Reviewed by Louise Totton
We have just had several days of lovely, warm weather and today was the first chilly, breezy day for a little while – and the kids are absolutely over the moon! It’s not that they haven’t enjoyed the lovely weather, they have, but they have been waiting for the day when we could try out the Kitedrone that landed with us to review a week or two ago.
We have been looking for ways to get out, about and active this summer, and have had absolutely no problem filling the warm sunny days, but getting them motivated to get outdoors when the weather was a bit more ‘British’ has been a bit more of a challenge! It is lovely to see the sun shining and decide to just pop off for a walk, but when it’s chillier, we seem to need a bit more an incentive to leave the couch and get moving!
We have had kites before, but they have been small, cheap or flimsy ones that we have found either won’t get off the ground, or if they do, are a tangled mess of string and torn plastic by the time we get them down again. The Kitedrone is available in two different versions: the Twinstar range, which is a box kite, and the Fusion Wings range, which looks more like an aircraft style stunt kite. We were sent a Hot Rods kite from the Twinstars range but they are also available in Tiki Surfers, Unicorns and FortNite designs.
From the offset, it was obvious that the Kitedrone wasn’t going to be like any of the kids’ kites that we had tried before – the quality shone through before we even opened the packaging. The kite was packaged in a sturdy, large and attractively designed tube with a lid that is clearly designed to be removed and replaced. The tube contained the folded kite, four rods for providing structure to the kite, the kite string on a spool and a set of instructions for assembly. We decided to assemble the kite at home the first time we used it as we didn’t want to be caught out with two excited kids and a complicated building project in the middle of a field. We needn’t have worried – we had the whole thing built in less than five minutes.
The kite slides out of the tube, and assembly is a simple case of opening the kite up and inserting the four rods crossways into rubber housings. The designers have made this as easy as possible by making the rubber housings very flexible so they can be bent upwards to allow you easily insert the rods and push the body of the kite taut. The string and spool is then clipped on a tag at the corner of the kite and the whole thing is then ready to go.
The Kitedrone is a pretty big unit once assembled (approx. 42”), and there is no way it would fit into the boot of our car. Given as the kite was so easy to put together, we had no concerns about being able to re-build it whilst we were out, so we dissembled the kite (it is as simple to disassemble as it is to assemble) rolled it back up and popped it back into the tube. We were then ready to throw it in to the car and set off to a spot that we had a good idea would be windy and free of electricity and telephone wires.
Once we arrived at our chosen windy spot, my other half and I opened the car boot and assembled the kite using the boot as a base. Even in the wind, this took us a couple of minutes and we were ready to start flying. Pretty quickly, we realised that we need not (and probably shouldn’t) have gone in search of somewhere quite so windy! Walking across the carpark to the field was a bit of a battle against the elements as the wind was already trying to take hold of the kite, but we got it to the field in the end and were ready to go.
We decided to let the adults try it out first because it was so windy and I’m glad we did! I held the spool and let the kids walk the kite end away from me and it was only a matter of seconds before the wind caught it and it was launched. I kept tight hold of the spool, whilst letting it twist so the kite could go up and up – and it did! The difference between this kite and the cheaper, smaller kites we have had in the past is immense – they are worlds apart. The string on the Kitedrone is long and the kite can reach heights of up to 300 feet in a matter of seconds. I didn’t let it get to the full extension – we probably let it go to around 100 feet, but it was such good fun!
You really can feel the kite tugging against the string, and because it was so very windy we decided it would be a bit too much for the kids to have full responsibility of keeping hold of it, so we flew it together. Both of the girls thought it was absolutely fabulous and brilliant fun, although they were slightly disappointed that they couldn’t fly solo. On a less windy day, I think they’d be fine but the tug was really strong and I’d be just too worried they’d let go and would have to watch their new toy blow away.
The Kitedrone feels very light, and I was initially slightly worried that with the wind being as it was, the fabric might tear or the kite might damage in some way. I need not have worried about this as it is made from ripstop fabric, which is incredibly light but completely resistant against tearing. Some of the very cheap plastic kites we have tried before have torn but this one is very robust and strong, in spite of being so light.
We had a completely fantastic couple of hours with the Kitedrone and it is great to have something to encourage us to get out of the house and active when the weather isn’t glorious, warm and sunny. After all, the great British summer is rarely consistently glorious so having something to do on the less beautiful days is important too. At £24.99, I think this is a great price for what is clearly a top-quality product, and the fact that it rolls up into the tube so easily for safe storage and transport is a massive plus point too. We’re going away to the Lake District later this month and it will be brilliant to throw into the car in case we find we have a couple of spare hours or to take along for a walk or picnic.