Preparing for a visit home, and other stories

I’ve been quiet for a while – sorry! Life gets in the way sometimes. Quite a bit to report. I’ve been investigating various bits of interesting new gear – not least of which the Kamp Rite Tent Cot from the USA;

Kamp Rite Tent Cot

Basically this is a flat-pack tent on a camp bed chassis. It sets up remarkably quickly – as fast as any tent I’ve ever seen, probably faster in fact (including Landytents and Oztents), and sits a good eight inches off the ground, so being safe from rocks, cold ground and a certain amount of crawling nuisances. Really it’s only big enough for one person (or two being very friendly) but it’s a remarkably quick and easy instant shelter. It doesn’t come with a flysheet, which raises questions in wet environments (though you can buy one as an extra) and though it has doors on each end there are stability issues if you use them for entry or exit. More properly they are windows! Not cheap either – although a useful piece of kit in the right environment.

The second new item of interest is the Trail Compact Camp Chair, a very small yet very comfortable folding chair for use in camp. It stashes down to a size easily secured in a  rucksack and yet is perfectly good as a camp chair (though with small feet it will sink a little in soft sand)

P1060990The pic shows it in both stowed and deployed form, with a travel mug for size comparison. It is surprisingly comfortable, with the only drawbacks being its lack of head and neck support (I like to slouch round the fire at the end of a day!) and the fact that it’s low down so folk who find bending a chore might find it awkward. Ingenious kit and well-priced.

Both are available via Amazon.

P1060951Bumblebee the Camel Discovery has been out and about again, and I’ve now taken her to the excellent Joseph Vareed of Al Beya Garage in Sharjah for some work over the summer when I’m in the UK. Various bits of her external plasticware have been rendered brittle by twenty years’ exposure to the harsh UV-intense sunlight of the UAE and so Joseph is set to replace these. I’ve also asked him to investigate swapping her 3.9 litre v8 engine for a larger Rover 4.6 litre. To put this in context, the tweaked Rover Tdi turbodiesel 4 cylinder engines in Elsa, my Defender 110 and Tusker, my Discovery 2, put out somewhere around 120-130 hp. The 3.9 v8 petrol in Bumblebee knocks out about 188 hp, and even with an automatic gearbox she can spin all four wheels from a standing start if I take off too fast. The 4.6, however, has 225 hp. Still not enormous, but enough for a comparatively small 4×4 like the Discovery. To put this into context, the 5 litre v8 (admittedly a Jaguar v8) in the current 2017 Range Rover puts out 503 hp – more than twice the output of the old 4.6.

So at the time of writing I’m not sure where we will go with this – a new growlier Bumblebee may emerge…. work in progress.

And in a couple of weeks’ time I’m home to the UK for a while for a break, though also a trip overland UK – Albania, which will be interesting. As ever, watch this space…..

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