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Protect Your Skin In The Spring Sun

May 22nd, 2019

Wear sunscreen to protect your skin in the sun

With a scorchio weather forecast for this bank holiday, we all need to take extra care when playing in the sun. After such a long winter, it is very tempting to over indulge and soak up the suns rays, but your skin just won’t be ready for long unprotected bursts. Follow our five top tips to protect your skin this weekend, and stay sun safe rather than sun sorry.

Use A High SPF Rating Sun Cream

Don’t be fooled in to thinking the sun cannot harm your skin in the Spring as it is ‘weak’. It shines 365 days a year and can damage your skin on any one of these days whether it be Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter.

At least twenty minutes before you head out in to the sun, ensure you liberally apply a sun cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. This should be a broad spectrum cream that shields against both UV A and B rays. Reapply at regular intervals, especially after swimming.

Be Aware Of Reflections

If you are lucky enough to be lying on a sandy beach then you need to be aware that you are not only getting exposed to the suns rays from above but also from reflective surfaces such as sand and the sea. In the case of water, UV reflection can be as much as 30%.

To protect your skin, ensure you apply sun screen to all that is exposed, rather than skin that is directly facing the sun. Purchasing a good quality water resistant sun screen will give extra protection to swimmers from both reflective UV rays and those that penetrate the waters surface.

Cover Exposed Skin And Heads

Wearing a wide brimmed hat not only keeps the sun out of your eyes, but also protects your ears and face, something that baseball caps are notoriously bad at.

Necks are better protected by wearing a collared shirt rather than a round neck t-shirt but just remember to apply sunscreen to the exposed ‘V’ at the front of the buttons.

Stay Out Of Midday Sun

The suns rays are at their strongest when directly overhead, usually between the hours of 11am-3pm. If you can avoid it, stay out of the sun during these times, or at least limit your exposure.

If you know there is going to be little shade at your destination then it is imperative, especially if you have young children and/or dogs, to take some sort of shelter. This can be as simple as a sun umbrella or a pop up beach tent.

Be Wary On Cloudy And Windy Days

Most people who have been badly sunburnt will probably tell you it was during cloudy and/or windy days. The cooler temperatures can lull you in to a false sense of security, but clouds only stop around 27% of UV rays

People need to treat an overcast or cooler windy day as any other sunny day: liberally apply sun cream of SPF30+, stay out of mid day sun, cover the head with a hat and exposed skin with lightweight clothing, and err on the side of caution.

Protect your Skin

Your skin is the largest human organ and is exposed to everything from sub zero temperatures to scorching hot summer sun. Protecting it from damage is pretty easy but is often overlooked in the heat of holiday excitement. Superficial sun burn will dissipate over a relatively short time but the unseen damage to your skin will last a lifetime. So take some advice from Baz luhrmann and wear sunscreen.

For more information on keeping sun safe visit the NHS sunscreen and sun safety webpage.

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Future Of Base Layers In The 21st Century

April 11th, 2019

Future Of Base Layers In The 21st Century

We are currently living through extraordinary times, with technological advances altering the way we live our day to day lives on an unprecedented scale. If you think about it, over the past thirty years we have seen the birth of the internet, introduction of not just hand held telephones but smart phones, music tapes to CD’s to streaming services and downloads, rise of ecommerce, tablet computers, social media, and wifi. But what about the future of base layers?

You would think that the 21st century would be heralding in a new era of innovative yarns and fabrics to manage our bodies micro environment. Unfortunately reality is not as exciting. Since the introduction of synthetic yarn polymers polyamide, polypropylene, polyester and acrylic in the 1930s through to the 1950s their has been no major breakthrough in new synthetic yarn technology until the recent discovery of Graphene – and this is in it’s infancy stage. In fact a lot of ‘new’ yarns and fabrics are rehashes of existing technologies, just with more flashier images and branding.

Do not be feel downhearted. Even though the core basics of synthetic base layers have not changed in more than sixty years, there are a lot of new developments in their construction and manufacturing that lifts them in to the 21st century.

