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Gelert Compact Camping Cooker

gelert compact camping cooker

Officially titled the Gelert Compact Double Burner with Grill, I was given this to road test by Millets Camping, Mary Street Dublin.

I did this video around the time I got it:

A real opportunity came about to test the compact cooker when I was camping with 6 others [total 4 adults 3 children] over the August bank holiday weekend and this was the only cooking stove between us. Also my camping buddies for the weekend had never been camping before.

What I had neglected to do before going was to attach the gas regulator to the rubber pipe – the other end of which attaches to the cooker. Below is how I do/ did it.

 

With some just boiled hot water at the ready, hold one end of the rubber hose in the boiled water for about 25 seconds and then ease over the gas regulator/ blue coiled end. Then dip the other end of the pipe back into the boiling water and do the same for the brass bit poping out the side of the cooker – tight to the top as you can for both.

Then allow about [I suggest] 3 minutes for the rubber to harden/ cool on both ends. To attach the gas cylinder simply hold the blue top in place and turn the gas cylinder whilst it is upside down.

To start cooking, simply turn the regulator on [turn the black knob on the blue connector] at the gas keg end, select the hob you wish to cook on and turn this to your chosen setting whilst clicking the red button on the cooker to get your flame to start.

The only problem I had was that this cooker is far more efficient than the old stalwart I have always used and the food cooked a lot quicker. Other than that, to say this coped quite easily for the possé is an understatement.

The grill [in the middle of the 1st image above] needs to be lit with a seperate flame [cigarette lighter] but it is handy if you like your toast. As with all cooking gas I only used it outside and [on this occasion] chose to rest it on two concrete blocks I found nearby just to keep it off the grass.

All in all the Gelert Compact Double Burner with Grill is a real smart piece of kit. More than that, it looks like a really smart piece of kit. Highly recommended.

Vital Stats:

  • Weight: 4.7Kg
  • Pack Size: 56 x 29 x 7cm

gelert compact camping cooker

Lough Ramor Caravan Camping Park

lough ramor camp site

Located 5 kilometres south of Virginia in County Cavan, this is probably one of the smaller campsites I have been to, but Lough Ramor is an absolute gem and sits right at the waters edge. To that note, I’ll do a separate post on Lough Ramor itself and keep this one to the camping and campers side of things.

If it’s the great outdoors you wish to enjoy, you won’t go wrong here but anything more than that and I honestly believe you may actually need a hotel complete with kids club. With that in mind and the facilities, the washrooms and bathrooms were hygienically spotless and clean as you could get from a campers perspective.

There are some permanent mobiles there which is always a good sign, but of note is the fact that the visiting campers areas are split into two zones. The tents seem to be placed right by the waters edge whilst the camper caravans are placed by the electric points on the upper area but slightly out of view of the water.

To those pitching tents, the lower ground is quite rocky beneath from which many bent pegs resulted. I highly recommend a length of re-bar and a steel headed mallet to be added to the camping essentials list.

I was there for four nights and loved every second even though the weather was often verging on extreme to mixed. Those there for the weekend lacking in the correct paraphernalia really stood, most moving on after day one.

In the town of Virginia the Super Valu is probably the best place to go shopping for supplies, but as per camping gear, should you find yourself stuck you may find yourself in a mild pickle. I did bring back up gas for my MSR pocket rocket [essential for a cuppa with 3 minutes brewed outside btw], but not for my Gelert compact double burner with grill – this did pose a mild problem and I could not find a supplier of camping gas, anywhere.

Of note for those looking to take a days excursions, directional signage is not a forté of Cavan County Council and in search of another lake, via its sign postings, I got lost and stumbled across Mullach Lough, not such a bad result in the end for that day I will admit.

In summary, I like Lough Ramor Camp site. Highly recommended if you love your fishing, light boating or you are simply looking for a relaxing weekend away.

email: loughramor@eircom.net

lough ramor camping

The Camping Checklist – What Not to Forget

camping in ireland

I was asked to blog my camping not to forget checklist which I have built up and used over the last few years by a first time camper friend of mine. The suggestion was it may prove of benefit to others.

If there’s an addition you feel should be added, simply pop a comment in below. I may have left out the very obvious like the tent and so on…. These are just the ones I need to remind myself of.

