23 May 2016

REVIEW: Aldi Camping Range

Prepare for an (affordable) adventure!

Yay, Aldi Specialbuy range time again! It might not sound like much to you, but enter 'Aldi' into that search bar above and you'll see that the supermarket regularly churn out some incredible bargains for a smorgasbord of activities and lifestyles – and we love it. As the weather beckons you outside more and more, so Aldi have matched those feelings with two camping gear Specialbuy ranges, available both in stores and now online as well. Let's delve in.

Aldi have two new camping ranges out this summer; the first is aimed at backpackers and hikers (but, you know, anyone really...), falling under the moniker Adventure Camping (released 26th May), while the other is targeted squarely at family campers (released 23rd June). As we said, these ranges are also now available from the Aldi website, so even if there isn't an Aldi store near you, you can still snag a few bargains.

The Adventure Camping range consists of... a four-person dome tent (£29.99), a sleeping bag (£14.99), a folding camp table (17.99), a folding barbecue (£14.99), a folding camp bed (£19.99), a cooking set (£14.99), a self-inflating sleeping mat (£14.99), a 'mummy'-style sleeping bag (£14.99), a portable gas cooker (£7.99 – seriously?), a folding trolley (£9.99), a four-pack of gas bottles (£4.99), and a very handy LED trekking torch (£6.99).

Meanwhile, the Family Camping range includes a Pop-Up Tent (£19.99), a large five-man tent (£79.99), a Heavy Duty Folding Trolley (£49.99), an all purpose rucksack (£8.99), a Trekking Backpack (£19.99), a Dual Burner with Grill (£24.99), a Camping Kitchen Cupboard (£39.99), an Electric Cool Box (£39.99), and a Hammock with Stand (£39.99), as well as a few other smaller bits and bobs that you might need.

We were sent a selection of items from both ranges to test out. Here are our thoughts...

Four-person Dome Tent

Packing up surprisingly small and light, this four-person shelter is roomy and quite light on the inside (we were sent the green version, which seems lighter than the blue). It features an inner suspended net layer, over which the outer waterproof layer is fastened. This means condensation on the inside walls won't bother you, and there is a nice bit of room in the porch area for your muddy boots. We found that it does indeed accommodate four campers, but if you're packing a load of kit, this is probably better served for two or three.

Envelope-style Sleeping Bag

This sleeping bag is another bargainous surprise, being far better quality than we were expecting for less than 15 quid. The comfort range of the rectangle-shaped bag (as opposed to the tapered shape of the 'mummy' style) is between 1.4 and -4 degrees Celsius, making it absolutely spot-on for a bit of British and European summer camping. It features a built-in hood with draw-string enclosure, and can also be completely un-zipped and joined to a another similar sleeping bag, for double the fun. You know what we mean...

Folding Camp Bed

If mats and air bed aren't your thing, and you want something a bit more civilised to sleep on while out in the wilderness, this compact, fold-out, and relatively light-weight camp bed is great. Big enough to sleep a fully-gown man (grrr!), and strong enough to support weights of up to 120kg, this uses an aluminium frame and canvas sheet to create a very comfortable night's sleep indeed. And yep; carry bag included. Boom!

Cooking Set

This set might sound completely dull, but it is probably the most handy thing you can have when out camping. The set comprises (all metal) a kettle pot, a frying pan, and a decently sized cooking pot. All three have fold-away insulated handles, and each part packs up into one another, then slips into the included mesh carry sack. If you've only ever been camping with chunky kitchen pots, this will revolutionise your outdoors living experience.

Electric Cool Box

Like a mobile fridge, this portable plastic cool box looks (and weighs) just like any other. However, plug it into your car's 12V power supply and the 30 litre cool box will get chilly in just a few minutes. There's a dial on top to set the chilliness (next to the removable lid – handy that), and you can also power it from a standard mains socket, should you be 'chilling' out at home, or if you're at one of those campsites that has electricity and showers and toilets and WiFi. Which is basically cheating.

Hammock with stand

And here is the cream of the crop. This foldable hammock is the mutt's nuts, being exceptionally comfortable while also portable. If we're being honest, you wouldn't want to carry this thing around all that much, and it is definitely designed for 'drive-there-in-the-car' campers, but once erected it it awesome. Anyone who follows us on Instagram would've seen what we did as soon as it arrived:

It features an adjustable pillow, a cup holder, a book slit on one side (which is actually perfect for your phone) and a mesh net on the underside for other bits and bobs. And it is soooo comfortable, and also extremely sturdy. Seriously, you have to get one of these damn things. Sure, you won't get anything achieved this summer as you'll be lounging inside it until September, but who really does any work in the summer months anyway?

So a great couple of camping ranges which are sure to be popular. Get yours quick, either in Aldi stores, or at https://www.aldi.co.uk

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