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Monthly Archives: September 2010

  • Waterproof Jackets

    Decide what you want it for, everyday use or purely for on the hill? You do get what you pay for but there’s no point in paying for extra features or performance you’re not going to need. The main difference between mens and ladies jackets is the fit across the shoulders and the arms, and around the chest and hips.

    To be called waterproof the fabric has to support a column of water 1M tall without letting any through. This is its hydrostatic head. If the fabric can support a column of water 1M tall it will have a hydrostatic head of 1M. That sounds quite impressive but in reality out on the hill in the grimmest of Lake District weather with a strong wind driving the rain into you, that won’t be nearly enough. But if you don’t go out on days like those it will be enough.

    Be aware of the limits of different jackets and think about the kind of weather you go out in and how long you stay out. A decent waterproof jacket with a hydrostatic head of 5M should keep you dry in reasonably horrid Lake District rain, but if you are out all day in that really wet rain we get here you really do need to use something equivalent to Gore-Tex, and even then you won’t stay totally dry.

    Breathability is just as important as waterproofing, as you can end up as wet with sweat condensing inside the jacket as you would if it were leaking. Breathability is measured by the rate at which water vapour passes through the fabric, in the units of grams of water vapour per square meter of fabric per 24 hour period (g/m2/d). This is partly where your money is going when you get above the basic jackets. We don’t sell any non-breathable jackets, but the breathability on the cheapest jackets will be low compared to the more expensive ones. For a more breathable option look at Soft Shells.

    Another part of the jacket that puts the price up is detailing. The more zips and seams and pockets a jacket has the more work is involved and the more it costs. A good hood can be made out of a lot of sections of fabric and put the price up, but you do want a good hood. Cheap hoods are infuriating as they blow around your head whipping you in the face and still getting you wet.

    You need to think about where you go walking and what you carry. Do you walk through woodland and brambles where you need a tough and durable jacket, or are you on the open fell where a lightweight jacket would be more comfortable? If you carry a heavy rucksack this will wear away at the shoulders so a lightweight jacket will not last as long as a heavier one. Some of our jackets are perfect for going to work in as well as using on the hill, but you do have to sacrifice a bit of performance for style.

    To make the most of your new breathable waterproof jacket don’t wear a cotton T-shirt underneath it. This is the worst thing you can do for the performance of your breathable jacket. Cotton soaks up perspiration and holds it next to your skin so you are constantly damp and when you stop exercising you feel cool and clammy. By wearing a proper wicking base layer you are allowing the perspiration to move away from your body and pass through your fleece then evaporate out through your jacket. Don’t wear woolen jumpers either as they soak up a lot of moisture, use a fleece jacket or pull-over as your warmth layer.

    Once you have chosen your great new jacket and been out for a few adventures in it, please don’t destroy it by washing it in normal washing powder. Normal detergent strips away the water repellent coating (DWR) on the outside of the jacket so water stops beading up and the breathability drops. It does jackets good to wash them, to get the dirt off the coat and out of the pores. Without washing the fabric gets dirty and starts wetting out, which means the water is soaking into the fabric instead of beading up and rolling off and this really decreases the breathability. Washing also cleans the pores in the jackets allowing more water vapour to pass through increasing breathability.

    Wash them in Nikwax Tech Wash and you can do this in your washing machine or by hand. If you are using the washing machine (and this does a better job) then pour some water through the detergent drawer and put it on a quick empty cycle to get any detergent out of the tubes so it doesn’t get onto your jacket. After washing your jacket the heat from putting it in the tumble drier or ironing it on a medium setting helps to reactivate the DWR.

    Waterproof Trousers. Do you want waterproof overtrousers or waterproof walking trousers? You can’t take off waterproof walking trousers when you get too hot, whereas overtrousers can be put away.

    To stay comfortable it is best to wear proper walking trousers or leggings under waterproof overtrousers as they will not soak up perspiration like jeans do.

    Childrens Waterproof Jackets. We know they grow out of them quickly, but without a waterproof they can be put off the hills for life. Some of these jackets are good for school as well.

    Childrens Waterproof Trousers. These are a useful thing for kids to have. You buy them to go walking but the kids love them when its time to go sledging.

  • Walking Trousers

    Lightweight quick drying zip offs, capris and shorts or bomb proof water and wind resistant trousers for use all year round?

    We carry a good range of walking legwear with different styles for different activities. Most of them are fully synthetic so they are lightweight and quick drying. Zip Offs and Crops are great for summer walking and we have some excellent scrambling trousers for use all year round. We also have tough walking trousers that could be classed as soft shell trousers, and also insulated trousers for winter walking. This is another area where you don’t need to pay more for features or performance you won’t need. If you are walking on paths and not scrambling over Striding Edge then basic walking trousers will do fine. The more expensive trousers give you more movement for scrambling, more venting options and repel water better.

  • Walking Shoes

    Shoes are normally lighter and more flexible than boots so you are not lifting as much weight with each stride and the fit is more familiar. A lot of people walk further and quicker in shoes without feeling as tired at the end of the day because they are lifting less weight. However, shoes are more suitable for easy paths than really rough terrain where boots will give better support and protection.

    A lot of ankle support comes from underneath the foot. Good walking shoes still give a lot of ankle support as they are very similar to walking boots under the foot. They have the same strong midsole that gives the shoe its strength, rigidity and flex.

    This means you are walking on a strong platform that won’t buckle as you walk over uneven ground. People often call walking shoes “trainers”, when actually they have much more in common with walking boots. Trainers don’t offer a fraction of the support that walking shoes do and a lot of the accidents we see are from people hill walking in trainers.

    Wearing lower cut shoes rather than boots does mean they are not as waterproof. Simply because they are lower they are going to let water over the top easier. And because the laces don’t go as high there is less pressure on top of your foot to stop your heel from lifting.

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