Directions

  • Map & compass
  • Sat Nav co-ordinates if you can get them

Camping

  • Tent pegs – lots of spares
  • chairs
  • sleeping bags
  • air bed
  • pump – check the connections fit
  • picnic blanket – waterproof on one side
  • towels – old and good
  • pillows – each to their own

Cooking

  • frying pan
  • saucepan
  • towels
  • washing up liquid
  • cloths/ sponge
  • bin bags – greensax 
  • coffee – pre ground beans in air tight jar
  • tea bags
  • espresso maker [old type]
  • butter
  • kitchen roll [paper]
  • basin
  • can opener
  • bottle opener/ corkscrew
  • thermos lunch bag
  • refridgerated ice bars
  • knife/ forks/ spoons
  • plates/ cups/ bowls
  • cooking implements
  • wine glasses – you read correctly
  • flask

Other

  • first aid kit
  • car battery booster pack – recharges phones and lights etc
  • water bottles – empty lemonade type – for fresh water depending on the campsite their may only be a water source. as versus a shop.
  • toilet paper. *my tip: put it in a waterproof bag or container – you’ll thank me some day
  • spare socks and spare footwear

Personally, I’d sleep in a plastic bag [and I have] with a survival kit and watch one episode of McGyver before I left. But, this is family camping and very much about the great outdoors and time spent with others whilst there.

camping checklist

Gelert Beyond Starview Four Tent

gelert beyond starview four

Note, Millets in Mary street gave me this tent to road test. To this review, you might say I threw it up first go and recorded the video straight after. A sort of this is how it may happen in real life, so it’s not perfectly presented in the video or images, as per a brochure lets say. As I use it I may add a few images….

However, one of the first questions I ask myself, from experience, when choosing any tent is always can I put it up on my own and how long will it take for me to do that.

I pitched the Starview Four the instructions of which are printed on waterproof material inside its carrier bag as a by the way, in about 20 minutes. In a world gone Irish weather, that’s kids inside and dry.

Of note: there’s no outer sheet to go over the supports, instead the supports run outside and the bedroom goes inside, after the tent is in place. Small other touches like the repair kit, a variation of doors and how they open and the curtains at the front roll down into pockets make it well thought. Also I love the pre bent poles. In short, it strikes me as the type of tent a camping enthusiast invented, for a camping enthusiast.

Some weeks ago I asked Aaron, store manager at Millets Mary Street about this and the Gelert Beyond Starview Four tent.

Gelert Beyond Starview 4 Tent (mp3)

The big thing for me to get used to will be that the bedrooms are side by side, which is much better for a family with a 1 year old daughter. The other is that we can actually stand up inside it and sit inside without the wind rushing through and water dripping into the tents reception. Also I’ve never owned a table as there was never room before. The carpet, simply adds to the quality.

All in all, the Starview Four is a cosy, well made, extremely well thought out piece of quality kit. More than that it is without question the best tent I have slept in to date.

update: first family usage at Lough Ramor over 4 days

Vital stats:

  • Fabric: Outer: Polyester with waterproof PU coating
  • Inner: Breathable Polyester
  • Groundsheet: Durable Matt finish Polyethylene
  • Dimensions: Outer:  L 480 x W 280 x H 200cm
  • Inner:  L 260 x W 220 x H 180cm 1 x bedroom
  • Poles:  3 x 12.7mm Fibreglass poles
  • Extension:  2 x 16mm Steel porch poles
  • Brow poles:  1 x 8.5mm Fibreglass pole
  • HH:  5000mm
  • Weight:  16.45Kg
  • Pack Size:  73 x 30 x 30cm
  • Colour:  Vibrant Blue/Steel Grey/Anthracite
  • Pitch:  Outer first
  • Taped Seams:  Yes

gelert beyond starview four tent

Ireland, Camping and The Great Outdoors

The August Bank Holiday weekend is looming quicker that you might actually realise and there is a mild buzz in the air as suggestions and possible destinations are dissected, travel plans are made and lists of not to forgets are concocted and overly examined. Of course one could book into the El Fancy Dan hotel for some pampering and what not but in case you didn’t already know, it seems that camping in Ireland may just be the new rock und roll.

Mary….?! where did you leave the….. did you actually put the tent pegs in the car….? Well they should be there then, shouldn’t they….. shouldn’t they ?

camping irelandSome may shudder at the thought of the potential chilly night and the fact that the neighbours, now just two sheets away can hear every air movement and whisper. But unless you own the Partridge Family bus, there was and always will be an element of egg shell trampling with any family holiday. It is, with hindsight what makes them fond memories.

