January 4th, 2018
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!
Whatever 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.
A 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!
It’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.
Carry 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.
Nutrition and Hydration
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.
If 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.
Tags: base layers, down jackets, expeditions, first aid kit, mountaineering, winter outdoor kit, winter survival
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December 14th, 2017
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
Tags: beanie hats, christmas presents, merino wool socks, stocking fillers, thermal gloves
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October 17th, 2017
At first glance of the question, Can you wear two base layers? You immediately think yes you can but why would you want to? Most outdoors people are well versed in the principles of the layering system – base layer, insulating mid layer, protective outer layer – so why would you ignore this and just wear two base layers. The problem is that in certain situations this layering system can be impractical.
BASE LAYERS FOR AEROBIC EXERCISE
If you are going to take part in a high intensity aerobic exercise in winter such as rowing, it is unfeasible to wear lots of different clothing layers. For a start you are going to get warm very quickly as well as producing a lot of perspiration. You are also going to need full range of movement which will be hampered with a traditional layering system. Plus there is also the problem of storing all these different clothes when removed.
What a lot of professional rowing teams practice in winter is wearing two thermal base layers at the start of a days training programme. Without being restrictive, these thermal layers will keep you warm whilst also managing perspiration more efficiently. Once the warm up is complete, one of the base layers is removed and easily stored in the bottom of the boat. At the cool down, the discarded base layer can be worn again to reduce rapid cooling.
Even in the coolness of early summer mornings a two layer base layer system is often used. Next to the skin will be worn a summer base layer to manage perspiration, with a thermal base layer as a second layer to provide extra warmth during the warm up.
BASE LAYERS FOR SPRING AND AUTUMN WEATHER
Out of the winter season, the need for a full thermal layering system is usually unnecessary. With the temperatures very rarely reaching freezing, you should be able to get away with just wearing your base layer. However, some early mornings and evenings may see temperatures drop low enough to require wearing extra layers for a boost in warmth. You could pack a thermal mid layer on the off chance, but it is a lot of unnecessary weight to carry.
Instead, ensure you are carrying a second base layer – you should be carrying a spare set anyway if you are heading away from civilisation. They can easily be worn over your first base layer and are light enough to be stored in a small rucksack.
BASE LAYERS FOR EXTREME COLD ENVIRONMENTS
When it comes to very cold weather, such as found in the polar regions or the Himalayas, mountaineers and explorers will often wear more than one base layer as part of their layering system. The main reason for this is you can trap more air between thin layers than wearing bulky insulating layers. And trapping air is essential if you want to keep warm because air is the insulator, not the fabric. It is not uncommon for mountaineers to wear two or even three base layers beneath their insulating mid layer.
SO CAN YOU WEAR TWO BASE LAYERS?
Instead of being a bit of a wacky question there are certain situations where wearing two base layers can actually be desirable. It is a lightweight alternative to heavier insulating mid layers and also offers greater flexibility in less demanding weather conditions. So the question shouldn’t be can you wear two base layers? but have you tried wearing two base layers?
Tags: base layers, cold weather underwear, layering system, thermal clothing, thermal underwear, winter clothing
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September 25th, 2017
The two most common questions we get asked are how tight should base layers be? and what is the difference between base layers and compression layers? We will deal with the latter question in the next few weeks , but this post will hopefully enlighten you on the correct way to wear base layers.
ARE BASE LAYERS SUPPOSED TO BE TIGHT?
The simple answer is it depends on your definition of tight. To me, tight means restrictive and uncomfortable, which is obviously a hindrance and a distraction when performing an outdoor activity. It has entered the vocabulary of performance clothing as the dividing line between base layers and compression layers has become blurred by marketeers. We try and avoid using ‘tight’ altogether when talking to our customers, preferring a more softer wording such as ‘snug’.
WHY NOT WEAR BAGGY BASE LAYERS?
