Camping with Boltan Products
  |  First Published: October 2011

I’m having a ball rediscovering camping: The gadgets, the accessories and the sheer enjoyment of being outdoors and camping under the stars. On my last camping trip I had the chance to try out a new range of Boltan Camping Essentials from Alvey.

These accessories include pegs, dome caps, the unique Tarp Rider, ground plates, the amazing Tarp Choker and the glow in the dark Toe Saver and Zipper Glow. Each of these products has its uses around a camp, and depending on your camping style, some have a variety of functions to make your camping trip just that bit easier or more comfortable.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these products and how I used them, keeping in mind that my ideas are just that, my ideas. I am sure you can all think of other ways to incorporate these products into your camp kit.

Tarp Rider

The Tarp Rider is an interesting beast that provides support for tarps and helps prevent sag and improve water run off. The Tarp Rider is a two part nylon product that attaches to a pole and provides a larger and flatter surface for the tarp to sit on. It has two connection points, the first keeping the top arm horizontal, while the second allows the top arm to hang in the chosen direction to create a perfect angle for water run off. The package comes with a round ground plate to securely hold the pole in place.

In our camp we used the Tarp Rider to provide support in the middle of the tarp and provide an angle point for the tarp to run down to the ground. The diagram hereabouts shows how we set up the tarp to provide protection from the cold southerly wind that was blowing at about 20 knots.

The diagram and pics show the pole on a slight angle and the Tarp Rider providing the point of angle (along with the outside poles) for the tarp to run down to the ground. You can also see the ground plate provides a solid footing for the angles pole and without it, this set up would have been much harder to organise. This was a brilliant set up and stopped the wind and occasional shower completely in its tracks.

Of course the Tarp Rider can be used in the middle of a tarp just as easily, but we used a dome cap for this as we had spreader bars running ot the middle pole for lighting and structural support.

Dome Cap

The big bug bear of tarps, especially large ones, is that you need to support the middle or else it gets all saggy and flaps horrendously in the wind regardless of how tight you set the guy ropes. The simplest solution is to use a pole in the middle of the tar and run some spreader bars off it. But then the problem of the poles tip tearing through the tarp is found and your tarp becomes somewhat less waterproof. Mates have solved this problem by gluing neoprene on the top and bottom of the tarp and then inserting the pole’s tip through this. The neoprene grips onto the tip and forms around it, essentially creating a mostly waterproof system.

We discovered the dome caps and, given that I run spreader bars off the middle post, thought they’d be a great idea and so it proved.

Simplicity in itself saw the spreader bars attached to the middle pole through the tip, the dome cap placed on top and the whole thing erected in one go. It was brilliantly simple and because the dome cap is curved, it does not create a sharp angle or edge that will cut through the tarp. The tarp remains as waterproof as the day you bought it.

Toe Saver and Zipper Glow

These two glow in the dark products will not make your camp site easier to erect, but they will ensure your camp site is safer.

The Toe Saver is a glow in the dark ring that fits over the end of your pegs allowing night walkers to easily locate the pegs so they do not trip over them. Simple and effective.

The Zipper Glow uses the same principle however you attach these to the zippers in your tent so when you go for your night walk, you know exactly where the zippers are. No longer do you have that frustrating search for the zippers your camping buddy moved while you’re struggling to keep nature’s watery gift from the outside world.

Simple, effective and brilliant.

Tarp Choker

This product is probably worth a column in itself as it is so simple and incredibly good at doing its job.

The Tarp Choker is a product designed to secure sheets of flexible material such as canvas, hessian and tarpaulins without the need for eyelets. The body of the Tarp Choker is made from UV resistant, glass-filled nylon and is a single piece shaped like a jaw. Attached to this is a cylindrical polyurethane lock. It is simplicity in itself.

In use the material is placed in the Tarp Choker then secured by simply inserting the lock into the jaw. The more pulling force exerted, the more secure the lock fixes the material in place. And you can do this with a single sheet, or wrap the material around the lock to have the Tarp Choker grip on both sides. I tried both ways and I can confirm that either way worked a treat.

The uses for the Tarp Choker are almost limitless: From helping tension and erect a camping tarp through to holding down big safety tarps on storm damaged roofs. Best of all is that the Tarp Choker comes in a range of sizes to suit your application. From a 10kg tension right up to the handled Tarp Dragger, there is a Tarp Choker to suit. It is absolutely brilliant and even if you have all your tarps set up perfectly, a couple of Tarp Chokers in the kit are great safety back ups for times when your eyelets fail or a seam tears. And each Tarp Choker has preformed holes for ropes or poles to be inserted.

As I said, these are worthy of much more attention and I found them just brilliant.

Summing Up

It seems the Boltan Products made by Alvey are some cleverly designed, simple products that do the job right. They are not expensive, but they are durable and dependable. My camp kit has quite a few of these products in it now and I can see some of their pegs being bought and tried in the near future.

Check out the range of products at your nearest camping or BCF store or log www.alvey.com.au or www.boltanproducts.com for some great tips and ideas on using all the products.

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