October 30th, 2011
First Aid For Outdoor Activities
For most of us most of the time, first aid is about comfort rather than survival and everybody benefits from a simple first aid course (try St John Ambulance – www.sja.org.uk). In an ideal world, all outdoor enthusiasts would pack a first aid kit with their gear and know what to do in an emergency. Rather than pack a huge kit to try to cover all possibilities, it’s a good idea to keep a core of items that form the basis and add to it as appropriate for a longer trip or trek. Keeping a box of useful items at home means it takes no time to customise the basic first aid kit.
Knowing how to deal with the simple problems positively helps not only your peace of mind but also may help others who you meet up with. There’s no need to become paranoid about first aid but even the briefest consideration of the most common problems might save a weekend camping from disintegrating into chaos.
Minor cuts, scrapes and bruises – plasters, antiseptic wipes and cream
Sprains – crepe bandage and strapping
Blisters – a needle to puncture and dressings to suit
Splinters – tweezers are really useful
Scalds and minor burns – dressings and tape
Cold and wet – always carry a spare set of thermal underwear and a survival bag
Headaches and tummy upsets – your usual preferred tablets and treatments
Many problems stem from dehydration. It can happen anywhere in any season so drink small amounts of liquid (not alcoholic) regularly and before you get thirsty – the first sign of dehydration.
For walkers, a trekking pole helps with balance and is an invaluable support in the event of an ankle or knee sprain. In the event of a more serious problem then, even in mountain areas, the first step is to call the emergency services on 999. Appropriate action will be decided upon and co-ordinated and may involve a search and rescue team. You should never call them directly, especially if you are just tired or hungry- astonishingly, it happens. There is plenty of useful advice at www.mountain.rescue.org.uk.
Tags: camping, first aid kits, mountaineering, outdoor, thermal underwear, walking
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October 28th, 2011
Camping In The Wild Of The UK
‘Wild’ often doesn’t mean camping in the middle of nowhere. It really means pitching your tent in a place that is not a recognised campsite, possibly somewhere remote but not necessarily. Apart from the sense of freedom, it is attractive to avoid paying site fees but you cannot just do what you like anywhere you please.
All land is owned by somebody so in England and Wales you should ask the owners’ permission to camp on their land. Sometimes, you’ll need to use your own judgement as to how practical that might be but follow the basic guidelines below and remember that the Forestry Commission and National Trust do not allow wild camping anywhere on their land. In Scotland, the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (www.outdooraccess-scotland.com) lets you to pitch in the countryside in small numbers, staying only a couple of days in one place, away from buildings and roads and not in cultivated fields. Essential factors are behaving responsibly with respect for others, their property and, of course, the environment.
As an alternative to ‘wild’, some farm sites can be pretty basic and remote with a definite sense of being wild.
Wild camping guide – you should not be picking and choosing from the list!
- Do not camp near or in sight of houses or anywhere near livestock
- Keep a low profile – pitch your tent late in the day and leave early
- Wherever you can, ask permission; if it is refused, do not argue or ignore the refusal
- Avoid lighting a fire and never do so without permission – use a gas stove instead
- Do not pollute water sources by using the nearby ground as a toilet
- Dig a hole to bury your faeces. Take away all other rubbish including tampons and sanitary towels
- Do not use soap, shampoo or detergent in streams – use a dry wash gel instead
Tags: camping uk, tent, wild camping, wilderness
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October 25th, 2011
BMC Access & Conservation Trust Enters New Era
The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) has restructured, revitalised and relaunched its charity – the BMC Access and Conservation Trust (ACT) – which funds projects to protect our cliffs and mountains. The BMC is now raising the profile of the charity in order to help identify new projects to fund and to generally boost support. ACT has helped fund worthwhile projects in the mountains for over ten years yet it is not widely recognised as the BMC’s charity. It is hoped ACT’s new identity (including a new logo and publicity material) plus a new online donation facility will make it easier for people to support its valuable work for years to come.