This is the other extreme. You may think you look cool with your bum hanging out your base layer leggings (obviously a matter of opinion) but they won’t keep you warm. Badly fitting thermals will lead to all sorts of problems such as heat loss, vastly reduced wicking rates (transportation of moisture), and possible skin sores from rubbing of excess material.
HOW SHOULD BASE LAYERS FIT?
Base layers need to be close fitting to prevent warm air trapped between your clothing from being wafted out during movement. A close fitting base layer will also be much more efficient at moisture management due to a higher fabric surface area being in close contact with your skin.
When trying on a base layer you need to understand that the fabric has been designed to be stretchy so it will naturally adjust to most body shapes. What you should be looking for is the correct length in the arms (finishing just over the wrist) and the length of the body resting on the top of your bottom.
A good way to check if the base layer is too tight is to see if you can pinch any of the fabric and pull it away from your body. If this is difficult to do then you more than likely have a size too small. Another area to check is under the armpits. If you cannot get the full rolling movement of your arms and shoulders then you need to try the next size up.
SO HOW TIGHT SHOULD BASE LAYERS BE?
In answer to the original question, base layers should be snug fitting but not restrictive. Warm air needs to be trapped between fabric layers without the possibility of it being wafted out if you are to stay warm – the air is the insulator. At the same time, you don’t want the base layer to be so skin tight that it restricts movement or even blood flow.
So my final piece of advice is if it feels too tight then it probably is.
Tags: base layers, compression layers, correct base layer fit, staying warm, thermals, winter clothing
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September 20th, 2017
Wearing the right layer of thermal clothing for extreme cold situations can be the difference between life and death if you get in trouble. Wear too much insulation and you will overheat, increasing your perspiration, that will rapidly cool your body when your intensity levels drop. Alternatively you may not be wearing enough thermal layers to start with. This can also lead to rapid heat loss unless remedied, forcing your body to shut down to protect its vital organs. As you can see, wearing the correct layers of thermal clothing for extreme cold environments should be taken very seriously.
Base layers are the first line of defence against the cold. Worn directly next to the skin, they need to be soft to prevent rubbing sores from carrying equipment, offer thermal resistance to trap heat, and be effective at transporting perspiration away from the body. They are one of the most important layers of thermal clothing for extreme cold environments.
Our Sub Zero Factor 1 Plus base layers are made form super soft polyamide yarn that has lots of in-built stretch. This allows the base layer to fit the body snugly like a second skin. A water loving chemical is also impregnated in to the yarn during the dyeing process that actively transports moisture way from the skin to the outer layers. This keeps you dry and also speeds up the drying process when washed.
Mid layers are very similar to base layers in that they should be worn close fitting, but they contain more fibres to trap warm air – insulation. They are effectively the work horse in your range of thermal clothing for extreme cold.
Our Sub Zero Factor 2 thermal mid layers are heavily brushed on the inside fabric face to produce an inner fleece layer that insulates your body from excess heat loss. Their very strong flat seam construction helps prevent any pressure points occurring when carrying kit.
Once you have your base layer and insulation mid layer sorted then your choice of outer layer is often determined by the elements.
If you are working hard and still feel a little cool then putting on a lightweight down jacket will help to add extra insulation without adding much extra weight as a burden.
If you are comfortably warm then you may not even need an outer layer at that point in time but you should keep a close eye on the weather and anticipate changes in conditions. Likewise, if you have to stop or your activity levels decrease then you will need to add further layers to compensate for the reduction in heat generation.
One mistake that even the professionals sometimes get wrong is underestimating the power of wind chill on your bodies temperature. It may look lovely and sunny outside but any wind can rapidly cool the body. Carrying a lightweight windproof that can quickly be thrown over your under layers should mitigate a lot of the wind chill effects.
For further information on wind chill visit the Met Office
HATS & GLOVES
It is a myth that you loose most of your body heat through your head, at most it is around 10%. Even though the percentage is a lot lower than most people think, it is a good way to fine tune your bodies temperature. If you start to get a bit warm, remove your fleece hat or balaclava. If you are still warm after a few more minutes of doing this then you know you need to remove a larger layer of clothing.
