Motorhome Weight Limits

How much does your campervan weigh? What does the Highway Code say about it?

If your motorhome weighs less than 3,050kg the chances are you’re OK, and it is in most regards simply treated as a motor car. However, many don’t (consider a loaded 8m long Burstner or Autotrail with a tag-axle), and few campers seem to appreciate the distinction or to take account of the consequences.

Legally speaking, if you go just one kilo above the 3,050kg weight limit then things begin to get complicated…

At 3,051kg your motorhome gets redefined as a Heavy Motor Car, and is subject to a maximum speed of 50mph on single carriage roads.

And at 3,501kg your somewaht large campervan is reclassified again (as a Large Goods Vehicle or LGV) making it liable for more road fund licence (road tax), and an offence for anyone who passed their test after 31 December 1996 to drive it unless they have taken an extra test to get the required group on their driving licence.

This warning applies to some of the larger European motorhomes, and of course almost anything that you may be considering importing from America.

Source MSN: http://cars.uk.msn.com/features/photos.aspx?cp-documentid=156869307&page=2

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We sell The Fastest Roof Box in the West

Those readers old enough to remember Benny Hill’s character “Ernie” the milkman will perhaps also recall his character “Two Ton Ted from Teddington” and, most importantly, Ted’s horse “Trigger” who, according to the song, “Pulled The Fastest Milkcart In The West.”

It’s taken them perhaps another 40 years to get there but Swedish company Thule, who own Omnistor, have now developed the the fastest roofbox in the West …or indeed the world.

We sell a fair range of motorhome roof boxes but this is a world first…

Koenigsegg Agera R Thule Lightning Roof Box

Koenigsegg Agera R Thule Lightning Roof Box

On 1st March, at the 81st International Motor Show, Thule and Koenigsegg unveiled the new hyper roof box.

In a ground-breaking collaboration between Thule and Koenigsegg, the two world-leading Swedish companies, within different business areas, have created the hyper roof box Thule Lightning, specially designed for the hyper car Koenigsegg Agera R.

Koenigsegg Agera R and Thule Lightning is the fastest combination of a commercial car and roof box on the market, with a top speed of 187mph (300km/h) and 0-62mph (0-100km/h) in 2.9 seconds. Thule Lightning is the only commercially available roof box made of 100% carbon fibre.

The Thule Lightning is integrated with the Koenigsegg Agera R’s removable rooftop. Its aerodynamic design has been developed by Thule to compliment the Koenigsegg design, shape and overall look and feel. The Koenigsegg Agera R integrated winter rooftop is available through special order, and if you choose to order the Thule Lightning package, a pair of personally customised skis, designed and produced in a Swedish ski resort will be included.

Michael Forsmark, President of Thule Vehicle Solutions, explained: “Thule Lightning is a token of the success with our focus on innovation. This is an extreme roof box with features and a design that will have great benefits for our continued product development, based on the combination of our solid craftsmanship and consumer insight.”

Christian von Koenigsegg, founder and CEO of Koenigsegg, continued: ”We have for a long time dreamed about making our extreme cars more practical without sacrificing the feel and the performance of the vehicle. With the new Thule Lightning roof box, our hyper cars get a total luggage space of 420 litres, without altering the car. This opens up entirely new possibilities for the use of our cars. For example, you can pack the usual Koenigsegg roof in the front boot, and pack the box full of clothes, skis and other necessities. When you reach the final destination, the user can simply replace the roof box with the regular roof, which is already packed in the car. The driver will then, immediately be ready to head out to the next race track.”

If you’re not fortunate enough to be able to afford the Koenigsegg required to mount the Thule Lightning roof box onto, but still want a Thule Omnistor top box for your motorhome, we’ll be happy to try and help you. We call sell you the Thule Apollo range for your car too.

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February Newsletter

February is almost over, the winter weather is receding fast, daffodils are blooming on the verges, and Easter will soon be with us. Traditionally Easter spells the start of the camping season, and there is no reason to assume that this year will be any different.

Even if it’s still raining at present though, there’s no reason not to get out there and enjoy your motorhome. Assuming you have an Omnistor Awning fitted to it, then all you need is either an Omnistor Rain-Blocker Side or on Omnistor Rain Blocker Front and you’re ready for whatever the British weather can throw at you. And with April traditionally being the month of showers, it’s fair to assume that your new purchase will see plenty of use before summer arrives.

