapy water was sufficient. I only wish I had a dishwasher, because amazingly, the Lotus Grill is dishwasher safe.

Getting The Grill Started

  • You start by taking the grill off (which easily unclips), and remove the central brazier.
  • Fill the brazier with charcoal and squirt a ring of lighter gel on the bottom plate.
  • Turn the convection fan on to full and use a match or lighter to set the gel alight.
  • Once this is lit, place the brazier over the top, then clip the grill back into place.
  • Wait a couple of minutes for the charcoal to catch, and start cooking!

Lotus Grill BBQ Pictures

Lotus Grill BBQ Review

Lotus Grill BBQ Review

The Lotus Grill is available in a range of gorgeous colours, of course I opted for the fab plum purple colour :)

Lotus Grill BBQ Review

Super clear instruction booklet included and stowed away in the carry case.

Detailed lotus grill instrucitons

lotus-grill-bbq-review-05

start cooking

A ring of lighter gel to get the grill started.

Lotus Grill

The central brazier where the charcoal is contained.

lotus-grill-bbq-review-06

Lotus Grill Food Cooking

Food cooking on the grill.

IMG_1258

food cooked on the grill

Would We Recommend It?

Yes. The Lotus Grill is beautiful, well made, easy to use, easy to clean and comes in a sturdy carry case, making it ideal for cooking whilst camping.

cuckooland

A big thank you to Cuckooland.com who supplied the Lotus Grill for us to field test.

My Weird, Wonderful Hobby – Live Action Role Play

For the past 5 years i’ve been involved in a hobby called LARP, which stands for Live Action Role Play. Some dislike the ‘action’ bit and prefer to refer to it only as LRP, but that’s just pedantic as it means the same thing. Now you are probably thinking “Live Action WHAT?!” and that wouldn’t be a surprise, as it is still a relatively unknown hobby outside of the LARP community.

Members of the Harts Faction at the Gathering 2014

Members of the Harts Faction at the Gathering 2014

I go to around 4-6 LARP events each year. Some contain less than a hundred players, others, a few thousand. The biggest LARP event in the UK takes place over August bank holiday weekend and consists of around 3,000 players. Run by Lorien Trust, it is called The Gathering and It’s essentially, a massive 5 day (most turn up on a Thursday night, the day before the game starts) festival-like event, where all of the players take part in a massive, complex and often physically demanding, but fun game. During the game we stay in camps based on the faction we are in, so for me, it’s the ideal hobby, as it combines camping and being outdoors with a massively fun and immersive game played with friends.

This is me, in costume. I currently play a Dryad (woodland Fae)

This is me, in costume. I currently play a Dryad (woodland Fae)

We play a character of our choosing, we dress up and act like that character as the game unfolds, which is full of twists and highly detailed plot that we use our character skills to try and progress or overcome. We all work together to combat the bad guys, and whilst dressing up and taking part in a live version of Lord Of The Rings isn’t to everyone’s taste, i’ve met some truly amazing people doing it, and it’s a hobby that I dearly love and so wanted to do a feature here on the blog. Sadly due to illness, shots I obtained from the latest event are limited, so i’ve added a few pictures from previous events too.

Seelie Court, a group within the Harts Faction

Seelie Court, a group within the Harts Faction

All events have a ticket price from anywhere around £45 to £70 per event, and there is a surprisingly large ‘back stage’ team of crew that run and manage the game, consisting of actors who know and reveal the plot, game referees who make sure the (many) rules are adhered to, make up artists, plot team writers, set builders, first aiders, security and so on.

LT Gathering 2014

What Makes A LARPer?

You’ve got to be fun loving, creative and you can’t take yourself too seriously. Many of us are definitely in touch with our inner child, and find dressing up and playing lets-pretend, immense fun. Who says the dressing up box is for kids only?! If you are the sort of person that pretends they didn’t realise a party was fancy dress, as an excuse to turn up in regular clothes, then LARP probably isn’t for you.

LARP character

A previous character I played in a different system

Most LARPers will readily admit that they have a geeky streak to them. That doesn’t mean we all spend hours playing board games like Dungeons & Dragons, reading graphic novels or sat in front of our PCs playing WoW, but, if you have even a teeny tiny geeky side, you’ll fit in well at LARP and may find world lore, game mechanics and rules much easier to understand.

Harts Camp, Gathering 2014

I personally think LARPers are a clever bunch, and an alarmingly high number of my LARP friends have the doctorates to prove it. That said, LARPers come from all walks of life with varied backgrounds and from different professions. One of the things I still love about the LARP community is the sheer diversity, and the fact that you get to make new friends of people you might never otherwise encounter in your own day to day life.