BMC CEO Dave Turnbull said, “ACT funds some fantastic projects to protect our mountains that we as climbers and walkers all benefit from. Projects range from footpath improvement and erosion control in the UK to litter picks on Everest. There is still a clear need for the financial support offered by ACT so we are committed to raising its profile and increasing the number of initiatives we support each year.”
ACT supports the BMC’s work by funding a wide range of practical projects including:
- Practical crag and footpath restoration
- Mountain recreation and conservation research
- Sustainable transport initiatives
- Campaigns for your countryside rights
- Crag and mountain information and guidance
These projects complement and add to the BMC’s own access & conservation work. New for 2011, ACT is also funding a BMC research grant initiative for postgraduate students working on projects that benefit climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers.
The BMC is encouraging people to support ACT in a variety of ways:
- Give a donation or leave a legacy – www.thebmc.co.uk/ACTdonate.
- Buy a limited edition print – he BMC has commissioned artist and guidebook illustrator Phil Gibson to produce a limited edition print of the BMC-owned cliff Craig Bwlch y Moch, Tremadog. Each of the 100 prints will be individually signed by Tremadog pioneers Joe Brown, Ron Fawcett and Eric Jones. These will soon be available to buy via the BMC online shop- www.thebmc.co.uk/shop – or by calling the BMC on 0161 445 6111.
- Suggest a project for ACT to support.
- Join ACT on Facebook.
There’s also a chance to win one of the unique limited edition prints. For every £5 donated, supporters will be entered into a prize draw (i.e. a £20 donation gets your name in the hat 4 times). The draw will be made at the Kendal Mountain Festival in November 2011.
Further information about ACT is available at www.thebmc.co.uk/act.
Tags: access, ACT, bmc, conservation, crags, hill walking, mountain
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October 23rd, 2011
The Guardian Article On Cleaning Up Waste on Mount Everest
Nepalese government urged to install portable toilets at Everest base camp, and devise strategy to keep region clean. A Nepali environmental group is petitioning the government in Kathmandu to put portable toilets on the top of the world – Everest base camp – as part of a new management plan for the high-altitude region. The environmental group, Eco Himal, argues public toilets would make it easier to maintain a clean environment at base camp, which sees dozens of climbing expeditions a year….. For the full article please click here
Tags: expeditions, mount everest, mountaineering, nepal, waste management
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October 22nd, 2011
Tent Care Tips
Look after your tent and it will give you many years of hard use; our advice will help you care for it, extending its life and your enjoyment.
- An old groundsheet, tarp or even tough plastic (a cheap bivvy bag cut open works well) cut to the shape of your sewn-in groundsheet gives an extra protection layer against punctures.
- Using separate stuff sacks for the tent inner and the fly, poles and pegs allows for more flexible packing and load sharing plus it reduces the risk of the latter tearing fabric.
- Pitch and check your tent before and after a trip for damage or wear before it becomes a more serious problem.
- Don’t shake shock-corded poles to snap them together as this can cause sharp edges to develop that might tear the fabric. Fold these poles from the centre rather than from one end as this reduces tension on the cord.
- Try to take off your boots before getting into the tent to reduce wear and tear.
- Seal the seams regularly to ensure complete waterproofing and reproof the flysheet as necessary.
- Lubricate zips to keep them running freely.
- Storing your tent damp guarantees mould and a horrible smell.
- Don’t light a fire nearby; sparks will leave the flysheet peppered with holes.
- Avoid hanging a gas lantern inside as it may melt the nylon tent fabric.
- Most tents are now fire resistant, however fire resistant does not mean ‘fireproof’.
- Not clearing your pitch of stones, gravel and twigs could ruin your sewn-in groundsheet.
- Washing your tent in strong detergent will seriously affect the waterproof coating.
Tags: backpacking, camping, tent care, winter camping
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October 19th, 2011
Start your expedition journey with the Royal Geographical Society
Geography Outdoors, at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) with IBG, is a great resource supporting field research, exploration and outdoor learning This year, the annual Explore expedition and fieldwork planning weekend (18-20 November) will be kicked off by the Atlantic Rising team, winners of the RGS-IBG Land Rover ‘Go Beyond’ Bursary. The team travelled around the edge of the Atlantic documenting the effects of sea level rise on coastal communities and will be sharing their stories in an inspiring opening lecture on Friday evening.
