Last-minute Hotel Booking Apps

When you find yourself away from home with no accommodation booked, how do you go about finding a room? Do you jump on the web? Start making phone calls, or walk into a reasonable-looking hotel and start negotiating on rate??

In the USA, travel search provider Hipmunk is now offering metasearch (metasearch is the ability to search deals from a range of providers at the same time) on same-day hotel bookings, via iPhone and Android smartphone apps. The Hipmunk app draws information from a massive range of mobile-specific and general deal listings to find the “best” rate for that night.

The issue for Australia is that we don’t have Hipmunk or most of the other leading same-day booking apps available to us.Many online booking providers, such as Wotif and Hotels.com, offer smartphone apps but they mirror the content of their main sites rather than offering app-specific or dedicated same-day deals.

In a mock search for a hotel in Sydney, I compared various websites, apps and same-day booking apps and found very few variations in prices. The same Sydney based hotels listed in my results feed at exactly the same price with each new search -  no bargains anywhere. One app: Hotel Quickly, opened its bookings at noon but claimed to be “booked out” of Sydney rooms when I checked at 1.10pm.

The metasearch provider Kayak was looking like a good option (apart from its rates being in US dollars), until I clicked to book and the price went up more than 15 per cent once fees and taxes were added. I hoped to have more luck with the “local” same-day deal provider Stay Today, which opened in Australia and New Zealand just over a year ago – but it came up with only two hotel options.

My next plan was to go with Hotels Combined, which is a leading metasearch engine that claims to compare prices from hundreds of websites. The company has a smartphone app that is easy to use, with simple filters for star rating, price, facilities and other factors, but failed to come up with the best available price on one of the hotels I checked. By the time I had done all that, my phone was cluttered with apps, I’d lost a few hours and I had failed to find a one-stop solution.

To save time my advice is to pick one or two booking sites and download their (free) apps so you can use them if you need to make a booking on the go.

You could also try the tried and tested method of walking into a hotel and asking what price they can do on a room that night. Negotiating in person is not for everyone but it has its benefits, one of which is that the hotel can offer you a discount without officially dropping its rates or being seen to discount.

Good luck and happy travels!

How to Pitch a BlackWolf Turbo Tent

BlackWolf’s Turbo Tent is a fantastic tent;  offering  a large amount of space with a relatively quick set up time. When it’s not in use it packs down to a compact size making it easy to transport and store.
Here are a few  tips to help you get the best out of your tent:

1. Pegging out the tent

  • After pulling the tent out of its bag, unfold the legs and lock the knuckles into place.
  • Before pushing the tent up, peg it out firmly. These tents do not stand up easily on their own as they are prone to twisting around putting a lot of pressure on the top pole connection.
  • Once you’ve popped the tent up, you may need to peg the tent out a little tighter.

2. Using the guy ropes

 As with any tent, the guy ropes will need to be pegged out tightly to hold the frame securely. In windy conditions, the tent may twist and bend putting unnatural pressure on the pole knuckles and joints. By putting the guy ropes out correctly, the tent will not be allowed to twist around, giving it the best chance to stand up to windy conditions.

3. Attaching the Fly

 As mentioned above, putting the guy ropes out is very important. The Blackwolf Turbo tents only have guy ropes attached to the fly. This means that the fly almost always has to be put on in order to secure the tent. In fair conditions, you may get away with not putting the fly on, in which case you may like to tie some ropes to the frame and make your own guy ropes just in case the wind picks up during the night.

4. Using the awning

 The small awning at the front of these tents does not provide much shelter in stormy conditions. It also does not have the option of being zipped down and secured. If it’s raining, you will need to drop one of the awning poles lower than the other to avoid water pooling on top of the awning.

5. Additions to improve your awning space

 If possible, getting a base camp fly or super fly is a great advantage. This means that in good conditions you can quickly use the original fly for a quick set up. Alternatively, in stormy conditions you have a fly that will give you a completely enclosed front room allowing you to escape from the elements. However, if you choose to use this it will take a little bit longer to set up.

6. Get an extra Bag

 Unfortunately, these tents can be a bit fiddly to get back into their bags. If possible, purchase another large good quality canvas bag that you can put the fly and the poles/pegs into. This not only makes it easier to get everything into the bag, but as you will have two smaller and lighter parcels it makes it easier to carry.

