Care instructions: How to clean your backpack properly

Care instructions: How to clean your backpack properly

21. März 2018
Care tips, Equipment

There are so many reasons to wash your walking backpack, trekking rucksack or mountaineering backpack, but none may be as pressing as those stinky shoulders straps that have absorbed so much sweat and sunscreen over the course of their career that the idea of wearing them makes you nauseated. Or, perhaps it’s all the dust and dirt that has accumulated on your trekking pack that has made you forget what colour the rucksack was when you bought it. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the interior and all the stuff that has leaked and spilled in there over the years…

Depending on just how dirty your backpack is, there are variety of complicated and less complicated ways to clean it. We recommend giving it a light cleaning on a regular basis so that you won’t have to put yourself through the rather complicated deep clean we just hinted at.

How to wash your backpack properly

Can you wash your backpack in the washing machine?

This question is asked again and again about dirty backpacks, but the answer remains the same: No! Absolutely not! A walking backpack or trekking rucksack should never ever be washed in the washing machine! Not at 30°C, not with cold water and not with mild detergents! Do not listen to all the so-called “specialists” on outdoor internet forums who recommend doing so. It’s a bad idea and we strongly advise against it. The best-case scenario would be for the coating or only parts of the backpack to get ruined. And the worst-case scenario? Well, the whole washing machine may decide to throw in the towel. The same thing goes for the dryer, too. Never tumble-dry your backpack.

Washing backpacks by hand

If your backpack gets really dirty from you cycling through mud or a long trek, there’s really no way around it: You’re going to have to give in and give it a deep clean. Once the backpack is dry from your trip, use a large brush to remove bigger chunks of dirt. Dried mud is pretty easy to remove for the most part. But, if you can’t get it all off, you can dampen the brush a bit and that should do the trick. As for all the usual debris that accumulates on the interior, just open up your pack, turn it on its head and pat it out. If you’d prefer to be a bit more thorough, you can use a vacuum as well. For anything that just refuses to budge, you can use a damp sponge cloth and wipe it off.

If wiping the dirt off doesn’t result in the degree of cleanliness you’re looking for or you’re pack just hasn’t been properly cleaned in a while, you’ll have to resort to special textile detergent suitable for backpacks. Why? Well, standard detergent is usually too aggressive for backpacks and can damage the material. Textile detergent can be used in two different ways: either for cleaning individual parts or for washing the entire backpack. To do the former, mix the detergent with lukewarm water (as specified by the instruction manual) and clean the dirty areas with a sponge or brush. For the latter, soak the backpack in a bathtub or something similar and scrub the really dirty areas with a brush. If your pack has a removable frame, make sure to remove it beforehand.

If you notice a leak in one of your bottles, it’s important to act quickly and soak up the liquid with a sponge or cloth and clean the affected area. Depending on what kind of liquid it is, it could leave ugly stains on your pack. That’s way, it’s always a good idea to soak the backpack and clean it as described above. If you let something like tea or coffee dry, it can be really difficult to clean. The same goes for juices and other “sticky” refreshments we love to drink.

A deep clean or individual parts?

Some hill walkers and trekkers never clean their packs, while other do so one time a year, while others still clean them as needed. It obviously depends on how often you use your pack and what you use it for. Hill walkers and hikers often have dirty shoulder straps, hip belts and back panels. These parts of the backpack are often stained because of sweat and sunscreen and, as you can imagine, start to smell pretty bad after a while. To counteract this, wash the straps and the back of your pack using mild detergent and give it a good rinse.

Trekking rucksacks or cycling backpacks tend to be covered with the dirt and mud we kicked up along the way. All you have to do to get rid of this is simply wipe off the outside. But, even if you do so on a regular basis, it’s still important to give it a proper clean once a year at the very least. If you only use your pack in certain seasons, proper storage is paramount. The rucksack should be stored in a dry and well-ventilated place. If you store your pack in a musty cellar or don’t give it time to dry before packing it away for the year, it could get mouldy and develop that disgusting mouldy smell.

If tea or soup spills in your pack while you’re out in the hills, wipe it up as best you can and dry the backpack using tissues or a back-up t-shirt. If you’re just doing a day trip, be sure to soak and wash the backpack the same night. If you’re out on a multi-day backpacking trip, just use mild soap and water and that should do it for the time being. You can give it a deep clean when you get home.

How to dry your backpack after washing it by hand

After soaking and scrubbing, the backpack must be thoroughly rinsed out with clean water. The best way to do this is to use a handheld showerhead and lukewarm water. You can do it in the tub as well. Any dirt or soapy residue needs to be rinsed off well, and be sure to wring out any foam parts on the backpack to extract any residue there as well.

Then hang it up upside down to dry. Make sure to leave all the pockets open and compartments unzipped so that any water can escape. If possible, hang the backpack up outside in the shade. That way, you can be certain that it will dry properly. Plus, it will smell nice and fresh and the sun won’t damage the material. By the way, the best conditions for drying your backpack are warm and windy.

Depending on outside temperature and the kind of pack you have, the drying process can take a while. If small pockets or hard-to-access areas just don’t want to dry, you can use a absorbent cloth or newspaper to speed up the process. Just stuff the pockets with newspaper and they’ll absorb a good amount of the water. Using a blow dryer to dry your backpack is just as unadvisable as putting it on the radiator to dry. Both could damage the material and even ruin the backpack completely.