Over the rest of the weekend, over 100 speakers will be hosting a series of lectures, workshops and one-on-one advice desks, offering expertise and inspiration to those looking to carry out their own overseas project. To launch Explore 2011, a new web page, a new facebook fanpage and a new YouTube video have been created. Have a look to find out more.
New for this year is the ‘Vehicle Safety Course for Expedition Leaders’ – 11 October – organised in association with Fieldskills. The one day workshop aims to give those using vehicles abroad the relevant knowledge to assess and manage vehicle safety and will look at pre-planning vehicle safety, what checks can be done to vehicles in the field and how to develop practical and effective risk management strategies. It is particularly well-suited to group leaders and supervising staff, helping them to recognise and minimise risks associated with the use of vehicles overseas.
Alongside corporate benefactors Land Rover, the RGS offers a practical two day driver training course covering driving and safety techniques for those undertaking research, expeditions or fieldwork in remote areas 24-25 October and 13-14 December. 2010 participant review:
“A most enjoyable, informative and practical course, providing a no-nonsense approach to planning and developing safe, off road driving skills.”
For details of either course, see www.rgs.org/goseminars.
Tags: adventure, expedition, exploration, filedwork, land rover, rgs, travel
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October 17th, 2011
New Sub Zero Thermal Fleece Jackets Competition
Outdoor Enthusiast magazine have 3 New Sub Zero Fleece Jackets to give away. They are available in sizes Small-Xlarge.
Sub Zero Polar Thermal Fleece Jackets are manufactured in the UK from super warm 300 Polar Polyester fleece. These technical fleece jackets have a velour anti-pill finish on the outside and a deep pile lambswool structure on the reverse for added loft and warmth. The long cut in combination with the elasticated hem cord will protect your lower back from exposure under active conditions. These high performance polar fleece jackets are ideal for wearing with your thermal underwear as a complete layering system and as an extra insulation layer under waterproof jackets. Available in both womens and mens styles as well as a unisex body warmer.
Tags: fleece, polar, sub zero, sub zero fleece jackets, thermal fleece jackets
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October 16th, 2011
New Forest Autumn Highlights
Autumn under the canopy of the New Forest when the woodland comes alive with rich reds and golden hues is the perfect time to scuff through fallen leaves and enjoy nature’s spectacular seasonal show. Last year brought one of the most impressive displays of autumn colours in 80 years – to rival even the Canadian fall – due to the New Forest’s unique mix of ancient, ornamental and native trees. Expectations are high again for this year.
The regal red stag heralds autumn in the New Forest with its bellow to mark the start of the rutting season and wildlife stores plentiful supplies of nuts, fruit and berries from the laden trees and hedgerows. It is the best time to explore 150 miles of picturesque car-free trails with bike or horseback rides through the ancient National Park landscape. Go on fungi walks to spot fairy toadstools at the start of the fungi season or hunt for conkers which have fallen among the crisp, curled leaves on the ground.
Innovative New Forest Taste Trails can lead you on foot, by bike or on horseback through the most spectacular scenery, stopping to ‘re-fuel’ with meals which range from the best ploughman’s to three-course fine dining. You can also pick up insiders’ tips on where to pick up supper treats along the way. Choose from a North, South, Sea Air or Woodland Wander trail to suit your mood and taste. If you prefer a more relaxed ramble with time to appreciate the stunning scenery and explore some of the New Forest’s charming towns and villages, then the New Forest National Park rangers, make choosing a route easy.
Fungi Walks in the New Forest are being led by Hidden Britain Tours with experts from Hampshire Fungus Recording Group to find and identify different species. All the walks are from 10am to 12.45pm on a Thursday and cost £16 per person, with the option to stay for a drink or lunch at a pub afterwards. To book or for more information, call the Lyndhurst Visitor Information Centre on 02380 282269 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visitors can use the New Forest Visitor Information Centre at Lyndhurst as a starting point for details of a wealth of attractions and facilities in the area.
