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What are gaiters and when should you wear them?

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

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

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Sub Zero Merino Wool Leggings TGO Review

March 7th, 2014

Chris Townsend finds a pair of long john base layers that are comfortable and fit well 

Over the years long johns have not been my favourite garments, mostly because I’d not found a pair that were really comfortable, which is to say just about unoticeable. Pairs I tried were either too tight, too saggy, too itchy, too restrictive or too sweaty. Thicker trousers seemed the answer for cold weather rather than long johns. What I didn’t realise was that it was the designs and fabrics that were the problem not the type of garment.

This changed last winter when I was making The Cairngorms In Winter film with Terry Abraham. The trousers I was provided with for the film were not really adequate for winter conditions so most of the time I wore long johns under them. After trying and being irritated by a couple of pairs I came across Sub Zero’s Bloo Johns in a drawer and tried them. What a revelation!

They proved near enough perfect, being warm but not too hot, very comfortable, breathable, non-restrictive and still quite fragrant after 48 hours constant wear.

What makes these long johns different from others? I think there are a number of factors. Firstly there are no seams at all as they are made, in the UK, by a clever process called ‘Whole Body’ knitting. As seams can rub and catch as well as usually being less stretchy than the rest of the garment, which in a body hugging one can lead to discomfort, not having them is good for comfort.

Secondly the Bloo Johns have extra stretchy rib knit zones around the waist and on the inside of the thighs. These stick closely to the body and move with you so there’s no feeling of a clinging garment resisting your movement. Then the garment as a whole is made from a very fine merino wool with 6% Lycra added for the waistband.

Merino wool is comfortable over a wide temperature range so overheating is less likely than in synthetic long johns and when it’s this thin merino wool dries quickly when damp. It’s the merino wool that stops them smelling too.

Having discovered how good they are I’ve been using the Bloo Johns a fair bit this winter, finding them ideal under a number of different pairs of trousers that on their own aren’t quite up to winter conditions.

To see the full review click here

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Sub Zero Soft Shell Windproof Jacket Review By Harald Krauss

March 7th, 2013

Harald Krauss is a  blogger from Germany who has a strong interest in running, especially ultra trails. His major achievements in 2012 were the Zugspitz Ultratrail (100k) and the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.
He writes for his own blog (www.das-lauferei.de) as well as a column for www.laufticker.de, a major German netzine specialising on running.

 

“Equipment wise the jacket (with drop back) follows the usual standard with velcro cuffs, hem toggles and wind protected front zip. Two large pockets (with net on the inside) offer enough room for tissues, gloves and what else one might want to pack. There’s another pocket on the left sleeve to carry a mobile phone or MP3 player. The zips give an impression of good quality, though being a bit hard to operate, which is probably owed to them being water- and windproof. However, there’s a superb handle on the front zip. I was immediately smitten by the collar: high, close fitting (but not too tight), and covered with the same wonderfully soft material they use for the front zip’s wind protection. Needless to say it’s got a zip guard.

 

The Test

First Impression– was that of a wonderful surface feel. The outside material feels just great, reminding me of a thin suede jacket. If somebody was looking to use the words “haptics” and “greatness” in one sentence, here it is. Since the material – thanks to Elastane – adapts to the movements of the body, the words “second skin” come to my mind.

 

Runningthe conditions were circa -5 to +10 °C, cloudy, windy, with occasional rain. I wore underneath the Sub Zero soft shell Jacket a lightweight base layer and I also tried an additional thermal mid layer, which means I expected to get hot. Nevertheless I had to try it (sometimes curiosity is stronger than sense). Sure I did sweat, soft shell fabrics are not overly breathable, consequently even the slightest jog made me feel wet. When winter – the real winter – returned with temperatures around zero, plus a bit of wind, the Sub Zero soft shell proved its abilities. One or two layers underneath, and, no matter what weather, I was warm and cosy. In my eyes, running is not quite the jacket’s domain. It is possible to use it for running, even better when it’s cold, but I might say it’s range is for cold and windy weather. I once tried the combination of a super thin windbreaker and thermal layer, truly running stuff, for comparison. Back in the soft shell, it feels more “jacket”.

 

Hiking – is a different story. Once tried, the Sub Zero soft shell instantly became my favourite jacket. I either wore it right from the start – depended on weather and situation, of course, or I had it ready in my pack for the next belay. Light rain didn’t come through at all, I guess it needs heavy rain, or an extended stay outside until you feel the urge to put a rain jacket on top.

