We just spent a day wandering around one of Europe’s biggest cycling fairs, the Fiets en Wandelbeurs in Amsterdam.
Three-year-old Luke was tagging along and this limited our time to look around. We couldn’t honestly say that we stopped at more than half of the stands but we still managed to make a few discoveries, between snack and play breaks.
Here are four pieces of kit that caught our eye. More discoveries (in the form of bike paths and resources) will follow in another blog post.
#1. Sea to Summit Mats
Sea to Summit has just brought out a new line of sleeping mats. These rainbow-coloured mats come in a range of weights, from 325g for the smallest, ultra-lightweight model to just over 1kg for the biggest, most insulating model with an R-value of 5.
Perhaps most interesting is that the red and silver mats (in the Comfort Plus category) have two inflatable layers, one on top of the other. Sea to Summit say that this has two main advantages:
If you are on uneven or bumpy terrain, then you can inflate the bottom layer of the mattress very firm at higher pressure as a barrier. You can then adjust the upper layer, using the fine tune valve, to a lower pressure to feel softer and more comfortable. The Dual Layer design also ensures a level of built in redundancy. If you do end up with a puncture in one layer of the mattress, then you can still get through the night with the other layer of the mattress intact.
#2. Frog Lightweight Bikes for Kids
Luke is just about ready for his first bike with pedals and of course we want to get him a high-quality bike: one with real brakes and one that isn’t too heavy for him to ride over longer distances. We were very impressed with bikes from British company Frog Bikes. They told us that on average each bike will last 2-3 years before the child outgrows it. Luke seemed to enjoy his first test ride on one of their balance bikes.
#3. Helinox Ground Chair
We’ve been fans of Helinox chairs for a few years now, so it was interesting to see the company’s new ground chair. It weighs in at just 520g — a full 300g lighter than the Helinox Chair One model we fell in love with three years ago.
#4. Nigor Oriole 3
When we decided to upgrade to a ‘family sized’ tent this year, we had a tough time finding one that was roomy, lightweight and affordable. We finally settled on Decathlon’s Quickhiker Ultralight 4 but had we known about Eureka’s Nigor Oriole 3, we might have changed our minds.
The sleeping area in the two tents is roughly the same (in other words, the Nigor Oriole 3 is HUGE for what’s labelled as a 3-man tent) and the Oriole 3 has the advantage of being lighter (3.2kg vs 3.9kg for the Decathlon QuickHiker Ultralight 4), designed for colder weather and made of better materials. The trade-off is the price. If you want a cheap tent, then the QuickHiker is probably still your best option but if you can afford to pay €800 then the Oriole 3 is definitely worth a look.