Knitting Technology

One area that has drastically changed over the past 10 years is the technology employed in base layer manufacture. Traditional cut and sew methods are still the most popular production technique but this is being chased by semi-seamless and whole garment digital knitting machines. The benefit of these new machines is the electronic selection of needles, allowing you to knit totally different constructions within the same garment (body mapping) without having seams, such as in our Factor 1 Plus base layer range.

Blended Yarns

Since base layers were first developed there has always been a dividing line between natural yarn purists (such as wool wearers) and synthetic converts. This has now started to blur as natural and synthetic fibres are blended together to give you the benefit of both.

A good example of this is in the Merino wool market where polyamide and/or elastane is mixed with the Merino wool fibres to add extra stability and better handling properties.

Mimicking Nature

Nature has been product developing for billions of years, which is why scientists are now starting to look at the natural world with more vigour as they have realised that nature has often solved problem before them.

VELCRO was invented in 1948 after a Swiss inventor noticed burrs had stuck to his trousers and his dogs fur after walking in a field. More recently,
a sugar found in crab shells called chitosan is being used to produce eco-friendly flame-retardant clothing.

Base Layer Diversification

When base layers were first conceived it was a one style fits all system. Very little choice was available, and the fabrics were based mainly on polyester. Roll forward forty years and the base layer landscape has changed drastically. With more people actually understanding the benefit of wearing them, there has been an explosion of styles and weights of base layers. This is only going to expand as digital knitting technology and sport specific clothing designers latch on to these new ideas and push base layers in to niche markets.

Wearable Tech

It has always been the holy grail of garment manufacturers and technologists to merge everyday electronic gadgets with clothing. However, the problem has always been with the miniaturisation of the technology and the longevity of it once it has been employed (the stretching and washing of fabrics is very destructive).

Developments in flexible conductive material such as graphene eliminates a lot of these problems, and the improvements in nano-technology is seeing robust wearable modules being tested on base layers for the first time. One recent experiment we have been involved in has been integrating a heart monitor in to base layers for

What Is The Future Of Base Layers?

Even though the basic yarn technology employed in the production of most base layers has not changed since the middle of the twentieth century, there are lots of new advancements in their construction and the application of electronic soft technology to make them more than suited to the 21st century.

The one area that will be a game changer for athletes and adventurers alike has already started with the advancement in digital knitting machines and body shape recognition software. Once these are refined and production costs reduced, it won’t be long until bespoke base layers will be produced for individuals remotely.

The one thing that is for certain is that base layer design does not stand still. All it takes is a bit of ingenuity and the adoption of new technology. So with this in mind, what do you think the future of base layers will be?

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Why You Should Wear A Balaclava

March 8th, 2019

Man Heating Water For A drink In The Alps Whilst Wearing A Sub Zero Balaclava

Named after the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War, the original head protection was knitted from thick wool to keep soldiers heads warm during the harsh winters. Nowadays you can buy balaclavas in all types of materials from lightweight base layer fabric to heavy weight polar fleece.

A typical balaclava fully covers your head and also your neck, with an opening in the front for your mouth, nose and eyes. This can either be a single opening (as the image above) or separate holes – just think of the SAS.

If you do not own or have never worn one, then let us extol the virtues of the much maligned humble balaclava.

Hygienic Layer

Wearing any type of helmet, whether that be a motorbike helmet or a safety helmet, is going to lead to your head sweating due to the poor breathability of the protective outer material. Without wearing a balaclava, this sweat will be absorbed in to the supporting inner foam, creating an ideal environment for odour creating bacteria to prosper. Not only will your helmet be smelly, it will also need replacing earlier as the foam is attacked by naturally occurring acids in your perspiration.

Wearing a lightweight balaclava under your helmet will help absorb sweat and is easily washed after use.

Head Protection

Balaclavas insulate most of your head and neck in one go. If you wanted the same level of protection without wearing one, then you would need a separate hat, neck tube, face mask, and head band. These altogether are not only expensive but also bulky on your face.