Sticking with Omnistor we’re very pleased to announce that the Omnistor Security Products, previously only available on the continent, are now available in UK too. This group of products, which includes everything from motorhome locks to safety hand rails, is designed to ensure the greatest possible safety for both you and your campervan. And being Omnistor, you know you can trust the brand and be assured that the products will do exactly what they are supposed to.

The key thing though is to beat the Easter rush and, if there’s anything you want, buy it now while stocks last and avoid waiting for a fresh delivery to arrive from Belgium.

To help you do this we’re offering a 7% discount for all orders placed before on or before 14th March. To claim your discount, simply quote this discount code:

FEB-NEWS-OFFER

The code will expire automatically at midnight on 14th March, while we’re asleep, so if you want to order ready for the main camping season take the opportunity to do so now and save yourself some money in the process.

Feel free to leave a comment below (all comments are checked by a human so it may not appear instantly), or share this post using the social media icons provided.

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Happy New Year (& VAT)

Happy New Year to all our customers and friends; we hope that you have enjoyed the festive season, and wish you all a great 2011.

We know that many of you have spent a lot of money with us in 2010, a good many people on several occasions (so we must be doing something right!), and we are obviously both grateful and hope that this pattern will continue into 2011 and beyond. Everybody who spent more than £2,000 with us in 2010 has been sent a special loyalty card, the code on which entitles them to a discount of everything they buy (big or small) in 2011. If you think you should have received a card, and it doesn’t arrive in the next few days, please contact us and say so.

We’ll be bringing the full range of Draper camping equipment online in the next month, and we’re really excited about this. Draper is fairly new to the UK camping scene, but they are a well-established company with a brand reputation for selling good quality products at sensible prices. If you don’t already receive our newsletter, sign up now and you’ll be notified as soon as this new range is uploaded.

Back to Earth with a bump: we’ve spent part of our New Year’s Day changing all the inc-VAT prices on the store to reflect the VAT increase from 17.5% to 20.0%; so if looks like the prices displayed have gone up, they have! The ex-VAT prices are still the same as before, meaning that our VAT-registered business customers will pay the same in 2011 as they did in 2010. Unfortunately the government has decreed that all private customers must pay a little more. It’s not the end of the world though and taking a 12 volt Omnistep Slide Out 550 as an example: we’re now selling it for £238.54 including VAT; previously we were selling it for £233.63 including VAT; and Omnistor’s RRP is £297.30 (was £291.19) including VAT. So you still save around £58 by buying it from us rather than elsewhere.

Be warned however that many manufacturers will increase their recommended retail prices (RRP), and trade prices (i.e. what we pay), in January so we may not be able to hold the current prices much longer. If there’s something you need then you would be well advised to buy it now, rather than wait until the 2011 camping season begins at Easter.

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Your Christmas Gift from Camping Equipment Shop

I’ve just sent this out to all customers, and friends, on our emailing list. Just before we close up and go home for Christmas, I’ve decided to share it with the readers of our blog too…

Here’s wishing you a Very Merry Christmas from all staff at the Camping Equipment Shop.

To properly thank you for your custom in 2010, even though the Camping Equipment Shop website…

==> http://www.CampingEquipmentShop.co.uk

…will be unmanned and running on auto-pilot over the Christmas break, we have a very special Christmas present for you:

10% OFF EVERYTHING BOUGHT BEFORE MIDNIGHT 31 DECEMBER 2010.

That even includes Gift Vouchers; so if you’re short of Christmas / New Year presents that’s one possible solution for you, and there’s nothing stopping you buying a gift voucher for yourself if you really want to either (and thereby saving 10% off whatever you use it to buy next Spring, or whenever).

To claim your Christmas gift, simply enter discount code   XMAS-GIFT-2010 at the checkout, and the store will automatically deduct 10% from your total. You can use this code as many times as you want up until midnight on 31 December.

Don’t forget that VAT goes up on 1st January, and unfortunately that means our prices must as well. Some manufacturers put their prices up on 1st January too, so if there is anything you need you’d be wise to take advantage of this   XMAS-GIFT-2010 discount offer and buy it before midnight on 31 December.