Market Place Traders at The Gathering 2014

Players walking through the market place where weapons and costume can be purchased

The Skinny On Live Action Role Play

  • There are different ‘systems’ in the UK and I play a system run by Lorien Trust or LT for short which you can find more about here
  • As with all systems, we have a set game world with heaps of lore (back story) and it’s own rules
  • Depending on your system, the game rule book can be alarmingly large which can prove daunting to someone new to role play, and even more alarming to some one new to fantasy in general. That was me – in fact most of the references people make, still go way over my head as i’m just not as into the whole fantasy genre as they are but if you like things like Lord Of The Rings and Game Of Thrones, you’re on the right tracks
  • At LT you can camp in-character or out-of-character. If you are camping IC, then you’ll need a canvas bell tent or other traditional canvas tent in order to look the part, camping out of character however is generally more convenient and allows you to use any style of tent
  • In LT there are 4 main events each year, these are known as mainlines, and these are the big events that have all factions attending. As well as the 4 mainlines every year, each faction also have 2 or 3 smaller, faction focused events known as Sanctioned events
  • You can devise your own character to play, choosing things like race, allegiance, and your character skills
  • Costume standards vary from system to system but generally if you want to play a fae, rocking up in a pair of jeans with a set of sparkly toy-shop wings on is not really acceptable, and nowhere near the effort level required – the more convincing you look and the greater the level of detail that you go to, then the easier it is to immerse yourself.
  • Don’t buy fancy dress costumes for LARP, they won’t cut it (though some can be cleverly adapted if you are that way inclined) the level of kit you need to be aiming for is stage costume quality
  • The spirit of the game means that as a player, you are honour bound to play the game with honesty and integrity, if someone deals you damage, you take that damage (there are refs on hand to ensure players adhere to the rules and take damage properly) and when you strike players, your aim is not to maim and cause real physical damage
  • Some people argue that a high standard of kit means it can be expensive for new players to get into. Nonsense. Whilst some people spend thousands of pounds on kit that wouldn’t look out of place in a big budget film, you can look good without spending a fortune. Compared to other hobbies I have, the initial outlay for LARP costume was actually fairly low. Second hand kit, props and weapons are all easy to pick up, though be prepared to invest in anything from £60 upwards for a decent LARP-safe weapon, and significantly more if you want something custom made
  • Think about kit when you decide on and stat up your character – a Paladin tank might seem appealing, but you’ll need to invest heavily in armour and weapons to pull it off
  • Events provide a real sense of community. In the camping areas everyone is friendly and happy to help. Newbies are made to feel welcome and offers of combat training and chat about current plot is usually easy to come by
  • The more you put into the hobby, the more you get out of it. It often takes me far out of my own comfort zone. I don’t find socialising particularly easy, neither do I find remembering complex rules, calls, magic spells and plot easy, but there is fun to be had, and the more you can get stuck in, the more you’ll get from it
  • LARP does involve combat (If you want it, you can opt out if you’d prefer not to get so physically involved). You can choose to use a weapon, such as a LARP-safe latex sword or you can use magic as your weapon, for those who aren’t too keen on combat (real and serious injuries do occur, don’t let the fact that weapons are LARP-safe make you believe they can’t still cause damage!), taking on the role of a healer may be more appealing
  • LARP is very different to historical re-enactment. Whilst some back story and plot may be loosely based on historical events, that’s where the similarities end
  • LT mainilne events mean camping in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside in the stunning grounds of Locko park, the location alone is a good enough reason for me to go along
  • Leave cynicism at the gate – everyone taking part is there to have fun and to get out of the game whatever they want. Snarky one-upmanship is not recommended, suspend your disbelief and get stuck in
  • LARP isn’t just a game for 14 year old lads who want to hit each other with latex swords; lots of families come to LT events as do singles, couples and groups of all ages
  • You will feel utterly daft at times and you’ll have an internal monologue saying “What the hell am I doing?!” but once you’ve left behind your real-world ego and are engrossed in the game and playing your character, you’ll have a whale of a time
  • IC means in-character and refers to times when you are acting, behaving and responding as your character rather than as yourself. It’s best to only drop out of character, or OC, with friends you know well and out of the ear shot of others – chatting loudly about problems at work in the middle of the game, won’t help set the scene for those in-character, who are more concerned with trying to figure out how to track down and retrieve a stolen faction artifact
  • LARP is a great form of stress relief. You don’t have to think about the real world for a few days and whilst it can be a demanding hobby, especially once your character gets more heavily involved in plot and gains status, being able to switch off and live in as I refer to it, Nonsense-land for a few days, is incredibly liberating and refreshing
  • One of my favourite bits about LARP is sitting around a campfire in the evening, drinking (copiously of course), and singing lots of different folk songs. Many have been written specially or adapted from well-known songs, all of which get progressively bawdier. Under the gaze of the often visible Milky Way, people sing, play drums, tell stories and we create an atmosphere which is as close to ancient community life as it’s possible to get, far away from our crazy, stressful modern everyday world

