Friday, 22 September 2017

Ultralight tents that are ultralight on your pocket

Is it possible to get an ultralight tent - for hiking or cycling purposes - for under £100? The short answer is YES and there is quite a lot to choose from. In this post, I will consider a number of options out on the market. (For further information and reviews on each, click on the links provided.)

Naturehike Taga Ultralight Backpack Tent One Layer Cycling Tent For 1/2 Person

First off, here is the lowdown of the specs:

  • Ultra lightweight tent ,minimum weight,2.3lb(1person),2.75lb(2person),simple structure but large space.
  • Tent fly: 20D Nylon, silicone coated〔4000mm waterproof index〕Tent floor: 20D Nylon, silicone coated 〔4000mm waterproof index〕Poles: 7001 aluminum poles
  • High-density B3 mesh provides good ventilation.
  • Only need to set one aluminum pole, super easy to pitch.Applicable for cycling, hiking, backpacking, and camping.anti-UV, Anti-wind, anti- rainstorm.
I particularly like the light green version of this tent, which allows the stealth camper the opportunity to blend into the countryside and not stick out like a sore thumb. For a one-man tent, its weight of 2.3lb is quite reasonable. This would work well for someone on the Camino trail. The price ranges from £92-£102 so it's at the upper end of our price target. Overall, a good buy that will facilitate many an eventful adventure. 

GEERTOP Ultralight 1-Person Waterproof Personal Bivy Tent - Fast Easy Setup - Only 2 Pounds 2 Ounces

I've tried a bivvy bag once and I can't say I was entirely comfortable with the experience. This bivvy tent, however, offers a better compromise between a bivvy bag and a tent: with a tent-like cover it takes away the feeling of vulnerability that one can get when one's head and face is exposed to the elements.  

Here are the stats:

  • ULTRALIGHT and PORTABLE: Packed weight is 2 Pounds 2 Ounces, suitable for your backpacking. Packed Size: 1'7" x 4" x 4".
  • QUICK SET UP: Two-pole frame system with shock-corded aluminum poles allows for fast easy setup and dismantle.
  • WATERPROOF and BREATHABLE: (1) Fully Seam Taped + Waterproof Coating + PU5000MM = Able to Anti Moderate Rain. (2) Mesh door in the top and ventilation window to ensure breathability.
  • For 1 PERSON: 7 ft 5 in x 2 ft 6 in x 1 ft 2 in H , enough room and comfortable to you.
  • Perfect for 3 SEASONS of CAMPING and HIKING: Summer, Early Fall and Late Spring.

The big takeaway here is the price: £49.99 (at the time of writing). You can't go too far wrong with that. It certainly shows that bivvy tents are a cheap and light option when traveling light. The weight difference, however, is not that considerable between it and an ultra-light tent, which offers more space and comfort. But if you want a bit more adventure, a bivvy tent certainly gives you that. It also offers a more discreet camping profile. 

NatureHike Outdoor Tent With Skirt Double-layer Waterproof Camping Tent Lightweight 4 seasons Tent

The stats:

  • Applicable seasons: 4 Seasons
  • Tent fly material:Gray/Light green: 20D Nylon Silicone Fabric;PU4000mm;Green/Orange:210T plaid cloth;PU3000mm
  • Tent bottom material: 150D oxford cloth; PU3000mm
  • Rod material: 7001 Aviation aluminum frame
  • Features: Portable, Windproof, Waterproof.Breathable, Stable, Light Weight, Easy to be built up.

The NatureHike Outdoor tent is not ultralight at 1.5kg (or 3.3 pounds approx.) but it certainly is lightweight for what it offers you. The big standout feature is that it is a 4 season tent and not merely a "just about"  3 season tent. This is achieved by its double layer construction. A tent that you can use in winter for around the £100 mark is great going. 

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Thursday, 21 September 2017

Which is the Best Kindle to bring on a Bicycle Tour?

When it comes to the Kindle you get a lot more bang for your buck these days. For the record, I still own the original Kindle Fire. It is still working great, despite a cracked-glass screen. (Never leave a Kindle plugged in where your other half might walk in and trip on it - take a lesson from the wise.) The current/latest model (as of 2017) is Kindle Fire 10. Here's the tech info:
The all-new Fire HD 10, now with a brilliant 10.1” widescreen 1080p Full HD display with over 2 million pixels. The new Fire HD 10 is 30% faster with a speedy quad-core processor and 2x the RAM, plus 32GB internal storage and up to 10 hours of battery life — now only £149.99. Fire HD 10 also introduces Alexa hands-free for the first time on Fire tablets — just ask Alexa to play or pause a video, find music, dim the lights, set a timer, show your calendar, and more simply by using your voice. 
I have never had many complaints with my Kindle as regards speed: it is usually much quicker than my Mac or Asus notebook at starting up, and it rarely freezes on me. The 10-hour battery on the Fire 10 is quite amazing. I think my current Kindle's battery lasts about 3 hours when using it to do a mixture of reading books and surfing the net. The Alexa voice command feature is a huge advancement on my current model, though to be honest, I can't see how this would be much of a time-saver over using your fingers, though I suppose dictating writing or searching for items would be much easier. On this model the feature is hands-free, you only have to say Alexa and at the rest is at your command.