We’ll be uploading a large number of Draper camping products to the website early in 2011 (the categories are already there as a clue to precisely what) so keep an eye on the store for this range of camping equipment as it comes online.

On a different note, we’re helping a charity out: if you’re into overland adventure travel, MongolAid has an opening for a team-member to help take an ambulance to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in 2011. It’s a charity event, with the ambulance being donated to a medical project on arrival. If this is something that interests you, it really is the opportunity of a lifetime. Full details are at: http://mongolaid.org.uk (opens in a new window).

And don’t forget to go to…

==> http://www.CampingEquipmentShop.co.uk

…and quote discount code   XMAS-GIFT-2010   at the checkout, to get 10% off everything, even gift vouchers, as our thank you and Christmas gift to you (but do it before 31 December).

Gift vouchers will be delivered instantly by email, physical goods will ship on 4th January 2011 or as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter.

Merry Christmas,

Andrew & Kira

Camping Equipment Shop
Quality Camping Equipment at Sensible Prices

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Fitting a Fiamma Safari Room to an Omnistor 5003 Awning

We had a phone call this week from a prospective customer who has recently bought a new (to them) motorhome fitted with an Omnistor 5003 awning. We like the new Omnistor 5003; it’s a fine awning, lightweight, great quality and sensibly priced.

So the person who had bought the motorhome was lucky to have got it with an Omnistor 5003 awning already fitted.

And like many people they realised that they could substantially expand the living-space of their motorhome, for minimal effort and cost, with the comparatively cheap purchase of a safari room or safari residence.

We sell a large range of Omnistor Safari Rooms, and the more up-market Omnistor Safari Residences. And we have one ourselves, on our own Hymer motorhome, so we know they’re great products. We happily recommend them, and we sell quite a few (at sensible, affordable and sustainable prices too).

What we didn’t understand then was when this prospective customer told us that they’d already gone out and bought themselves a Fiamma Safari Room, and could we please help them to fit it to their Omnistor awning.

“Why on Earth would anybody do this?” was Kira’s first reaction. She has more than enough experience to realise that this was not a sensible thing to do.

My own though was that it was like buying a BMW estate, deciding that you wanted a new tailgate, popping down your Ford dealer to buy one, then wondering why it wouldn’t fit when you got back home.

Sorry to be so blunt but Omnistor make a great Safari Room, which is 100% guaranteed to be a perfect fit on the 5003 awning, so buying one that isn’t is just plain dumb! It doesn’t matter if you picked it up cheap on an auction site: if it doesn’t fit your motorhome awning properly then it won’t be a comfortable extension to your campervan, you won’t enjoy being in it, and you’ll have wasted your money.

And now, even though they hadn’t ever bought anything from us before, let alone either of the items in question, this couple somehow expected us to wade in like knights in shining armour, wave our magic wand, and make everything perfect.

So what did we do?

The answer is that we’re nice people – we’re campers ourselves – so we tried to help.

There were two obvious solutions that I suggested to their problem:

  • We sell genuine Omnistor supplementary tension rafters specifically designed for the 5 series Omnistor awnings. These are available in a range of lengths to suit awning projections from 2.00m, 2.25m, 2.50m, 2.75m (for 5003 awning: Omnistor 5 series tension rafter 2.00m, Omnistor 5 series supplementary rafter 2.25m). An Omnistor tension rafter of the appropriate length, combined with the Fiamma safari room, may have enabled it to fit the Omnistor 5003 awning. We couldn’t guarantee it of course, and certainly wouldn’t recommend it, but with the tension rafters starting from just £19.99 each including VAT (RRP £23.10) it certainly had to be worth a shot if you were already up the creek without a paddle!
  • Even cheaper would have been for our misguided enquirers to buy a set of genuine Omnistor 5 series tension rafter end pieces and, with the aid of a few basic hand tools, try and fit them to the ends of their Fiamma tension rafters, i.e. the ones that came with the mismatching safari room that they had unwisely bought.

So we passed these ideas on to them, together with the simpler-still idea of simply cutting their losses, reselling their unwise purchase back on the auction site, and buying the correct Omnistor 5003 Safari Room.