7. Use extra straps

After collapsing the poles when packing up the tent, you will need to lay the tent down on the ground and roll it up. The strap that has been provided, to stop the tent from unravelling, is not the greatest option. If possible, purchase a couple of good quality surf board straps to wrap tightly around the tent. This will hold the tent together and pull it all in smaller to make it a lot easier to put back into its bag.

8. Ground sheet

Even though these tents come with a very strong floor, it’s a great idea to put a tarp or ground sheet down to protect the floor of the tent. The last thing you want is a sharp stick or rock to puncture your new investment.

BlackWolf Turbo tents are awesome tents, using the tips in this blog will hopefully allow you to get the very best out of Turbo and if you need parts and accessories don’t forget to visit  www.leisuregear.com.au

 

 

Cooking and Camping with Gas Stoves

Camping equipment for cooking

Cooking when you are camping can be easy even when you are on foot and on the move there are great “fast and light” stoves to ensure that you can cook up a feast at the end of the day.

Camping stoves used to be so difficult, they were heavy and awkward to use and cleaning them was a nightmare. These days just choose a “pocket rocket”, “simmerlite”, “whisperlite” or one of the other fast and light stoves to take care of all of your cooking requirements.

But even when you are using one of these essential accessories there are some things that you need to keep in mind whenever you use it:

1.       Rules and regulations

When you are using a gas stove in the outdoors always check the regulations where you are. Some areas don’t allow you to cook on campfires or on devices that use an open flame…

2.       Pots and pans

Some people go to the trouble of buying a fast and light stove to minimise the weight of the gear that they are carrying but forget to test the weight of their pots and pans.

Aluminium and stainless steel are generally lighter and if you choose ones with a black finish they will increase the time needed for cooking but be more resilient when it comes to the flames from the stove.

3.       Cooking surface

When looking for the perfect cooking spot find a flat, even surface to set up that is away from anything that is potentially flammable.

4.       Fuelling up

Before you go away make sure that you know what kind of fuel that you need and have enough for the time that you will be away. Always use the fuel specified by the manufacturer.

5.       Cool down

Make sure that the stove is completely cool before you disassemble it after use. The fuel cylinder and attachments need to be removed prior to packing.

If you require further information feel free to call the Sales crew at www.leisuregear.com.au on 1300 851 423 or browse through the entire camping equipment range at http://www.leisuregear.com.au/camping-equipment/

Hydration Pack Information

Dehydration is a dangerous condition. When you are out and about being physically active make sure that the daypack you take with you contains a sufficient amount of water to account for the heat of the day as well as the physical exertion.

Bottles of water can be cumbersome and difficult in your travel pack. Sometimes they leak, get buried under other items or left behind at rest stops. If this is an issue that you’re encountering maybe it is time to consider using an hydration pack instead of your regular hiking backpack. Hydration packs are generally small to medium sized backpacks, daypacks or waistpacks with the difference being that they have inbuilt hydration capability containing a reservoir or “bladder” commonly made of rubber or flexible plastic. There is a  bite valve at the end of the plastic to release the water and it can be conveniently slung over the shoulder so the wearer can access water without needing to take off the pack.

Anyone can use a hydration pack. There are styles, sizes and weights to suit all different types of activities.

You may consider using one of these special travel packs if you:

-          Hike/Bushwalk

-          Birdwatch

-          Run

-          Cycle

-          Hunt

-          Rock climb

-          Ski/Snowboard

Hydration packs need not be limited to extreme sports though; they’re just as useful in preventing dehydration in other forms of activity such as shopping about at a local market or sightseeing! To see our extensive range of  hydration packs click here.

flow bladder cobra 11 cobra

Caribee Time Traveller 26

Caribee is a household name in Australia and has been for a long time. With many years of experience creating outdoor and travel gear Caribee knows what you need and go out of their way to design products that are not only the highest quality but durable and practical as well.

They have a longstanding commitment to their Australian supporters to continuously improve their product range and create new and innovative offerings that will make getting out and about a whole lot more enjoyable.

The Time Traveller  Product range is a perfect example of Caribee’s ability to create luggage that is ideal for any destination. The perfect luggage if you have a desire to mix business with pleasure.

The Time Traveller 26 is a 26 inch wheeled travel pack that converts to a backpack. The size of this luggage is deceptive but rest assured it has a 70 litre capacity. You can pack a huge amount inside and categorise with the handy internal zip pockets.

