Moving onto March of this year in my scramble to catch up on my blogging backlog, found me once again, involved in training our Sea Cadet instructors in becoming Lowland Expedition Leaders (LEL).
The weekend was based at TS Black Swan – the Sunbury & Walton Sea Cadet unit on the banks of the Thames. After lots of the usual admin there was plenty of adventure training lessons to be gotten through. We try to get all the basics like Legislation, Health & Safety and Kit covered in class before heading out for outdoor sessions.
Students learn all about tents and stoves in a very hands on way. They need to learn fast as they are expected within a couple of months to be teaching these subjects to cadets (under supervision though).
From the start we like to get the students practicing their teaching skills. In pairs they were tasked with giving short lessons in subjects such as map and compass work. I was particularly impressed with the cardboard compass they produced to teach everyone about its different parts.
Much of the rest of the time was spent out and about practicing the use of maps and compasses on the North Downs. It was a much cooler time of the year as you can see from the pictures below – a time of year I find far more comfortable in comparison to the heat we are currently facing – as I write this in mid summer.
Here is to some cooler times soon (I am Scottish) 🙂
I was shown what I think is quite an ingenious tent two weeks ago by my friend Adam Cottrell. The tent is from a company called Heimplanetand is erected simply by inflating it. This post is not an in-depth review as I have only seen it once for a very short period. My initial impressions of it were very positive and I would be keen to try it out sometime.
The tent weighs 11.5lbs (5.2kgs in new money) so one for the car I think rather than the backpack. The quality of the bag was very good with a ‘canoe bag’-type top that you roll down to compress and seal it.
All the guylines were detached when Adam opened it up so there was nothing tangled up.
Dotted around the tent are 5 nozzle points; only one is needed for inflating the tent, but all the tubes can be closed off after they have been inflated so that if you get a puncture in one tube the whole tent does not deflate.
In about two minutes Adam had set everything up and inflated the tent.
I got Adam to re-do the inflation of the tent and took a short film of it to show you how simple the procedure was. I was quite surprised at the size of the tent and can see why they call it the Cave.
Each of the five sections of the tubing can be closed off by this simple locking valve that pinches the small connecting tube between the main tubes.
The guylines come in an unusual configuration. They are attached to the tent via toggles and one set of lines on each side is pegged out flat on the ground.
Here you can see a little more clearly how the toggles attach to the tent.
Both sets of guylines on each side attach to the same peg keeping things neat and tidy.
Everything is connected either by velcro straps or toggles. The tent can be erected without the outer sheet (but that’s probably not advisable here in the UK).
The workmanship I observed on this tent was very high. All the seams looked neatly sealed and the stitching was very accurately placed.
As well as a locking valve on each section there are also 5 access points so that the inner tubes can be removed and repaired if need be.
The tent has a small porch and the small front awning will stop rainwater dripping into the tent when you open it (but only just I think). However when this tent was fully inflated and the guylines were secured it was very stable and strong.
I liked the small pockets for stowing the door flaps. Very neat and a great idea.
In terms of space you could fit two adults with lots of kit into it comfortably. If there were three of you then you would just need to be a bit more disciplined about things but you would be comfortable enough.
The tent had good ventilation with plenty of mossie-style nets on the inner and a number of covered openings on the outer. It also comes with a good loft storage area and loads of pockets. You cannot stand up in the tent but when sitting most folk will not touch the ceiling with their head.
To deflate, simply unlock the valves and let the air out. The tent simply collapses in on itself.
You need to spend a couple of minutes just pushing all the air out of the tubes, otherwise the tent will be very difficult to put back into the bag.
The tent is rolled up to the size of the bag as with most tents but you can use your knee to push out any trapped air. A good enhancement to the tent back would be to install a little valve so that as you rolled the top down the air could escape quicker.
As I said at the beginning I was very impressed with this tent. I initially thought that this could never work but after looking at the quality and the strength of the tent I soon lost any doubts. I like the fact that the sleeves covering each tube are very strong and that each section of the tubing can be locked off to aid quick repair. Amazon has these tents on sale for about £395 so they’re not exactly cheap for a 2-3 person tent but this certainly scores highly for quality and ease of erection. I had a look at the Heimplanet site and all the specs for the tent can be found here – The Cave.