Adaptable Design

The adaptability of a balaclava makes it one of the best pieces of emergency kit to keep in your backpack should the weather take a turn for the worse. Not only is it a full head and neck covering, it can also be turned up in to a beanie hat, or a neck tube if required. The flexibility of the material will also allow you to cover your nose or leave it exposed depending on the weather conditions.

Heat Retention

Most of your head is covered when wearing a balaclava, so there is much less surface area for heat to escape from. The thermal insulating properties can obviously be adjusted depending on the materials used in its manufacture. A lightweight base layer fabric is thin enough to be worn under a helmet and is ideal for Spring and Autumn use as well. When the weather starts getting colder then you will need to change to a mid layer balaclava, whilst winter mountaineering will require a thick polar fleece design.

Look A Bad Ass

You cannot argue with the fact that you look ‘well ard’ wearing a balaclava. Just make sure you take it off before entering a bank!

Buy A Balaclava

If you are still not sold on the idea of wearing a balaclava then you obviously have not experienced biting cold for any length of time. It may not be the trendiest piece of headgear available but who cares what you look like in a 80mph gale on top of a snow windswept mountain.

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Why A Synthetic Base Layer Is Better Than Wool

February 14th, 2019

Why A Synthetic Base Layer Is Better Than Wool

Fashion always seems to go in full circles, and this is no more truer than with thermal underwear. For centuries wool had been the winter underwear of choice but this changed with the invention of man made yarns in the 1940s and 50s. New materials made from these raw materials lead to the spread of the synthetic base layer towards the end of the 20th century. However, over the past decade the market has seen a resurgence of performance woollen underwear, with synthetic base layers being much maligned, albeit by woollen vested interests.

Before people start to dispose of their ‘plastic’ underwear and adopt a more ‘environmentally friendly’ woollen clothing system, they should really consider the following points:

User Comfort

Wool can be itchy. There is no getting away from it. If people have sensitive skin then it doesn’t matter how soft the wool actually is, it is going to irritate the wearer. Sometimes this can be psychosomatic, but that is no comfort if you are on top of a mountain scratching away.

Synthetic fabrics on the other hand have a very soft handle, especially polyamide, that rarely irritates the skin. The long smooth fibre profile glides over the skin rather than scour it. This smoothness also helps other items of clothing to glide over a synthetic base layer, helping to prevent rubbing and chafing.

Longer Lasting

Being a natural product, wool will degrade over time. This was fashionably demonstrated by HRH Prince Charles who buried an old woollen jumper. Although this composting ability is seen as a major advantage it does have the disadvantage in that the longevity of a woollen base layer is short. You will be lucky if one set lasts you a season if used regularly.

In comparison, a synthetic base layer will not degrade, well not in your lifetime anyway. Viewed mainly as a negative to the environmental lobby, this is in fact a positive – a thermal base layer for your lifetime. Most people only change their synthetic base layer if a) they loose it b) they boil wash it and shrink it c) change body shape that means the fit is no longer good d) fancy a different colour.

Better Moisture Management

Wool acts a bit like a sponge, soaking up moisture when in contact with it. Defenders of this process will state that it doesn’t feel wet, it’s just absorbed internally. OK, this is true for about 25% absorption, but if you fall in a body of water you are going to have a very heavy base layer. Just feel the weight of a washed jumper before the spin cycle.

With a synthetic base layer basically being made form plastic, water absorption within the yarn is very low, and is in fact 0% in polypropylene base layers, effectively making them waterproof. The construction of the garment will dictate how much water is actually held (rather than absorbed) but this is often marginal. With these base layers, and especially polyamides, you can impregnate hydrophilic treatments in to the yarn itself to further aid moisture movement.

Superior Washing

Most people will have probably shrunk a woollen jumper at some point in their life. Its a natural reaction by the wool fibres to heat, water and mechanical action to want to revert back to their original curly shape. Think of straightened frizzy hair after getting rained on. Some woollen base layer can be washed on a cool cycle with no spin, but most recommend hand washing and line drying, which is ideal in the summer, but a pain in the bum in the winter when you are going to use them the most.

