Many will need no introduction to Penrose, who are well known for the design and manufacture of quality transport systems and accessories, mainly to the match sector.
On a recent visit to Penrose Angling Systems, Mark Penrose asked me to have a look at their new Mini Bivvy Table, and asked me to â€œgive it some abuseâ€ on the bank and offer some feedback.
I duly agreed, and he took me through their impressive production facilities to obtain one of the new tables. I then watched in amazement as an experienced team member built one from scratch right in front of my eyes!
A short while later I was handed the finished article â€¢ very impressive!
First impressions were of strength and rigidity, and having witnessed it first hand, excellent build quality. However, as usual, the true test would be on the bank.
I've been putting some serious time in just lately, and the table has been right there with me on each session, and in addition, I've passed it around to several angling friends who have all given it some stick during recent sessions.
Between us we'd had plenty of â€˜table-trauma' in the past; legs breaking off, legs falling out of the trigger-lock mechanism, trigger-locks snapping, tables tipping due to poor leg rigidity, etc, etc.
After some heavy use, what stood out by far with this table was it's strength, the legs are twice the thickness of my old table, and it simply does not budge, even when trying to tip it over deliberately.
This is partly due to the fact that the table can be set very low, at it's lowest the table top is only 9â€ off the deck (extending to 13â€) which for me is excellent, as I can fit it under the head end of my bed chair when doing quick overnighters with a brolly.
The height adjustment mechanism on the legs dispenses with the old grub-screw system that many other tables still adopt, and having lost grub screws on table legs in the past, I think the turn-lock system is much, much, better, as nothing is able to come away. There is also a heavy-duty rubber protector on the leg ends, ensuring the legs won't go through the floor of your bivvy or through your bag.
The trigger lock mechanism works well and is set just under the table edge. On my old table the trigger locks protruded slightly from the edges, and one broke off in transit meaning that only three legs now lock-up when in use â€¢ not good.
The tabletop itself is excellent, just the right size to cope with all the essentials, measuring 18â€ in length, 12â€ in width, with a half-inch lip nipped at the corners. A smooth finish gives easy cleaning and the nipped edges are good for safety whilst also allowing easy draining if something gets spilt, or if it gets rained on.
I do like the black finish - for it still surprises me how many tables are still finished in polished silver, standing out way too much on the bank for my liking!
Finally the nitty-gritty â€¢ price!
It's no secret that bivvy tables can be sought out for around a tenner nowadays, obviously a lot cheaper than the Â£24.99 price tag on the Penrose table. Yet amongst my friends who used the table, the prevailing verdict was that you get what you pay for.
It's also worth bearing in mind, that of the six mates (including me) who have used the table, all said that were they able to purchase their tables again, all would choose the Penrose table over their current models irrespective of price differences â€¢ nuff said I think.
For those who believe size does matter, there is also a slightly larger table on offer, measuring 19â€ in length, 16â€ in width, with an RRP of Â£33.99, though Mark points out that many stockists do sell cheaper.
For more information, product enquiries, or to locate your nearest stockist contact;
Web - www.penrose-uk.com
Mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel - Mark Penrose on: 01909 774555