This also works the other way around. Add a hat if you start to feel cool. If this dosen’t warm you up then you know that a larger item of clothing needs to be worn or that you need to start looking for shelter.
The other reason for covering your head and hands is to help protect your extremities from wind burn and frost bite.
THERMAL CLOTHING FOR EXTREME COLD
Keeping warm and dry in extreme cold weather needn’t be too much of a problem if you listen to what your body is telling you , are aware of your surroundings, and are wearing the correct kit.
Luckily Sub Zero have over 40 years experience manufacturing thermal clothing for extreme cold conditions, with many polar explorers and mountaineers placing their trust in our products.
Tags: base layers, cold weather clothing, down jackets, expedition clothing, mid layers, sub zero, thermals, winter clothing
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July 1st, 2017
Whether you’re off to climb a mountain with your mates or taking the family on a camping trip, you’re going to need the right kit for your summer adventure. Thankfully, we have you covered with everything from sleeping bags to socks…
After a long day of exploring, you can head back to the tent and get a great night’s sleep thanks to our luxurious Synthetic Sleeping Bags.
Lightweight and exceptionally breathable, they’re made from fabric that’s both water repellent and windproof, with a luxurious down-like feel.
Additional comfort comes from a head-hugging hood, jumbo neck baffles and a ‘profiling’ construction technique which eliminates cold spots, to keep you exceptionally warm during the night. Win!
Speaking of warmth, it may be summer, but when you’re sleeping outside or trekking up a mountain, it’s important to have a toasty base layer to keep you from getting chilly.
Our thermal base-layers are ideal for wearing underneath your clothes.
Thanks to their snug fit offering plenty of stretch, they act like a second skin to trap in heat, while a hydrophilic treatment in the fabric works to keep perspiration at bay.
What’s more, the range is fit for any activity, from hiking and running to rowing and skiing. Which is great news if you’re planning an epic summer of activities!
As we all know, the British summer has a habit of being annoyingly unpredictable. To ensure you’re prepared for all weather, pick up one of our windproof softshell jackets.
Made from the most advanced wind-resistant fabric, they act as a barrier against the wind to stop it from penetrating through to your under-layers.
The insulating, soft-fleece inner allows you to stay warm even on the coldest day, while the close, comfortable fit offers ample stretch, so it’s never restrictive during activity.
With a compact, lightweight feel, you can pop it in your backpack at the start of the day, so you’ll never be caught out if the weather takes a turn for the worse!
If you’re heading out into nature, whether that be for a hike, a cycle or just a leisurely wander through the woods, you’re going to need a great pair of socks!
While it’s easy to throw on your regular, every day socks for a trek or a run, they’re not going to give you the same level of comfort and protection as a pair that are tailormade for the job.
From walking socks that offer padding and insulation, to ski socks that come with cushioned shin and ankle guards; when it comes to activity, the right pair of socks can make a world of difference.
Now we have your clothing covered, let’s move on to those essential expedition accessories.
A good, sturdy rucksack is a must-have for the likes of hiking and camping trips.
Our lightweight range is designed to take the grunt work out of lugging around your kit.
Ultra-lightweight yet sturdy, it’s great for anyone who’s wanting to beat their personal best in a mountain marathon or adventure race. If you’re not racing, it’s also spot on to use as a simple hiking bag.
With adjustable, padded shoulder straps, stain resistant fabric, water resistant pockets and a built-in emergency whistle, it’s compact, secure and incredibly stylish for the ultimate adventure accessory.
And while we’re on the subject of bags… if you’re adventuring with the family this summer, don’t forget to check out our range of children’s rucksacks. They have all the same practicalities of the adult range, but with colourful, fun designs that are sure to keep the kids happy!
Even if the weather isn’t playing nice, it’s important to stay hydrated during activity. Keep your water levels topped up with our Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottles.