 

Conclusion

The Sub Zero soft shell is a true all round jacket. If you like, it’s the generalist amongst clothing. Provided it doesn’t rain cats and dogs, it’s not freezing cold or your training schedule says “speed”, you’re doing right by wearing it: windproof, water resistant, warm enough, this jacket is just great!”

 

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Sub Zero Merino Wool Base Layer Wins TGO Recommended

January 23rd, 2013

 

Sub Zero mens merino wool base layer worn by a mountaineer in the Alps

 

In the February 2013 issue of The Great Outdoors Magazine (TGO), Chris Townsend picks out the best base layers for winter hill walking.  Our Sub Zero Merino wool base layer thermals were tested by Chris and received 4.5 /5 stars and were highly recommended.

These merino wool base layers are produced from premium Spanish merino wool spun around a Lycra core for increased robustness, superior washing properties, and greater stretch providing a much closer fit.

The manufacturing process takes place on Shima Seiki seamless machines that sees the whole garment knitted without seams – it basically falls of the knitting machine finished. All we have to do is apply the heat seal logo and a neck tab with the washing instruction.

Merino Wool Base Layer Review

Chris Towsend writes:

“This close-fitting, warm and comfortable top is by far the lightest merino wool garment tested and also the only garment made in the UK. It’s quite compact as well and so suitable for carrying in the pack as a spare or for camp wear. It’s also unusual in that it’s completely seamless, being made with a process called ‘whole body ‘ knitting.

The front and back are plain knit while the sides, shoulders and sleeves are rib knit, which makes them very stretchy. Combined with a little Lycra this makes for a garment that hugs the body without being restrictive. This close fit makes the top quite warm even though the wool is quite thin.

The sleeves have thumb loops and extend over the backs of the hands so there is on gap with gloves and they can’t ride up. The sleeves can be pushed up in warm weather, There’s an extended back and the top as a whole is longer than most so there’s no chance of it separating from your trousers.”

 

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Keep Drinks Cold With A Primus Vacuum Commuter Mug

June 9th, 2012

These popular insulated commuter mugs are ideal for keeping drinks cool on hot days when out and about in the great outdoors. The press top  button opens and shuts the drinking sip slot allowing one hand drinking, whilst the industrial grade silicon seals ensure no spills in your backpack. Depending on how much weight is an issue these mugs come in stainless steel and HDPE versions.

 

 

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4/5 Review For Sub Zero Mens Fleece Polar Jacket

February 28th, 2012

There’s a new saying in our household; “As snug as a bug in a Sub Zero Fleece”.

Snuggly!

I’m a bit stingy when it comes to running the central heating at home. With the exception of an hour in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening when The Wife needs her NCIS and cocoa on the sofa, it can be see-your-breath cold in our living room, and the kitchen floor requires crampons. So, I find myself working from home and wearing a variety of very warm jackets. The Sub Zero Polar Thermal Fleece has been my jacket of choice for the last month.

Fleeces, as opposed to micro-fleeces, appear to have fallen out of fashion in the last couple of years. We’re more used to being told to layer up with thin and functional layers, and store shelves are lined with garments which use technical words to convince you that they’re ‘the latest thing’.

Well, this jacket is a more ‘classic’ 200 weight polar fleece which looks and feels like a thick wool. I just measured it and a double layer comes in at a whopping 1.5cm thick. It not only looks warm, but feels warm (psychologically as well as in reality).

With a full-length front zip, and the inherent nature of fleece material to be breathable, wearing the jacket isn’t a stifling experience. It’s easy to vary your temperature by opening the zip and rolling up the sleeves.

There’s an elastic drawstring at the waist to keep out the worst of the chilly breezes, but this isn’t a windproof fleece, so if it’s a cold, windy day then you’ll need a lightweight windproof jacket over the top to stop your heat being pulled away.

Two very large and snuggly handwarmer pockets keep your mitts warm, but aren’t zippered, so are not perfect for storing wallets.

One thing that caught my eye is that the jacket has an SPF of 100+, which is nice to know if you’re on the slopes in sun. I got burnt through a merino T-shirt a couple of weeks ago, so I’m now acutely aware of SPF in clothing.

 

Gear We Are – December  2011

Click here for the full review

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Sub Zero Mens Softshell Jacket Wins Top Review

February 21st, 2012

Wandering around the UK’s largest outdoor industry trade show this year we happened across the Sub Zero stand, and since we’ve reviewed a few of their products before the chap warmly shook our hands before announcing that he was glad we’d come along because he really needed a wee. With that he took off, leaving us alone with his gear, which we had a good poke through.