The introduction of a camera was one major advancement on the Kindle allowing the user to skype with family and friends while traveling abroad. And there is something cool about being able to bring friends on a virtual tour of the house or gardens. It is definitely a step up on my old model.  

The Kindle 7 tablet (it is a 7'' tablet hence the name) offers amazing value at just £49.99. It offers comparable features to the Kindle 10 for a third of the price.  It lists the following features:
  • The next generation of our bestselling Fire tablet ever - now thinner, lighter, with longer battery life and an improved display.
  • Beautiful 7" IPS display with higher contrast and sharper text, a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and up to 8 hours of battery life. 8 or 16 GB of internal storage and a microSD slot for up to 256 GB of expandable storage. Available in all-new colours: Black, Marine Blue, Punch Red and Canary Yellow.
  • Alexa gives you quick access to the information and entertainment you want. Ask questions, play music, get the news, weather, control your smart home and more - just press the home button and ask. (Enabled via an over-the-air software update)
  • Enjoy millions of movies, TV shows, songs, Kindle eBooks, apps and games - including Amazon Video, Netflix, Facebook, Spotify, TuneIn, Instagram and more.
  • Prime members get access to over a thousand books and magazines, more than two million songs, thousands of movies and TV shows and secure photo storage - at no additional cost.
  • Watch downloaded videos offline anywhere with a Prime membership or Netflix subscription.
  • ⭁←Enhance your entertainment experience with features you only get from Amazon - including ASAP, X-Ray, On Deck, Blue Shade and Fire for Kids Parental Controls.
So, which would I bring on my next tour given the choice? If it was just based on a weight comparison I'd probably choose the Kindle 7 at 295g versus the Kindle 10 at 500g. But then the larger screen on the Kindle 10 does offer a level of comfort when reading on tour. Then, there is the storage capacity the Kindle 7 offers 8 or 16 GB (which is truly astonishing when you stop to think about it!) whereas the Kindle 10 offers 32 or 64 GB (expandable by up to 256 GB! That is just a mindblowing amount of storage space: think about the number of books and movies you could bring with you on tour!) If I was being frugal I'd bring the 7, but if I fancied a bit of comfort and luxury on the trip, I wouldn't hesitate to bring the Kindle 10.

Yes, I believe I am overdue a newer model. You know now what to get me for my next birthday.

Every household should have a jar of this stuff

I had this tenant once, a Spanish woman, she came out of her room one day. She looked a state, far from her chirpy self. She was in bed all day with the flu. Her nose was red. She was sneezing, coughing and she ached all over. I felt sorry for her. I said "take a spoon of this: it may help." "What is it?" "Chyawanprash!" (I pronounced it Cha-van-prash). I explained it was an ancient Aruvedic treatment, thousands of years old, made of fruit, roots and herbs. No preservatives, no colours, no suggar, preservatives, nothing medical: just pure goodness packed into one jar. She gave it a shot. She took just a half spoon and went back to bed. (It was Sunday and she expected to have to call in sick the next day.)

I am reminded of this as I had a cold coming on yesterday. Long story short: I was working in an unheated room without wearing a jumper. I took two spoonfuls of chyawanprash, once I felt the telltale signs of a sore throat. Today, I got up: no cold, no sore throat. It just works that stuff does.

How did the Spanish girl fare? I met her the following day - that time- she had got up on the Monday morning and went to work, feeling great. I knew the chyawanprash was good but I didn't expect that.

I gave a jar of it to a female friend who was recovering from a flu and she told me she ran 5km the following day.

I know this doesn't prove anything and I would love to run an experiment on a wide range of people to see if they have the same experience. All I  can say is I wouldn't have my medication cupboard without a jar of it and it isn't even officially termed medicine.

Have you ever had it? I'd love to hear if you have had a similar experience. Leave a comment below.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Formatting Book Issues

I've been getting Smashwords rejections of late. Let me explain. Smashwords is a website that allows authors to publish their ebooks. The thing is I keep getting told that there is some inconsistency in my formatting. Except I've checked it and can't see what the problem is. It is a right old palaver.

So, I am toying with the idea of going through Ebook Maker next time I plan to publish a book. It promises to greatly speed up the whole process so that you have a polished book in the right format. It might just be the solution I need. 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Does CRM put your head in a spin?

