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Review: Quechua Easy 2 Seconds 2 Man Tent

By 17 August 2014 Outdoors
Quechua Easy 2 Breton 2 Seconds pitched at Blogstock

First off, I just want to let you know that I bought this tent with my own money. This is not a sponsored post.

When I bought my ticket for Blogstock, I did so thinking I had a tent I could use. However, it turns out this tent was mouldy! Last time I used the tent (in 2009!) we had to put it down in the rain and must not have aired it. Oops!

So a new tent was on the agenda.

Since I was going to Blogstock alone, I decided that I wanted a pop up tent because it would be the easiest to pitch solo. The only problem was that most pop up tents don’t seem to have a very good write up. Most are marketed at festival tents and are single skin. This means that many of the reviews tell you they leak when it rains.

Now if you ask me, a tent that lets the water in isn’t really doing its job. If I’m camping in the rain, which let’s be honest is pretty likely in the UK, I want to stay dry.

I did quite a lot of research on which tent to buy and these Easy tents from Quechua have been recommended on forums and such. Plus, this one came in a funky Breton flag design so I had to have it! My parents live in Brittany, so it seems pretty fitting. And who wants a boring tent anyway? Especially for a festival.

Quechua Easy 2 tent in bag

Quechua Easy 2 Breton bag pattern

The Quechua Easy 2 comes in a round bag with a handy carry handle. One side’s plain and on the other you get an idea of the pattern featured on the tent itself. Some of these tents I’ve seen advertised for sale on eBay had rucksack style straps on. I was a little disappointed that this tent doesn’t but it’s not really a problem.

It really does take no time at all to pitch this tent. You simply undo four clips and give it a bit of a shake. Then hey presto, the tent’s up! The only time consuming bit is pegging in the four corners and the three guy lines, but this takes less than five minutes.

The guy ropes might not be necessary if it’s not windy. But when I pitched up at Blogstock it was a little breezy so opted for them. The pegs and guy lines live in clever little pockets within the fabric of the tent bag. The guy ropes aren’t attached so you do need to tie them on, but this is a one time job really.

Inside the pitched tent with kit inside

Inside, the tent is really only big enough for one person unless you don’t have any stuff. I knew this before buying so was really happy with the size. The inner tent is only about 4 feet wide. There are two handy pockets, one each side, ideal for torches, glasses, etc. and a hook at the back where I hung my lantern.

Quechua Easy 2 dimensions

As you can see, I brought quite a lot of stuff and the tent was pretty cosy. But I liked it. I put a picnic blanket down to act as a carpet, which was a really nice touch. I was warm and cosy even when it was pissing it down with rain outside.

Putting down pop up tents is notoriously difficult. However, the easy system makes putting down the Quechua Easy 2 a piece of cake. There are instructions stitched into the bag so you can’t lose them and they’re simple to follow. Putting the tent down in torrential rain was a little less fun but it was still quite easy.

Overall, I’m really pleased with my purchase. I think that £50 for a decent double-skin tent is pretty good. We’ll probably use the tent for weekends away when we just want to throw our stuff in the car and go on a whim.

There’d be room for both hubby and I to sleep in the tent (probably not with air beds though) but we’d have to keep our stuff in the car. For an overnight stay, this wouldn’t be an issue.

The next time we go camping, we’re going to be staying 6 nights in Cumbria. So the Quechua won’t be coming with us. It’ll be my trusty Easycamp Boston 400. It takes forever to pitch but has two bedrooms and a living area, so it’s much more suitable for a week’s holiday.

What’s your experience of pop up tents?

Rachel x

Tent purchased from Decathlon

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Blogstock 2014: Camping, Blogging, Rain and Rum

By 12 August 2014 Life, Lifestyle
Blogstock festival

Last weekend was mainly spent in a field. But not just any field. This field is normally reserved for boot fairs and forms part of Aldenham Country Park in Hertfordshire.