Had they bought the tension rafters or end pieces we certainly wouldn’t have made enough profit on the deal to take early retirement, and quite possibly not even enough to cover the cost of the lengthy call we made to their mobile phone talking them through it all. But that didn’t matter, we simply wanted to try and help some fellow campers out of their predicament.

What did annoy me though was that, after all our work on their behalf, they didn’t even have the courtesy to say those two simple little words: thank you!

If you’ve had a similar experience yourself, know any tips & tricks to merge Fiamma and Omnistor motorhome products together, or simply want to have your say, please use the comment facility below.

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International Caravan & Motorhome Show, NEC Birmingham, 12-17 October 2010

Here’s an extract from what the organisers of the International Caravan & Motorhome Show claim for their event, starting this Tuesday in NEC Birmingham:

“If you want to see what’s new– this is your first opportunity to see the very latest 2011 models of caravans and motorhomes with the latest designs, layouts and innovations.

“If you’re thinking of buying, you will find every major manufacturer represented, meaning you can compare all the options in one place. There will be lots of great show offers and discounts you will benefit from too.

“If you’re looking for inspiration– there will be a great selection of campsites and destinations to see, so you can start planning your 2011 adventures at the show.

“If you’re looking for a great day out for all the family, there are more features and attractions than ever before this year, with great new additions including a Cookery Theatre, Farmers’ Market, Expert Talks Theatre and Real Ale Bar!”

So there was no Real Ale Bar in the NEC Birmingham before? Anyway, moving on…

The organisers boldly claim that “all the leading motorhome manufacturers will be represented, including Swift, Auto-Trail, Auto-Sleepers, Chausson, Rapido, Pilote, Burstner, Niesmann & Bischoff, Romahome, Frankia and Dethleffs.” I note however that neither Hymer nor Hobby are on that list, and I for one consider them to be major motorhome manufacturers too.

They also say on their website that the leading motorhome dealerships from up and down the country will be exhibiting, including Brownhills; Hobby; Lowdham Leisureworld and RS Motorhomes. If you work for a motorhome dealership that they’ve omitted, for example Marquis that I thought were pretty big, feel free to give yourself a free ‘plug’ using the comments box below this post.

The organisers also point out that there will be “hundreds of touring caravans for you to explore and compare; with all of the leading caravan manufacturers represented, including Swift, Bailey, Elddis, Lunar and Coachman.” Again, I’d argue that the likes of Eriba are major caravan manufacturers too, but the organisers don’t make any mention of them being present.

Oh, as well as touring caravans, there will also be a selection of trailer tents, folding campers and 5th wheels. “Whatever your taste and budget,” they claim, “there is sure to be something to suit.”

I’ll leave that up to you, the reader, to decide. And if you’d care to leave your thoughts in the comments box below this post you’ll be very welcome to do so.

It is however probably fair to say that there will be lots of special show offers and deals that you won’t find anywhere else. At last year’s show the dealers were offering deals such as “1 years free insurance” when you bought at the show. As incentives for a major impulse purchase go that doesn’t quite cut it for me personally, especially as with the season now over there’s little doubt they’ll mostly be equally happy to repeat (or better!) that offer in 2 weeks time, after you’ve had the opportunity to shop around!

OK, hands up here, I found the official website for the International Caravan & Motorhome Show to be more marketing hype than substance and it didn’t impress me at all. I suspect you’ve realised that by now though…

However, if what you’re looking for is campsites, then (at least according to the organisers) the International Caravan & Motorhome 2010 will have more campsites, holiday parks, destinations and tourist boards than ever before. Pedantically, that’s more hype of course, because the claim would be true if the show had one site last year and two this!

They claim that, “whether you are a new-comer to the hobby or have been caravanning or motorhoming for years, all outdoor enthusiasts want to find out more about where they can enjoy their next adventures.” That’s why they aim to provide a great selection of sites and destinations from around the UK and Europe, to give you some great inspiration for where to take your next get-away breaks.

Naturally both The Camping and Caravanning Club and The Caravan Club will both be at the show as well, to answer any questions you might have about their campsites around the UK. You can speak to them about the savings you can make on park bookings by becoming a member. Do speak to the other exhibitors too though, because their campsites may well offer you many things that the “Clubs” can’t (bigger pitches and less rules, for example). Personally I’d like to see these “Clubs” campaigning to allow responsible wild camping in the UK, and free motorhome stopovers (just like the Europeans all enjoy) but that would potentially diminish their own “Club” revenues so I can’t really see it happening.