How to care for your backpack after washing

Depending on how thorough a cleaning your pack had to undergo, it’s often wise to use silicone spray lubricant on the zips to make them run more smoothly. Plus, you should proof the outside of the backpack from time to time so that it can fend off rain and dirt. That way, you won’t always have to use a rain cover. This will stop the fabric becoming saturated with water, which would otherwise make the backpack heavier than it needs to be.

Another advantage to reproofing your backpack is that it will fend off dirt. This means you won’t have to wash it as often, which will, in turn, increase the lifespan of your pack as well. After explicitly stating that backpacks should never be machine-washed or tumble-dried, we’d like to give you another important tip: Never iron your backpack after washing it (yes, people do this)! The material is too sensitive for that.

When inspecting the zips and reproofing the outer fabric, check the backpack for minor damage around the seams and material. The earlier you discover the damage, the faster and easier it is to repair it. Obviously, repairs are much more difficult to make when you’re out adventuring.

How to care for zips, hook-and-loop fasteners and the like

All fasteners, zips and adjustable straps on a pack exposed to a lot of wear and tear. That’s why, it’s important to freshen them up every once in a while.

Zips, for example, can get extremely dirty, making them nearly impossible to use. To get them up and running again, apply a silicone spray lubricant to the zip and/or the slider. Then, zip it open and closed a few times so that the lubricant is distributed evenly. The zip will run much more smoothly afterwards. However, be careful not to apply too much. Allow it to set and then wipe the excess lubricant off with a clean towel.

A lot of dust accumulates on hook-and-loop fasteners, so these, too, need to be cleaned. The more dust and dirt particles there are, the worse it’ll fasten. Fortunately, there’s a quick fix for this as well. All you have to do is use a small brush (a toothbrush will do fine) to remove all the little particles from the material.

After a while, you may even notice your straps and other adjusters aren’t working as well or have stopped working altogether, too. The solution? A long bath in lukewarm water! This will loosen any dirt firmly embedded in the webbing and bring them back to life!

Reproofing your backpack

Backpacks are rarely waterproof, so it’s a good idea to protect the contents with a rain cover in bad weather. Still, many backpacks have been treated with a water repellent to make them impervious to dirt and water. Unfortunately, this layer of protection will gradually lose its effectiveness over time from use. Fortunately, though, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Using a spray-on reproofer, you can reactivate the protective coating in a flash! However, this should only be applied to areas away from the suspension system, as people with sensitive skin may have an allergic reaction.

How to store your backpack properly

Properly storing your backpack is an extremely important contributing factor to its longevity. You should never fold or crush it. Instead, store your backpack empty in a dark, well-ventilated space. Drastic changes in temperature – like those in a car or in a poorly insulated attic – can damage he material and cause it to age prematurely. If you carelessly shove your pack in your wardrobe with all your other gear, the load could deform the suspension system, rendering the backpack useless!

Decisions, decisions: Finding the right walking trousers

Decisions, decisions: Finding the right walking trousers

15. März 2018

Walking, walking and more walking! What could be better than that? All you do is sleep, walk, eat, walk, sleep…and, yep, you guessed it – walk! Sunrise and sunset determine your daily rhythm. Your rucksack only seems unbearably heavy in the beginning. And, as you walk you forget about your mobile, the internet and the crowded city streets, as it all drifts further and further away. Finally some peace and quiet! Wait, what’s that? Damn, I’ve got a blister on my foot! Great, now I’m limping! Blimey, my trousers are chafing! This is going to be awful by day two! To prevent your trekking trip becoming a nightmare like the one illustrated here, it’s absolutely essential that you have the right kit.

Backpack, shoes, clothing – everything should fit well and do their job properly! This is especially true when it comes to walking trousers. After all, you won’t want (or be able) to lug around a large selection of trousers on a multi-day trip.

The cool all-rounder for long treks

But what makes up a pair of walking trousers, anyway? Why not just go for soft shells? Soft shells may seem to be taking over market, but let’s be honest: our beloved walking trousers still have a lot going for them, especially on multi-day trips. For example, when it rains, your walking trousers can be worn underneath your waterproof trousers and will be well protected. Softshell trousers, however, are usually not capable of withstanding a downpour. A lighter pair of walking trousers, on the other hand, provides more breathability in fair conditions and have a lighter feel to them. And: A lot of models can be converted into a pair of shorts, which eliminates the need for two garments, automatically saving room in your pack. The more casual-looking walking trousers can also be considered to be all-purpose trousers – ones you could wear through a city, if need be.

Another small, but significant difference between the two kinds of trousers: Walking trousers usually have more pockets! The large thigh pockets are particularly convenient, as they give you a place to keep your map, so you won’t have to fumble around for it in your pack every single time you want to check your location.

What’s more, despite their small pack size and lightweight feel, most walking trousers protect you from the sun and insects as well, both of which will come in really handy on long treks.

A general overview of available products

As was already mentioned, fit and pack size are extremely important factors when it comes to trekking. For comfort, walking trousers usually come equipped with articulated knees like the FJÄLLRÄVEN – Barents Pro walking trousers. Plus, most trousers are stretchy, allowing for a wide range of motion.

