Camping Gear Review Series – Oztent RV5, Peaked Side Panels & Tag Along Tent

Why do I pick gear that has lots of words. Someone thought these long names up. Must be good. We’ll this is the creme de la creme of tents. It is top of the line and boy is it worth the $1800 price tag for a portable go anywhere home. This tent goes up with all the attachments and pegs in about 15-20 min with two people, the main tent takes just 30 seconds to erect. It’s what is known as a touring tent. Ripstop canvas construction, light weight aluminum frame and midge proof mesh bits. Canvas tents have come a long way since my childhood. Gone are the days of heavy poles that rust up and requiring Popeye level muscles just to get the tent out of the bag which it never fit back into.

Much like the OZtrail leisure Mat, it is one of our big pieces of gear, measuring in at 2m long for the main tent (the other bits are smaller) it will live either on a roof rack or on top of the tradies trailer we are fixing up for the trip back west. There is even a roof basket by rhinorack for the oztent. I could seriously go overboard with gear if it wasn’t for my teeny budget. Speaking of which there are a few reasons why we chose a tent over our original plan of a camper trailer one of the biggest being cost.  This tent may sound expensive but it’s brand new and cheaper than a second hand camper trailer. Sure it has less room but we don’t take up much space anyway. We decided that the risk of something going wrong with a second hand camper wasn’t worth it and to go new for that was gonna cost us the earth. We also didn’t want to go with the light weight tents that have a habit of turning a your bedroom into a pool when it rains (found that out on the last 11000km, 3 month trip). A touring tent was middle ground, faster to put up and serves all the purposes we need.

The three kiddos here (will be 12,8,4 years old) will be sharing the main tent (can be closed off entirely from the other rooms) on an oztent gecko stretcher and oztrail bunk beds, (more about them later) with enough room for a play space in the middle. The doggie Katara will have the center section at night surrounded by the PSP and two tents with no floor, unlike most other three room setups she has grass and her travel box to hang out on/in, (better than trying to scrub a tent floor for doggie mess lol). Then we have our bed (wanderer zip together stretchers and the leisure mat) in the tag along. It just fits length ways but we have a space at one end to get dressed or set up the laptop for a movie of an evening (alone if we like as this tent closes off from the doggy room also.)

One thing that needs to be considered when camping under canvas is ventilation. It’s a heavy fabric and while one side is waterproof ie. condensation just beads off, the other side is not and if not properly ventilated (opening vents and pegging out the window awning) you are going to get moisture inside. We have resolved to the fact that because of the grass in the middle, there will be water on the inside of the center room in the morning, not a huge issue as all of our gear fits in the car or inside the bedroom tents under the stretchers, but something worth mentioning.

Another super amazing thing (that most would consider minor until injury) we found about the tent is the groovy guy ropes. Not only do they have cute little pockets to live in on the tent to make pegging them tangle free but our kids and our overzealous Staffy don’t clothesline on them because they are fluorescent orange. (That’s slang for running at the ropes neck first and… well… the rest is up to your imagination) we had a fair few problems with guy rope injuries on the last trip, grown ups included. If any part of the tent breaks you can get replacement joints or patches for a low reasonable cost from oztent directly. This means the tent has a long life expectancy and will be used well after this big trip.

There are other attachments and sizes that you can purchase in this design range, it’s entirely modular for everything from a two person set up (rv1) to a group of 12-20 (with the inclusion of the foxwing awning and additional RV5 Oztents.)  In short it will suit us for a very long time to come because it is easy to use, flexible in layout and reliable to keep the rain off.

I hope you have got something out of this review, if you have any questions about this set up please feel free to ask in the comments. 🙂

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Camping Gear Reviews Series – Queen Size OZtrail Self Inflating Leisure Mat

I’m going to tell you a story about camping beds. It’s a long story so get a cuppa and get comfortable. I’ll wait. Go on.

The story starts three years ago when we decided to give away our stuff and travel to the other side of the country. I wont go into why we did all that, it’s an even longer story, what I will tell you though is that we decided to buy an air mattress and two zip together stretchers. Now it was a very clever design with a velcro cover and all the bells and whistles for a queen size bed camping set up. We though it would be great as we could split it up for the kids if we needed to or use it as our bed. Turns out we had lots of other camping gear to bring with us. Not much experience in packing it all and random things like a pram and a port a cot which took up tons of space. No other beds could fit so we ended up sleeping on just the air mattress, on the floor… worst idea ever!

Here is a short list of why an air mattress on the floor is horrible. (Don’t worry its not all bad, we did learn what we didn’t like.)

  • It took forever to pump up with the crappy foot pump that we had. Yes yes, but you have an electric pump right? No, compared to what I will share with you in a bit, it would still take forever.
  • It was cold, I’m not a huge fan of cold, I whinge lots about it too. Drives the husband mad. Even used to have a collection of 12 jackets to prove how much I dislike cold. True story.
  • It went down after a few hours sleep, no holes it just magically lost air through osmosis or quantum tunneling, not sure which, was a mystery, drove us insane. I recovered (though it may just be too traumatizing and I’ve repressed the memories) but hubby hasn’t been the same since.
  • It’s bloody noisy. Yes… noisy for that too… you know, getting up at night to pee and you end up waking kids who then also need to get up to pee but can’t walk to the loo on their own… What? Did you think I ment something else? Haha! Funny, not on that bed! It was low… so low… combined with night cold my joints were not happy campers. They complained upon rising.

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So there, as you can probably guess we ain’t doing that again. Enter the Queen Size OZtrail Self Inflating Leisure Mat. Gawd that’s a mouthful but I’ll tell ya straight up, it can call itself whatever it likes for this level of comfort. I’m laying on it now, it’s more comfortable than our regular mattress, which doesn’t actually say much cause our mattress is pretty crappy but hey, at least it is compareable to an actual mattress. Unlike the plastic floor mat that was our air mattress, this thing is velour, it’s warm and it’s silent… Silent! You know what that means right? I can go to the loo while camping without an audience… I know! It’s super amazing hey. There are other plus thingies too.

  • It inflates itself, like in a squillionth of the time, no joke, it’s like watching a giant square alien chameleon tongue unroll itself automatically as soon as the valves (there’s 4, amaze!) are undone… you get that right?
  • Putting it on the stretchers and you can hardly feel the bars where they zip together. We were worried about that, I like to sleep next to my husband, I dunno I’m a weirdo I think.
  • It stays up, no random quantum mechanics or anything. And even after a few days when it does squish down a little, you open one valve and it puffs back up like a blowi, but without the spikes and fish smell, that would be icky.
  • Warm warm warm… I’m saying that again cause it’s just groovy, so happiez. For some reason it doesn’t get cold. I like. 🙂

There is one down side, it’s the only downside of this totally epic piece of gear, it’s huge. As in the size of an adult. No stress for us though as we are already planing for the 2m long Oztent which I’ll tell you all about soon.

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Hope you didn’t get too engrossed by my story and you enjoyed your cuppa and this review. 😉  Ave a good un and catch u round. More gear reviews to come as we test out our stuff, SO EXCITINGNESS! (How most girls are with shoes and handbags, I’m all squeelee for camping gear)

If you’re interested in getting one o these groovy beds for your next camping trip we got ours from Tentworld. Otherwise you can get it direct from OZtrail here:

http://www.oztrail.com.au/product-range/furniture-bedding/bedding/leisure-mat-queen-self-inflating-mattress-by-oztrail

Ps: Sorry but it’s dark so I stole some internet pictures. It’s Australia, everyone steals from the internet. I’ll put nice ones in their place eventually. Except for the plastic floor mat, I’ll make that look really bad.