Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Getting Outdoors With Minimum Fuss and the Best Equipment

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For those of us who love the outdoors there can be nothing worse than being stuck indoors while choosing the best outdoor gear. Knowing what to look for when it comes to waterproof jackets, boots and clothing can save on time stuck in stores, or online and leave more spare time for actually using it! Here are some tips to cut the time spent searching for the perfect kit.

Waterproofs Just Need to be Waterproof

The basic idea behind waterproof jackets is simple; they should repel water. Combined effectively with a base layer, to remove perspiration from your skin and thermal layers to provide insulation, you’ll find that the final waterproof layer creates the perfect combination to keep your body temperature well regulated and beat the worst of the elements. However, when it comes to waterproof outdoor gear most modern offerings come with an additional range of jargon to confuse and befuddle the best of us. While most modern materials are excellent at keeping water out the main problem with them tends to be design. Poorly designed and badly made jackets can allow water to creep in regardless of the level of waterproofing technology. Over-designed jackets tend to be the worst culprits on this front; with more pockets, zips, flaps and add-ons than is entirely necessary, these seem to be rather too common on the market. They're great if you want to look cool, but if you want to keep cool (and dry) they’re not always the best choice. Stick to simpler designs with adequate, but not too many, pockets. For cycling and running or activities in warmer weather light weight, simple waterproof jackets work well. For harsher climates and conditions and for hiking or mountaineering, heavier weight, robust coats and jackets will work best. Wind-proofing as well as waterproofing can be a consideration with the latter activities in particular. Even if you’re buying online, try to find a store which stocks the brands you are interested in. Don't forget accessories and check out jackets with a favourite rucksack to ensure pockets and zips don’t catch (making them susceptible to damage).

Boots; One Size Rarely Fits All

While it’s possible to buy boots, walking and running shoes online (preferable sometimes when Boxing Day or other sales crop up for outdoor gear) it really does pay to try before you buy in this case. Each of us is unique and so, unfortunately, are our feet. One size never fits all, in this case, and especially for serious walkers and mountaineers the right boots are essential. Avoiding sores, blisters and other uncomfortable foot problems makes for a much easier life when out and about enjoying the great outdoors. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice in-store on the best makes, best ways to lace and any accessories that are recommended with a product. While some of us, often mistakenly, think that we can break new boots in, the boot should really be right in the shop and not need too much breaking in once in use. Take hiking socks (or other appropriate footwear for the boot/shoe in question) and try sizes larger than you would normally take. Boots should provide a comfortable experience and plenty of support, but shouldn’t be too tight fitting (especially for winter mountaineering and climbing). If you’re trying before you’re buying some experts recommend the afternoon as the best time of day to do this – mainly as our feet swell more as the day goes on. Also try both boots on as most people find that one foot is slightly different in size to the other, meaning a happy medium needs to be established!

Brand Assured Quality

While outdoor gear is widely available from real world stores the virtual world offers some distinct advantages. Mostly, the cost factor, (especially around the time of those Boxing Day Sales) is an attractive feature. At this time of year, as we get half way through the winter season, sales become common. Given that trying before you buy is a good plan with outdoor gear (particularly boots and shoes) check on the site's returns policy if you’re planning to shop online for your outdoor wear this winter. Most stores (both real and virtual) will offer a fair refund and return policy, whatever their products, but in the case of outdoor gear it pays to be sure. Brand names mean a lot in this particular market with innovative new materials being created by experienced firms. Cheap may be cheerful but it may also turn out to be damp and uncomfortable in the long run, often it pays to buy brand and keep an eye out for online discounts in order to afford the best products available.

About the Author:

Ben Brown is a freelance writer, determined money saver and hiking and mountaineering fanatic. Here he looks at how to find the best outdoor gear, at the best prices.
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18 comments:

  1. proper gears should always be checked and maintained for easy use during outdoor activities.

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  2. I so agree with all the tips here. Trekking the great outdoors ensures fun only if you're well dressed to tackle the terrain.

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  3. proper and tough gears are really a must when mountain climbing or hiking, it does not only allow comfort but protection as well

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  4. Brands become famous because they either look good, have a good endorser, or because they are ACTUALLY good.

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  5. Oh I always look for what's best, although you need to invest money to have the comfortable and warm outdoor gear it is worth of every penny we spend though.

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  6. it is always practical to consider quality over quantity when it comes to buying outdoor gears. i guess you are already an expert when it comes to this, Beth. :)

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  7. I agree that outdoor are fun but having a damaged gears or gears that are not suitable for the activity, would really spoil all the fun

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  8. So true AteB, being stuck indoors during Winter times makes me nutty!

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  9. Thank you for the tips for choosing the best outdoor gear. I love looking at your photos. Those views of places are spectacular!

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  10. Bottomline: We have to gear up appropriately if we want to enjoy the outdoor and have exceptional fun. Dress for comfort; not for fashion. Ayan! May tinamaan! Hihihi! I so love that solo photo of you, Te Betchai! Picture perfect!

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  11. Wearing the right and proper outdoor activity gears is a must for every trekker.

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  12. Ms. Betchai, I would like to imagine how your closet looks like with all those outdoor gears. I am sure I will really be fascinated! :) Looks like you have already conquered the best outdoor adventure there is out there! I am just so WOWED! :)

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  13. My friends love hiking and they make sure they have the complete gear. They also use high-quality brands, like you mentioned. :)

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  14. Waterproof can only go so far with a six year old. Once she takes them off and roll around, we're done. When we're in the snow, I try to keep her dry as much as possible with the waterproof gears. :-)

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  15. wear and tear can render waterproof gears to be less valuable and useful. But yes, this gear helps especially in areas where rain is constantly pouring.

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  16. I couldn't agree more. I learned my lesson the hard way when I first nod for a hike. At the end of the day, backache for bringing to many stuffs and painful feet because of the wrong pair of shoes.

    The following trips were a lot easier and convenient.

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  17. Agree! Better tough even when pricey then paid less, used less too, great tips! You are always having fun in your photos!

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  18. I am no traveler but I think that everything mentioned above are all true! :)

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THANK YOU SO MUCH!!