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  1. Winter Expedition Equipment Help

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    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.

     

     

  2. Thermal Clothing For Extreme Cold

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    Two arctic explorers in full Sub Zero thermal clothing for extreme cold weather

     

    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 LAYER

    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 LAYER

    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.

    OUTER LAYER

    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.

  3. Down Insulation Science In Outdoor Jackets

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    Science Behind Down Insulation In Outdoor Jackets

    What is down?

    Goose down cluster - Image kindly supplied by EDFA European Down and Feather Association

    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 insulationDown insulated jacket by Sub Zero

    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

     

  4. Plan A Highland Adventure For The Family This Summer

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    More families can now experience the thrill of their own personalised and exclusive Highland adventure – including rock climbing, abseiling, hill walking and ridge walking to wild camping, loch fishing and navigation skills –  in the heart of some of the most stunning landscapes in the north west Highlands of Scotland. New outdoor activity company Highland Adventures based in Ullapool is run by qualified climbing instructor, mountain leader and local mountain rescue team member Ken Keith.

    The company offers families the opportunity to try out a specific activity, or take advantage of a fun Taster Day package which includes a little bit of everything.  Half and whole day activity packages are planned to suit each individual family’s needs, ages and abilities, so no-one gets left out and everyone will finish the day with a sense of achievement.

    The Highlands of Scotland provide a unique rock climbing environment, and the variety of rock types and scale of cliffs can present a challenge for mums, dads and kids alike.  And although families don’t have to be mad to abseil down a sheer cliff face, it certainly helps. The less adventurous can choose a gentle guided walk through scenic glens and smaller hills and learn about the history, geology and wildlife of the area, or try fishing in one of the many stunning hill lochs.

    Spending the night camping out and sleeping under the stars in the wilds of Scotland is likely to appear on many people’s ‘things to do before you die’ lists.  Nothing quite beats sitting beside a remote Scottish loch miles away from anyone and anywhere, with a freshly landed trout sizzling on the frying pan and a dram in hand (adults only!) as the sun sets over the mountain peaks.

    Highland Adventures is currently offering free kids places (under 18s) with two paying adults; B&B and packed lunches are an added option. For further information about all activities and packages visit www.highlandadventures.co.uk or contact Ken on 01854 666331.

     

    As with any activity holiday, you’ll need to be dressed to suit the conditions. In the mountains, that means you should ensure that you pack your rucksack with the following – even in the summer:

     

  5. Fort William Mountain Festival 2013

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    The full programme for the 2013 Fort William Mountain Festival has an impressive and diverse line up of inspirational speakers made up of top climbers, mountaineers and extreme sports men and women, together with adventure film screenings and mountain workshops. This year’s festival will be staged in and around the bustling Highland town of Fort William, in the heart of Lochaber, The Outdoor Capital of the UK, from Thursday 21 to Sunday 24 February 2013.

    This year’s programme celebrates mountain culture in all its forms and promotes the mountains as an attractive, accessible and above all enjoyable place to be. It caters for a wide spectrum of enthusiasts from armchair adventurers to climbers and mountaineers to mountain bikers and budding wildlife photographers.”

    There will also be plenty of opportunity for both novices and experts to hone their mountain skills through a series of workshops in avalanche awareness, winter walking and winter climbing with Abacus Mountaineering; there is a one-off Climbing Technique Master Class with local climber Dave MacLeod.  There will be mountain photography workshops with Nevispix and a two day outdoor emergency first aid course at the Snowgoose Mountain Centre. Indoor climbing and ice climbing skills workshops will also be on offer at Kinlochleven’s Ice Factor Indoor Climbing Centre. There is even a Gaelic language workshop aimed at climbers, mountaineers and hillwalkers at the West Highland College, UHI, entitled ‘Understanding our mountains through the Gaelic language’.

    With the way the 2013 winter has developed, visitors will need to ensure they’re dressed to cope with demanding weather conditions as well as having the right equipment and skills to make the most of this outstanding area. Base and mid  layer thermal underwear are the foundation of dressing comfortably for the winter hills, topped off with insulating layers – fleece, synthetic fill and down – under an outer shell that is, at least, windproof plus a hat and gloves. All winter hill walkers should carry extra clothing, food and a torch, of course, as well as an ice axe, crampons and navigation – plus know how tom use them!

    To find out more and to buy festival tickets go to – www.mountainfestival.co.uk/

     

     

     

  6. 30% Discount on Sub Zero Down Jackets And Vests

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    Stay warm during this cold snap with one of Sub Zeros award winning lightweight down jackets or gillets. Only the finest grade of ethically sourced European goose down insulation is used in their manufacture, with a fill power of 800+. These technical down jackets and gilets pack down in to their own compact stuff sack, making them ideal to place in your pocket or small rucksack.

    For January and February only are we offering a 30% discount on these down products, so order today whilst stocks last!

     

    Sub zero

  7. Lightweight Down Jackets by Sub Zero

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    New Stock of Sub Zero Unisex Down Jackets

    We now have the full range of Sub Zeros new  down jackets available on Sub Zero Store. These lightweight down jackets are manufactured from ultra lightweight down proof ripstop polyamide shell fabric, and contain 125g of ethically sourced European goose down insulation in 800+ fill power. The down jackets are so light (320g) that they pack in to their own small stuff sack, which is so compact that you can place it in your trouser pocket when heading out in the great outdoors. These lightweight down jackets are ideal for backpacking and winter walking, or as part of your emergency kit when higher up a mountain. Even your dog will be impressed with these jackets as they keep you warmer for longer, extending his walkies in the cold and snow.


     


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