Blogstock 2014 is the first blogging festival organised by Traverse Events. They normally organise the Traverse travel blogger conference but this year decided to do something different.

Blogstock was open to any genre of blogger but there were mainly travel bloggers there. It was really weird to see so many familiar faces, but of course they had no idea who I was. I’ve followed some blogs for ages so some bloggers are almost like celebrities in my eyes.

Blogstock 2014 my tent, the Lonely Planet booklet and my wristband

Friday at Blogstock

The compromise for my taking the car was having to drop hubby off at work Friday morning. Annoyingly this left me over 4 hours to do a 2 hour journey.

To pass the time I had a Maccy D’s breakfast and stopped at two motorway services along the way. I realised at South Mimms, when I saw the travel pillows, that I’d left my lovely pillow on the bed at home. Cue a wander around the biggest Tesco ever in Borehamwood.

I was still the first to arrive at the Blogstock site so I had plenty of time to pitch my tent and get settled in. An hour or so later, more bloggers began to arrive. Many turned up on the Contiki bus that was put on to convey bloggers from central London. Most of these people were staying in the already put up tents included in the tent tickets.

I am so glad I didn’t opt for this ticket. Seriously the smallest tents I’ve ever seen and they didn’t look very waterproof.

Friday sessions

There weren’t many people on Friday afternoon and not many sessions. I attended two.

Tipee session

The first was hobby blogging to full time “pro” blogging with Helen Best-Shaw of Fuss Free Flavours. It was sweltering in the tipee but everyone was listening intently ready to learn as much as possible from a pro. Helen’s ranked #4 on the Foodie 100 list. The main takeaways were to be professional in all your dealings, ensure your site is up to scratch, make the most of your ‘about me’ page, and include the best possible photos.

I missed the start of the second session as the first overran somewhat. Alison Perry‘s talk in the Debate Tent was how to get paid to write. There were so many wanting to listen that more chairs had to be found. Alison talked us through how to pitch to editors. The best advice she gave was to focus on ideas and not to give up.


Rain, rain, go away, come again another day

Just as I was about to tuck into my steaming pile of noodles and other yummy delights the rain came down. Little specks turned into sheets of rain accompanied by wind. Luckily, we were sheltered under a gazebo but the horizontal rain meant we were confined to a very small area.

Some other bloggers were under a very small gazebo and were trying to fight with some sides to keep the rain out but they ended up making a run for it.

Fighting the rain at Blogstock

After taking it in turns with an umbrella, to get to the tents to find waterproofs and wellies, we headed to the disco tent. The marquee had turned into party central. The organisers were offering free drinks to keep everyone entertained and the DJ was on the decks.

Disco tent Blogstock 2014

Being the party animal that I am, I went to bed at ten.

Saturday at Blogstock

After a night of rain, I awoke on Saturday morning to pure blue skies. I was glad of my kettle and stove when I made a cup of coffee to enjoy while sat in my folding chair enjoying the peace and quiet while the rest of the campsite woke up.

To get charged up before the sessions I treated myself to a bacon and egg bap. It was awesome.

Saturday sessions

First up Saturday morning was getting noticed by travel brands presented by Alexis Sitaropoulos from Contiki. Basically, it seems the way to get noticed, by Contiki at least, is to get on YouTube. They’ve been working with YouTubers on campaigns since 2010.

Alexis told us that YouTube is much more than just a video hosting site. It’s where the audience is most engaged. In the last few years, there has been a huge increase in both audience and engagement. As a bonus, there’s great potential to make money on advertising.

It got serious for the next session: from blog to business by Rosie Slosek of One Man Band Accounting. Rosie helps bloggers, and others, to complete their tax returns and keep on the right side of the scary tax man. I think I left the session a little more confused than I was previously. I think an email might be in order to clear a few things up.