In favour of the properly roofed accommodation brigade is the reality that our hotel prices are cheaper than we have ever seen them before and most recently we have seen Irish Value Added Tax on restaurants dropped to nine per cent encouraging us all to eat out… well, in, if you know what I mean.

In the camping camp, it doesn’t bode so well as the media pundits continue to report the usual economic related tag-lines as potential reasons for the camping resurgence. But it is of them that use the RTE Prime Time misnomers, that I wonder. I wonder if they have ever actually camped, more than once. The naysayers aside, I personally wouldn’t swap cooking and sleeping Al Fresco for the world.

I almost forgot to add the fact that Irish weather is just a little unpredictable.

The reality is I’m proud to boast, that we do live in such a beautiful little country. But I’m still wondering why and what it is about this element of the Irish great outdoors that makes so many others want to sleep in a tent.

According to Camping Ireland, figures from the Central Statistics Office show Irish people made 309,000 camping trips at home in 2009. They also noted the Irish Caravan and Camping council who said that altogether, Irish people and foreign tourists spent 2.4 million nights on Irish campsites in 2009, contributing €96m to the local economy. And figures are rising….

But why, you may be asking, is the Dublin gardener yabbing on about camping in this weeks article.

Gardener. There. I said it. Gar-Den-Er. Gar-Den. Get back to the garden, ye big Donegan head the ball…..

There is a point where, lets say in cooking, were one must cross over into the gardeners world and at the very least understand where and how the food is produced, grown and developed. One must as some point, get their hands dirty, even be it just fresh herbs. From this gardeners perspective, I’ll go back to the reasons and thinking behind the non-gardeners group I set up two years ago.

How does one encourage the next generation to become interested in gardening….?

The answer, in part, is quite simple. Step one ? One needs for the people to be outside first. And there in lies the key. Because, when one goes camping one doesn’t stay inside the tent for forty days and forty nights. One is outside, in the great outdoors and one develops a feeling, almost an understanding, not of how all the elements work, more how to work in tandem with them.

That may sound a bit silly, but every male will tell you there is an art to picking the perfect place to pitch for the night. It is a primary trait, followed in no particular order by mans preprogrammed function to source food and water.

My wry wit aside, the last place I went camping in was sited just by Lough Ennell. Surrounded entirely by woodland and right beside a stunning lake. So picturesque, at the time in audio, I wondered if in fact it was the most beautiful place on earth. Eamonn O’Malley, the sites owner told me how after weekends he wanders through the woods to do the various checks and tidy-ups. He explained how visiting children and their imaginations rearrange minute segments of the woodland in such varying guises en route to making their own fun. He commented how, even with the advances in technology how the game consoles are so quickly forgotten.

In Lough Key, near Boyle in Co. Roscommon where I stayed last year the campsite was set within the forest. My friend George and his family travelled with mine and similar to, within hours of arrival the elder son [5] had laid and rearranged some branches and stumps now known as furniture. The invisible living room was of course where one went to listen to the invisible radio. On one occasion I forgot to use the door and walked through an invisible wall.

There is a point where gardening and camping meet and appreciation for what surrounds takes reign. The fruits of recently made elder flower champagne for example were tasted just this week and no longer I should admit do I see this plant as a weed. Quite the opposite. Three weeks ago, I was thought how to eat a nettle leaf and I in return explained how when my hair goes wavy it is based on the theories behind the old hydrometers. It is how I predict that it is going to rain.

For the next generation, the nations schools have seen gardening become part of their everyday playground, at home, community gardens are becoming as logic as a hall door and plant life is something we are all beginning to instinctively watch out for.

Wonderland n 1 an imaginary land of marvels or wonders. 2 an actual place of great or strange beauty

Outdoors n 2 the world outside or far away from buildings; the open air

More than that again, our children are being thought about biodiversity. A thinking that encourages one, in short, to leave piles of leaves and logs, to plant flowers and food to encourage bees, bats and bird life. It is a thinking that in any space allows an appreciation for the older, newer and the fallen members of the tree family. But, what if you were surrounded by it….

No matter how I describe and no matter how I enjoy it…. the great outdoors, in Ireland for me, is simply amazing. In my mind and in my eyes the only thing that changes is the size and shape of the garden, one in which I am privelidged to be allowed enjoy.