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Environmental and ethical outdoor gear report

Ethical Consumer has published a special Outdoor Gear report which details the environmental and ethical policies of more than 60 leading outdoor companies. The 62 page report covers fleeces, waterproof coats, walking boots, rucksacks, tents and sleeping bags, and concludes that almost all the companies covered have inadequate environmental and ethical reporting policies.

On the up side, the report includes “Best Buys” for each of the six products, as well as all the stories behind the ratings of the companies.

If you want to read the full report you can download it from the Ethical Consumer website for £3.

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Need a Pillow When Travelling?

Travel Pillow
Image by brunomiranda via Flickr

If your planning on going backpacking then one item you maybe considering taking is a pillow. With space at a premium in your backpack a pillow could be seen as a luxury item. Here are a few options that you could consider instead of lugging a large pillow around.

1. Travel pillow with compression sack

You can pick one up for a couple of quid and a compression sack allows you to make the pillow really small when carrying it around. It’s going to just enough to fit your head on.

2. Inflatable pillow

A small inflatable pillow it a great option. A few puffs and its up, best of all it should only take up a little space in your pack once deflated.

3. Clothes

Use the clothes your not wearing in the day and stack them up to make a pillow.  The only problem is you might not have enough clothes to make a decent pillow and often your clothes are drying at night.

4. Clothes and hooded sleeping bag

Some hooded / mummy sleeping bags have a pocket in the hood allowing you to stuff clothes in. This helps keep your clothes in place allowing for a comfortable night’s sleep.

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The Great Outdoors – BBC Four

Tonight see’s the first episode of a new comedy on BBC Four called the The Great Outdoors. It follows several members of a misfit rambling club, including organiser Bob and Christine a new member of the group.

It stars Ruth Jones from Gavin & Stacey and Mark Heap who was in Lark Rise to Candleford. From the clip below it certainly looks good and hopefully tells some stories all ramblers can relate too. It’s on tonight at 21:00 on BBC four, the series totals 3 episodes, if you miss it then it should be in BBC iPlayer.

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Sleeping Bag Compression Sacks

Kifaru 20F Slick Bag in a #1 (small) Kifaru Co...
Image by Pig Monkey via Flickr

Sleeping bags are often bulky to carry which is why a compression sack is really useful. Most sleeping bags come with a compression sack which allow you to stuff the bag into a smaller sack and then compress by tightening the straps.

If your going to a festival or backpacking it can be useful to have a second compression sack for your clothes. When backpacking saving place space in your backpack is really important, compressing your clothes can reduce the space your clothes take up by as much as a third.

You don’t even need to buy a sleeping bag to get your hands on another compression sack, shops like Millets and blacks sell the bags without the sleeping bag. An added bonus can also be the bag is waterproof which comes in handy in down pours or if you have to leave your bag outside.

So if your struggling to pack your clothes think about getting a compression sack.

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A 1lb 1oz tent by Terra Nova Equipment

Terra Nova Equipment has developed the world’s “lightest 1 person, double wall tent”, weighing in at just 1lb and 1 ounce taking into account th emain poles, flysheet and inner. The tent is called Laser Ultra 1 and will be part of the company’s 2011 range.

The tent offers plenty of space, an incredibly small pack size and multiple ventilation options. Its structure is said to be able to stand up to poor weather conditions, making it perfect for ultra light backpacking.

The company offers a number of other lightweight products including the new Laser Photon 2, a two person double wall tent weighing 1lb 15oz.

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Chinese Lanterns Ban for Latitude Festival

SOUTHWOLD, ENGLAND - JULY 19:  Thom Yorke perf...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Following on from many other festivals Latitude Festival have announced that Chinese Lanterns are banded from the festival. The lanterns, made out of a wire frame and light paper are lit and rise in the air due to the hot air in the paper bag.

Problems of Chinese Lanterns include

  • Setting fire to crops, tents, woodland when landing
  • Metal eaten by animals after being cut up by farm machines
  • Mistaken for flares / lighthouses
  • Not taking off correctly and landing on people.

A thread on the Latitude Festival site by festival goers had the idea of a mass launch of the lanterns on Sunday night. Security will be confiscating any lanterns, the Latitude Festival twitter account confirmed this stance again today.

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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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Double Delight for Dutch

Those Crazy Dutch fans
Image by johnwobert via Flickr

Last night the Dutch booked their place in the World Cup Final beating Paraguay 3-2, it’s now also prompted many of their fans to book their camping spot in Johannesburg where the final takes place.

For the duration of the competition hundreds of the orange clad Dutch Football fans have following their team in campers vans and a moving tent city.

One resort to have the pleasure of hosting the Dutch is The Berg River Resort in Paarl. Normally quiet in the winter they’ve had a bumper season with many fans opting to camp to save money and also soak up a great communal atmosphere.

It’s not been just tents there’s been an double-decker bus, Land Rovers VW Beetles and trucks all kitted out with an orange paint job. The camper vans were hired out from a South African company with some unfortunately breaking down on the way, the Dutch are hoping their team doesn’t suffer the same fate in the final next Sunday.

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Glastonbury Punters Take It Home

GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND - JUNE 29:  Volunteer wor...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

One of the big problems festival organisers have the deal with is the waste from the festival. Not the cups, cans, food wrappers but the camping equipment and tents left behind. Many festival sites have parking a good hours walk away so many leave chairs, tents, sleeping bags and mats which saves them being carried back to the car. With prices of mats and chairs below a a fiver it’s not a massive surprise that people discard the equipment.

Glastonbury is know for it’s green efforts and this years “Taking It Home” campaign seemed to make a difference when many festival goers packs up all their belongings. On the Monday although we left around 9am with plenty of tent still in sight there was a noticeable difference.

This was confirmed by Lucy the Green Initiatives Co-ordinator from Glastonbury  who posted on the official site a thank you message.

A big thank you to everyone who packed up all their camping equipment and took it home, and for putting all their rubbish into bin bags.

It made such a huge difference looking across the farm after the Festival and not seeing nearly as many abandoned tents, roll mats, sleeping bags, chairs etc. It still wasn’t perfect, but it was a LOT better than last year.

Thanks to everyone for ‘TAKING IT HOME’ – and let’s work towards doing even better next year!

The festival has still some way to go with the main problem on site being people going to the toilet in bushes (men) and in the camping areas recycling not being conducted. Overall a great improvement on last year.

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Solar Power Camera Strap

Here’s a cool idea from designer Weng Jie. It’s a camera strap with built in solar panels to generate charge for your camera. We’ve already seen many back packs include solar panels to charge phones. The strap is a concept at the moment but with the right wire could plug straight into your camera charges as you walk along.

Solar Powered Camera Strap

It’s certainly a product that could work, it would save you having to carry around spare batteries and you’ll be more willing to take more pictures, not having to be concerned with battery life.