Anyway, the (hype-ridden) official website for the show is at:

http://birmingham.caravanshows.com

If you’d like to share your thoughts, either on this blog post or the show itself, please use the comments box below. You can of course share the post itself with your friends using the various multi-media icons.

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The Motorhome Show, Shepton Mallet, September 2010 – Review

It seems that The Motorhome Show in Shepton Mallet gets bigger every year, as you can perhaps see from the photos I have attached to this blog post.

The Motorhome Show, Shepton Mallet, September 2010 - CampsiteThe campsite was full, seemingly with most people on grass pitches and without electric hook-ups. That really shouldn’t be a problem in most motorhomes for 3 or 4 days though, and it’s something we’ve regularly done in our own Hymer without any problems at all.

The Motorhome Show, Shepton Mallet, September 2010 - Trade StallsIt was interesting walking around the various trade stalls at the show, chatting with some of the proprietors, and picking up the odd catalogue. It gave me a few more ideas for camping products (OK, specifically motorhome products) that we could put on our own website for you too. If they sell well enough at the show to warrant a bin to sell them, they should be on our website too. So look out for exotica such as ladder bands to peg out your safari room (or caravan awning) with, coming soon.

Mind you, that won’t be until after I have finished uploading our range of 300 Draper camping products. I’m currently putting all the descriptions together (it takes an age!) so they’ll be with you soon.

And of course I still need to source some decent ground spikes to stock, both for us and you, after the one that I bought elsewhere snapped on Dartmoor on the first day of our recent holiday leaving me wondering what to do with our dog, other than tie her to our motorhome. When I finally find one that meets our quality standards, it’ll be on our website (but not before as I don’t want our customers suffering the same problems I did).

But back to The Motorhome Show in Shepton Mallet…

The Motorhome Show, Shepton Mallet, September 2010 - Motorhomes For SaleIt was fun wandering around all the motorhomes too, our favourite being an ‘S’ Class Hymer (no surprise there). My wife liked the American RVs with their multiple slide-outs too, and was reassured by the salesman’s explanation that they’ll do the cost-equivalent of 25mpg on their LPG engines, and 95mph flat out, though presumably not both things at the same time! I had my reservations however because I’m not entirely sure that I fancy trying to get something the size of a 50-seater coach around Cornish hairpin bends in the name of relaxation, or park its 11m length on a typical 8m long campsite pitch (and I hesitate to think what The Camping and Caravanning Club rules would make of it…), and I’m also not entirely comfortable with the strategy that was proposed to me for emptying the black water tank when finally full either!

The Motorhome Show, Shepton Mallet, September 2010 - View of ShowThe conclusion was that we’ll keep our existing motorhome for a few more years yet (and she’s been with us for a while already) because even after wandering in and out of dozens we still couldn’t find anything that beats our existing layout (for our needs) or offers better build quality.

All in all it was a great show though, we’ll definitely be going again next year (as last year, and the year before, and…), and we recommend it to you too.

Feel free to leave your own thoughts on the show using the comments box below, or use the various icons to share this blog post with others, or both…

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The Motorhome Show, Shepton Mallet, 10-12 September 2010

The Motorhome Show will take place at the Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset from 10-12 September 2010. You can book in advance online or by phone, or at the gate on arrival. If you belong to a club with a rally area at the show you get a £2 discount. Some clubs like you to book direct through them, so you may want to check that out first.

The September Motorhome Show at the Royal Bath & West Showground has developed into one of the biggest motorhome events in Europe. As well as being an amazing exhibition of motorhomes and accessories, it is also a huge gathering for all the major motorhome clubs and a fantastic weekend even for the casual motorhomer.

For over twenty-seven years the Royal Bath & West showground, just south of Shepton Mallet in Somerset on the A371, has been the home of one of the world’s largest motorhome exhibitions. It is undeniably a great place to view and compare a huge number of motorhomes side by side, in one location.

Over the long weekend, new and used motorhomes from Europe and the USA will be on view, and for sale, along with a host of accessories from the very latest motorhome awnings to reversing aids and high tech electronic gear plus self-seeking satellite dishes enabling you to watch English speaking programmes and films wherever you are in Europe. Plus a good range of outdoor leisure clothing.