Not only do they look stylish, they’re also strong, durable, eco-friendly and BPA free.
Better still, they’re made with electro-polished materials that don’t retain flavours, so you can always expect a refreshing drink without any bad-tasting residue.
With a leak-resistant lid and a soft, silicon spout, they’re ideal for packing into your rucksack when you’re off for a hike.
There’s even one for the kids too!
To satisfy your hunger after a long day of adventure, it’s nice to gather round the campfire for a good, hearty meal.
With our impressive range of cooking pots, you can do just that.
Made with anodised aluminium and titanium alloys, they’re lightweight and easy-to-use, with a strong resistance to scratches and dents.
To keep your food from sticking, they have a Teflon coating and ceramic finish, which also makes it easy to wash and clean them regularly.
If that isn’t enough, the lids are made from BPA-free Tritan plastic and grip-friendly silicon, which doubles up as a colander, so there’s no need to pack any weighty serving dishes.
If you’re short on utensils, we have you covered for those too, from stainless steel cutlery sets to camping plates and bowls.
It’s safe to say that with all this fancy cooking gear, you can kiss goodbye to those cans of cold beans!
If you’re going off the grid this summer, you’re going to need a reliable map and compass on hand to navigate your trip.
Even in this day and age, not everywhere has GPS, so from a safety point of view, it’s always a great idea to do things the old-fashioned way!
Our compass range is compact and easy to carry, with most offering slots for lanyards, so you can just pop one around your neck.
To keep your maps dry, try our waterproof map bags. Made from resilient triple polymer film, they’re available in three different sizes, each one offering a press-to-lock seal to secure your map in even the most extreme weather.
To top it off, they’re also touch screen compatible so you can use them for your phones too. …You know, just in case you can get GPS along the way!
For fishing, climbing and camping, there’s nothing more efficient than the Multimate Multitool.
Made from top quality stainless steel with rubber handle grips, it comes packed with features including sprung pliers, wire strippers, screwdrivers, a knife, bottle opener, can opener, awl, saw and rope cutter. Talk about multi-talented!
What’s more, there’s even a handy key ring attachment so you can hook it to your belt or rucksack for quick and easy access.
Outdoor first aid kit
In case of any accidents on your summer expedition, make sure to pack an Outdoor First Aid Kit.
Developed with the input of paramedics and search and rescue doctors, they’re fully equipped to cover a wide range of injuries sustained from hiking, running, mountaineering and skiing. And as they’re small enough to fit in your pocket or bag, there’s really no excuse not to have one on hand.
As the Scouts say, always be prepared!
Feeling ready for adventure? Us too!
To pick up your essential expedition kit, check out the full range.
Tags: backpacking, camping, climbing, expeditions, mountaineering
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June 15th, 2017
With summer in full swing, no doubt you have lots of fun, adventurous plans in the pipeline.
Whether it’s hiking, camping, cycling, hitting the beach or planning a picnic in the park, there’s no better time to be outside, filling your lungs with fresh air and getting some much-needed vitamin D!
And while it’s great to enjoy the warmer weather, it’s also important that you’re up to scratch on staying sun safe.
No one wants to spend their leisure time burned or with sunstroke, or worse. So, to ensure that you and your family can have fun in the sun without worry, we’ve put together a handy guide for everything you need to know about sun safety.
Sun exposure can happen even on a cloudy British day, so if you’re out and about this summer, the number one rule is to slap on the sun cream regularly!
Harmful UV rays are responsible for a number of ailments, from sunburn and premature ageing to more serious conditions such as skin cancer. That’s not to say you can’t safely enjoy the sun. Opting for a sun lotion of at least SPF30 and applying it every two to three hours if you’re outside for long periods of time can help protect you from sun damage.
When buying sun cream, you should look for one that has at least a four-star UVA protection to ensure that it meets EU standards. You should also make sure it hasn’t past its expiry date. Most have a shelflife of two to three years.
