Posted on April 30th 2017 by Jason Rawles
I’m catching up with blogs so apologies for the delay! Life just catches up with you. A wee while back I was invited to attend a weekend arranged by my pals Zoe and Jenni who head up the Outdoor Bloggers community. A group of people inspired by the outdoors and love to share their inspiration via digital platforms.
The weekend was to look at some new VARTA products and a few other brands joined in as well, peripheral but as I found out, still important to the world of adventure.
For those who don’t know VARTA they are a German brand and I knew them best for batteries. They are a German organisation and VARTA is an acronym standing for Vertrieb Aufladung Reparatur Transportabler Akkumulatoren which translates (as I read!) to distribution, recharge and repair of portable accumulators! Yeah I know but I’ll explain more how VARTA sits in my little world.
While I can’t speak for the other bloggers in my little world, in the outdoors, power and illumination are critical. I spend a lot of time surrounded by Mother Nature and she can kiss on one cheek and then slap the other. Weather changes, night creeps up, accidents happen. Illumination, power and transport are critical.
The first thing that struck me was the range of products available. Head torches, hand held torches, and even arm band illumination. When presented with new toys the most important thing is to play with them! We took them straight outside and checked functionality and how powerful they are! Pleasantly surprised considering everything I have is at the top end of pricing and this kit faired well and was really easy to use.
While the ‘lighting’ range does include Minion night lights and child torches there are a few pieces of kit that are staying in my kit room and are being used real time.
I’ve been using Petzyl head torches and for various parts of what I do they may well stay in my rucksack. But, as an option, the VARTA products are a more than fair offering. They are well priced, functionally adequate and look decent. The one that I have been playing with is also dimmable plus has a red light option to protect night vision. For around £17 that’s great functionality for the price and it comes with the batteries!!!! If you’d like to read some more and purchase you can do so via Amazon HERE.
To boost the illumination and in particular if I have clients with me on night challenges I also have a powerful, small hand torch too. I’ve been using Mag Light before but they’re just so expensive! This small, light and powerful cheeky little number is absolutely perfect. If I need to blast a few extra lumens, recce what the area around me looks like, or show something, it fits the bill nicely. I love it.
Again, the price is amazing. Less than £20 on Amazon and have a look HERE if you’re thinking of a purchase.
VARTA have an arm band to help with, for example, runners at night who may be off the path and want cars/bikes to be aware of them. The lighting part also detaches from the elastic and could fit on a dog collar. As a use case. But I see something else for this. If I’m working on night challenges with clients I could attach this to the rear of my rucksack so people could be aware of where I am. Or even (cost permitting) give them to people in the team.
For around £10 it seems a bargain for safety. Link HERE to Amazon…
While not so appropriate for lightweight wild camping this lantern is wonderful if in a campsite for a few days. I’m generally not in to the big tents, weeks at a time in the same place, so anything bigger isn’t appropriate.
This product I’ve been using is small, has a few light functions, hangs up, looks GREAT and can come apart to be even smaller and hang in the tent. Importantly when you have sausage fingers like me, it’s shockproof (2m drop height) and thankfully waterproof care of the UK weather!
It won’t break the bank at just over £10 and you can have a look or buy HERE on Amazon.
There’s so much more and I am giving you a view of my world. Have a look on the VARTA website as there is a lot of choice. It’s more than just batteries which is where my perception sat before.
Power is a necessary evil. The more technology we use in the outdoors the more we need to consider charging. More apps which are power intensive (GPS for example) means less we get from a full charge.
I have used power packs before and know that others do to. My main issue being that they don’t hold a full charge for long if sat in my rucksack over a couple of days out in the mountains.
I tend to have 3 x use cases for power –
- Just one day out
- I’m out for 2 or 3 days
- I’m on an expedition and may not have charge for a week or so, or more
VARTA have something for everyone and they seem to be always innovating. Firstly it’s important to get your head around the numbers as each one, according to size, can charge a certain amount of stuff. The bigger the mAh number the more you can charge.
For example, the VARTA Power Bank is the one I use for days out and at 5,200mAh it can charge an iPhone twice or an iPad once. There are smaller ones at 2,600mAh and you’ve guessed it, that’s one charge of an iPhone or equivalent smart phone.
My one is available on Amazon HERE and just over £15. Not bad really!
I also have a 10,000mAh power pack for bigger trips and a 16,000mAh for expeditions and both of these have an LED light on them also. Cheeky!
While I don’t advocate too much digital presence in the outdoors, we should connect with nature, it’s a fact of life.
The range of VARTA products can be viewed HERE and purchased via Amazon. There are many out there and no doubt a range of prices but batteries are VARTAs bag and I will be using them for a long time to come.
As well as the website links about you can also find VARTA on Facebook HERE.
Supporting VARTA on this weekend were a couple of other brands. To be fair I didn’t quite see how this pieced together but with an open mind, I listened in. Perhaps a little bitter about vehicles as I had just forked out many hundreds of pounds having brake pads and discs replaced.
When the team started to talk about some products from STP and Armor All my ears pricked up. While I seem to look after my adventure kit I tend to neglect my car. Having a dirty car is almost testament that I’ve been out doing things. But I hadn’t considered a couple of aspects.
For example, dirty wheels can attribute to worn brake discs and pads. Having just spent over £500 this resonated pronto! Dirty fuel in the engine makes the car inefficient and likely adds to the cost of diesel. There is also a range of cleaning products which I didn’t see as vanity or aesthetic, more about keeping the value of my car for when it gets resold. I also want to ensure the inside is clean as the adventure wagon is not just used for my outdoor love, but also to get around personally. Mud on the arse of my jeans isn’t a strong look!
The weekend was more that amazing and big thanks to Outdoor Bloggers for arranging this. The brands were very generous and closing down this blog wouldn’t feel right without a mention to George Foreman UK. The food was cooked on their grills and I was fortunate enough to be given one which is now used on a regular basis.
I’ll be using all of the products mentioned in more detail so if you have any questions please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to know more. They will pop up in the future so please do keep an eye out.
Please do FOLLOW/LIKE/SUBSCRIBE to VARTA, STP, Armor All, George Foreman UK and last but not least, please support Outdoor Bloggers and reach out to Zoe or Jenni if your brand would like support.
Thanks everyone and please SHARE.