Wild Camping, December 10th 2011 – Equipment Used


Wild Camping, Wicklow Mountains – Saturday 10th December, The SodShow teamed up with Gelert and Millets Mary Street to take five people and record the journey as we hiked, trekked and wild camped overnight, without tents, in The Wicklow Mountains.

The 4 part mini series will air on radio/ podcast for 4 weeks from Dec 23rd & Jan 6th – 20th.

The following is the equipment we used.

My Clothing: [see image above]

Survival Bag – I cannot emphasise how important these can be. It not only doubles as a full water and wind proof for your sleeping bag but in emergency situations it’s uses are literally endless [ieg. can be turned into a stretcher]. Costs around €4.

Waterproof Kayak Bag Used to keep all of my recording equipment dry for the two days. The roll down taper and also the clips allowed it to be easily tied to the outer of my rucksack. Could not have done this gig without it. Cost €7.25

gelert survival bag gelert waterproof kayak bag

Gelert TarpFor shelter purposes I can’t speak highly enough of the Gelert tarp range. It does come with a set of poles which I’m sure are quite handy if you are having a garden féte on a fine day. But any as experienced camper will tell you a length of rope and some well placed trees do a much better job in 60 plus mph winds. Do note, this is not a tent, more a waterproof sheet and you can see from the image below we used random branches [and later waterproof rucksacks] to create a wind filter of sorts on the most exposed side.

gelert tarp gelert tarp canopy

The Phoenix Cookset is a bit like a slow cooker for the great outdoors and again a serious bit of logic kit. Not even the rain and gales could slow it down. It cooked full evening meals [rice, chicken and sauces] for 5 people and morning meals of potatoes and sausages.

phoenix cookset gelert phoenix cooking set

Aluminium Mess TinsLightweight, cook in them, eat from them, strap them to the outer of your rucksack. The mess tins [2 pack] cost €5.99 and are worth their weight in gold.

Aluminium Knife, Fork, Spoon Set and CarabinerIf ever you need to eat, when it’s lashing out of the heavens and somewhere in your rucksack is a spoon and somewhere else is a fork…. The Carabiner [little keyring hook clip] keeps it all together and on your outers. Simple but so glad I had it on my belt clip. Costs €5.99

Freedom 350DL Sleeping BagWith no tent, in December in Ireland, this is what I slept in. Enough said. QED. Also stuffs [as it sounds] into its sack in about 7 seconds. Logic.

gelert aluminium mess tingelert freedom 350dl


Further information

gelert millets camping

Wicklow Mountains, Wild Camping

wicklow mountains

Saturday 10th December, The SodShow teamed up with Gelert and Millets Mary Street to take five people and record the journey as we hiked, trekked and wild camped overnight, without tents, in The Wicklow Mountains.

Why do this for Dublin’s Garden Radio Show The SodShow ?

We have spoke many times on The SodShow about my Hedgerow walks, eating from the wild, native Irish plants and trees, the garden groups outings and [ordinary] camping. We thought it a good idea to somehow and in someway, join them all together.

In this case and of note we went to a [Wicklow] National Park. From a horticultural perspective, it contains many pre mapped nature trails including a flower walk and tree walks. Eight of the Park’s plants are in fact classified as threatened – three are vulnerable and five are rare. We also wandered much of its forestry and slept only with what nature could surround us with. Also we don’t think this has ever been done for radio before and – the landscape is absolutely stunning.

That aside, if the equipment and clothing used will more than suffice overnight in December in Ireland, without tents, in the Wicklow Mountains – it should do you well whilst out for a[ny] walk or work in the great outdoors.


  • The five are very experienced in [in short] the great outdoors.
  • The audio recorded will be aired as a mini series of sorts for The SodShow.
  • All equipment used was supplied by Gelert Ltd and Millets of Mary Street.
  • It is not recommended you do this unless you are experienced.
  • Wicklow Mountain safety and no trace guidelines were followed at all times and more info can be found at Wicklow National Park Website inc. notes on wild camping.
  • Mini series set to air: on radio/ podcast for 4 weeks from Dec 23rd & Jan 6th – 20th. There will be no SodShow December 30th

Our journey timelines are as follows – Saturday 10th December

  • 08:30 Meet for debrief and equipment check at Millets Mary Street
  • 10:15 Arrive Wicklow Mountains and final checks
  • 10:30 Depart from base and begin Wicklow Mountain trek
  • 16:35 Establish base camp
  • 10:15 Sunday – Leave No Trace final checks and depart Wicklow Mountains

A separate post will explain the kit and equipment that we used. These images should help in visualising the audio as the story is told over the coming weeks.

It is one thing to encourage you to try this or any more simplified variation of, but it is better to encourage you to do it with the correct preparation.

The #SodShow Friday 23rd December. Dublin Garden Radio Podcast (mp3)

The #SodShow. Friday January 6th 2012. Dublin’s Gardening Radio Podcast (mp3)

The #SodShow. Wild Camping, The Finalé – Dublin Garden Radio Podcast. Fri 13 Jan ’12 (mp3)

Links of Note:

Irish Christmas Trees

christmas tree

In search of best value, a series of Christmas tree online questions led me to Kehoe’s Blooming Brilliant Garden Centre. They sell a non shed [Nordman Fir] fresh Christmas tree for €39. Orla McDermot told me that Superquinn were selling live Christmas trees [Picea Omorika] for €19.99. and whilst one can also pick their own from a tree farm in North County Dublin, it was an idea from Finbar O’Mahony and West Cork Secret Garden Centre on Friday’s SodShow that introduced me to the concept of leasing a live Christmas trees.