As for the fabric, walking trousers are made of different materials, and it all really comes down to your own personal preference. Because of odour and those annoying swooshing noises, some walkers swear by a blend of cotton and synthetics, as in the Abisko Trousers from Fjällräven or by merino wool and synthetics, as in the Pelmo Pants walking trousers from Ortovox , whilst others prefer purely synthetic trousers. However, all high-quality walking trousers usually have a solid level of breathability and wind and/or water-repellent properties. When it comes to choosing material, it’s always important to opt for a fabric that feels good to you.

Some more important details on walking trousers

Several walking trouser models can be adjusted to accommodate changes in weather conditions. For example, many of them have zip-off legs. It’s really convenient to have a pair of trousers that not only have detachable legs but ones with a full-length side zip, like the Women’s Jasay from Salewa. That way, you can keep your boots on when you zip off the legs. Some models, such as the Trekker Convertible Pant from The North Face are even more versatile: If you’d rather not take the entire trouser leg off, you can simply roll it up and secure it using the loops provided.

Speaking of trouser legs, some manufacturers even make different trouser lengths for those who have trouble with the standard lengths. Fjällräven, for example, solved this problem with their “raw length”, which you’ll find in models like the Karl Trousers Hydratic walking trousers from Fjällräven. With these, the length of the leg can be adjusted ever so precisely to meet your needs. Lundhags has developed a similar feature, which can be found in the Lundhags Jonten Pant. These have an unshortened length that can be adjusted to your leg.

Walking trousers take quite a beating

Multi-day treks can be tough, not only in terms of the distance but also when it comes to the terrain. We trekkers often traverse dense undergrowth, trudge along rock and it’s not at all rare for us to sit down for a break in the sand, either! For precisely this reason, walking trousers come equipped with reinforced panels at the knee and seat. Examples thereof can be found on the Terminal 2.0 DST walking trousers for men. This tough material serves to increase the lifespan of the trousers in areas of high wear – something that is especially important when you’re going cross country.

Special areas of use

If you already know exactly where your walking adventure is going to take you, you can start looking for a pair of trousers tailored to your specific needs. For example, if you’re heading to the tropics, it’s important to have ones made of lightweight and extremely breathable fabric that will protect you from insects. In regions ridden with scorpions and leeches (yikes), cuffs underneath the trouser legs are a great thing to have. In regions with intense sunlight or at high altitudes, you’ll need a pair of trousers that provide high UV protection. If you’ll be moving along a via ferrata, it’s important that the legs are stretchy. In other words, the trousers should allow for enough range of motion for larger movements.

If you’re planning a more treacherous journey through snow, then the kind of trousers you’re looking for will change from walking to touring or winter trousers.

Three hot tips for good measure

Tip one: Before you head out, make sure your belt or the belt loops on your trousers don’t get in the way of the hip belt on your rucksack. To avoid this problem, many brands (the ones that include belts with their trousers) use flat belts with flat buckles.

Tip two: When trying on a pair of zip-off trousers, make sure the zips don’t chafe your thighs or rub up against the backs of your knees.

Tip three: Always take good care of your zipped-off trouser legs! Otherwise, you might be a half a leg short – forever!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask our experts in customer service. They are available during the week from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 03 33 33 67058 or via e-mail.

Polyester: a fibre with a wide range of applications

Polyester: a fibre with a wide range of applications

14. März 2018

Polyester is used very frequently, especially in sportswear. This synthetic fibre boasts such a large variety of positive characteristics for virtually any application that it is now absolutely essential to the sports industry. The fibre is used again and again for apparel in both cycling and mountain sports.

And, it doesn’t make any difference whether the clothes are made for warm or cold weather. Due to the way in which the clothing is made, apparel constructed completely or partly from polyester usually does precisely what you expect it to do.

Polyester transports moisture

As already mentioned, polyester is often used for sportswear, irrespective of the sport. After all, athletes all want the same thing: They want a fabric that doesn’t make them sweat, that keeps moisture away from the body and keeps them warm in chilly weather without making them overheat.

In contrast to cotton, polyester has a low absorbency, so sweat resulting from intense physical activity is automatically drawn away to the outside. This means that there is no build up of moisture on the interior of the sportswear, eliminating the risk of you cooling down too much after exercise or in windy conditions. The moisture remains on the surface of the fabric where it simply evaporates.

Since polyester doesn’t absorb sweat but instead moves it away from the body, harmful bacteria cannot even begin to form. So, you’ll be able to prevent the dreaded smell of sweat forming in the first place! And, if the garment is washed on a regular basis, then it’ll be particularly hygienic!

Another advantage, which also has to do with moisture, is that polyester dries very quickly. After a hard run, exhausting ascent or tough training session, your polyester shirt or trousers will dry in a flash! This also means that after you’ve washed them, they’ll be dry and ready to go in no time at all. Plus, you usually don’t even have to iron it for it to look good! What a deal! Yep, it’s true: Polyester hardly wrinkles!

