I’m generally reluctant to recommend items of equipment and for a number of reasons: our personal requirements and preferences are many and varied; unless I’ve used something over an extended period I’m hesitant to endorse it, and by then it might no longer be available (this can be particularly the case with footwear); a lot of decent outdoor gear isn’t exactly cheap and peoples’ money is usually hard-earned. Professional testers – the likes of Chris Townsend – obviously become more adept at making quick, informed assessments; something which only comes with experience and keeping abreast of developments, so I mostly leave it to them.
However, in this case, it should be non-controversial as the item in question only costs two quid and is unlikely to be overtaken by technological advances.
We love to walk, get out for the day, just generally escape; but there’s no denying we also love just as much to find a quiet spot to sit, eat and drink. Finding the quiet spot isn’t usually too difficult, it’s something at which we’ve become pretty adept; finding somewhere both quiet and dry can be a bit more problematic. For a sizeable chunk of the year vegetation, fallen trees, rocks, even benches, can usually be relied on to be wet; admittedly you can put down a waterproof, but that does invite damage and, anyway, you might want to wear it as an extra layer.
I’d been looking around for something light, cheap and disposable to just throw down – and then my son came home with a plastic boot liner, purchased from B&Q for £2. That’s it pictured left and admittedly it doesn’t exactly sell itself but to me it just oozes understated chic.
Opened out, there is enough room for a couple of people, sandwich boxes, cups, flask, etc., and you can keep things like binoculars and cameras from lying on the wet ground. When used for its intended purpose the sides and ends fold up to form a kind of tray, but these can be folded under when it’s being deployed as a groundsheet. Committed ultralighters could cut them off and probably save… actually, does anybody care?
The item can be viewed on B&Q’s own product page here…
Weight: not very much
Made of: plastic
Overall impression: unexciting, admittedly, but useful. Keeps your bum/sarnies/flapjacks/energy bars out of the mud and sheep deposits.
Price: Two quid (£1.80 if you’re in possession of one of B&Q’s Twirly* discount cards and can contain your excitement until Wednesday)
* So called, if the legend is to be believed, because the cards are mostly in the hands of a demographic who turn up before the store is open (even though it opens at 7:00 am on Wednesdays), stare through the glass at the night crew, point to their watches and say “Are we twirly?”.