New camping stuff

Eighteen months of campervan ownership and we're still finding little things that make life on the road easier.

New acquisitions getting their first use on our French beach holiday include a fantastic fold-out solar charger that very efficiently charges a phone or Kindle. In fact it will charge three devices at once and will be invaluable when traveling without electric hookup. As it is I've been taking it to the beach to top up my phone's battery during the day. A standard mains charger will provide 1,000 amps, with high speed chargers giving 2,400 amps. Using a charge-measuring app I've clocked the solar panels giving my phone 700-800 amps, which is pretty good considering it's using only the sun's natural resource.

Then there's been the Lamzac inflatable lounger that folds up into next-to nothing, but with a couple of gusts of wind, inflates to an incredibly comfortable beach chair.

While on the island we've both purchased beach towel ponchos from Decathlon. These will become one of our most-used pieces of camping equipment. They are not at all flattering when worn, but making showering an awful lot easier. The trick is to wear only the poncho to the shower block and put it on immediately after stepping out of the shower. There's no need to get dry enough to put your clothes back on; just walk back to your pitch, letting it dry you on the way! They should be compulsory - they'd need to provide fewer shower cubicles if everyone was in and out that quick. We did look a bizarre sight when both wearing them at the same time. I suggested that we looked like a pair of wizards, and from that moment on we referred to the ponchos as our 'wizards.'

Plus we've finally made use of our Decathlon hammocks. Or one of them. We watched the sunset from the beach near our campsite last night. Only one of us was in a hammock though as we discovered one had no ropes. It turns out it had been quite a waste of effort carrying that around in our backpacks.


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