Back in the tipee, about thirty other women and I waited eagerly for Andy Jarosz to help us improve our skills in his session from blogger to writer. Andy has been blogging for many years at 501 Places and is a renowned freelance travel writer. He gave us a great list of things to avoid in our writing including empty words, marketing speak and bullshit facts. I also learnt that exclamation marks aren’t required if you’ve written your article well enough. Avoiding these could be tough as I am more than a little fond of the cheeky chaps.

Next, I was intending to go to another session but to be quite frank, actually not frank, hank. Hank Marvin to be exact. A cheeseburger and chips later and I was feeling much better and ready to tackle the Hertz track.

Go kart and Fashion Galleries at Blogstock

Now I thought I was pedalling pretty hard but I got the second slowest time on the race track. Very disappointing. I blame the fun practise laps.

Next up was do what you love by Jeannie Mark of Nomadic Chick. Jeannie had us meditating and imagining our own creative space. Everyone else’s space seemed to involve nature in some way. Mine was a cushion-filled den. I don’t even think there were windows. Not sure what that says about me.

Back in The Fashion Galleries, it was time to hear Monica Stott speak. I’ve been following Monica’s blog The Travel Hack for a couple of years so it was strange to see and hear her in real life. Monica’s talk was from fashion to travel: working with travel PRs and brands. Although I’m no longer focusing on travel blogging, travel is still my passion and I’d love to work with brands one day. Monica’s talk has given me something to aim toward. Unfortunately, it seems that the dreaded networking is required. I’m not one for schmoozing but it seems I might have to learn.

I didn’t really fancy any of the other talks so I just hung out with my new mate Emily. We bounced on the bouncy castle, attempted to knock down coconuts on the coconut shy and had our picture taken at the GENLOVE fair sponsored by Generator Hostels. It was great fun.

Pics Emily and I

We also found the most comfortable seats in the field. The Expedia airline seats in the VIP area. We were asked to choose our dream destinations. Bit different, eh?

Expedia polaroid

The last session of the day was the future of blogging debate on the main stage. Sitting in a field with rum cocktails on demand was awesome. All we had to do was tweet. Unfortunately, it’s also the last time I remember seeing my umbrella…



The evening was spent enjoying cocktails and chatting with new friends, Helen and Fran, before retiring to my cosy tent for the night.

The next morning it was raining. It was just drizzle until the time came to put my tent down. The rain starting really coming down as I was extracting the pegs so I hid inside for about five minutes. I had no idea how long the downpour would last so I thought “sod it!” and decided to just get out there and get the tent down.

The minute I stepped outside the tent, the rain came down even harder and I was soaked through to my skin within mere minutes. There was nothing I could do except laugh and carry on. I ended up driving home in my wellies, dripping wet.

Aside from being slightly soggy, it was a fantastic weekend. And, it’s given me the kick up the backside that I was after. Roll on Blogstock 2015!

Rachel x

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#BEDM – Being Adventurous

By 20 May 2014 Life, Lifestyle, Outdoors
My tent - ready for adventure

This year I’m planning on doing lots of adventurous things. I love a challenge and testing myself.

Last year I took part in the National Lottery Anniversary Run, which gave me the unique opportunity of running on the track inside the Olympic stadium, and then I completed a 5k run around Howletts Zoo.  I didn’t ‘run’ either of them properly because I’m not fit enough! I managed to jog/walk my way round. This year I’m forgetting about the running and embracing my walking boots!

Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge

Coast to coast path near Keld, Yorkshire Dales National Park

This is my first adventure of the year and it’s part of my company’s efforts to raise £10,000 for the charity Combat Stress. Combat Stress provides free medical and rehabilitation services to British forces veterans suffering with mental illnesses such as PTSD, and anxiety. I’ve taken on the responsibility of organising the trip and 11 of us are travelling up to the Yorkshire Dales after work on a Friday at the end of July ready to start walking early Saturday morning. It’s a 25 mile walk that takes in the three peaks of the National Park: Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent. The aim is to complete the trek within 12 hours. We’re getting some practice in beforehand. A couple of weeks ago we completed a 9 mile walk in the local area, which was pretty knackering! I’ve never walked 25 miles before, it’s going to be tough. But then, that is the idea! If you feel inclined, you can sponsor me on my Just Giving page 🙂

