Tried & Tested: Quechua Camping Gear from Decathlon

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Being keen ‘weekend explorers’, my wife and I like to get out camping with our son whenever we can, and before he was born we also spent a lot of our spare time mountaineering. I discovered the Quechua brand back in 2000 when I was working in France as a Climbing Instructor and there was a big Decathlon store nearby.

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Decathlon was my first experience of an ‘Outdoor Superstore’ and it was like an Aladdin’s cave for me! Ever since then I have been buying and using Quechua kit because it is designed well, is cost effective and very functional. The following 12 products all come from the Quechua line and are all great for different reasons:

1. Folding Table – Unlike most of its competitors it is both well priced and reasonably strong. I have three of these which I use at base camps on treks with groups in Nepal and we put them in the dining tent end to end. They can take the full weight of a meal and all the serving bowls and bottles and when not in use they fold flat.

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2. Folding Chair – We use these chairs with our trekking groups and they feature a convenient cup/can holder in the right hand arm. They collapse into their own carry bag and we find them functional and comfortable.

3. 2 person folding tent – The real benefit of these for use out here in the Middle East where night temperatures can be hot is that they have flaps in both sides which can be raised to allow airflow through “no-see-um” mosquito mesh, but they still keep the insects out. They are very quick to set up (less than 10 seconds) and very quick to take down (if you know the secret art of folding one!).

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4. Gas Stove – This features a very stable base on three folding legs under which the gas cylinder screws into the base of the stove. I found the stability to be great, especially with a heavy pan full of water or pasta. If you add a wind shield to it then it dramatically decreases the cook time as all the heat is deflected back to the pot.

5. Hooded Sleeping Bag – This sleeping bag features a simple left hand zip with a hood, and is made from synthetic fiber. Rated for 1 to 2 seasons, the square end means you can unzip the whole bag into a rectangle to use as a duvet if it’s too hot to keep zipped up.

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6. Inflatable Cold Box – We all know that air is the greatest insulator, but the problem with a rigid cold box is that it takes up so much room. This inflatable cold box folds flat for storage but inflates easily for use. It has a convenient carry strap which makes it easier to handle than the rigid boxes’ end handles.

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7. Double Inflatable Mattress – Not as thick as the version you buy as a spare bed at home but then not as thin as the more traditional inflatable pads for camping. This mattress is quick to inflate (especially if you have a car socket pump!) and just right for 2 people in a 2 person tent. Cover it with a fitted sheet, use a sleeping bag that opens out into a duvet and with a couple of pillows you have a very luxurious camp bed!

8. Collapsible Camp Bed – I especially like using these to sleep outside with no tent either under an awning or under the stars! It stands around 40 centimeters off the ground which means you won’t find any creepy crawlies in your bed at night and it has the comfort of a normal bed with no hard rocks to lie on! It is quick to set up and take down and comes in its own carry case.

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9. Aluminum 1 litre water bottle – These bottles are designed to hold any liquid and for the gourmet chef out camping you can use one for olive oil and another for a ready-made marinade – just make sure you label them so an unsuspecting guest doesn’t drink one thinking it’s water!

10. Aluminum Cup – These are very light weight with a folding handle covered in rubber to insulate your fingers from hot drinks. It also has a convenient scale down one side in millilitres, so you can measure out liquids for cooking.

11. Aluminum Plate – Also extremely lightweight and ideal for spaghetti bolognese or a nice goat’s cheese salad. Very easy to wash and store.

12. Camping Lantern – I have several of these for camp site use. It takes two AA batteries but these last for several nights. It has three settings; bright light, low light and red light. When I camp in the desert I put one at each end of camp on red light all night to give quad bikers ample warning that our campsite is there! You can hang it or place it on the table as a lantern.

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One of the greatest features of buying Quechua kit is that it is so well priced. The above 12 items which form the basis of your campsite for the weekend (just add people, food and pets!) comes to just 1,892 AED in total, making it a great deal for a wide selection of kit. So get on down to your nearest Decathlon and check out their huge range of Quechua products!

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Words by: Dan Wright

Photos by: Daniel Birkhofer

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