This luggage is versatile. With a well-concealed action back harness in moments you can convert your travel bag into a backpack for those situations where carrying makes a whole lot more sense.The zip housings can all be locked up to prevent thieves tampering with the valuables in your bag and Caribee have included some extra external pockets when you are packing the bag on your back for those things that you need to access easily, including a handy zip up pocket to fit your water bottle.

For when you want to wheel your bag, volt free external wheels make this incredibly smooth and easy and an aluminium push button trolley system ensures that your bag is right behind you every step of the way.

Caribee Time Traveller 26 Backpack view Caribee Time Traveller 26 wheeled travel pack Caribee Time Traveller 26 close up of wheel

Blackwolf Tents: Turbo Tent Lite vs Traditional Canvas Tent

There are some very obvious differences between the BlackWolf Turbo Tent Lite and a canvas tent that need to be considered if you’re looking to purchase a family sized tent.

Canvas Tents offer the durability of handling multiple set up and break downs as well as protection from a multitude of conditions but they can be quite heavy. Turbo Lite Canvas Tents on the other hand offer almost the same durability as the Canvas Tent options. Using the latest technology in materials, the light canvas option allows you to customise your tent option to your needs

So while both types of tents are known to be durable and strong the BlackWolf Turbo Tent Lite has some benefits that a traditional canvas tent just can’t offer such as:

1.   The difference in weight

The BlackWolf Turbo Lite is generally about 7 to 10 kgs lighter than a canvas tent of the same size. A considerable variation in weight. The lighter weight of the Turbo makes the transportation of the tent easier; no need for a trailer & they’re more manageable to handle during setup and pack down.

2. Setting up

Any camper will know that setting up a tent is often a task especially when you are tired after travelling and the sun is about set! So, a tent that is easy to handle during set up is a huge bonus because it saves time and energy. BlackWolf Turbo Lite tents are also simple to erect and just as easy to pack away.

3. Cost effective

BlackWolf Turbo Lite tents are the perfect choice when you are looking for a durable, easy to assemble tent for those awesome holidays in the great Australian outdoors. They are light, easy to use and an affordable option.

BlackWolf will be releasing new mesh panels to fit their 2013 Model tents from 15th September 2013.

You can save big $ when you buy BlackWolf Turbo Tents  & accessories from leisureGear!

Follow this link to see our huge range of BLACKWOLF BACKPACKS AND TENTS

Blackwolf Turbo Tent Basecamp FlyBlackwolf Turbo Tent Lite

Father’s Day Gift Guide 2013

Fathers-Day-Gift-Guide500

So your dad loves the outdoors and you still don’t what to buy him for Father’s Day? We’re here to help you out! We have come up with some special ideas for Father’s Day that will show your dad how much you love and appreciate him – and know him!

Binoculars

BarskaBarskaskymaster

A quality pair of binoculars may just make your dad’s day. Does he love to watch birds? he is a regular at the footy and other sporting events? Or maybe he loves to hunt… With this gift for your father you know that he will never miss any detail again and can spend many happy hours taking in the world around him.

Handheld GPS

trekretracecoursepro

Does dad have a rotten sense of direction? Is he always getting lost while you and your mum wait fretful hours waiting for him to come home safe from every fishing trip? Two words for you, HANDHELD GPS. Give him the tools for successful navigation this Father’s Day and make sure that he never gets lost again – oh and extra points from mum as well.

Multi-tools

champrescuetoolsuper tool

Multi-tools have to be the coolest gadget ever and I bet that dad secretly thinks so too. It is not always practical to carry an entire tool kit when camping and frankly he doesn’t need to if he has an ultra-handy multi-tool at his side. For repairs, can opening, fishing & hunting. Dad will be able to take charge, and you know he loves to, with a tool that has a solution for everything.

Turbo Tent

lite fs 240turbo300Turbo Lite Basecamp plus fly 240

Does dad need a new turbo tent so that he can relax when away in the Australian bush? Turbo tents are quick to pitch, with heaps of ventilation and a special awning all in a great package that will make sure that dad has the perfect solution for camping. He’ll be so excited he will want to  try it out straight away in the back yard!

For more Father’s Day Gift ideas visit our Father’s Day Gift Guide featuring products with  promotional prices*:

Father’s Day Gift Guide 2013

*NB Promotion ends 1 September 2013

Victorinox Swiss Army Knife

The Victorinox Swiss Army Knife is a must have tool when you set out into the wild with your tent and other camping paraphernalia for a well needed break.