Tags: bike trails, forest cycle tracks, fungal forays, guided walks, national parks, new forest
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October 14th, 2011
Keep The Ocean Clean Initiative
The Volvo Ocean Race (www.volvooceanrace.com) is mounting a global campaign to raise awareness of the increasing pollution that is swirling in our oceans, threatening sea-life and washing ashore on beaches across the world. Together with artist collective Skeleton Sea (www.skeletonsea.com; www.facebook.com/skeletonsea), the Volvo Ocean Race is voicing a call to arms for everyone to help reduce pollution and share in a simple message through the Keep the Oceans Clean! initiative.
Volvo Ocean Race Chief Executive Knut Frostad said, “Keep the Oceans Clean! creates an opportunity to make a global difference. This is the project we have been searching for; it has meaning to the race, the sailors and supporters, who all have the chance to make a real difference. The rubbish in the ocean is a concern for everyone. For Volvo Ocean Race sailors the rubbish not only pollutes their sporting arena but it can be problematic when they’re racing because it can catch on the keel, rudder and dagger boards and slow down the boat. Together with Skeleton Sea we will raise awareness of this problem, engage adults and children and inspire them to be part of the solution.’’
The Keep the Oceans Clean! team will lead beach cleans at all ten Host Ports visited by the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 – from the remote and rugged coastal beaches of South Africa’s Cape Town to the pebbled shores and cool waters of Galway, Ireland. Skeleton Sea’s founding artists João Parrinha of Portugal, Spain’s Luis de Dios and Xandi Kreuzeder from Germany will alternate as Artist in Residence at each Host Port. The artist will create a sculpture from the beach trash unique to each port with the help of local school children and the general public during interactive workshops. Central to the initiative is Skeleton Sea’s Albatross Exhibitionist – a sculpture and short-film installation that tell the compelling story of the thousands of albatross killed each year because they fatally mistake rubbish for food ( http://vimeo.com/24324755).
Xandi Kreuzeder is hopeful that Skeleton Sea and the Volvo Ocean Race can inspire others to help keep the oceans clean. He said, “It’s more important than ever for people to do their bit to protect the environment, even if it means picking up just a few bits of rubbish at their local beach. If our message gets through to just a few people, then we believe it’s been worth all the effort.”
Keep the Oceans Clean! Project Coordinator Jacqui Smith said, “The initiative aims to increase awareness through the international platform of the Volvo Ocean Race of the central role oceans play in our lives and the importance of protecting them. For all of us, no matter where we live, the ocean is essential to our existence. We need to respect the sea, look after it, and be stewards for this beautiful blue that makes up over seventy per cent of the Earth’s surface. Delivering the simple message of ‘keep the oceans clean!’ through beach cleans and workshops aims to inspire and encourage individuals to respect the oceans and think twice about how their actions can affect the marine environment, which collectively can make a real difference.”
Tags: clean, clean oceans, ocean, ocean race, pollution, volvo
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October 13th, 2011
Keeping Your Hands Warm This Winter
Here at Sub Zero Store we have just updated our thermal glove range for this coming winter. New products include Extremities Sticky Thinny Lightweight Thermal Gloves and Extremities Power Fleece Thermal Gloves:
Extremities Sticky Thinny Lightweight Thermal Gloves
The gloves are manufactured from Thermalite base fabric which is lightweight and fast drying, as well as offering excellent warmth for its weight. The silicone sticky wave palm adds grip and dexterity as well as increasing durability. These thermal gloves are ideal for active sports such as running and cycling, or as a base layer in colder conditions.
Extremities Power Fleece Thermal Gloves
Are manufactured from 100% Polyester fleece with a Polartec Power Stretch cuff for improved fit and comfort.
Stock of all of our gloves have been arriving over the past few weeks and as soon as we have them booked in to stock they will be updated on Sub Zero Store.
Tags: extremities, fleece gloves, Gloves, lightweight gloves, thermal gloves
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