Infront of us is an impossible number of tents, state of the art campervan conversions, a wide range of children’s activities and numerous outdoor innovations, and that’s just in the first hall!
The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2019 is the largest show off it’s kind in the UK, with no-less than five halls sprawling full of the latest products from all of the world’s top manufacturers. For camping and outdoor enthusiasts, such as us, this show is a must visit.
We started our day in Hall 5, as it was playing host to the majority of the exhibition’s camping and adventure equipment manufacturers.
First on our list to visit was the guys over at KAYACAT, as mentioned in our show preview, we have been admiring their products from afar since they first came on to our radar, so we definitely weren’t going to miss the opportunity to see their products in the flesh!
Inflatable products are undoubtedly on the rise at the moment (no pun intended!), the tent industry is currently undergoing one of the most significant design shifts in recent history thanks to the new technology.
But camping isn’t the only sector being improved by the new tech; watersports are also reaping the benefits of the increased flexibility and reduced weight that inflatable products bring.
Kayacat is another excellent example of inflatable technology being expertly executed. At the show, I was able to catch up with Marketing Manager Abi McCabe from TKC Sales (who was on-hand for KAYACAT at the show) and get a complete rundown of the products on offer.
Immediately what impressed me was the stark difference between the storage-rucksack’s diminutive volume and the crafts impressive size. With two models on offer, the larger Cougar has a packed-away size of just 65cm x 60cm x 30cm while weighing 14kg. The smaller Puma can actually be taken on a plane as carry-on!
The Cougar is a three-in-one watercraft that lets you sail, paddle and SUP. Watching Abi quickly demonstrate the products ability to change application was impressive; a simple array of zips enables the craft to transform without the need for an endless range of tools! This is a credit to KAYACAT’s inventor, who has a background in Royal Naval engineering.
The craft’s design also means that it has exceptionally low-drag with only minimal contact to the water. This means less energy is required to move you along, especially handy when moving upstream!
With additional add-ons in development to enable extra possibilities such as rowing, sculling, fishing and motorised propulsion, the crafts are the Swiss Army knife of the water.
There is also a Puma to Cougar upgrade kit coming in 2020, meaning those who can’t quite justify the larger craft at the moment can start with the Puma and upgrade in the future.
It will be a fascinating year ahead for KAYACAT, the impressive number of people in and around their stand (even early on Saturday morning) indicate that it is certainly a product that has got people talking. Short of seeing the craft in the water we couldn’t be more impressed!
To check out KAYACAT’s products online head to – http://www.kayacat.co.uk/
Red Paddle Company
Another company we featured in our show preview was Red Paddle Co, leaders in the field of stand up paddle boarding, they have recently expanded out into the world of premium lifestyle essentials under the Red Original brand.
At the show, I was able to speak with their Marketing Manager Luke Green about the new products on offer and the tireless work that has gone into them behind the scenes.
Visually the design of their accessories, that range from water bottles and bags to jackets and clothing, is spot on. The graphite and red colour scheme coupled with premium materials really gives the products an impressive image.
Underneath the surface (figuratively speaking!), the products have been engineered from the ground up, with a clean slate approach applied to many items. This isn’t a case of re-branding another companies work and adding a markup, the guys at Red Paddle Co have worked hard, and this is shown in the accessories on offer.
Luke was clear to point out the hours involved and how they looked to fix problems seen in many competitors offerings with their own products.
A great example of this is their insulated drinks bottle, while many bottles are made of stainless steel, not all stainless steel is the same.
As an engineer, this is something that I can happily go on about for far too long, but all you need to know is this bottle is made out of a superior grade stainless steel that is used extensively in the marine industry. So corrosion won’t be an issue even in the saltiest of locations.
As a side note, top marks to Luke for knowing the grade of stainless steel on the spot!
After speaking with Luke in the morning I snuck back later in the day to have a better hands-on with some of the products. I was genuinely impressed with each and every one of them, the quality and thought put into the designs is clearly evident. I especially like the range of deck bags that integrate with their SUPs.
Prices are generally fair while not cheap, these are premium products, but you are paying for the quality and engineering put into each item (which can’t be said for every manufacturer’s premium accessory range).
For comparison, I think Red Paddle Co’s new range is in a similar area to products by Thule, albeit more specific. While there may be other products on the market that are cheaper, there aren’t many that are of a better quality or as well thought-out.
For any serious adventurers, Red Paddle Co’s new accessories could well be your perfect companions!
You can find the full range of Red Original accessories here – https://redoriginal.com/
The second part of our review will be on your screens early this afternoon, so be sure to come back and read the continuation!