Warewolf at the Gathering 2014

Harts of to Battle, Gathering 2014

LARP costume in my tent

LARP costume in my tent

leather leaf armour dryad larp

More of my LARP kit, including my custom made leather armour

The Gathering 2014

The Gathering 2014

Thinking of giving LARP a go but don’t know where to start? I’m no expert, but i’m more than happy to answer any questions you might have about my rather weird, but wonderful hobby below. Perhaps you are a LARPer and want to share what you love most about the hobby. Leave a comment below, i’d love to hear from you!

5 Simple Tips To Glam Up Your Camping Trip

Camping doesn’t have to feel like a compromise. Throw in a few home comforts and you’ll have a comfy and enjoyable camping trip that you’ll want to repeat again and again.

For first timers or reluctant campers especially, comfort really can make or break your time under canvas (or nylon), and after many years of trial and error, i’ve finally got it right. Whilst I no longer believe in camping light, I do believe in camping comfy!

Sure you can pay for a glamping holiday; the tent is already set up for you, you’ll get a real bed and luxuries like a wood burning stove to keep you snuggly and warm, however glamping breaks really don’t come cheap and I strongly believe that you can create your own glamping experience and that it doesn’t need to cost the earth.

Splash out on a good quality tent by all means, decent sleeping bags and camp beds too – I’ve got a kingsize,  and a double height air bed that are both SO comfy I love sleeping on them (not at the same time of course) and a darling canvas bell tent that is SO pretty I just want to live in it all the time. When it comes to camping essentials and practical gear however, you can easily inject some style and a bit of luxury into your tent by shopping savvy.

Don’t limit yourself to outdoor stores, you’ll find that style wise, you are extremely limited, though places like Mountain Warehouse are doing an excellent job of creating some ranges with funky designs. Supermarket outdoor living ranges, department stores and quirky online shops all have fabulous pieces that are easily adapted for camping purposes, so keep your eyes open, you’ll find gear suitable for camping in all sorts of unexpected places.

Below are 5 simple tips that will help you glam up your next camping trip.

1. Invest In Solar Powered Fairy Lights

Fairy lights are an inexpensive way of making a tent look pretty and sparkly. Instead of relying on an electric hookup or endlessly buying batteries, solar powered lights are the economical and eco-friendly way to light the inside and outside of your tent.

Evening time and solar lights

Strategically place stake lights around your tent to stop annoying night time trips over your guy ropes.

2. When it Comes to Bedding, Indulge!

Who says you have to take a sleeping bag camping? A good 3-season bag can be pricey and finding sleeping bags that look good can be a challenge. A proper duvet used on top of a sleeping bag will keep you cosy and looks good too.

castlerigg_hall_31may2014_03

To make bedtimes ultra-snuggly and luxurious, we always take proper pillows, our kingsize goose down duvet, and our double height, queen sized inflatable air bed. Unless you have a tiny car, you’ll find packing extras like this really don’t take up much room at all and can make all the difference.

3. Don’t Rely On Outdoor Stores

Outdoors stores are brilliant places for practical and useful gear, but when it comes to glamping, don’t limit yourself to camping shops as you’ll find that gear suitable for camping is available in lots of places you might not expect.

When it comes to tableware for camping, lots of shops have excellent picnic and outdoor living ranges in store and supermarkets in particular are a great place to start and you’ll find far funkier colours and designs available than those stocked in most outdoor stores, and at much better prices too.

castlerigg_hall_31may2014_10

4. Think Comfort

It’s super easy to create a pretty and relaxing area for lounging around inside or outside of the tent. Invest in a plastic backed picnic rug that can be easily picked up and moved, there are lots of gorgeous designs available and during the summer, they can easily be purchased along with your weekly shop.

Festooned with cushions you can build yourself a comfy and inviting day nest, ideal for lounging around in the sunshine with a good book.

Camping breakfast

5. A Little Bit Of What You Love

Camping doesn’t have to mean basic food or drink! Love a decent cup of coffee in the morning? A camping kettle, stove and caffatiere are moderate investments that will help to make your camping trip a happy one. Invest a little more to get a good cooler and you’ll be able to take food with you, proper food, that you can prepare and cook so you’ll feel less like you are slumming it.

A good cooler will keep ice frozen for days without power, and a jug of Pimms and lemonade, complete with ice cubes when camping is an indulgent joy I rarely pass up on!

For more on glam camping, check out my recent article over on the Sainsbury’s blog Be Inspired….Go On A Glam Camping Trip.

« Older posts