Don’t get me wrong, synthetic base layers will shrink at high wash temperatures, but put them on a washing machine spin cycle at 30-40oC and you will have no issues. Due to their low water absorption, they will also dry much quicker.

More Environmentally Friendly

If you interviewed most outdoor enthusiasts, the vast majority would probably believe that woollen base layers are more environmentally friendly than synthetic versions. You can understand why. It’s a natural product that rots down and absorbed back in to the earth. But scratch a little further and all is not as it would seem. Wool is not something you just sheer off the back of a sheep and wear. There are a lot of energy intensive processes involved to get a finished product that is relatively soft and user friendly. So if you are having to buy one woollen base layer a year, over your lifetime that is a lot of energy and resources used.

In contrast, a synthetic base layer may not be biodegradable but it will last a long time and is a lot more robust. You may only ever need one thermal set in your lifetime if you are lucky enough to stay the same shape. Once you have finished with, it can also be recycled in to the next base layer for someone else lifetime.

Purchase Price

For just coming off a sheeps back, the cost of a finished wool product is very expensive, mainly due to the amount of processes involved. A new set every year is going to be cost prohibitive to a lot of people, especially with the added risk of laundry damage and natural wear and tear.

A good quality synthetic base layer of comparable weight and style will probably be around 15-25% cheaper. Once you start to multiply the cost by the lifetime of the garment, you are getting a lot more bang for your buck with a synthetic base layer.

When Wool Should Be Used

There are certain situations where we would advise woollen base layers to be used. If any person has the possibility of contact with fire such as in the aviation industry or the emergency services, then woollen base layers are ideal, as the fabric chars rather than burns. There are also industrial applications, such as welding, where sparks or high temperatures may be around the wearer.

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Down Jacket Repair Tips And Tricks

January 29th, 2019

Down jacket repair instructions

If you have ripped your favourite down jacket then there are a number of options available to fix the tear. Our down jacket repair tips and tricks are quick and easy to follow without being onerous on your pocket.

You can of course do nothing, but over time the down insulation filling will billow out and you will be left with a very expensive windproof!

Preparing The Down Repair

Before you do anything you must ensure that the down filling is pushed back in to the hole. If the rip is small then use something thin and blunt such as closed tweezers or the end of a pen.

Try and avoid using items with a sharp tip that could push through the fabric if you slip, or a finger, as they often make the hole bigger.

If the fabric is dirty around the hole then you will need to clean it before applying an adhesive patch or tape.

Tweezers used for down jacket repair

Duct Tape Fix

Good quality duct tape is a quick way to prevent any further loss of down insulation from your jacket. Just cut the required shape and apply it. If you spend a bit of time pressing down the edges then they will not peel away very easily.

A lot of people use this technique as a permanent fix, but if you want something more aesthetically pleasing then you could use this as a temporary measure.

Duct tape used for down jacket repair

Down Jacket Repair Tape

Repair tape is similar to Duct Tape but it is a bit more refined in appearance and is easier to cut in to the required shape. These tapes come in both an adhesive form and an iron on system in both fabric and plastic materials.

Stitching

If you are handy with a needle then you can always stitch the rip in your down jacket. This can be a very permanent solution if done correctly. However, it can look very messy as you need to pull in a lot of fabric around the tear.

Stitching used on down jacket repair

Down Jacket Repair Patches

This is probably the best looking fix for small to medium sized tears in down jackets. The self adhesive backing on these waterproof flexible fabric patches is very sticky, allowing for good coverage over seams.

Most packs come with both oblong and circular shapes to avoid patches lifting off when edges are caught.

Down jacket repair patches

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Keeping Warm If Your Boiler Breaks Down

January 21st, 2019

Top Ten Tips For Keeping Warm Without Heating

If your boiler gives up the ghost in the middle of winter then you are going to be cold unless you take some practical steps. Our ten top tips for keeping warm indoors are easy to follow and require very little preparation.

Get It Fixed 

A no brainer you would think but a lot of people procrastinate over important decisions like this. The truth is the sooner you contact a heating engineer for a call-out, the quicker your boiler will be fixed. Always check your home insurance policy first as you may be covered for emergency breakdown cover.

