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BioLite Eco Stove win Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild prize

The smart BioLite Eco Stove has won an award from the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild. The neat little stove which runs of twigs and can power a USB device won the award for innovation.

To accept the award was Tristen Nayloron from BioLite. He added “The company is very pleased to receive this prestigious award and proud that its work has been recognised by such an important body in the UK outdoor community.”

We first blogged about the BioLite in April 2010 and it’s taken time to come from an idea, a prototype and to the UK. However the good news is that it should be in store / on sale in the UK in Spring 2013. It’s currently on sale in the US for $129 which is just under £80. – More information head over to

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Self Inflating Mats – Buying Guide

We´ve blogged about self inflating mats before on the site, however with new products being released all the time we thought it would be good to create a small buyers guide.

Type : Three options, manual, self and solid. Manual you have to blow up yourself, self just open the valve to inflate and solid don´t inflate. As this blog is about self inflating mats we suggest to pick a self inflating mat, they are smaller, lighter and easier to inflate than manual inflating mats and much more comfortable than solid mats.

Thickness : The thinnest self inflating mats are around 2cm all the way to 10cm. As you would expect the thicker they are the more comfortable they are. However the thicker you go the heavier the mat, and the more space it takes up. The thinner the mat you also will be colder as you´ll be nearer to the ground. Often when sleeping outdoors the cold will effect you more from the ground than above and around you.  Prices tend to be higher for the thicker models.

Before buying try to see the mat rolled up so you know how big it´s going to be when it´s not being used.

Length: It´s an obvios point but measure yourself and then check against the size of the mat, try to  get one just slightly longer than yourself. You also need to check it´s going to fit in your sleeping compartment in your tent, lengthwise and widthways.

Some mats do come in a “short” version which covers your torso but not your legs, if you´re not too bothered about your legs these can be a good option as they are easier to carry.

Pillow : Some models such as the Vango Adventure 5cm standard include a raised pillow for your head. It´s great if you haven´t got a pillow already, however the feature does add extra weight and size.

Single / Double : Models are coming out now to cater for two people, pretty much the same as a single sleeping mat but double the width. Great if you like to snuggle at night and if you are the owner of a double sleeping bag. If you´re coming with kids you should be able to get three kids on the mat. Not great if you´re walking or backpacking as they are too big to attach to the back of a rucksack.

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2C Solar-Powered Baseball Cap

We’ve blogged about a few solar powered goods and here’s another one that you can actually get your mits on! The 2C Solar Light Cap is a headlamp in a baseball cap that’s all powered by solar energy.

2C Solar-Powered Baseball Cap

There’s a range of styles but all have the solar panel in the top of the peak with the lights under the peak of the cap. One button turns the lights on and off  and acts as a variable simmer. You get up to 5 hours on full bean and 36 hours on dim. The batteries have a 100,000 hour life. You can also have the light flashing in four modes, on, alter flashing, SOS and party flash when your having a rave in the dark!

You can pick up a cap over at amazon for £24.99

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Brighten up your tent by converting headlamps into lanterns

Mammut, a Swiss specialist in mountaineering equipment, has developed the Ambient Light attachment which is designed to convert its range of Mammut T-series of headlamps into lanterns.

The attachment can be fitted to the T1, TR1 and TXlite, evenly disseminating the light from the headlamps with no additional batteries. At just 28g, it is light in weight and takes up a small amount of space in your backpack in comparison with a traditional lantern or LED light.

Move the lantern to the inside of your tent, and you’ve got the perfect reading light, or use it to guide yourself to the toilets in the middle of the night and lessen the risk of tripping over guy ropes.

The Ambient Light attachment is definitely a handy accessory!

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Outdoors Show 2010

Outdoors Show 2009-4
Image by The Shed1 via Flickr

Birmingham will play host to the Outdoors Show yet again at the end of this month. The show, which runs from March 26 to 28, 2010, will be held at the NEC across 2 halls. It is the largest UK show dedicated to the outdoors and the 2010 event looks set to be another success.

There will be about 250 exhibitors including most of the large outdoor brands who will be displaying their latest outdoor collections and new technologies.

The main attraction, however, will no doubt be the “have a go” activities which provide visitors with the opportunity to try out new activities in the presence of an expert. These activities include wall climbing, a computrainer cycle simulator, coolboard, ice climbing, and slacklining, among others.

The Outdoors 2010 show will also feature a tent city, a fashion show, as well as a celebrity speaker session with a line-up which includes Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Kate Humble, James Cracknell, Ben Fogle, Simon King and Doug Scott.

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Keep “snuggie” in the winter

snuggie 3-way
Image by the queen of subtle via Flickr

Its now coming towards the winter months and the temperature is dropping. Those of you who are braving the outdoors in the colder months need to remember to pack extra layers.

The “snuggie”, which is  a thin blanket with sleeves, is perfect for the colder evenings. The sleeves are large and enable the wearer to continue to use their hands without having to worry about the blanket around them falling off and being exposed to the cold – perfect for cooking your evening meal .

Another version of the snuggie is the slanket. The slanket is available in sizes for kids and adults. They also offer a siamese slanket  – perfect for wrapping and snuggling up with a loved one in the colder evenings. Cosy!