Sun protection factor (SPF) is a measure of the amount of ultraviolet B radiation (UBV) protection in the cream. This is rated on a scale of 2-50+, with 50+ offering the strongest protection and 2 offering the least. Sun creams that offer both UVA and UVB protection, sometimes referred to as ‘Broad Spectrum’, are the ones you should ideally opt for as they give you the best protection.
So, how much sun cream should you apply for the best coverage, to stay sun safe?
If you’re an adult, the equivalent of two tablespoons should do it. Although a good rule of thumb is the more the merrier, so don’t be afraid to apply it in excess!
Applying plenty is particularly important for children and babies, whose skin is much more sensitive and vulnerable to sun damage. Babies under six months old should always be kept out of direct sunlight, and all children should be covered up with protective clothing, as well as being coated in a strong lotion with a high SPF.
Whatever age you are, don’t forget to reapply lotion once you’ve been in water, even if your cream claims to be ‘water resistant’. The fact is, water washes it off, and when you’re in the ocean or a cool pool, you might not feel yourself getting burnt. Topping up your cream as soon as you’re out of water can reduce your chance of sun damage and keep the burn at bay.
Seek the shade
If you’re planning on spending the whole day outdoors, so to stay sun safe, make sure to hit the shade between 11am and 3pm, as this is when the sun is at its strongest. Even if you can’t avoid it completely, finding shady spots or shelters where you can eat lunch or take a break can help you escape the effects of sunstroke and keep you feeling cool and refreshed.
Protect your eyes
It’s super important to keep your eyes covered when you’re out in the sun. Being at the beach or anywhere that you’re exposed to bright sunshine can cause temporary burn to the eye’s surface, resulting in a painful sensation similar to sunburn of the skin.
Reflected light from water, sand or concrete is also tough on the eyes, so it helps to have a good pair of sunglasses on hand to keep your peepers protected. Opt for styles with UVA/UVB protection and make sure they cover the whole of your eyes, so there’s no room for sunlight to creep in behind them.
Know your limits
While no one is exempt from the dangers of the sun, there are some people who are more at risk than others and they may need to take more precautions to stay sun safe.
If you have pale skin, freckles, or red or fair hair, you should always wear a high factor sun cream and cover your skin with protective clothing and a hat. This is because pale skin is more prone to burning than darker skin tones.
That’s not to say that those with darker skin are out of the woods. If you have any moles, you should regularly keep a close eye on them, and always cover them in the sun. If you notice any changes such as the appearance of a new mole, or a mole that has changed in size, shape or colour, it’s always best to check in with a doctor, just to be safe.
Anyone with a family history of skin cancer should take extra care in the sun, as should anyone exposed to intense sun that their skin isn’t used to, such as when you’re on holiday.
The better you know your skin and your limits regarding sun exposure, the easier it will be to protect yourself during summer expeditions.
Sun safety and keeping hydrated come hand in hand. Dehydration and heat exhaustion can lead to a multitude of issues, including dizziness, headaches and vomiting. The key is to stay hydrated, more so if you’re out in the sun for long periods of time.
If you’re planning a hike or any similar outdoor activities, make sure to take along a reliable water bottle and keep it topped up regularly. Just make sure to steer clear of sugary drinks, caffeine or alcohol as these can lead to dehydration, as opposed to keeping it at bay.
If you do happen to get burnt after a day in the sun, the first thing you should do is sponge the sore skin with cool water, before applying a soothing after-sun lotion, Aloe Vera cream or calamine lotion.
If you’re suffering from a bad dose of sunstroke to go alongside your sunburn, make sure to drink plenty of water, and take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to help reduce the inflammation and ease the pain.
If at any point your skin starts to blister or swell, or you feel unwell with chills, high temperature, headaches, sickness or dizziness, go visit your doctor.