Cuddle A Loved One

We have all seen it in survival movies and documentaries, and even Luke Skywalker used a Tauntaun to beat the cold – although he was technically inside it rather than cuddling it – but sharing body warmth with a partner or a loving pet is a great way to keep warm.

Wear Extra Layers

Before your house starts to cool down, apply more clothing layers to trap body warmth. You don’t need to go over the top and look like the Michelin Man, but digging out your thermal base layers and woolly jumpers would be a good start.

Be Active

Standing still in a chilly house will soon lead to you getting cold. Do something active such as hoovering and cleaning to generate body heat and take your mind off your predicament, plus you get a gleaming house in the process.

Stay In One Room

Heat rapidly dissipates through an unheated house so close all the doors and concentrate heat in to one living area. If your house is relatively draughty then think about blocking the bottom of doors with a towel or old coat.

Light A Fire

If you are lucky enough to have a wood burner then now is the time to light it! Burn it hard to start with to warm up the fire and the room, and then reduce it for a steady release of heat.

Emergency Heating

For those people without a log burner, getting instant heat needn’t be difficult if you have an electric ceramic, halogen or fan heater. They are relatively inexpensive to buy these days and are always handy to have as a back-up.

Eat and Drink

Try and keep yourself well fed and watered to ensure your bodies internal heat supply works at maximum efficiency – mainly through digestion. Avoid foods that will chill your body such as iced drinks and frozen foods, and try and consume foods you can warm up.

Boil Water

Electric kettles are not the most energy efficient of devices, but they can be used to fill hot water bottles for a quick heating fix, as well as providing a hot drink – just remember to check the bottles rubber seal before use.

Close Your Curtains

Windows can be one of the biggest areas of heat loss in your house. Even double glazed units will allow warmth to be lost. To prevent unnecessary cooling of your room, ensure your curtains are closed at night.

Keeping Warm Conclusions

Obviously prevention is better than cure, so ensure your boiler is serviced regularly to avoid preventable breakdowns. Should you be in a situation where you heating is not available in cold weather, common sense is often the best remedy.

If you are struggling to heat your house and pay your utility bills then speak to your supplier or get further advice and help from Citizens Advice

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Driving In Snow Top Tips For Success

January 7th, 2019

Driving in snow can be perilous unless you are well prepared

There are no dark arts to driving in snow and ice. It is just a matter of being prepared and reacting to the weather conditions. Our comprehensive top tips should be useful to any driver, from the experienced to the inexperienced.

Road Worthiness

The first thing you should do before even attempting driving in snow is to check whether your car is road worthy for winter conditions:

  1. Treads on tyres should have at least 1.6mm but 3mm is recommended in the winter for extra traction and grip
  2. Ensure your car battery is working properly by getting it checked at a reputable garage or doing it yourself with a car battery tester
  3. Top up your engines antifreeze to prevent it from freezing in the cold
  4. Add a winter additive to your screen wash reservoir to prevent it from freezing
  5. Check your wiper blades to make sure they clear your window effectively. Old or worn blades should be replaced
  6. Store spare bulbs in your car and wipe the light glass regularly so you can see and be seen
  7. Keep your fuel tank regularly topped up to prevent unnecessary breakdowns

Be Prepared

Once you know your car is ready for driving in snow, you need to think about what kit you should store in your boot for an emergency. The amount you take with you will be dependent on the route and the length of the journey, but you should consider the following:

  1. A torch with spare batteries
  2. Stout shoes or Wellington boots – Never drive whilst wearing these
  3. A warm blanket or winter sleeping bag
  4. Thermal hat and insulated waterproof gloves
  5. Waterproof jacket and spare warm clothing
  6. Snow shovel
  7. Bottle of water and emergency food such as a chocolate bar
  8. Flask filled with a hot drink
  9. Fully charged mobile phone with a charging cable
  10. An old rug or sacking for placing under car wheels if stuck