The Swiss Army Knife has every tool that you need while you are away and is invaluable around the home or at a work site when you need to find the right tool in a flash.

Where does the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife come from?

It had its humble beginnings in 1884. A man by the name of Karl Elsener started a cutlery workshop to create a “soldier” knife for the Swiss army that was revolutionary at the time.

His idea was to design a knife that was multi-functional & combined in one easy to use tool which resulted in the the original Swiss Army Knife.

It has evolved hugely since then as the company researched better ways of providing the same sturdy, multi-faceted tool to by then their many loyal fans.

Which one do you choose?

Nowadays there are so many different options when it comes to choosing a Swiss Army Knife. I mean how do you choose the one that is going to be the one that is the best companion for you. Which one will fill your needs the best?

Will it be the classic compact with screwdriver, wire stripper, can opener, nail file, ballpoint pen and more? Or a Rescue tool that has the ability to cut through seatbelts? If you’re a keen sailor then the Swiss Army Victorinox Lock Blade Helmsman might be best for you…

Whatever your needs there’s certain to be a Swiss Army Knife that is perfect for you & with a lifetime warranty you can feel assured that you are buying a quality tool that is made to last.

BladeHelmsman camouflage spartan fisherman rescuetool trailmaster

PACSAFE Anti-Theft Travel Gear

Pacsafe logo

Pacsafe as a brand is dedicated to providing products that are innovative and offer a great deal of security for travellers.

Outpac Designs are the makers of Pacsafe products; Outpac Designs was founded in 1998 by two Australians that adore seeing the world and love the exciting adventures that traveling offers up. They have a comprehensive understanding about travel and know from personal experience that you don’t want to have to worry about the safety of your belongings when you are off on your latest trip.

Where did the idea for Pacsafe come from?

The original concept for Pacsafe was born when the co-founders were in South America and they observed people wrapping chicken wire around their bags to stop the goods inside being stolen.

Pacsafe was created soon after with its slashproof, interlocking security system system labelled: eXomesh.

Pacsafe specialises in anti-theft travel gear

In case you haven’t been acquainted with Pacsafe before now, it is the premier brand for slash-proof, snatch-proof and tamper-proof luggage that can be bought in all shapes and sizes to protect your valuables when you are travelling.

High tech materials are utilised alongside components especially designed for their strength,The end result means that all eXomesh products are strong, durable and reliable as well as safe.

The four key components of the eXomesh technology are:

-          A protective centralized cell constructed from slash-proof, high tensile stainless steel

-          A revolutionary nylon laminate cover

-          Wire reinforced straps and belts that are snatch-proof

-          One of a kind tamper-proof locking devices constructed from stainless steel and polycarbonate.

To view the entire Pacsafe range in more detail visit:

http://www.leisuregear.com.au/pacsafe/

Pacsafe GII CitySafeexomeshwheeled anti theft

How To Use A Compass

If you know how to successfully use a compass it can be the difference between getting lost in the endless Australian bush and navigating your way safely through on a successful hike, bushwalk or even camping trip.

Knowing how to use a compass is generally considered to be a skill for those that spend a heap of time in the great outdoors however it doesn’t hurt to know even if you are not an outdoor enthusiast because after all you never know when it may come in handy.

What is a compass?

A compass is an age old tool used for centuries to navigate. No matter where you stand and which way you face the compass that you are holding will always show which way is north and once you know this you can determine where you are on a map or which way you need to travel.

But how does it know I hear you ask.

It’s a very simple principle really. A magnetic compass has a small magnet that is light inside of its cover. This magnet is balanced on a pivot point that is almost frictionless and is often referred to as a needle. This magnet or needle is always attracted to the magnetic north pole which is why whichever way you turn it the needle will point towards north.

How to use a compass:

One thing that you need to remember is that the map grid north and magnetic north are not identical and you need to allow for this when using a map. Usually you can adjust for this by turning the casing approximately 2 degrees.

1.       Line the map north up with the north on the compass

2.       Take a bearing on the map and decide in which direction you need to head

3.     Regularly check that you are still headed in the correct direction – taking note of your surroundings as you move.

LeisureGear stocks a variety of compasses from electronic devices to  traditional metal.

Prices start from as low as $6.49!

CelestronRetrace Lite Outback Scout Compass