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“Experiential retailing”: a useful store concept?

A Canadian retailer, Mark’s Work Wearhouse, is piloting a very interesting new store concept – it has installed a custom-made walk-in-freezer in its store in Edmonton. The purpose? To allow customers to try on garments and test how warm they are.

The freezer is set at -15  but the customer has a choice to experience chills of up to -40!! Useful for those contemplating a venture into Antarctica perhaps?!

The store also features a number of other interactive services, such as different surfaces, including concrete, for consumers testing footwear.

If the concept, known as “experiential retailing”, proves successful, Mark’s will roll it out to the rest of its stores in Canada. It might even give rise to other similar concepts. Maybe one day we could walk into an outdoor apparel store and try on a windproof jacket against a strong fan or in a wind tunnel, or cooling garments in a built-in sauna, or even waterproof clothing in a walk-in shower…

Anyone have any thoughts on how useful this could be? Would you use it if the experience was available?

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The International Caravan & Motorhome 2009 Birmingham

It’s less than a month until The International Caravan & Motorhome 2009 which will be held in Birmingham. The annual event is held in the NEC area from the 13 to the 18 of October. Last year around 70,000 people visited over the five day period.

The-International-Caravan-&-Motorhome-2009 Birmingham

The show features caravans, motorhomes, and holiday Homes of a wide variety. There is also plenty of accessories including some new to the market. It’s a great chance to also see some of the 2010 range of products that will be coming out at the start of next year.

The show is a great chance to just browse the odd product but there should also be some great offers and discounts only available at the show. The list of stands goes into the hundreds but there are also events throughout the day including a buying clinic, towing experience and many more.

If you fancy going there are even on site pitches to park up and hook up for the night. Tickets can be bought online or on the day for around £14.95, there is also a 6 day pass if you want to take your time or try and negotiate a price on a new caravan over a few days.

Head over to the official site for more details.

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Nikwax Waterproof Contain no Fluorochemicals after Tests

Dunderdon jacket
Image by wstryder via Flickr

After tests the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation  have been able to confirm that Nikwax waterproofing contains no fluorochemicals.

Fluorinated chemicals are often used to aid waterproofing but have been found to stay in human tissue. The chemical could be ‘soaked’ up by human skin and then not excreted from the body, the chemical can cause harmful effects on hormone and fertility functions. The toxins are also not great for the environments polluting air and water.

Nikwax’s Managing Director Nick Brown  said

‘At Nikwax our commitment is to the wellbeing of our consumers and our employees, which is why we never have and never will use fluorinated chemicals in any of our products’.

Applied to clothing Nikwax helps seal a the material making it waterproof which extents the garments use.

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New Visitor Centre For the Lake District

Sunset at Windermere
Image by via Flickr

Plans have been revealed for a £24 million visitor centre in the Lake District. The plan involves a redevelopment of the Brockhole Visitor Centre into a brand new centre for all tourist activity in the Lake District.

It’s hoped that the development will be funded by mony from the LDNPA with grants from Heritage Lottery and the North West Regional Development Agency.

Specific details include an area for outdoor events for 5,000 people, a Go Ape high-wire forest adventure, adventure playground, watersports centre and a second jetty on lake Windermere.

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How Do Self Inflating Mattresses Work?

Self inflating mat
Image via Wikipedia

So, how do self inflating mattresses work? If you’ve had the pleasure of using one you may be wondering how the mattress inflates without the need to pump in any air?

When the mattress is new or being stored it’s rolled up which compresses the open-cell foam inside the mattress. Open-cell foam wants to expand so when the mat is unrolled the foam expands and literally sucks the air into mattress once the valve is opened.

If you leave the mattress for around 8-10 minutes the mattress will be pretty much fully inflated, one quick blow on the valve then firms the mattress up.

The great feature of self inflating mattress’s are that when rolled up it’s pretty much the same size as a cheaper foam mat while giving a much more comfortable surface to sleep on.