Camping holiday in the Lake District

This year’s holiday is taking us to the Lake District for a week, followed by a week in the Scottish Highlands. We’re camping, not in the wilds but at a Haven park! We’ll be sleeping under canvas in our own tent, which is quite an adventure for hubby as he’s not as keen on camping as me. Last time we went camping the tent fell down in the middle of the night! It wasn’t the tent’s fault; the soil was very sandy and it was too windy. The pegs that come with tents are not designed for these conditions! This year I’ll be investing in some decent V shaped pegs that are more secure.

Neither of us have been to the Lake District before so we’ll be doing lots of exploring. I definitely want to visit Windermere, and perhaps Beatrix Potter’s house. We also might hire mountain bikes in Grizedale Forest.

The Cairngorms National Park

To make up for the week camping, we’re spending the next week in a cosy cottage in the Cairngorms. The only way I could get hubby in the tent was to promise him a hot tub for the following week! The cottage is in the middle of nowhere and looks so cute. I’m so looking forward to it. While up in Scotland we’ll be doing lots of walking, maybe visiting a herd of reindeer and tasting some whisky!


What are you doing that’s adventurous this year?

Rachel x

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A Taste of the Wild West at Cowboy Camp in Arizona

By 1 October 2012 Travel, United States of America
Cowboy Camp, Arizona

Deep in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona lies Rusty and Betty’s cowboy camp.  These rustic stables are home to Betty’s Trail Rides where visitors can take a scenic horseback ride through the cactus laden countryside.  As part of a Trek America tour group I got to experience something regular visitors don’t: camping at the cowboy camp.

Camping in the Sonoran Desert
Sabina and I’s home for most of Trek

We arrived at the stables near Morristown about 1pm and set up camp before being given our trusty steeds for the afternoon.  My horse was a lovely grey one called Blue Boy.  He was very well behaved and I was glad because it had been a while since I’d been riding.  We were taught how to hold the reins Western Style – in one hand.  This took some getting used to.  I didn’t know what to do with my spare hand!

Horse riding at cowboy camp in Arizona
Me on my trusty steed Blue Boy
Sonoran Desert, Arizona
The trail through the desert
Lake Pleasant, Arizona in the winter sunshine
Lake Pleasant – in real life the sun was sparkling off the water like a jewel
Horse riding in the Sonora Desert surrounded by cacti
The view from Blue Boy
Saguaro cacti
Check out the size of these cacti!

The scenery was fantastic. We rode through acres of saguaro cacti and enjoyed views towards Lake Pleasant, which was sparkling blue in the winter sun.  As we rode up the hills and down through dry river beds I got to take stock and enjoy the peace and quiet after such a busy couple of weeks on Trek.

An old wagon at cowboy camp
Old wagon at the camp

Once we returned to the camp, Betty cooked us a traditional chuckwagon dinner on the camp fire   We tucked in to juicy steaks and baked potatoes, followed by chocolate cake that was cooked in a Dutch oven on the fire.  It was scrumptious.  My new friend Sabina, who I met on the first day of Trek, and I started drinking in the early evening and carried on in to the night.  This made trying to learn how to say “This chocolate cake is delicious” in German, Swiss German (yes there’s a difference – much more hacking and gagging!) and then Korean hilarious!  Betty played guitar and sung cowboy songs to us around the fire after dinner.  I really felt at ease in the great outdoors.  We finally crept to bed shortly after 11pm because we’d finished our vodka and it was getting cold.

Having enjoyed a great night’s sleep after all the fresh air we woke for fresh coffee and breakfast before packing away ready for our long drive to Desert Hot Springs, CA.
By Rachel Birchley

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Cornwall – a Great British Budget Escape

By 3 September 2012 Cornwall, Travel, United Kingdom
Camping in Cornwall. Easycamp Boston 400 tent.