Polyester will keep you warm when it’s cold

Apart from being used for moisture-wicking jerseys and sport bottoms, the synthetic fibre is also used for lining or insulation because of its insulating effect. You’ll find it as linings in winter jackets and sleeping bags. These fibres are now even used for tents and outdoor blankets as well. In sum, when you combine the insulating and moisture-resistant properties of polyester, you get a textbook example of a solid outdoor fabric. This fibre keeps mountaineers, hill walkers and expedition-goers protected at all times, allowing them to achieve their goals without being held back by the elements.

Of course, in order for polyester to have an insulating effect, it needs our body heat. Like with neoprene, a warm, protective layer forms between your body and the garment. Cold air from the outside hardly comes into contact with the body. This characteristic is also obviously crucial for blankets and sleeping bags, as it’ll help to prevent you suffering from hypothermia when sleeping in the mountains or bivouacking.

The downsides of polyester

Like with any fibre, there are several upsides to polyester but a few downsides as well. The biggest downside is probably that many people are allergic to it. Cotton seems to be much easier for people to take than polyester. Like with sheep’s wool, polyester can cause your skin to itch and redden. Fortunately, most athletes are familiar with the allergy and steer clear of polyester if necessary.

Other uses of polyester

Apart from being used for clothing, polyester is also used in other applications. You’ll find it in the form of a thermoset as in hard plastic objects. In fact, there are several plastic parts in the sports industry that are made from polyesters, such as sports equipment. As you can see, it’s a material with a very broad range of applications.

Polyester is also used for fibreglass. This material is extremely strong and stiff. That’s why, it’s often used for manufacturing sports equipment and other sportsproducts, all of which need to be extremely robust, durable and light. Fibreglass is so strong that it is often used for building boats and even appears in helmets, (archery) bows and many other objects.

As a result of its versatility, polyester is a material that has an incredibly wide range of applications. However, despite all of its excellent properties, it is often perceived as a cheap, low-quality alternative to other higher-quality fibres. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Polyester is used for almost every professional athlete’s jersey, racing suit and piece of sports equipment.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask our experts in customer service. They are available during the week from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 03 33 33 67058 or via e-mail.

Tips for bouldering: Training & Technique

Tips for bouldering: Training & Technique

9. März 2018
Tips and Tricks

The climbing centres and bouldering hubs of the world are full of good boulderers, but how did they get that good and how long did it take them? Well, as with any other sport, practice makes perfect, but there are a few other things you can do to improve more quickly as well.

Let’s start with the good news. It’s pretty easy to learn how to boulder. Similar to climbing, if you train on a regular basis, there’s no doubt you’ll make a lot of progress in the beginning.

Of course, all that progress won’t be without pain and soreness in muscles you never knew you had. And, many of the holds will still seem virtually impossible to hold on to. But, in just a few weeks, not only will the soreness in your muscles begin to decrease, but you’ll start tackling more projects as well. It’ll be so much fun that you grinning ear to ear – I promise! However, before you get to that point, there are some things you should keep in mind.

Bouldering tips for beginners – The right material

Fortunately, you don’t need a whole lot to boulder. A comfortable pair of trousers and the right shoes should do the trick. But this is where it gets interesting. The rental shoes from the centre will suffice for the first couple of weeks, but you’ll quickly realise that you need something more, something better! Unfortunately, purchasing a pair of your very own shoes isn’t as easy as you might think. There’s a list of questions you’ll have to answer, such as how tight the shoe should be and whether you need special shoes for bouldering, among other things.

Climbers and boulderers don’t necessarily wear different shoes, but oftentimes they do prefer different models. Much more important than the question of climbing vs. bouldering is the question of which boulders you prefer and which ones you climb more often. Boulderers who love overhanging rock faces, for example, need a pair with heel tension so that they fit snugly around the heel for hooks. Boulderers who prefer vertical faces or slabs need more sticky, sensitive shoes for those non-existent holds.

When looking for the right shoes, it’s important to take your time as well. It’s not at all uncommon for boulderers to have two or more pairs of shoes. But, since the first pair usually doesn’t last that long, don’t spend too much money.

The proper bouldering technique

Like with so many other disciplines, standard moves have been developed in recent years that are supposed to help boulderers “solve” boulder problems and improve their efficiency. The techniques are geared toward the wall incline, the shape of the holds, the character of the route (traverse or straight up), the composition of the wall (slopers, cracks, edges, etc.) and of course the level of difficulty.

At climbing centres, you’ll notice most bouldering walls are set up to require a sequence of techniques. The sum of these moves results in the boulder problem or the path you take to complete your climb. Oftentimes, there are multiple solutions to a boulder problem. Different body sizes, strengths and wingspans also result in different solutions. The larger your repertoire of techniques and the quicker you can access them, the better.

A good way to learn bouldering techniques is to take a course and try out the basics under the supervision of an experienced boulderer. Another great way to acquire more knowledge is to talk to other boulderers and tackle problems together. The huge advantage to bouldering is that you can start (almost) anywhere on the boulder and don’t have to climb several metres before you get to the crux, as you would when climbing.

So, just talk to your fellow boulderers, watch others and give it a go yourself! Then, if you become open to trying out moves you had never dreamed possible, you’re on the right track.