A blow up mattress’s do given an even better surface to sleep on but are heavy to carry and you also have to blow them up.   So next time your looking for a new surface to sleep on we fully recommend the self inflating option.

Posted on – Helping you find a Pitch is a brand new site helping you find a pitch in the UK and Ireland. Only set up in July this year the site has 5,000 locations which can be searched via post code, town or site name.

If you know the general area you want to stay in there’s a really good map which then pin points each campsite. You can zoom in and click the pin point for more details. Even more important there are reviews for the camp sites to get an independent view of the camp site. As expected not all locations have a review but should build up over time.

There’s a blog, offers on weekend breaks, suggestions of places to go near to each campsite, local events list and it helps that the site is nice and easy to navigate around.

So is a great new site and if your looking for a pitch take a look over at

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Bestival Camping – Swim with your tent?

Image via Wikipedia

We are coming to the end of the festival season in the UK and this weekend is Bestival which takes place on the Isle of White. This year’s artists include Kraftwork, Doves, Lilly Allen, Elbow and Little Boots who will all be performing at the festival which is in it’s sixth year.

Getting to the festival is slightly different from your average festival as you need to get the boat over to the island from the south coast. There is the option to swim over this year with 12 people taking up the challenge.

They set off on this Thursday and with help from the local lifeguards team and will raise money for three charities Imibala, St Catherine’s and Christopher’s Smile. Only 12 swimmers can compete each year but places are open for next years event.

They won’t swim with their camping gear but if you do need to cross a river many backpacks with a waterproof bivi bag will keep your goodies dry and afloat.

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Man United ace opts for a “staycation” in a caravan

Rio Ferdinand, English footballer. Plays in th...
Image via Wikipedia

It looks as though the trend for “staycation” holidays is not just restricted to those on a budget. The Man United ace and England defender Rio Ferdinand was snapped taking a caravaning holiday at Presthaven Sands in Prestatyn, north Wales, with his fiancee and two sons.

While most footballers are known to holiday in countries such as Dubai and in resorts accredited with no lower than 5 stars, the celebrity opted to stay in a luxurious top of the range £400 caravan for a weekend at the end of August.

You can imagine the surprise of budget-restrained fellow holidaymakers to find the star holidaying at the same place!

According to Haven Holidays, the idol was happy to sign autographs and mingle with other fellow campers and caravanners. What a nice bloke eh?!

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Vango Launch Photography Competition

Durness Campsite
Image by Hello, I am Bruce via Flickr

Tent manufacturer Vango have launched a photography competition with a sparkling range of prizes. The winners of the competition will be selected by the company’s Marketing and Creative Managers, with some pictures being used in the 2010 Vango marketing campaign.

The prize list includes Columbia 600 family premium tents, Equinox 250 tents, Fitzroy 60+10 mountain rucsack, Summit 5000 mountain sleeping bags and more. The competition is split into two sections Vango Products and non Vango Products.

To enter all you have to do is email with your pictures, the subject either “Photographs with Vango products” or “Photographs without Vango products” with name, address and a contact telephone number. For full details head over to the competition page at Vango

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Vibram Five Fingers to help runners in the UK

Vibram Five Fingers are new trainer taking the running world by storm. Made by American company Vibram, Five Finger are based on the human foot, which means spaces for five toes. The design gives a distinctive look but most important could help to stop problems such as knee injuries and shin splints.


The top of trainer is made from abrasion-resistant stretch polyamide fabric with the sole out of a patented TC1 performance rubber compound. The sole will give grip in either dry or wet conditions. Although mainly aimed at runners the trainer is being used by climbers, free runners, water sports and walkers.

The latest 2009 collection for Men and Women have several different designed, classic, sprint KSP and flow. Prices are around $75 with a range of sizes, there are special instructions for measuring your foot for the correct size.

There is a UK shop set up now with prices at around £85  with sizes all the way from 3.5 to 12 head over to to check them out.