As a traveler, nothing feels better than being able to experience the outdoors once again after being locked down at home for more than half a year. One of the things that I truly missed is camping and sleeping under the stars! However, despite the restricted freedom of finally going outside, there are still doubts especially as regards safety from the virus that has been taking the lives of thousands around the world. Hence, it is a must that we follow the safety protocols and take extra precautions, too. In my case, I opted not to rent nor borrow camping stuff and got myself the few necessary ones from my favorite one-stop shop for all sports and travel. With that, I am sharing with you the best camping essentials from Decathlon that I take with me in my camping adventure in the new normal.
Quechua’s 2 Seconds Pop Up Tent
The 2-second Pop Up tent is among the newest products of Decathlon. I was extremely fascinated by the fact that you can set a tent up in just a matter of 2 seconds. Unlike the traditional tents, I did not have to assemble the poles anymore with this one. Gone will be those days when tent pitching takes more or less quarter of or half an hour. With few unclips, unbuckles and a throw, this tent would automatically pitch on its own.
The design of the tent itself is enticing. It is quite an improvement of the traditional tent designs. It is also available in two colors – the blue and the green. This tent, though, is more than what meets the eye.
What’s in the Tent Bag?
The pop up tent is placed in a circular bag with a diameter of around 2 ft. This bag is made of the same fabric as that of the tent’s. You can find the tent systematically folded in it, some guy ropes and several pegs. I brought this tent on our recent dive and hike trip in Mabini, Batangas. To be honest, it’s quite easy to carry it except for long treks as this is indeed bulky. In our case, we hanged it on our hiking bag through the snap buckles. The hack worked, though.
Setting the Tent Up
Unpack, unbuckle here and there, throw. Voila! Setting it up is literally as easy as 1, 2, 3. Consequently, we struggled a bit in setting it up at the summit because of the strong winds. However, we were surprised how stable it was after pegging the tent down. It really stood up amidst the strong wind that was blowing in all directions.
Breaking the Camp
Breaking the camp is just as easy as setting it up. In just three steps of pulling and twisting, I was able to pull the tent away in no time. If you would also take this one on your trips, it is important that you watch the demo videos first. This will help you know exactly about the folding system works especially what to pull and twist. This said folding system is what makes the pop up tent really fascinating and convenient at the same time.
The red plaited rope above the logo is an integral part of the folding system when breaking the camp
Inside the Tent
The tent is good for two people. A person who’s 6’5″ tall could still sit and lay down comfortably inside. If you take a look around the insides of the tent, you’d notice a few things: a gear hook, a pocket and a vent. These are pretty functional. You can hang the lamp or a small bag on the plastic hook. As for the pocket, you can store your personal items in there to make them accessible. However, these hooks and pockets could only carry light items (perhaps 100 to 500g?). If you look past the hook, you’d notice a small meshed vent with a flysheet outside. This, together with the mesh in the door of the inner tent allows the passage of the air inside. We only felt the cool air inside brought by the strong winds, too.
The Weather Test
During our hike in Mt. Gulugod Baboy, the sky poured heavily for quite some time. We were observing if we would also be soaked inside. Luckily, we were safe and dry inside. The rain didn’t get through the air vent since the flysheet outside is wide enough for the size of the vent. The gap between the flysheet and the inner tent is a takeaway. The dampness and the thin layer of moisture on the flysheet didn’t get through the inner tent. The best thing about the flysheet’s fabric? It dried up easily after being blown by the strong winds in few minutes. Lastly, the groundsheet of the tent is also thick and waterproof.
The Fresh and Black Technology
Take note that the tent is not equipped with Fresh and Black technology. When we talk about Black technology, it is a feature of a tent that blocks excessive sunlight from the outside. As a result, it gets darker inside the tent. Fresh technology, on the other hand, is a feature that reduces the heat that gets into the tent. The Fresh and Black technology may go together and this is possible depending on the fabric of the tent itself.
To compensate with the fresh technology, there is an air ventilation at the back of the tent. The air would still circulate inside even if the inner sheet is zipped closed. There is a mesh around the ‘door’ of the inner sheet. These vents serve as another source of air when the tent is closed.
Forclaz’s Self-Inflating Mattress
My other top favorite camping essentials from Decathlon is the Forclaz self-inflating mattress. I find it quite a perfect match to the tent. What I love about this mattress is that, it is compact and space-saving when folded. It is just more or less than a foot in height and weighs a pound only. When inflated, it is only good for one person with a 5’11” height. Further, it is only 1’8″ in width. Hence, it is ideal to carry it around during camping with long treks.
Comfort in Use
This mattress is guaranteed with thermal insulation and is best in temperate environment. It may only be 3-centimeter thick but it surprisingly offers comfortable cushioning when inflated well. On my last dive trip in Summer Cruise in San Luis, Batangas, I didn’t wake up over a deflated mattress and I really had a good night sleep on it.
If you would take a look at it closely, you would notice silicone patches on the upper and the middle section of the mattress. This may seem to be just a design but these are actually non-slip silicone patches. It prevents the sleeping bag from slipping.
Self-Inflating and Deflating System
The inflating and deflating system fascinates me big time. There are two valves on the upper right on the other side of the mattress: the IN and OUT. If you want to have it inflated, you’ll have to leave the “IN” valve open and the “OUT” one closed. Automatically, the mattress would inflate on its own. This may take some time but you can speed it up by doing mouth inflation. you don’t have to blow that much since it easily inflates. Same thing goes with the deflation. If you want to deflate it, you just have to leave the ‘OUT’ valve open and the ‘IN’ one closed. To speed up the deflation, you can put pressure on the mattress as you deflate it. I find it really convenient since I can work on setting up other things in the camp while it does its job on its own.
Quechua’s One-Seater Hammock
Camping adventures are almost incomplete without hammocks especially during those days near the ocean. I always find it extremely relaxing to be resting in a hammock after a tiring dive. Hence, it’s another one of the camping essentials from Decathlon.
I personally love how, lightweight, compact and space-saving Quechua’s hammock is, too. It can be folded easily and squeezed into its integrated pouch. In addition, the quality is good for its price. The fabric feels cool on my skin despite the fact that the air does not go through it. The fabric is thin so you might feel cold if you decide to sleep in it at night. Along with the hammock itself, there are also ropes in its pouch. However, it does not include any carabiners nor extra straps, ridgeline and mosquito or bug net. I have tried tying its rope around a tree but does not slip nor come off easily, though. I weigh 45 Kilograms and a friend who weighs around 60 Kg used it, too. We sat in there comfortably and didn’t encounter any problems, too.
Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the basic knots that would help you in setting the hammock up. The pouch of the hammock as step by step illustrations on how to tie the ropes to safely set it up.
Camping Essentials from Decathlon, In a Nutshell
I personally picked these camping essentials from Decathlon as my top favorites because of the quality, price and convenience. Though convenience is less likely to be a thing in outdoor adventures, these items just said that it could.
How about you? What are your top favorite camping essentials from Decathlon?