Bouldering training done right

Efficient training sessions are always geared towards the strengths and weaknesses of a boulderer, his or her level of fitness and physiological and psychological constitution. Thus, they should always be structured according to the individual. But, the following points should be also included:

Warming up

An extremely important component of every training session is a good warm-up. This will get your body prepared for the demands bouldering puts on it and help to prevent injuries. After all, bouldering requires both flexibility and maximum strength.

To do this, you can do some easy traversing with slow, controlled movements whilst trying to apply the various techniques you’ve learned. Between each boulder, it’s important to take a break to allow your body to adjust. Then, slowly increase the difficulty of the climbs.

Also, it’s important to mention that static stretching is no longer recommended because holding a stretch actually tires the muscles.

Warm up your fingers

Very important! Because your fingers and the muscles in the forearm that flex the fingers are put under a lot of stress, it is really important to warm them up thoroughly beforehand. But do it on large holds, not miniscule ones, and keep your fingers away from the campus board.

Training: Work on your weaknesses!

Your training sessions should be physically demanding but not too demanding. Otherwise, you’ll risk getting injured. Every boulderer has his or her strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, we often prefer boulders that more in line with our strengths, since these are much easier and we can climb higher grades, which is extremely fun.

But, obviously, if you only train to your strengths, you won’t be doing anything about your weaknesses. That said, you should work on your weaknesses in addition to your strengths. So, if you’re really good at slabs, you should still climb overhangs on a regular basis and vice-versa. True, it can be depressing, but it’ll pay off in the end.

Of course, it’s true, too, that your strengths and weakness don’t just manifest themselves on individual boulders. Some things we can learn from observation, but you’ll have to try it out for yourself eventually.

The guys from Wataaah are well aware of this fact and have created a machine that measures your strengths – the Kraftolizer. This tests such things as flexibility, maximum strength, endurance, reaction, etc. Afterwards, you get a precise list of things you need to work on. However, be forewarned: In the rarest of cases will the analysis say: “Power. Hit the campus board.” That’s something more suitable for professionals, anyway. What most amateur boulderers lack is actually technique and flexibility.

Don’t forget about the reward

This is a fundamental part of training and should never be left out. After a day of bouldering, head to the pub with your fellow boulderers and talk about bouldering!

Care instructions: How to store your tent properly

Care instructions: How to store your tent properly

7. März 2018
Care tips

When you’re travelling in the great outdoors, your tent is your home. It’s a place you know you can always go back to when the weather takes a turn for the worse or you just need some rest and relaxation. But, in order for it to serve you to the best of its abilities, it has to be stored probably.

I mean, what’s worse than pitching your tent only to find funky mould stains all over the place. Yuck! To prevent this happening to you, we’ve put together some useful info on how to clean and store your tent.

Cleaning your tent

When you get back home from a trip, it’s best to set up your tent in your garden or somewhere similar to remove all the dust and dirt. The best way to do this is to use lukewarm water and a mild cleaning product. Then, using a sponge or soft brush, remove all surface dirt. If you find some stains on the mesh fabric of the inner tent, you can remove them in the same way. If the stains are just downright stubborn, we recommend soaking the entire inner tent in lukewarm water and rinsing it by hand. Don’t even think about tossing it in the washing machine! For more stubborn stains, you can always use special cleaning products designed to be used on tents. You can also try turning the inner tent inside out and giving it a good shake. This will help you get rid of any traces left on the tent from your last outing quickly and easily.

Once your tent is clean, you need to give it time to dry completely. If you put your tent away damp, it’s very likely that mould and mildew will grow as a result. So, be sure to let it dry in a warm and well-ventilated place until it is completely free of moisture.

Any damage?

Before storing your tent, check for damage and make any necessary repairs. If there is more significant damage to your tent, we recommend taking it to a specialist and getting it repaired by either that specialist or the manufacturer, if necessary. Don’t forget to have a look at the poles as well and check for any cracks. If they are damaged, be sure to get them replaced.

If you had used your tent for an extended period of time on a long adventure, you can also reseal the seams using a seam sealer like Vaude Silicone Seam Sealer (for siliconised fabric) or SeamGrip (for PU fabric). Finally, you should make sure your tent is complete and that you’re not missing any pegs, poles or stuff sacks.

Where to store your tent

Once your tent has been cleaned and is completely dry and you’ve made sure all damage has been repaired and all parts are accounted for, you can start looking for the perfect place to store your tent. Your best option is a dry and well-ventilated area. Cellars are often great storage areas, but be sure to store your tent in a way that will protect it from any mice or other rodents. Nothing’s worse than finding out a mouse has gnawed its way through your tent right before you head out on a trip. Whether you store your tent in a stuff sack, box or bag is up to you. If you take care of your tent and store it properly, it’ll accompany you on your adventures for a long time to come.

Need a new tent >>

If you have any questions, feel free to ask our experts in customer service. They are available during the week from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 03 33 33 67058 or via e-mail.