Driving In Snow And Ice

  1. The first thing you should assess before driving in snow is if your journey is actually necessary. Speak to your employer to see if you can work from home or take the day as holiday. If your journey is necessary and unavoidable then follow these tips for driving safely:
  2. Research your route. All the major breakdown services will have up to date information of road conditions on their sites
  3. Get up early to prepare your car. Remove all snow and defrost windows thoroughly. Ensure your lights and number plates are clean and visible
  4. Leave earlier than normal and be generous with your expected journey time.
  5. Tell a family member of friend your intended route
  6. Dial your radio in to a local radio station with weather and road reports
  7. If your wheels are spinning in first gear when starting out, try pulling away in second gear
  8. Stick to main roads as they will more likely be ploughed and gritted
  9. Drive Slowly and anticipate breaking. On snow and ice covered roads the breaking distances can be up to 10 times further
  10. Apply brakes gently to help prevent skidding
  11. When coming up to a hill, leave enough space between yourself and the car in front to prevent breaking or stopping half way up
  12. Coming downhill, keep your engine in a low gear to slow your car down rather than applying the breaks

Breakdowns

If you should find yourself broken down on the roads or stuck in snow then the first thing to remember is not to panic. There will be other drivers in exactly the same predicament at yourself.

  1. If possible, move your car off the road to prevent other drivers form getting stranded
  2. Notify friends and family members of your situation and contact your breakdown provider
  3. If you are stranded in snow it may be possible to dig yourself out. Place a rug or old mat under the tyres to give extra grip
  4. Do not abandon your car if you do not know where you are or if you are not within easy walking distance of help
  5. Cars loose heat very efficiently due to the high metal content and low insulation so keep warm by adding extra clothing layers
  6. Try and keep your engine running if you want to use electric items such as heated seats and lights. Turn it in for at least five minutes every hour
  7. Ensure the exhaust is clear of snow before turning on your engine

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Waterproof Sunscreen For Swimming

May 21st, 2018


Male in a pool wearing waterproof sunscreen for swimmers

With the weather warming up and summer holidays just around the corner, people are dusting off their swimsuits ready for a dip in the briney. Public campaigns by charities such as Cancer Research UK have greatly increased the awareness of using sun cream when lounging on a beach, but there is still some confusion around sun protection in the water. For many land lubbers, using their existing suntan lotion whilst taking a quick paddle in the sea is going to be more than adequate. If you intend to spend longer in the ocean, it is advisable to use a specific waterproof sunscreen for swimming.

Why bother with sunscreen when swimming?

Some people think that being in water prevents sunburn. It is probably due to the fact that they feel a lot cooler, especially in the sea around the UK (brrrrrrrr), and cannot feel the suns rays on their body. People are also under the misapprehension that UV rays do not penetrate through water.

When UV rays hit the waters surface, around 30% are reflected, with the remaining 70% penetrating the water. So swimming on the surface is going to expose your body to UV rays directly from the sun and also those reflected from the surrounding water. This is why many swimmers who do not where sunscreen often complain that they get worse sun burn than lying on the beach. It is therefore imperative to get a good quality waterproof sunscreen for swimming.

 

Why should i wear waterproof sunscreen for swimming?

Most suntan lotions are not suitable for swimmers as they have been formulated to be easily absorbed by the skin without leaving a sticky residue. Unfortunately these are often easily washed off when swimming. Specifically formulated waterproof sunscreens for swimming usually have extra adhesion properties built in to them to prevent them from being rubbed off and washed off from the skin.

Do i need waterproof sunscreen if i am wearing a wetsuit?

The simple answer is yes. The wetsuit material (usually neoprene) with stop the UV rays form reaching your skin but there will be some parts of your body exposed to the sun, such as your feet and head. You need to apply waterproof sunscreen to these areas to prevent them becoming sunburnt, especially the face, as this often receives the most reflected UV rays off the water.

Care should also be taken when reaching the shore and taking off your wetsuit, as most of your skin will not have sunscreen applied. Leaving it exposed whilst ‘warming-up’ is a sure way to get burnt. Even if you feel cold, apply that sunscreen immediately.

How long do Waterproof sunscreens last?