Both Muz and I immediately took to the Windproof Softshell Jacket, which is the type of thing we’d wear under motorbike jackets, to the pub or even when camping. It looks smart, but functional.

Quite sexy huh? Jacket’s OK too…

We decided against stuffing a couple of them into our bags whilst we weren’t being watched, but upon his return we begged and pleaded for a couple of jackets to try out. I’m glad to say that Sub Zero were forthcoming and I’ve been wearing my version now for a couple of weeks.

It’s a really good-looking jacket – fitted design and very flattering. It really is the sort of thing that you could wear on any occasion, be it social or summit. And it feels great on too.

Showerproof, definitely

The outer shell material is a densely woven shell of polyester which is totally windproof. You can tighten up the velcro wristbands and bungee waist and feel completely shut off from the elements. Also, because it’s a tight-weave softshell the jacket is waterproof enough to protect you from a sudden shower. It’s not sold as waterproof, but I’d describe it as showerproof.

The windproof nature of the jacket continues to the main zipper, which is a sturdy YKK number with a stiff , almost suede leatherette feeling wind-baffle behind it. You won’t get that dreaded cold stripe down your chest.

The soft fleecy feel of the baffle continues up and around the neck, where a thin microfleece means no chafing and a snuggly warm feeling. It’s not a tight-fitting neck, there’s room for a Buff in there, but it is close-enough fitting to keep out a breeze.

Arm pocket, with showerproof zip

There are two large hand-pockets on the jacket which have mesh inners. These are good for keeping chilly hands next to your warm baselayers, and conversely for ventilation on slightly warmer days. A third pocket on the left sleeve is perfect for carrying a phone where it won’t swing around and bash things.

The jacket moves with you as you engage in activities. It has a built-in stretch which comes from a small elastane content in the material. You can feel this most when you stretch to put on a backpack or really bend your arm.

At £99 it’s at the more expensive end of windproof jackets, but in the flesh you can see why. Quality of manufacture and detailing is great, and it feels like a hard-wearing and top notch piece of kit.

5/5 Gear We Are – November 2011

Click here for the full review

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Sub Zero Lightweight Thermal Down Jacket Wins Top Review

February 15th, 2012

“Three hundred grammes. That’s the weight of my wallet and iPhone combined. The two things, along with my keys, that I carry everywhere, regardless of outfit, weather and circumstance. I don’t even feel them any more, such is their familiarity in my pockets, and it’s not like they weigh an awful lot.

In fact, they weight exactly the same as the Sub Zero Thermal Down Jacket, which considering its size, must surely be filled with helium. It’s extraordinarily lightweight, and yet with a fill power of 800+ goose down it is extraordinarily warm too.

Snuggly like a sleeping bag 

I went for a walk this morning in a T-shirt and this jacket. The temperature is 7C and I was, at times, so warm in the jacket that I needed to take it off. It’s like a sleeping bag, trapping huge amounts of air inside its 3-4cm thick down chambers and closely-fitting the body to seal in all your body warmth. It doesn’t make sense that something so light could be so warm – the mind naturally equates weight with insulation – and yet it is.

The external shell material is a 100% Polyamide and extremely thin. It feels like it would rip at the merest snag, but having worn it through a few woodlands it is much tougher than it looks. The only change to this material is the addition of a warm fleece material on the neck, which doesn’t rub or get sweaty and helps trap air from escaping upwards.

The main zipper is a chunky YKK number with an effective chin guard and nice positive action. It has a wind-baffle behind it to seal out the breezes. The cuffs are elasticated, and the waist has a bungee drawstring to keep the wind from chilling you. You get two zippered hand pockets which are perfect for doubling the weight of things with your phone and wallet!

It’s not sold as waterproof, but it has survived a couple of short-sharp showers admirably, which was a pleasant surprise. I suspect that this is due to the extremely dense nature of the shell fibre, rather than any treatment.

The jacket lacks a hood, which keeps the weight down but means you’ll need to match it with a hat on the chilliest days. Sub Zero make a range of good hats, so that’s no bother.

And lastly, as a hint on how the jacket could be used, Sub Zero supply it with a small drawstring bag so it can be stuffed down and carried in a pack until it’s needed when the weather gets cold.”

5/5 Gear We Are – January 2012

Click here for the full review

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