Summer Nights Spent Under the Canvas

After losing their beloved 1972 VW Bay, and all their camping gear, in April after a freak engine fire TEAM THOMPSON gave Vango a call

After losing their beloved 1972 VW Bay, and all their camping gear, in April after a freak engine fire TEAM THOMPSON gave Vango a call…

Team Thompson waved a very tearful goodbye to our 1972 VW Bay in April after a freak engine fire. As burnt out Beryl disappeared into the distance on the back of a flatbed truck we began to take stock of what exactly we had lost… virtually all of our camping kit had gone up in smoke and we had trips already booked to both Dalriada and Stendhal Festival this Summer. Help!

A few phone calls later and we had managed to borrow a family tent but we had no beds or bedding… it was time to go shopping for the ultimate bedtime camping set-up and after years of reviewing and testing kit, Vango seemed like the obvious port of call. Vango’s Family Sleeping Bag Collection There’s something for everyone when it comes to Vango sleeping bags regardless of age, shape, size or budget. An hour or so spent pouring over the laptop and every member of Team T had chosen a sleeping bag to keep them cosy during a Northern Irish summer under canvas.

As Stuart tends to toss n’ turn during the night, we gave up on sharing a double sleeping bag many moons ago but he still likes plenty of room so opted for the Aurora XL (95GBP). It’s a 3 season bag with a comfy cotton flannel lining and polycotton shell. Wider and longer than a standard single, it also has a built in headrest and a double layer construction. We may have abandoned sharing a double sleeping bag, but I still like one all to myself as more often than not, one of the pint-sized Thompsons mysteriously ends up in there with me before morning! With that in mind, I opted for the Vario Double (140GBP).

This versatile bag can easily convert from a 3 to a 2 season bag if it gets too warm. It can also be unzipped and turned into two single sleeping bags if needs be. Like the Aurora, it’s luxuriously soft and incredibly cosy with a built in headrest. 12 year old Libby has never been very keen on “mummy” style bags so she chose to go big n’ roomy with the Latitude 200 Super Quad (75GBP).

This is an awesome bag with Thermal Reverb to reflect heat back to the user to increase warmth (handy for a few nights in a muddy field in Limavady!). It still has a 3D hood but provides bags of extra legroom while the Helix Insulate regulates temperature. Nine year old Isaac decided to future proof as somewhere down the line he’ll have BB trips where he’ll have to carry all his own kit! The smaller and lighter pack size of the Nitestar Alpha 250 (42.50GBP) swung it for him without having to compromise on comfort.

A three season Mummy shaped bag with hood and internal pocket for all those hidden essentials a 9 year old might need camping?! Finally, 7 year old Molly, who is a little human furnace at night time, opted for the aptly named Ember Junior (19GBP), a smaller than average, 2 season bag for kids.

Square shaped and roomy with a Polair Shell and Lining that makes it soft to touch yet super hard wearing. All five bags were put to the test this summer and proved to be a resounding success as for the first time ever, I got a sleeping bag all to myself ALL night as everyone slept soundly in their own. Result Vango!

Vango Camping Bed Solutions

It’s all very well having a toasty sleeping bag but you also need somewhere comfortable to lay your bag down at nighttime… our next Vango choice exceeded all expectations providing a better night’s sleep than I’ve had in many hotels and apartments over the years. The Shangri-La 10 Double (225GBP) is a self-inflating mattress that takes camping comfort to a whole different level.

The cyclone valve sees it inflate in approx. 30 seconds and the memory foam softens with body heat, molding to form for the perfect night’s sleep. It’s 200cm x 132cm so nice and roomy and is covered in a plush fabric that’s soft to touch for added luxury. I absolutely loved this mattress! Admittedly it takes a bit of effort to roll up again but the carry bag provided has plenty of room and the good night’s sleep the night before is worth the effort when packing up. While the kids and I cuddled up on the Shangri-La, Stuart was on the Dormir Campbed XL (65GBP).

This is a hardwearing camp bed that can cater for those up to 7ft tall. At only 5ft 10, Stuart just likes to stretch out and feel that he has a bit more room… the XL version certainly delivers that. Maximum loading weight is 120kg and the angled legs provide extra stability. A slide on pillow and straps to secure a sleeping mat are all welcome extras on the Dormir. It also folds down to a compact size for storage and has integrated carry handles. Another big thumbs up!