Brought to you by: teamed up with Cascade Designs, who make their Therm-a-Rest products in Midleton, Co Cork, to celebrate their 50th birthday by testing out their much-loved products on a wild camp in one of the most scenic spots in Ireland.  

When wild camping always adopt the mindset of “leave no trace. Everything you bring with you, you must bring home to dispose of correctly.

Where we stayed…

We set up camp along the shore of Coumshingaun Lough, Waterford’s most iconic lake and hike! It’s a 2km hike up to the lake from Kilclooney Wood car park and the majority of the trail is uphill. If it wasn’t for the lightweight gear provided by Therm-a-Rest and MSR it could’ve been quite a difficult incline.

Once you reach the lake the views are simply out of this world! The lake itself is surrounded on three sides by steep rocky cliffs, creating somewhat of a natural amphitheatre. The highest point of these cliffs is over 300 metres above the lake. The only side not covered by the cliffs faces east and we all know what that means… spectacular sunrises!

What we brought…

Cascade Designs has been designing and producing some of our much-loved Therm-a-Rest products for 50 years now. And the sleeping mats are made just down the road from us in Cork. So it seemed fitting to pay the factory a visit and put some of the range’s latest products to the test.

This gear comprised of one MSR Elixir 2 tent, a Thermarest NeoAir Topo sleeping mat, Thermarest NeoAir Topo Luxe sleeping mat, the Thermarest Questar -6 sleeping bag, the Therm-a-Rest Corus -6 Quilt, and the MSR Pocket Rocket portable gas stove.

Every piece of gear we used was as impressive as the last. The quality of every piece of equipment was evident from the get-go, from the quick assembly of the tent to the easy inflation and deflation of the sleeping mats. My buddy who accompanied me on the trip said: “the Questar -6 sleeping bag kept me warmer than if I was sleeping at home in my own bed”. Despite the lightweight and packable nature of the kit, it is built to perform and built to last. In fact, Cascade Designs offers an incredible warranty service on all of its products and have the ability to fix any conceivable problems that might arise during years of use. Even if the product isn’t covered by warranty, the brand encourages you to send any broken or ripped products to its factory in Cork where their team will restore them to their former glory.

In a world where everything has become so disposable, it is a refreshing approach and comforting to know when you are investing in more expensive products.

You can read all about the products we tested here.

What we did…

The first thing we did when we arrived at the lake was find the perfect spot to set up camp which is always easier said than done. The terrain around Coumshingaun Lough is quite rocky and uneven so you do have to spend a wee bit of time searching for the right spot. We eventually found a relatively flat area that was sheltered from the wind by some rocks.

From here it was time to pitch our tent, which was a breeze. The instructions were very easy to follow and we had practiced setting it up multiple times before heading out on our camping trip to ensure we were prepared and could pitch it in no time at all.

Once set up we decided to head off on a ramble before sunset to catch some of the amazing views. We stayed away from the main trail and just followed a trail created by the many sheep that roam freely around the lake. This trail led us to some beautiful rock formations, trickling waterfalls and some amazing viewpoints against the rocky cliffs.

After our ramble it was back to camp to cook up our dinner before sunset. If you haven’t yet eaten your dinner beside a lake at sunset you need to. The sky and lake were both illuminated by the setting sun making it one of the most picturesque meals we’ve ever had.

Once the sun had set we hoped into our tent to the comfort of our beautiful Therm-a-Rest mats and sleeping bags.

The next morning we awoke to the sound of birds at first light. Thanks to the sublime comfort of the Therm-a-Rest sleep system we had one of the best night’s sleep we’ve ever had. We got into our swim gear straight away and waited by the lakeside for the sun to appear to go on our sunrise dip. The perfect end to the perfect camping trip.

What we ate…

For our trip we decided to go with a range of dehydrated meals made by various producers including;

Trek’n’eat, a company committed to non-discriminatory work practices and the production of high quality sustainable meals.

Firepot, an award winning company that uses compostable packaging and offers extra large portions in comparison to their competitors.

Tent Meals, where each meal is small and compact, but filled with healthy, natural ingredients.

Always ensure that you keep all your rubbish on you after you finish your meals and leave no trace at your campsite. We suggest bringing a biodegradable bag to take home your rubbish in.

For more information on wild camping in Ireland check out Wild Camping Spots in Ireland.

By Killian Andersen

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