Camping makes my heart beat faster – bonfire, BBQs and picnics, a comfy sleeping bag, being woken up by the sun and watching a beautiful sunset over the hills. That a camping trip does not always work out that way has been stated before, but ever since I moved to the UK I realized that the cooler temperatures of the north make for a very pleasant camping experience. When German outdoor lifestyle brand Heimplanet asked me if I wanted to test drive one of their innovative tents it did of course not take very long until a trip was planned.

camping with heimplanet

Together with a friend I decided to visit the Isle of Arran, the seventh largest Scottish island which lies only a short train and ferry ride away from Glasgow. To reach the island take the train to Ardrossan and from there the ferry over to Brodick, the central village of the island. The trip takes about 2 hours and the return ticket costs £27. This makes Arran one of the easiest accessible islands of the Scottish west coast and a perfect destination for a quick trip if you do not have time to visit the highlands up north. Brodick is a fairly straight forward coastal town that stretches along the sea and offers everything you could ask for: supermarkets, banks, restaurants, pubs and even a golf club. Real campers we are however, we left all civilization behind and followed the main road for about 40 minutes out of the village and towards Glen Rosa. The campsite lies at the beginning of a beautiful lush valley right by a stream. It costs  £4 per person per night and is pretty basic. There are no showers, but a hut with toilets and sinks. Nevertheless it is a very atmospheric campsite never short of wildlife sightings and beautiful sunsets.

camping with heimplanet camping with heimplanet

The tent we had received from Heimplanet is called The Wedge. It is their smallest model and ideal for two people with luggage. Heimplanet makes inflatable tents that on first sight look a little bit like insects – very quickly we called our tent Bug. Instead of poles, which are unhandy, can break and confuse anybody who has never put up a tent before, these tents come with an inflatable air frame. The basic principle is “unfold, inflate, welcome home” and it is literally as easy as that. The tent can be inflated with any air pump but the 2-way mini pump offered by Heimplanet makes the process even quicker. From unpacking the tent, figuring it out and unrolling our sleeping bags inside it took us less than 10 minutes to pitch the tent. As we were already firing up the instant BBQ and spread the picnic blanket the other campers next to us were still fumbling around with their tent poles. This has never been so easy.

camping with heimplanet camping with heimplanet   camping with heimplanet

Although the air frame can be inflated in one go, additional valves allow to separate it into several chambers (three in The Wedge, more in the bigger tents) which increases its stability in case of  defect and makes it quite easy to locate any given puncture. Plagued by the Scottish midge we had to retreat to the tent just after sunset. Although sitting upright is really only comfortable close to the door the inside of the tent felt quite spacious. There are hooks in the ceiling where you can attach your (head) torch to and pockets on both sides for valuables and anything you need handy at any time. The porch opens from three sides which has two advantages. On the one hand this means that on a sunny day you can open up the entire porch and let the sunshine right into the tent – hello, lazy Sunday afternoon. On the other hand this is very practical for cooking in windy conditions, as the three-way system provides flexible protection for your stove.

camping with heimplanet

With our tent up in no time we had plenty of it to explore the island. The area is perfect for leisurely walks along the green valley Glen Rosa in which flows a bustling stream. From the valley a trail leads up to the island’s highest peak Goatfell (874m). The hike is supposed to take about 4 hours up and down and we saw plenty of people doing it in trainers. Do however not make the same impatient mistake as us and really, really stick to the path – unless you want to encounter a horde of Scottish thistles (just look at my knees closely – ouch!). The views from above are beautiful and you can see all the way over to mainland Scotland. Back down dipping your feet in the cold stream feels like heaven after a long day in the hills. Speaking of which, there are places where the river bed is deep enough for a swim. The water is cold, but not freezing – ideal for one of these rare sunny days in Scotland.

camping with heimplanet camping with heimplanet

As Brodick is only a short stroll away there is no need to prepare all your meals on the campsite. Saturday night we made our way into town to a) watch the football and b) enjoy some authentic Scottish pub food. Arran is proud of its local produce, especially the cheese and the ales. We found the nicest pub at the Ormidale Hotel. The food is excellent – if you are as indecisive as me I highly recommend the sliders, a set of three different meat or veggie burgers – and so was the company we enjoyed it with. The guests were a colorful mix of locals, golfers and campers like us.

camping with heimplanet

When it was time to leave we could leisurely wait until the last moment to take down the tent. All we had to do was open one of the tent’s four valves and within a few seconds all air had left the frame. Now lying flat before us we merely had to roll up the tent and place it back into its bag. Thanks to this quick process there was enough time to stroll along the beach with a cone of locally produced ice cream before catching the ferry back to Ardrossan.

camping with heimplanet

If your figurative camp fire is burning high right now, but you lack a tent to start an adventure do not despair. In May Heimplanet started the CaveAway Tour 2014 (UK and Germany), a competition to win the company’s signature 3-person-tent The Cave for a looong weekend (Thursday – Tuesday). All you have to do is choose an available date in the respective calendar and tell Heimplanet all about your planned adventure. Where are you going? Who with? Why do you need The Cave? The best ideas will win, so choose a great one!

More inspiration for Scotland:

The Travelettes Guide to Edinburgh

The Travelettes Guide to Glasgow

The best of Scotland in One Day

The Sea Kayaking Introduction Course in Oban

Kathi’s 8 Reasons why Scotland is the Perfect Place for Solo Travel

camping with heimplanet

Thank your Heimplanet for providing The Wedge for this special camping trip!
All pics by Kathi Kamleitner and the Ormidale Hotel.