No sunscreens are totally waterproof. They will eventually be washed off. Most waterpoof sunscreens for swimming have an effective time stated on them, either 40 or 80 minutes. If you are planning to stay in the water for longer than this then you need to think about using a wetsuit or a lightweight UV skin suit for extra protection.

Correct application of waterproof sunscreen

With all sunscreens, you have to apply them generously to your skin at least 30 minutes before you go in to the sun to allow them to be absorbed properly. After 40 or 80 minutes (depending on your sunscreen) they will need to be reapplied. If you dry your skin with a towel then you will need to reapply the sunscreen afterwards as well.

Jellyfish protection

If you are intending to swim in waters where you could come in to contact with jellyfish, then you should think about using a waterproof sunscreen with added sting protection. Some like the Lifesystems SPF 50 Sports sunscreen use an extract from plankton which binds to the jellyfish sting sensor and blocks it from sending a message to fire the sting. A mineral salt containing calcium can also added, so if the jellyfish sting sensor does send the message to fire, this mineral salt muddles the message, resulting in no sting.

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Winter Expedition Equipment Help

January 4th, 2018

Winter Expedition Equipment Help By Sub Zero

Winter Expedition Essentials

Choosing winter expedition equipment for the first time can be tough. As with all forms of mountaineering, hiking, walking or camping, packing depends on where you are heading to and how long you are going for.

As winter is one of the harshest times to go out exploring there are certain necessities you’ll need if you’re daring to head out into the wilderness. Certain equipment deserves space in every pack. You won’t need every item on every trip, but essential equipment can be a lifesaver in an emergency.

It can be quite stressful knowing what to pack and when, so, luckily, we’ve compiled this handy little list of all the essentials you’ll need for your next winter expedition!

  1. Navigation

Winter expedition waterproof map cases and pouchesWhatever season you’re going out in, you must know where you are, where you’re going, and how to get back. Always carry a detailed topographic map of the area you are visiting, and place it in a protective case or plastic covering. Always carry a compass too!

We have a range of different waterproof pouches that are perfect for keeping your navigation equipment safe and dry in all weathers. The thick plastic film and airtight closure system protects the contents from any water penetration, even to depths of up to 10 metres.

And if you are separated from your party, which can easily happen, a whistle can be a simple but reliable signalling device, so it’s worthwhile packing one.

  1. Insulation

Winter expedition insulating clothing by Sub ZeroA basic expedition outfit includes inner and outer socks, boots, underwear, trousers, shirt, sweater or fleece jacket, hat, mittens or gloves, and raingear. However, it’s always a good idea to wear a little bit more insulation, just in case!

When packing, always ask yourself this question: ‘What is needed to survive the worst conditions that could realistically be encountered on this trip?’

An extra layer of long underwear can add much warmth while adding little weight to a pack. It is also wise to pack an extra hat or balaclava, because they provide more warmth for their weight than any other article of clothing. For your feet, bring an extra pair of thick socks, and for your hands, an extra pair of polyester or fleece mitts. Pack extra tops to keep your torso warm, plus insulated trousers too!

 

 

  1. Illumination

Winter expedition torches and lampsIt’s essential to carry a headlamp or flashlight, just in case. Batteries and bulbs do not last forever, so always carry spares, pack more than you think you need.

We offer a range of different lighting options to choose from, from headlights you can wear, LED lanterns, and gas lanterns ensuring you have perfect visibility.

Remember, there are less daylight hours in the winter, so carrying a light with you is always important.

 

 

 

  1. First-Aid Supplies

Winter expedition first aid kitsCarry and know how to use a first-aid kit, but do not let a first-aid kit give you a false sense of security. The best course of action is to always take the steps necessary to avoid injury or sickness in the first place.

Your first-aid kit should be compact and sturdy, with the contents wrapped in waterproof packaging. At a minimum, a first-aid kit should include gauze pads in various sizes, roller gauze, small adhesive bandages, butterfly bandages, triangular bandages, battle dressing, adhesive tape, scissors, cleansers or soap, latex gloves, and paper and pencil.