No matter what summer adventures you’re planning, staying sun safe is essential. If you want to know more about how we can help keep your whole family healthy and happy in the sun, get in touch with our team or check out what’s on offer in our sunshine-friendly range.
Tags: camping, climbing, free competition, hiking, hill walking, sun, sunburn, suncream, walking
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May 4th, 2017
It’s incredibly important to have a pair of comfortable footwear when you are walking or trekking.
With footwear, you need to pick the right choice for your feet, activity and terrain. Without them, it can lead to bruised, sore feet that could end your walk or trek earlier than expected.
As similar activities, it can be confusing to understand the difference between walking and trekking, and why they may use different footwear.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide so you can tell the difference between the two and pick your perfect footwear.
Walking, or hiking, is a leisurely activity of walking long routes or nature trails. Walking is generally completed in a day, but can involve overnight stays in camping sites, hostels or huts along the way.
Walking boots are sturdy, thick boots that provide protection for your feet. With a tough sole and high ankles, walking boots help provide support for your foot and prevent you from spraining or rolling your ankles.
The thick protective material will also limit your range of movement, which can feel too restrictive for some walkers. The material will also need breaking in before big walks, otherwise, the shoes can be uncomfortable and cause rubbing or blisters.
Walking boots are also made with waterproof materials to keep your feet dry in wet conditions.
However, the waterproofing and thick material mean that water vapour can’t escape easily.
So, if you need to cross rivers or your feet are fully submerged in water, your shoes will take a long time to dry out. If you wear them in the summer months, your feet will sweat more easily and can cause blisters.
Overall, walking boots are strong, sturdy waterproof boots perfect for the colder months. They are also durable and can last you up to 1,000 miles when looked after.
Trekking is a multi-day long distance walk, where you will carry all your luggage and essential items with you. In general, trekking is a more challenging activity than walking and takes places in areas where other means of transport can’t access.
Trekking shoes, such as trail runners, are made from lightweight and more flexible materials than walking boots. The lightweight material offers more flexibility, giving you a better range of movement in your feet.
Trekking shoes are perfect for those who prefer lightweight footwear and are the ideal choice to get an overall lightweight kit. The shoes also need no breaking in and are ready for action right away.
Designed with a low-cut ankle and multiple mesh patches, trekking shoes give you maximum breathability. As they are fast-drying, they are great for crossing rivers or through the summer months.
However, trekking shoes aren’t as waterproof as walking boots and can’t offer the same amount of warmth through the winter.
The lightweight material also doesn’t offer the same amount of protection as walking boots. With narrow soles, you can feel bumps and rocks under your feet which can be uncomfortable on the long days.
Overall, trekking shoes are a lightweight, breathable and fast-drying shoe. However, they don’t offer the same protection, warmth or durability as walking boots.
On average, trekking shoes should be replaced every 500 miles to prevent potential damage to your feet.
Overall, walking boots are tough, durable and waterproof boots that protect your feet. Trekking shoes don’t offer the same protection or durability but are more lightweight, breathable and flexible.
When choosing between walking boots and trekking shoes, it’s important to bear in mind the weather and type of terrain you are going to face.
During the summer months, or places where you are likely to cross a river you may prefer the fast-drying trekking booths. However, in wet, and colder months the waterproof walking boots may be the better fit.
Tags: backpacking, climbing, expeditions, hiking, hill walking, mountaineering, trekking, walking, winter walking
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April 4th, 2017
Many backpackers and hikers swear by gaiters and use them year-round.
Despite offering essential protection, gaiters are often overlooked and get confused in a long list of outdoor equipment.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide so you know what exactly gaiters are and when you should be wearing them.
What are Gaiters?
Gaiters are lightweight, breathable and waterproof pieces of fabric that cover the upper boot and lower part of your legs.
Working with your boots, gaiters protect all the tiny nooks and crannies that are vulnerable in certain weather or environment conditions, such as the top of the boot.
In wet, muddy or snowy conditions, gaiters are essential for keeping your feet dry and can also provide an extra layer of insulation.
