Last issue I looked at an Oztrail campsite centred around the Elite Chalet 4 tent. I saw it as highly suited for a family or small group, being light and highly portable and yet packed with user-friendly features.
The strong and well made tent has two main rooms occupying an area of 4.5m long and 2.4m wide, plus a full 2m high. It’s a dome tent yet features straight side walls, which are handy to have. It is partitioned with three rooms, and is protected by insect mesh fine enough to keep out pesky midges. A full floor is also featured, as is a flow-through ventilation system that would be appreciated in hot weather yet can be closed when things are cold, as they are now.
While a good tent is a major part of a comfortable camp site there needs to be other equally good equipment to make a stay thoroughly enjoyable. Here are the items we chose.
A good night’s sleep is a big part of a memorable camping experience, and Oztrail have a large array of mattresses to suit every need. I chose the Resort Double and the King Single. These self-inflating mattresses are made from durable fabric and feature that one singular trait that will really endear them to the tired camper: with the plugs unscrewed they quickly inflate to firm status for immediate use.
The King Single forms into a bed 195 x 80 x 10cm thick which, as I found when I tested it, is ideal for general camping use. At 10cm thick it certainly is quite supportive and has a firm feel about it, ideal for old blokes like me who have bad backs.
The Resort Double is a very smart bit of gear in that it can be used as a full sized double mattress some 5cm thick or folded in the centre at the hinged area to make a thicker single mattress. Again, the length is 195cm and the width is 127cm so it’s a true double mattress in extended mode.
Rated to -7 degrees, the Mountain View Jumbo Hooded sleeping bag is 90cm x 230cm in size which means that the sleeper can toss or turn as much as he or she likes and still not be feel confined by the sleeping bag. The hood is handy for those very cold nights, too.
There was also room for another sleeping bag on the Resort Double air mattress. I chose the Outer Limits Micro Smart 270 Jumbo, a bag with a -5 degree rating. Again, with an overall size of 85cm x 225cm, this is a large and comfortable unit, the hood again offering just that bit of extra warmth for those chilly nights. I tested this particular sleeping bag at Ebor in May when it was -4 degrees outside the modest streamside hut where we stayed, and the sleeping bag came through with flying colours. It’s light, has a soft feel that makes it easy to turn over in, and is incredibly warm.
Both of these sleeping bags are equipped with heavy duty Eziglide zips for ease of use and are made of extra strong material for long life.
Stepping outside our tent, the table and chair set up is worth a look for anyone wanting a tough yet highly portable outfit that will last for a long time. Large enough to allow up to four persons to be seated and enjoy a meal, the heavy-duty Lifetime Sports Table is a robust, extra strong unit that can handle a lot of weight if necessary.
At 115cm long, 66cm wide and 70 cm high it’s a good sized unit and features a smooth moulded top mated to heavy metal legs that lock into place, in the extended position, to ensure maximum stability.
Interestingly, the table comes with two bench style seats – again with heavy duty folding lockable metal legs – that clip into the table’s underside for transportation. We found that the Sports Table plus seats, when not in use, form a single unit that’s easy to transport. All metal surfaces of the table and accompanying bench seats are powder coat finished for extra protection against the elements.
LP gas stoves are still the most popular on today’s market. While dual fuel models have made some inroads into sales of portable stoves, by far the largest number of camping stoves in use today remain connected to a portable LP gas bottle.
The LP gas Oztrail double burner grill stove is a compact, lightweight unit with a hard powder coated finish, side windshields, a pair of 8000 BTU burners on top, and a 5000 BTU burner for the grill below. The grill is designed to cook food items placed on the toaster frame provided, and would be very useful for many camping situations whether cooking up on top or using the grill below to make toast, or perhaps to grill some fish.
Oztrail say the gas consumption for a single burner is 150g of LP gas per hour for a top of stove burner and 100g per hour for the grill. A 3kg gas bottle should provide some 7.5 hours of use with all three burners operating. The stove comes with a 1200mm hose compatible with 3/8” left hand thread gas bottles.
Chairs can make or break a camping trip. With around two dozen Oztrail chairs to choose from I found it hard to pick the model I wanted, but finally it came down to a pair of Director’s Jumbo chairs for our camp site. Yes, there are smaller chairs, and maybe lighter ones in the range, but these Director’s Jumbo chairs are mighty comfy in every respect. Constructed from 25mm aluminium tube frame they provide padded arm rests plus a very supportive padded seat and back rest. Folding flat for transportation, they do take up a little room when compared to the ‘umbrella’ style of folding chair. Still, unless you’re struggling with space, the trade-off is worthwhile for the added comfort they provide.
No camp site is complete without some form of portable refrigeration, and users will appreciate a well made cooler such as Oztrail’s IceMan. The 65L model came along on our expedition and at 727mm long, 470mm wide and 430mm high it had the required dimensions for family use. The IceMan 65 has a handy lift-out basket which is ideal for quickly getting at food items, although of course it’s good practice to minimise how often you open any cooler’s lid, to make the ice last as long as possible.
There are three models in the IceMan Cooler range, namely 65L, 75L and 90L capacity. All come with features such as Glacier Therm high density polyurethane foam insulation, hygienic inner and outer mouldings constructed from food grade polyethylene, heavy-duty rubber latches, a solid EVA lid seal, and decent sized rubber feet to prevent the cooler sliding about in your vehicle. Last but not least is a screw-in drain plug.
While Oztrail offer a large range of LP gas lights, I chose a lightweight highly portable light for the campsite, simply because the light can easily be hooked on the ceiling of bedroom in the Elite Chalet 4 tent.
The 12 LED light is a sturdy little lantern with a rubberised handle and easy one-touch push button operation. The light is absolutely cool in operation and features a unique downward-reflecting brimmed cap that pushes light downwards where you want it, rather than just outwards. The 12 LED lantern operates via four AA batteries and has quite a useful light output. In short, it can operate where the heat of an LP light renders it quite unsuitable. The 12 LED lantern would also be handy in the boat as well.Reads: 5020