Consider the length and nature of your trip when deciding what to add to your first aid kit. If you’re travelling on glaciers, for example, there may be no trees arounds to be used as improvised splints. Therefore, bringing a wire ladder splint would be extremely valuable in the event of a fracture.

 

  1. Nutrition and Hydration

Winter expedition water bottles and purifiers The length of your trip will depend on what food and water you’ll take on your winter expedition. However, you must pack for every eventuality, so always take more than you think you need.

The food should require no cooking, be easily digestible, and store well for prolonged periods. A combination of dried meat such as jerky, nuts, chocolate, granola, and dried fruit works well. If you’re taking a stove, hot chocolate, dried soup, and tea can be added.

Carrying sufficient water and the equipment to purify any additional water is also important. Always carry at least one water bottle or collapsible water sack. Widemouthed containers are easier to refill.

Travel water purification chemicals are based on the halogen element chlorine, either as chlorine dioxide, sodium hypochlorite, or solid chlorine. Being a strong oxidant, chlorine rapidly kills harmful micro-organisms in water like bacteria, viruses and cysts, including Giardia and Cryptosporidium. These travel water purification chemicals come in either liquid or tablet form and are lightweight and easy to carry. Just follow the instructions on the packs to quickly produce sterile clean drinking water. We stock a variety of water purifying kits, just check our site!

An accessory pocket makes it possible to carry a water bottle on a pack hip-belt for easy access. Some water sacks (hydration bladders) designed to be stored in the pack feature a plastic hose and valve that allow drinking without slowing your pace.

In cold environments, a stove, fuel, pot, and lighter are needed to melt snow for additional water.

 

  1. A tent/shelter

Winter expedition tarps and sheltersIf your winter expedition will last more than a day trip, it’s paramount that you carry some sort of shelter (in addition to a rain shell) from rain and wind, such as a plastic tube tent or a jumbo plastic bin bag. Another possibility is a reflective emergency blanket, which can also be used in administering first aid to an injured or hypothermic person.

Carry an insulated sleeping pad too, to reduce heat loss while sitting or lying on snow.

We have lots of different tarps that are lightweight to pack, easy to assemble and provide wind and rain shelter from your camp and tent. Keeping you warm and dry.

 

 

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Stocking Filler Ideas This Christmas For Dad

December 14th, 2017

Stocking filler ideas for dads at Christmas by Sub Zero

 

If you are stuck for stocking filler ideas for your Father this Christmas, why not treat him to some British made hats gloves and socks to help keep him toasty. All are under £20 and compact, so won’t break the bank or his stocking!

STOCKING FILLER IDEAS

  1. Merino Wool Beanie Hat
    Luxurious and lightweight, these beanie hats will keep your head warm without being bulky. Their micro knit makes them ideal for wearing under motorbike and cycling helmets.
  2. Thermal Liner Gloves
    Worn on their own or as a thermal liner, these gloves will keep the chill away form your fingers, whilst the long cuff provides extra protection to your wrists.
  3. Windproof Head Band
    For the adventurous dad who cycles or runs. These headbands are made from waterproof and windproof stretchy soft shell fabric, with a contoured design to cover your ears and brow without obscuring line of sight.
  4. Meraklon Neck Tube
    The soft micro fleece interior keeps your neck lovely and warm even in the coldest weather. These neck tubes makes a great accompaniment to base layers and thermal mid layers.
  5. Lightweight Balaclava
    If your dad is an old rocker or a trendy mod, these balaclavas are thin enough to fit under motorcycle helmets to keep your head warm.
  6. Merino Wool Walking Socks
    Treat your feet to some of the most comfortable walking socks available. Made from premium Spanish Merino wool, these will keep your feet warm and dry all winter long.
  7. Fleece Beanie Hat
    A soft heavyweight alternative to the merino beanie hat. These fleece beanie hats are ideal for skiing and mountaineering where more substantial insulation is needed.

Sub Zero socks hats and gloves for dads stocking filler

If your dad is uber excited about his stocking filler presents, fuel his anticipation by getting him to follow Santa online delivering presents around the world on Christmas Eve with NORAD

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