How to dress for a high-altitude mountaineering adventure

How to dress for a high-altitude mountaineering adventure

13. Februar 2018
Buyer's guide

If you’re planning on mountaineering at high altitudes, you not only need quality gear but also the appropriate clothing. If you save in the wrong areas or take too much (useless) or too little equipment, the whole trip will seem cursed from the very beginning. So, what is the appropriate clothing for high-altitude mountaineering? What clothing is an absolute must and where could you save some weight or space in your pack? And finally, what should you wear when and why?To answer these questions, we’re going to work our way systematically from your base layer to your mid and outermost layers all the way down to your shoes. Sound good? All right then. Allow us to present to you the dress code for the high mountains!

What to wear underneath – your base layer

At high altitudes and in cold weather, your lowest layer of clothing is incredibly important. It’s usually made up of what we like to call the Holy Trinity or more specifically a shirt, underwear and socks. And, these are not your ordinary garments you’ve had for years just lying around the house. Itchy wool underwear and terry cloth socks are not the best option here. Instead, mountaineers opt for functional, breathable and – most importantly – non-itchy fabric. These are constructed from either synthetic fibres or natural materials like merino wool.

When it comes to shirts, it’s always nice to have one that looks more like a regular shirt than an undershirt because, believe it or not, you might get hot and end up rocking your short-sleeved shirt on its own. This is not at all rare when mountaineering in the summertime. It can warm up quite a bit during the day or when you’re relaxing on a sun terrace at a mountain hut in the Alps.

You should also pay special attention to your socks, because these, too, can make or break a mountaineering expedition. The important thing here is that your socks fit as snugly as possible without being constrictive. They should never be too big or fold back on themselves, as this could end up causing pressure points and chafing. Standard walking socks with a high cuff are a great option, having proved themselves to be perfect for high-altitude mountaineering. But, don’t just go with any walking socks. It is generally recommended to try your mountaineering boots and socks on together so that you can be certain that they work well together and don’t end up killing your feet!

The middleman – your mid-layer

The middle layer of clothing serves to provide you with the necessary warmth. Depending on the temperature and the weather conditions, your mid-layer could be anything from a long-sleeved shirt to an insulated jacket – basically anything that traps warmth around your body. Oftentimes, two garments are combined. Which combo you choose depends on your personal preference. For example, you could go with a long-sleeved shirt and a synthetic jacket or a fleece jumper with a softshell jacket. The right combination always depends on your perception of warmth as well as the weather conditions.

As for the trousers, a pair of abrasion-resistant outdoor trousers is your best bet. Usually, trousers of this kind are made of a stretchy material that is both water-resistant and breathable. These trousers are often reinforced at the knees, inseam or seat to reduce the risk of damage caused by crampons, rocks, debris and the edges of skis. The trousers should also seal up nicely toward the bottom of the leg and have width-adjustable leg cuffs, if possible. This feature not only serves to prevent snow, water and dirt penetrating into the interior but also eliminates the need for gaiters, which is nice.

Impenetrable – your outermost layer

Now that we’ve established that mid and base layers are functional underwear designed to shield you from draughts and cold air, we can move on to your outer layer. When the weather doesn’t feel like cooperating and it starts to rain, snow or just gets super cold, you need an extra layer that seals up the whole system. The icing on the cake, if you will.

The finishing touches to your layering system are waterproof trousers and a waterproof jacket. These are usually packable and provide reliable protection in all sorts of foul weather. It’s incredibly important to have a good jacket. In addition to waterproof protection, it is very important for the jacket to be breathable as well. After all, it doesn’t really make much of a difference if you get wet from rain coming from the outside or sweat from the inside. Because mountaineering expeditions require you to carry a big rucksack, it’s important for the jacket to be suitable for wear with a backpack as well. Also: make sure the jacket pockets are positioned a bit higher, so that they are still accessible when you’re wearing a harness.

If you have to climb certain sections or certain parts of the route are exposed, you’ll usually have a helmet on as well. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to find a jacket with a helmet-compatible hood.

Waterproof trousers are not always necessary, but definitely a plus on ski tours and at high altitudes. Even if you’re heading out in spring and anticipate large old snow fields, a pair of waterproof trousers on you or in your pack can definitely come in handy. As with the other trousers mentioned above, these, too, should close nicely toward the bottom of the leg. That way, snow won’t be able to get in at the leg openings, nor will you have to worry about your crampons getting caught on the fabric.

Let’s see your kicks! – Shoes

The number of mountaineering boots on the market is daunting. There are all sorts of different models designed for different applications, so it’s important to find the proper pair for your intended use. Crampons are among the plethora of aspects you need to consider when looking into buying a pair of mountaineering boots. For more information on the topic of mountaineering boots, you can have a look at our blog post on the subject (currently only available in German). Because you’re bound to come upon some glaciers and firns when mountaineering at high altitudes, you’ll often need to use crampons. These are available in various models and not every model is compatible with every shoe. So, when shopping for boots, it is very important to make sure the crampons are compatible with whichever pair you choose.

Much more important, however, is to ensure that your boots fit well and don’t chafe or put uneven pressure on your feet. A boot that doesn’t fit properly will automatically turn your adventure into a torturous nightmare. That being said, it’s a good idea to break in your mountain boots before heading out on your first longer mountaineering trip and to choose the appropriate socks. True, going for a stroll in your local park on a Sunday afternoon in your mountaineering boots might look a bit silly, but I guarantee you feet will thank you for it later.

