While some of you will want to get totally off the grid while on the mountain, there’s nothing wrong with setting up a mobile movie theatre on a wild camp. While the ‘glampers’ smugly camp down in the valleys, near the road, all safe and snug; you can get some wild glamping done instead.
What you’ll need:
- Smartphone or small tablet with decent battery life
- Small external speaker (e.g. Veho or the impressively loud Jam Classic – review to follow) or just a headphone splitter.
- Pico Projector (e.g. Aiptek)
- Extra Battery pack / charger for the projector (e.g. New Trent).
- A surface to project upon. A white sheet is the cheapest option, either clipped onto the inner tent with bulldog clips, or draped over a wall if outside. You can use your ingenuity to work out a way to pin the base in order to tense the whole out. Our first attempt was using the reverse of a map as a screen, which worked OK, but was angled as it was placed between the inner and outer of a tipi style tent and so the image wasn’t perfectly focussed.
Additionally, you will obviously need something to watch! We bought a few movies from Google Play, and as it was only a couple of quid extra, we bought rather than rented. We had no problem with the quality. Alternatively, you can now download TV shows via BBC iPlayer or 4OD, though the former requires a compatible handset and the latter can be temperamental (e.g. it doesn’t work for me!)
Extras: Bring the authentic cinema experience to the hill by making popcorn, or just bring a huge bag of real proper crisps (Kettle, Real) or Doritos and dips. Get an annoying friend to talk their way through most of the film. If you manage to set up outside, then chairs can make it even more comfortable. The Helinox chair is one of few suitable for wild camping.
The downside is that the sound might not be brilliant, which can be overcome by splitting the audio signal and using headphones if there’s only a few of you. If money’s no object, then there are some excellent mini speakers by Bose (the SoundLink® Mini Bluetooth) which provides superior audio but at a weight penalty of a hefty 670g. However, after hearing them in action we’ve got a Jam Classic Bluetooth speaker that only costs £25 and is as loud as anyone should need in a tent. You’ll also need to ensure that you’ve got enough juice in your phone or tablet beforehand, as you may not be able to charge it while it’s feeding the projector as they use the same port. Don’t skimp on the battery pack either, as the projectors often have poor battery life that might just get a feel-good comedy finished before dying on you, but hold no chance with something more meaty like the Hobbit. Fortunately, the Aiptek Pico Projector works wonderfully with an external battery, managing a 2 hour film without overheating.
Sounds cool, but it’s got to be heavy right? Technically I’d be taking the smartphone and battery pack as part of my essential kit, so while they weigh in at 146g and 285g respectively the extra kit is just the projector at 168g and the speaker at 50g. Your projector screen is the biggest problem, but a couple of clips and a white sheet shouldn’t be too heavy and improvising one from an OS map was good enough for us and weighs nothing! So that’s just an extra 218g to carry. You’ll probably have loose change and keys that weigh more.
This is a must if you’re camping with kids, of all ages, and while some will moan that it’s not in the spirit of wild camping, that’s fine. I’ll stick to sociable wild camping when I can, and camp alone at other times, it’s all part and parcel of the hill experience.