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I've been an occasional kite flyer for many years. I remember flying kites in Bangkok, Thailand in the mid 80s - though unfortunately my ex-wife threw away the two kites I bought there, and flew at a Brighton Kite festival in the 90s.
I also bought a couple of kites in Beijing in 1986, both of which I still possess.
But where, you may ask, does camping come in? Well, I'm starting to go to a few Kite festivals, and they are frequently too far to commute, so I think I will be rediscovering the 'joys' of camping. My biggest problem currently is getting to sleep.
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I own a mid-vented 'Rev Signature Series Pro John Barresi' (signed by 'Bazzer') with a race frame. The colour is Warm Ice Black Centre. It's like nothing I have ever flown before. It is easy to get off the ground, but if you don't know what you're doing, within a few seconds it starts spinning uncontrollably - I suppose it isn't called a Revolution for nothing! I can now control it tolerably, but still find hovering it upside-down difficult.
I've now bought a 20th Anniversary kite without a frame (as I have a set of race spars), which will be better in low winds.
I found a useful book online, "Flying the Rev, and How To Do It" by Bill and Kim Taylor, written in 1996.
My first proper dual-line kite was a Prism Jazz. I love this kite. It's easy to fly but also great fun.
I progressed to a Prism E3. This is much bigger, and flies much more slowly, but is capable of more tricks, in the right hands. Currently, I am practicing patterns such as infinity and boxes, and am getting better at axels.
I have always wanted to fly a stack of kites, and I finally succumbed to a Prism Micron stack, and have flown it a few times.
I bought a Prism 4d (for very low winds) and a Prism Snapshot 1.2 metre.
Recently I obtained a Flying Empress Stunt plane kite. It
has a wingspan of over eight feet and needs a strong wind, but is great fun in the right conditions.
See my video of Devil's Dyke kiting on YouTube .
I bought a Flexifoil Big Buzz in June 2011. I've only flown it once so far, but it was fun.
I also have a few cheap stunt kites, but flying a cheap kite can be dispiriting - they can be unresponsive and demoralising.
I enjoy flying my seagull kite. It flaps realistically, and I really need a few more to generate a flock.
I occasionally fly the dragonfly kite I bought in China. It is made from silk and bamboo.
It shimmers in the wind and flies well, but needs a little TLC as it tangled with a big inflatable at Margate Festival, and its rear spinner was torn off. I'm not sure if it will fly without.
I have a Prism EO (Expandable Object) Atom. Do you get the impression I like Prisms? I think they're well-made and fly well.
It is unbelievably easy to assemble, fun to fly, with a mind of its own. I was pleased to be able to buy it from the designer, Phil McConachie.
I have a Prism Parafoil. This fits in a pocket and is easy to fly. It flies well, given a bit of wind, unless you do as I did the first time I tried it, and launched it upside-down.
From HQ, I have a Triangulation, a Wacky Worm, and a Roto. In May 2011, I bought a Roto Extreme, but have not yet flown it. The Triangulation flies at a high angle - almost overhead, whilst the Wacky Worm flaps constantly. The Roto likes a decent wind and - as the name implies - constantly rotates.
More recently, I bought an HQ Hoffmanns Bow Kite - which majestically floats galleon-like across the sky, and a Hoffmanns Amulet 1 (which is twenty feet long).
From Flying Empress, I bought a duck and a whale as company for my inflatable Elephant head!
In June 2011, I bought an HQ Photon, which will fly in light winds, and a three metre HQ Delta, which will be challenging in anything more.
I also have an Eagle kite, from China. It is made from silk and bamboo. It isn't very stable in the air, but I'll persevere until I find the kind of wind it wants!
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Devil's Dyke is my favourite spot, but I sometime fly from Ditchling Beacon, or Clayton Hill.
I've learnt a lot from my first camp for thirty years:
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I had an old tent in my loft, a Blacks 'Good Companion', and I used it at Margate Festival. I was a bit worried about it, as I bought it in the sixties (and without a flysheet), but it behaved very well. I'm not sure what would have happened it it rained though, as I haven't proofed it for well over thirty years. It's also much too low to stand - or even kneel up.
I decided to buy a new tent for 2010, and chose a Quetchua Base seconds 4.2 from Decathlon. It has plenty of room. See the video. I think I'll need to watch the video of folding it a few times!
I had a Vauxhall Vectra when I bought this, so space wasn't an issue, but it only just fits in the boot of my BMW 320i convertible - it was difficult to fit in the rest of the camping gear, kites and children!
: : © Mike Bliss 2011