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The Catstycam Blog

  • Compass

    The essential tool for all walkers. Buy one and learn how to use it. Even if you have a GPS, you still need map and compass skills. Our local Mountain Rescue team get called out all the time to people who haven’t taken their navigation seriously enough.

    If you would like to be shown how to use a map and compass, or learn new navigation skills contact Distant Horizons (www.distant-horizons.co.uk) who run navigation courses here in the Ullswater valley. It is easy to teach yourself basic navigation and the instructions that come with the Silva compasses are very good. They call it the Silva 123 system and when you practice set yourself little challenges and just try to navigate over a small area to get the idea.

  • Base Layers

    One of your most important pieces of outdoor kit. A million times more comfortable than a cotton T-Shirt, and the only thing that will help keep your skin dry and comfortable in all conditions. Your breathable waterproofs won’t work properly if you’re not wearing a wicking base layer.

    In terms of being comfortable and getting the best performance out of your breathable waterproof jacket, base layers are the most important piece of clothing you have. Cotton T shirts will soak up your perspiration and hold it in the fibres next to your skin. This means your skin is always damp and the moisture is trapped so it cannot escape through your breathable jacket.

    Wicking base layers pull perspiration away from your skin and channel it away from your body to evaporate quickly from the fibres on the outside of the shirt. This helps you regulate your temperature better and stay drier in hot conditions. It also encourages perspiration to evaporate out through your breathable waterproof jacket.

    We think Merino Wool is the most comfortable fabric to wear next to your skin. It is much finer than normal wool and it has a longer yarn so there are fewer itchy ends to irritate your skin. It wicks moisture really well, retains its warmth when damp and has an excellent warmth to weight ratio so it always feels comfortable next to your skin. It also has anti bacterial properties which mean you can wear your base layer all week and it doesn’t get smelly. If you are used to offending yourself with your smell after a days walking try a Merino Wool top, they honestly do make a huge difference.

    The advantage of a long sleeved base layer is you have your skin covered in the sun, most wicking fabrics have a good spf (sun protection factor) rating. And you can always roll your sleeves up to get a tan! They are also warmer in the winter.

    Long Johns keep your legs nice and toasty on a cold winters day. Close fitting warm leggings can be worn under any trousers for extra insulation.

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