In drier weather, gaiters will also protect you from debris such as rocks and sand that can uncomfortably lodge themselves inside your footwear.
Gaiters provide great protection across a diverse range of conditions. Whether you are facing thorny bushes, marsh land or even snake bites, the gaiters will provide you an extra layer of defence to stop anything from getting into your boots or trouser legs.
Made from mostly synthetic materials, gaiters are breathable, lightweight and quick drying. Gaiters are designed to be comfortable for walking and hiking long distances in a variety of conditions, making them an essential item for your pack.
From puddles to thunderstorms, gaiters will keep you waterproof, insulated and protected.
Generally, gaiters come in one of two heights: ankle-height and full-length.
Full-length gaiters are a perfect fit for extreme weather conditions such as deep snow or heavy rain.
Covering the tops of your boots and most of your lower leg, full-length gaiters offer the most protection.
If you’re in terrains covered in snow, long wet grass, thick bush or you need to cross streams, full-length gaiters are essential for you.
Ankle-height gaiters are made to simply cover the top of your footwear and bottom of your trousers.
They don’t have the same level of protection as the full-length ones, and are best used for less extreme conditions.
This type of gaiter is ideal for outdoor wear, with a good chance of rain and mud. It’s also perfect for offering protection from bits of debris such as stones, sand or bits of twig entering your footwear.
This type of gaiter can also be a great fit for off-road and fell runners to provide protection from debris.
For runners that want a more lightweight and fuller protection, our padded running gaiters may be the perfect fit for you.
Snow, water and debris can find a way into the most waterproof of boots and trousers. Gaiters are lightweight, waterproof and breathable, covering the ends of your boots and trousers, providing you with extra protection from the elements.
Gaiters protect you from a range of outdoor conditions, including muddy puddles, debris, deep snow, streams and thick bush. Small and lightweight enough to stash in your pack, gaiters can be used year-round for almost every condition.
Ready to unlock the benefits of gaiters? Browse our range today.
Tags: backpacking, climbing, hiking, hill walking, trekking, walking, winter walking
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January 4th, 2017
What is down?
Down is the fluffy plumage that waterfowl grow next to their skin to help insulate and aide buoyancy. It is not a true feather as we understand them, but a much simpler form that has soft and fluffy filament shafts growing in all directions. These down ‘clusters’ are extremely lightweight and provide a large surface area to trap air and warmth from the body. True feathers grow over the top of the down and help shield the birds from wind and water penetration, as well as aiding flight due to increased aerodynamics.
Why use goose down?
All waterfowl produce down, but geese and duck down are the most popular as it is a by-product of commercial farming practices. The most sought after down comes from adult geese as they have a very fine cluster construction, providing more loft than juvenile goose down or duck down.
Advantages of down insulation
One of the major advantages of down is its warmth-to-weight ratio. No synthetic insulation even comes close to matching it. So producing a like-for-like jacket, the down insulated one is going to be much lighter than the synthetic insulated one. Combined with this is the compression advantage of down. You can scrunch up down jackets in to very small shapes without damaging the clusters. If you want to wear one that has been jammed in to an awkward shape in yor backpack, just like a duvet, all you need to do is waft it a little bit to increase the loft.
Negatives of down insulation
Downs Achilles heal is moisture. If it gets too damp or is waterlogged, then the clusters stick together, drastically reducing the surface area and thus the insulation properties. Drying down takes a very long time unless you have a tumble dryer, so if it gets wet when you are outside, then it is going to stay wet and offer little protection from the cold. Fortunately, new hydrophobic treatments have started to be applied to down clusters to help repel water for longer. Using this treated down produces an insulated jacket that is not waterproof, but it will function a lot better in damp and wet weather, will dry quicker, and will retain the loft of the down even when wet.
For more information on down and its properties then please visit the EDFA European Down and Feather Association
Tags: down insulation, down jackets, extreme cold clothing, winter jackets
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