Anything else? – Summary

Of course! But we’re not going to go into it here. The list of all the “bits and bobs” you may need on a mountain expedition is so long that we’ve decided to dedicate this post to the large and most basic articles of clothing. It almost goes without saying that you’ll need an insulated or UV-protective beanie, appropriate gloves and the best glacier goggles you can find if you’re planning such an excursion. A tube scarf and gaiters can be really useful as well.

Because of all these extra things you may need, we recommend determining well in advance where and how long you’ll be travelling for. That way, you can create a list based on your individual needs and alter you clothing choices to the particular demands of that trip, if need be. This often saves an enormous amount of weight and space in your backpack!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask our experts in customer service. They are available during the week from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 03 33 33 67058 or via e-mail.

Water purification - Different treatment methods

Water purification – Different treatment methods

8. Februar 2018
Equipment, Tips and Tricks

“Why are you lying around the house again? Didn’t feel like going on? No, got diarrhoea…I guess the water wasn’t as clean as I thought it was…”

It’s not at all rare to hear these or similar stories from fellow outdoorsmen who cut their trip short. Unfortunately, when you’re in the great outdoors – be it a multi-day trek, a climbing trip or an expedition to Africa – water and water purification is one of the most important factors. There’s simply no way around it. After all, a whopping three-quarters of all illnesses are water-borne – yikes!

In order to reduce the risk of you contracting water-borne diseases, please have a good, hard think about the following: First and foremost, use common sense. I mean, nobody in their right mind would drink standing muddy water willingly, right? So, you shouldn’t either! But, what about when you’re trekking through meadows and cultivated land and come upon a little innocent stream? Oh yeah, totally drink the stream water. It looks drinkable. Go for it. Yeah…I know what you’re thinking. You shouldn’t have taken that sip, right? Even in seemingly clear stream water, there are loads of invisible risks that can ruin a trip. You said it: Montezuma’s revenge!

The different types of impurities in water

In a nutshell, there are three different types of impurities present in water:

Dirt or suspended solids

  • Undissolved particles and sediment


  • Bacteria like e-coli or salmonella (ca. 0.2-5 microns in size)
  • Virus like hepatitis A (~0.02 – 0.2 microns in size)
  • Protozoa like giardia (ca. 1-15 microns in size)

Agricultural resources

  • Like fertiliser, pesticides or herbicides

How can I purify my drinking water

Boiling – the easiest and oldest method

If the water is somewhat clear and not too cloudy, then you can use the oldest and simple method: simply boil the water. This is a very effective way to combat the various pathogens, but chemicals and suspended particles remain.

At sea level, you should boil the water for at least five minutes. If you’re planning a trip to the mountains, you’ll have to boil the water longer, since the boiling point of water gets lower with higher altitude. As a rule of thumb: Increase the boiling time by 1 minute for every 150 metres of elevation gain.

And that brings us to the biggest downside of boiling. You need fuel, and a lot of it, especially for long trips or large amounts of water. To reduce the amount of fuel required and to filter out the suspended particles and chemicals in the water, there is a variety of other water purification techniques you can use. The most important water purification methods are:

Using chemicals

such as Micropur Forte

  • How does Micropur Forte work? It uses silver ions or chlorine to kill micro-organisms. Use one tablet for one litre of clear water and wait up to 120 minutes for it to take effect, depending on how much time is recommended
  • What does it combat? Bacteria, viruses, most protozoa and fungi
  • How heavy is the package? 22 grams for 100 tablets
  • Dosage: One tablet per litre of water
  • Application: For clear, but potentially contaminated water; when the water is stored

+ easy to use
+ conserves the drinking water for up to 6 months

– only works with clear water
– does not combat suspended particles or chemicals
– chemical taste (use Katadyn Antichlorine to neutralise the taste of chlorine)
– takes a long time to take effect

Using UV light

such as with the Steripen Classic

  • How does the treatment work? Uses UV light to inactivate micro-organisms, but doe not destroy them.
  • What does the treatment using UV light combat? Bacteria, viruses and protozoa
  • Dosage the device generates 100 litres of sterilised water per battery charge
  • How heavy is the Steripen? 97 grams without batteries
  • Who is it best suited for? If you need it to go fast and don’t need large amounts of water.

+ effectively combats viruses
+ easy to use
+ quick purification of water

– you need batteries
– does not filter out suspended particles or chemicals
– only works with clear water

Water filter

such as the MSR Miniworks

  • How does a water filter work? Mechanically – the contaminants are removed from the water with the help of the filter unit (usually made of ceramic, fibreglass, plastic, activated charcoal or a combination thereof). Activated charcoal filters chemicals such as pesticides, chlorine and other things while improving the taste as well. High-quality ceramic filters have a pore size of 0.2 microns, so all micro-organisms that are larger than 0.2 microns are removed.
  • What does it combat? Bacteria, protozoa, suspended solids and chemicals
  • Dosage 2,000 litres – then you’ll have to replace the ceramic cartridge. Of course, you’ll have to sand it or clean it every once and a while as well.
  • How heavy is the MSR Miniworks? 456 grams
  • Application Who is it best suited for? Very cloudy water; frequent and heavy use

+ filters suspended particles, bacteria, protozoa as well as chemicals out of the water
+ can quickly treat a large amount of water

– relatively heavy
– viruses are not filtered out


The way in which you ultimately purify your water depends on the kind of trip you’re planning and your destination. Sometimes, it’s wise to combine various methods. If you’re on a hut trip in the Alps and would like to fill up your water bottle in a stream without running the risk of getting sick, your best bet would probably be a Steripen. When you make it to the hut, there’ll be purified water or a bottled isotonic drink waiting for you, anyway.