Cornwall is home to the classic British seaside holiday.  Some people have said that it’s cheaper to holiday abroad.  I don’t know where they’re buying their holidays but I’m sure that’s just not true.  There is also so much to explore here in the UK that it’s not necessary to jet off overseas for every holiday.  We are in the era of the staycation.

Cornwall is one of the mildest and sunniest regions of the UK, the weather is affected by the Gulf Stream.  This doesn’t mean it’s always warm and sunny though! This is Britain after all.

I spent a week with my fiance camping at Perran Sands, a Haven park near Perranporth.  The pitch cost less than £100 for 7 nights, great for those of us on a budget.  The park itself offered indoor and outdoor swimming pools, family activities such as mini-golf and evening entertainment.  We used the pools a few times but otherwise didn’t use the facilities that much.  We spent our days out and about exploring this region that neither of us had visited previously.  A tip for anyone visiting this park is to take alternative tent pegs, i.e. the plastic ones with spikes, rather than the simple metal ones that come with your tent.  Underneath the thin layer of grass is sand.  When it’s windy the wind lifts the tent and the tent pegs simply pull out of the ground.  We woke in the middle of the night to find the tent half collapsed on us one night!  Another day we’d been out all day and returned to find that the park ranger had hastily re-erected out tent as it had almost blown away!

Perranporth beach offers a huge expanse of soft sand but also this amazing rocky outcrops.  These create loads of opportunities for rock-pooling.  The beach was busy bearing in mind we weren’t travelling during the school holidays.  There’s a pub on the beach that has sand on the floor inside and tables out on the sand outside.  This gave it an awesome surfer feel.  Perfect for people like me who prefer to be barefoot.  There’s something about standing at the bar with no shoes on.

The bustling St Ives is a beautiful town with plenty to see and do.  We took a RIB ride out around the coast. I’ve done this before in Weymouth, but for my fiance it was his first time out on one of these high-speed inflatables.  I love being on the water and I can’t recommend this RIB rides enough.  We enjoyed fantastic weather so were able to make the most of the numerous ice cream vendors along the sea front too.

The winding back streets of St Ives are filled with little, tucked away B&Bs, pubs and art galleries.  We used the Park and Ride as we didn’t fancy trying to find somewhere to park in St Ives.  Although the Park and Ride is expensive I’m glad we chose this option as I think we would have struggled to find anywhere to park in the town and negotiating the narrow, busy roads wouldn’t have been fun.

Tate St Ives, is an off-shoot of the Tate Gallery in London.  The displays include British and international contemporary artwork.  Admission is £6.50 so we didn’t venture in but it would be a must for art lovers.  I enjoy galleries and museums but don’t like paying for them.  I have a habit of spending very little time in museums because I don’t really like reading the blurb next to the display!

The Eden Project is one of Cornwall’s most famous attractions in recent years.  It definitely worth the trip and suitable for the whole family.  The best thing is that there’s plenty to do inside if the weather is inclement.  I’ve written about our visit in a previous post.

Touristy Padstow was so busy.  Famous for Rick Stein’s seafood restaurant this fishing town is filled with restaurants and shops selling local produce.  This is where we bought all our presents to take home.  Amazing biscuits and clotted cream fudge.  I can assure you the fudge didn’t last very long!

The student town of Falmouth lies at the mouth of the Fal (hence the name!) and is home to University College Falmouth.  This gives an eclectic mix of local, student and visitor population and the town caters for all.  The setting is beautiful with both estuary and sea views depending on where you are in the town.

During our week’s holiday I think we spent less than £300 all told.  I would definitely go back to Cornwall, but probably next time we’ll stay in something solid!  My other half was less than impressed with the sleeping arrangements! I’m definitely more hardy than he is when it comes to camping.

For more information on Cornwall, visit the tourist board’s website.

By Rachel Birchley

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