The #SodShow Friday 2nd December. Dublin Garden Radio Podcast (mp3)

According to Bord Bia, the Christmas tree harvest is currently underway due to favourable harvesting conditions. It is expected that approximately 700,000 trees will be harvested this year by Irish growers, 400,000 for the home market and 300,000 for export.

Since the Christmas tree was introduced into Ireland, growers have strived to meet consumer expectations with respect to the shape, balance of branch layers, scent and colour of the tree. This year is no exception and it is notable that the quality of this year’s harvest is excellent, according to Dermot Page, President, the Irish Christmas Tree Grower Association.

kehoe's christmas tree superquinn christmas tree

It takes seven to ten years to produce a 2 metre tall tree, and this means year round care for the life of the tree, including weed control, pruning and shaping by growers on their plantations to produce a quality tree. It is also important to note when considering which tree to purchase that real Christmas trees are environmentally friendly as they can be recycled, while the land used for growing them can be replanted or returned to traditional agricultural practices.

Christmas Tree Facts 

  • The first recorded reference to a decorated Christmas tree was in Riga Latvia 1510 just over 500 years ago. Christmas tree lights were first mass-produced in 1890.
  • An artificial tree will last up to six years in your home and centuries in landfill sites.
  • In 1884 Prince Albert (husband of Queen Victoria) is credited with bringing the Christmas tree tradition to Windsor Castle.
  • The Scandinavians originally decorated their trees with fishing nets and little flags while the Germans were known for decorating their trees with red apples and white wafers.
  • There are over a hundred growers of Christmas trees in Ireland.

Why buy a real Christmas Tree?

  • Locally grown Christmas trees are really fresh due to the reduced travel stress on them.
  • There is tremendous variety and a large range of different size trees available to meet your particular needs.
  • Once cared for properly, non-shedding trees such as the Noble Fir and Lodgepole Pine will not lose their needles.
  • Real Christmas trees are great value as they retail at the same price as they did in the late eighties.
  • Each tree is cultured as an individual tree and produced to the highest quality standards from the time they are planted right through to delivery.
  • Your real Christmas tree is a natural resource and therefore can be recycled.  This is in contrast to artificial trees, which are usually made of metal and plastic materials and use oils and minerals in their manufacture.
  • The forest environment is protected by the fact that Christmas trees are continually being planted to replace those trees being harvested.  This is in accordance with sustainable yield management promoted by the Forest Service.
  • As well as adding to the beauty of our landscape, growing Christmas trees produces large amounts of oxygen and removes the harmful carbon dioxide or “greenhouse gas” from our atmosphere.  Real trees also provide natural habitats for forest animals and birds.

Caring for your Tree

  • After purchasing your tree, cut an inch or two off the bottom of the tree’s stem and stand it in a bucket of water.  Shake off any loose needles before bringing the tree indoors.
  • Once inside, stand the tree in a special Christmas tree stand or in a bucket with a water bowl.  Add a pint of water to the water bowl and top up daily.

Christmas Tree Safety

  • Place the tree in the coolest part of the room making sure it is properly secured and away from doorways, stairs, heaters, radiators and open fires.
  • Make sure that lights on the Christmas tree or lights used for decoration elsewhere are properly wired and comply with the current EU standards of safety.

Always unplug tree lights and other decorations when leaving the house or going to bed.

Where to buy

Find out where the nearest Christmas tree outlet is in your area.  This can include shopping centres, garden centres and any of the 60 members of the Irish Christmas Tree Grower Association. (Visit www.christmastreesireland.com) You and your family can have a lovely Christmas experience by travelling to a Christmas tree farm where you can select your own tree and have it cut down.  Alternatively, you can choose one already on display.

After Christmas

After the festive season, your tree can also be recycled for use as mulch; check your local Council or Corporation’s website for Christmas tree recycling arrangements. If potted, your tree can also be replanted in your garden.

I have already been in touch with Fingal County Council and will publish a list of recycling places here later. Now if only there were a home for all of those live Christmas trees to go to….. anyone ?

A Gardeners November Through Photographs

I take a lot of photos. Most just while I’m out and about. Some in a garden, some not. Some I just found intrigued me. Rather than simply delete them, I felt I should do something with them. As a btw I’ve tried to keep repeats and sets of images out.

If the mood strikes me, I’ll do it for December….

Garden Maintenance: Coryllus avellana ‘Contorta’ – Reversion

I think the video explains it better than text ever could the coryllus avellana ‘Contorta’ or commonly known Corkscrew hazel and the maintenance steps I need to take to bring it back to its glory days for the coming season.

For those who might like to know, I thought these the most helpful of definitions:

Reversion: 3. Genetics A return to the normal phenotype, usually by a second mutation


Reversion: n 1 return to an earlier condition, practice, or belief 2. Biol the return of individuals or organs to a more primitive condition or type

In all of the gardens I have ever owned [2] I have always had one of these plants. I don’t entirely know why. Part of me always wondered if it knew it were an oddball alone in the plant world and/ or just what it was thinking when it began returning to normal.

More than that I always loved how when everything else was going to sleep for the winter like some sort of Cinderella, this fellow took the stage and became so amazingly beautiful –  only for it to return to contorted just as everything else was waking up.

How the plant kingdom will never cease to amaze me and why I love it so much.

catkins coryllus avellana contorta