In addition to the exhibition, visitors staying for the long weekend have a varied entertainment programme organised for them with live cabarets on Friday and Saturday evenings and a superb firework show on the Saturday evening. Also on Saturday evening, which will clearly be a busy one, trophies will be presented to the winners of this year’s Motorcaravan of the Year Awards.

The entry fee includes multiple entry to the show and entertainment (although that’s only available to people camping overnight). If you own a caravan, motorhome, trailer tent or tent you are welcome to stay for the long weekend and enjoy two nights of free live entertainment on Friday and Saturday (with audience limited to venue capacity, obviously).

The shows open at 9:30am, closing at 5:30pm on Friday & Saturday, and 5pm on Sunday. Day car parking is free, and accompanied children (defined by the organisers as “under 16″) are also free. Day Tickets at the gate are £7.50 per adult, or £5 per adult if bought in advance.

If you’re camping then it’s £35 if you arrive on Thursday, or £30 if you arrive on Friday, and that includes show tickets for 2 adults (that would otherwise cost £10/£15). There’s no need to book in advance if camping, just book in at the gate (after midday Thursday) and stay through until midday on Monday. If you do book in advance though, you can ask for an electric hook-up if you want.

Note that despite the name of “The Motorhome Show” the organisers say “Camp in anyway you wish from tent to caravan. If you arrive together you can camp together”.

Oh, and you’re allowed to take your dog (the organiser’s website describes them as “allowed” as opposed to “welcome”…) and adds “on a lead please and please clear up after them”.

More details and a booking form are available at:

http://www.stoneleisure.com

Feel free to add your own comments on the show below, or use the various icons to share this blog post with others…

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Camping Equipment Blog – Welcome

Welcome to our Camping Equipment Blog, where we discuss all matters relating to camping equipment; this is the official blog of the Camping Equipment Shop.

We’ll use this camping blog to bring you news of anything (but in truth probably not everything) that relates to camping, and camping equipment in particular. All camping news will be factual, and to the point, and it won’t “beat about the bush” with “political correctness”. Where camping products are concerned, we “call a spade a spade!”

We’ll use this blog to bring you reviews too: product reviews, campsite reviews, website reviews, book reviews and… pretty much anything else related to travelling and/or camping/caravans/motorhomes/campervans etc. that we (and I in particular!) fancy talking about.

If we use a camping product and we like it, you’ll learn all about it here. By the same token if we use any camping equipment that we don’t like, you’ll read about that in this blog too. I’ve already got a few examples of both in mind that I want to talk about!

Note that there is a facility for reviews and comments in our main Camping Equipment Shop too, so if you wish to leave your own review about anything we sell it’s as simple as finding it in the shop and pressing the button that says “write review/comment”.

And if we visit a campsite that stands out in my mind for one reason or another, then I may well write a review of that campsite here. What I can promise you – because my reputation and credibility is based on my honesty – is that, good or bad, I’ll tell you in this blog exactly what I think of the campsite. So, campsite owners look out!

If you’d like me to visit your campsite and review it, then please Contact Us though our shop and we’ll arrange a date to come and do so. I’m unlikely to write a review on any campsite where I haven’t stayed for at least 2 nights and a full day in between though, because I don’t think it’s possible to base a fair opinion on less experience.

And if I see a camping website that I like I’ll give you my thoughts on it, and a link to it. Similarly if I read a camping and/or travelling book, and I’ve read a fair few in my time, I’ll give you my thoughts on that too.

At the bottom of every blog post there is a facility for you to leave comments and, if your comment is genuine (i.e. not spam), it will be published. Even if it’s critical of me/us, it’ll be published. If we or I have upset you, our readers and/or customers in any way at all, I’d like to know about it. If you don’t tell me there is a problem, I can’t fix it.

So please use the comment facility under the blog post, and let’s engage in some lively discussion here. I’m hoping that this camping equipment blog will be of benefit to us all, and it’s more likely to be if there’s some two-way discussion.

Finally, you’ll see a bunch of little “Social Media” icons under every blog post allowing you to Digg / Stumble / Tweet / Like or whatever the post. So if you do enjoy reading a post in this blog, please share it like this so that others can enjoy it too.

Feel free to leave your comments below…

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