Outdoors Show

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Need to contact Admin...
Feb 14, 2005
Halton West Uk
did anyone have a play in the cave? I decided to have a look around as no one was bothering with it (just after the show opened on Friday), it was quite realistic, though I'm glad I'm fairly slim.. was a bit tight in places :eek: :D

Just to explain: it was a fake cave made out of that boulder material often used on stands/museums and you basically had to crawl/slither around it including climbing up as well as down. It was fairly tight for me, and quite a few kids lookd less than happy once emerging :D


Oct 6, 2003
I was so underwelmed with the experience that I never plan to go to another. I was there on Sunday and all the comments about most of the space being companies offering holidays, or tourist boards was true.

I had a very short shopping list, I wanted to get a Smartwool shirt, a new water purifier, and see about a new Thermarest. I came away with the sad realisation that the great Outdoor Show is no longer somewhere to go for such things. The only wool I saw was for socks, only one stand I saw had Thermarests, all two of them, and they were NOT cheap, and I didn't see a single pump, filter, or purifier anywhere. :censored:

There were a lot of demo activities going on with comentary going on over loud speakers. At many of the stands it was nearly impossible to take part in a conversation, if you were more than 6 feet from the speaker you couldn't hear a word! :aargh4:

Lastly, even though I have been to the NEC three or four times before, always without trouble, I got lst twice this time. The signs on the M6 had been changed so it was no longer possible to "follow the signs", and when I got onto the NEC site the signs for the ODS just quit two round-abouts before the East car park. Rubbish.


Sep 22, 2003
Aldershot, Hampshire, UK
I was also seriously unimpressed this year. I was looking for a new silk liner, and like Chris I was also after a new Thermarest; so I was quite shocked that only one stall had them and they only had two of the same (expensive) model! Most places I spoke to (and I agree that there seemed to be less than last year) said effectivly the same thing: "Oh yes, we do sell them but haven't bought any with us. You can buy it from our website though"

Du'h! Not impressed at all.


Full Member
Mar 31, 2004
Norfolk U.K.
SWMBO and me were discussing the show and she reminded me that the year before last we were unimpressed.Last year IIRC,we quite enjoyed it.

Maybe next year it will be good again :confused: :rolleyes:


Yep, me too...
It seems to be a show for tourist boards and highstreet stores...
I guess it's too expensive for the smaller retailers and manufacturers to attend..

I had visions of getting loads of new kit! I even had the money to spend... I went away with an Alpkit kip mat and a couple of compression sacks...

There wasn't really anything all that special... very overrated...

(I did feel sorry for the nice girlie of the Daily Mail snowboard and ski stand... had to have a chat with her as she looked really bored...)


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 21, 2005
I agree - We had a kinda odd feel about it too! - diddn't like the 2 teir layout and there seemed a lot of 'big names' missing. There seemed to be LOADS of tourist boards and very few small o&s stalls to bick up the odd item cheap.

We also found it rather hard to find our way round, in years before you could systamatically work your way round and be pretty sure you hadn't missed anything, this years was more confusing - in fact it took us over quarter of an hour to find a stand we wanted to go back to! and that was late on the sunday when it had got REALLY quiet!

I think they had priced themselves out the market - hence there were not so many small suppliers! - chatting to one guy who had declined the inital offer to go when they wanted £3000 for a 3m x 4m pitch!, he was called on thursday and asked if he wanted to attend as there were spare stands and he got his (larger) pitch for a grand!!!!

We enjnoyed the day out but hope it is better next year! ;)


Full Member
Sep 10, 2003
Somerset / Dorset
well, I went on Friday and what everyone said is true...very little in the way of interest to be honest and loads of tourism stands etc.

i went up for business but if I had paid £14 to get in I would be a little miffed to be honest

the whole thing was considerably smaller than in previous years and would imagine that next year will be smaller still... I for one wont be going next year :(

a real shame from what used to be a must in the outdoor calendar


Jan 2, 2006
I was slightly disappointed - it being my first outdoor show I was expecting more show offers however I did find the Birch Tree stall and bought a dvd for £9.99- Basic Bushcraft and Survival Series 1 which I have enjoyed watching also got 2 Frost Mora knives for £10 which I thought was an OK deal.

Hopefully mistakes this year such as the funneling at the top of the stairs will be sorted for next year.

Freds Dad

i was a tad underwelmed by the outdoors show. i took a number of my Scout troop up. i was hoping to find a new tent and other bits and bobs but was saddened to see very little of any real use. i thought the bushcraft community and assosiated suppliers would be on show but was disappointed to find none. a nice girl on the 'Have you got a tick' stall thought I was only 35 so I did fall in love for a short time (I'm 45). the Girly guides was as dull as usual. If the reason they were short of stalls was that they priced them selves out of the market then hopefully they have learnt. By the way, what has the AA got to do with the great outdoors? And Ford?Anyway, only Outwell were selling tents on behalf of Yeomen Outdoors, I got some info on why the mantles on my colman petrol lamps keep blasting away and bought two tins on green gloop that is meant to be an alternative to meths in a trangia. the bloke selling this couldn't grasp the fact that the simmer ring IS an important thing and should be used, closed up, to put the flame out and not the screw lid. I also got enough info on GPS thingies to realise I'm better of with a map and compass. My scouts had fun though and grabbed as many freebies as the dears could carry. One is still eating a gobstopper the size of a tennis ball he got there.


Need to contact Admin...
Mar 2, 2004
We had a bit of a strange time there as well. We were helping on the Canoe Camping Club Stand for Saturday morning and half of the afternoon as well.

We had a look round and also came back on Sunday - overall impressions, I bought loads less than last year, and there seemed to be mostly a proliferation of holidays, and tourist information. It seems to be turning from an outdoor show to a leisure one.

Even the Canoe area seemed smaller this year, with only very few Open Canoes being on display - There also seemed to be more and more Diving stands - Not for me.

Best bits of the weekend was as usual, meeting up with old friends, and the camping over the three nights of the extended, freezing weekend.