What is CRM? Customer Relationship Management or CRM are data-driven solutions that improve how you interact with and do business with your customers. One way of viewing it is that it offers a way to automate the process of maintaining customer relationships, tracking interactions and sales and giving actionable information to you. Imagine two salespeople tripping over each (metaphorically speaking) dealing with the same customer: they duplicate each other's actions, lose info, annoy the customer and maybe lose the customer to a competitor. You may have experienced that as a customer. I have. Two waiters taking the same order and not communicating with each other.

OK, so CRM is the way to go. But you as a business owner or manager, you haven't got the technical know how to deal with this. You work long hours and you are time-starved. How do you get your head around what you need to know to put this into action?

Personally, I find the above video a bit dry. I want to get to the nuts and bolts so that I can get it up and going as quickly as possible.

One great way to start is to take the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mastery Course. This gives everything you need to get you up and running, and really master how to use the tools of CRM to make your business grow. Want to check it out and find out more, click here.


Monday, 18 September 2017

What is the buzz about Traffic Genesis?

Targeted traffic is the holy grail of any business. When the right people come knocking at your door, you want them to sign up for your newsletter, engage in your blogs, and become loyal customers that help your business thrive and expand.

Traffic Genesis does all that. Turn your visitors on Facebook into customers. That's the promise with Traffic Genesis.

1. Success Surveillance
Stand on the higher ground and keep your competitive advantage. How? Know how are your competitors are doing it and you know what customers want.  Bingo, you have the secret to making effective advertising campaigns. For example, find out what landing pages are converting and pre-test before your first visitor arrives.
2. The Perfect Click
Distinguish between a browser and a buyer. If you want to avoid wasting your money on useless clicks, then this is the part that will help you get ‘the perfect click’. You will learn how to get your offer in front of the right people who already want to buy.
3. Traffic Upgrade
Learn how to make your ads even better. Learn how to find the most responsive customers.
How can you do this? Because Facebook already has their eyes on the pulse of what people are doing. They know who likes and shares. They know who signs up for webinars. They know who buys. And you can use that information to your advantage.
4. Boomerang
This is a secret weapon that will help you get visitors back to your site and increase your chance of having them complete your end goal (sign up, purchase, etc.)
In essence, while visiting your site, visitors can easily become distracted and start surfing the web elsewhere. With the boomerang tactic, there is a chance that you can get an ad for your site back in front of their face as they scroll through a high credibility site. That ad will remind them about your site and help them come back. Convinced yet click here to learn more about Traffic Genesis .

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

E-book Giveaway - "To St Petersburg With Love" FREE on St Valentine's Day

This is my largely undiscovered book and its FREE today, so why not give it a go. Unlike many of the books for St Valentine's Day today, mine is entirely unsentimental and true. A decision to cycle across Europe - as you do - one summer led me to meet quite by accident the love of my life -OK, I've given one nod to sentimentality. It is a memoir/diary of approximately 50 days of adventure, travel and a developing relationship. It is descriptive without being fluffy or superfluous. Hope you either love or hate it enough to review it afterwards. Read the first three pages and you will be sucked in till you have read the entire thing a few hours later - it is that sort of book. Its book title is "To St Petersburg With Love".

Saturday, 6 July 2013

To St Petersburg With Love - Out Now

We cycled for over an hour till my Cateye computer reached the 500 mile mark. We stopped to celebrate by doing a song and dance to camera in the middle of the road! Craig did a video diary, as we cycled along, about how we had the road to ourselves, conditions were perfect and questioning what could possibly go wrong. Were we tempting fate? Clearly, we were as minutes later, the sky above us darkened and a torrential downpour of Biblical proportions assaulted us. This was just the beginning of what was going to be our day from hell!

"To St Petersburg With Love" is a quirky travelogue in the spirit of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Che Guevara's Motorcycle diaries and Peter Murtagh's Buen Camino. Proving that life is often stranger - and more fun - than fiction, this is a book about what happened when I attempted to cycle around most of Northern Europe in 40 days.

The aim was that of a cycling purist: to cycle on all land between Southend and St Petersburg, and back. The trouble was with just weeks to go, I learned of someone who took 2 months to cycle one way from St Petersburg to London. Had I bitten off more than I could chew?

With my friend Craig, an impossibly tight schedule, visa and ship deadlines, bear fears, mishaps and good fortunes, we set off on a life changing adventure to see most of Northern Europe. This is the story of triumphs and tribulations, challenges and compromises, of battling against all the odds and learning to let go off the rules to live the dream.

What began as a simple cycle to St Petersburg became a curious road trip to bring a consignment of custard to Anna, our Couch Surfing host, in Kaliningrad. All to learn a lesson that dreaming big is no use, if you don’t live big.

Available now on Amazon: "To St Petersburg With Love".

To Petersburg With Love ebook

Ultralight tents that are ultralight on your pocket

Is it possible to get an ultralight tent - for hiking or cycling purposes - for under £100? The short answer is YES and there is quite a lo...