If you want to safely disinfect water in your campervan water tank and store it for a long period of time, chemicals would be your best choice. Antichlorine will help get rid of the bad taste as well.

If trekking is more your thing, a mechanical water filter is definitely a good choice. It will allow you to purify large amounts of water in a short period of time. The good thing about this is that you won’t have to worry about any electronics breaking or your water tasting like chlorine or other chemicals. The downside is you’ll have a bit more to carry.

Care instructions: How to patch up holes in your sleeping mat

Care instructions: How to patch up holes in your sleeping mat

26. Januar 2018
Care tips

A deflated mat is like a broken heart…Just kidding, we’re not going to go there, but you have to admit that there is a bit of truth to what I was going to say. To put it more simply and without using a sappy simile: Once your mat starts to lose air, you can bid farewell to all that toasty warmth that makes you feel all bubbly inside. After all, sleeping mats can only do their job when they’re inflated…and stay that way. Steer clear of sharp rocks, flying sparks and try to reduce all the wear and tear because all of these factors could potentially damage your mat and even put a hole in it and break your heart! There it is. But don’t go down without a fight! To avoid having to sleep on the cold, hard ground, here is a brief overview of how to seal up your sleeping mats perfectly!

Finding the hole

Before heading out, it’s imperative to inspect your kit. This includes your sleeping mat. Take out your sleeping mat, blow it up (or don’t if it’s self-inflating) and wait a bit. If the mat starts to lose air after a while, something is wrong. If you can eliminate the possibility of its losing air because of a change in temperature, it’s safe to say that a hole is the culprit. So, put on your detective hats because now we’ve got to do some sleuthing.

There are several ways to find a hole. As you would with a bike tube, you can just give the mat a nice bath. Just place the inflated sleeping mat in a tub filled with water. When you see little bubbles starting to form in a particular area, you’ll know where to look for the hole. If you don’t have a big tub at your disposal, you can use the soap-sud technique. To do this, mix some washing-up liquid with water and wipe it on areas of sleeping mat that could be damaged. If you see bubbles, you’ve found it!

If for whatever reason you can’t use this method, you can always resort to the leak detector, a small see-through container filled with foam pellets that help you to detect a leak. These things are available in specialised shops and are perfect for when you’re on the go. Oftentimes, when you’re touring, neither the bath nor soap-sud method is possible, so it’s a pretty nice option to have. To start, simply slide the detector over the sleeping mat. When air comes out of the hole, the little pellets will start moving. By the way, I’ve found a hole before by running my damp fingers over the surface of a mat, but this method is really only recommended in emergency situations because it isn’t as reliable as the others mentioned above. Regardless of the method you choose, it’s always a good idea to put some pressure on the mat so that the hole is noticeable.

If you were unable to find a hole despite all your efforts, it’s possible that the valve is the cause of the loss of air. If there’s dirt in the valve, it won’t be able to close properly. Sometimes, a thorough cleaning can work wonders with a dirty valve and seal it up just as before!

Preparing the mat for repair

Once you’ve found the hole (regardless of the method), the spot has to be cleaned and marked. To clean it, simply use some clean water and a cloth. If it’s really dirty, rubbing alcohol can help. Mark the hole with a waterproof marker. You can use a pen, too, if you don’t have a marker. Then deflate the mat. At this point, you can begin.

For quick repairs, you can use a repair kit. These kits usually consist of several airtight patches in different sizes and fabric glue. They’re easy to use and the basic principle is the same for all of them. However, be sure to read the instructions just in case. Once the mat’s clean and dry and you’ve marked the hole, you can begin. First, grab a patch that matches the size of the hole. If your kit doesn’t have pre-sized patches, just cut it to size. Here’s a tip: try to round out the corners of the patch with a pair of scissors. That way, the patch won’t come off as easily.

There are generally two different kinds of patches: self-adhesive and not self-adhesive. If you have the latter, all you have to do is apply the fabric glue to the damaged area and quickly press the patch down, removing any excess glue. Self-adhesive patches are applied in a similar way, but you can obviously do without the glue. Take the patch, remove half of the protective film from the sticky side and press the patch down on the damaged area, while removing the rest of the film. Use your other hand to press down the other side of the patch onto the mat. Then wait (regardless of the method). It usually takes 30 minutes to an hour for the adhesive to dry. After that, it’ll be ready to go!

If you notice a hole in your mat in the middle of the night and don’t have the patience to wait that long, 15 minutes will do the trick, but really only in dire situations! If you don’t wait long enough, it’s likely your mat won’t be sealed for long. Oh, and make sure not to leave any sticky residue on the mat. Otherwise, you might find that your sleeping bag and sleeping mat have become inseparable overnight! If you follow these instructions and patch up your mat correctly, it’ll be as good as new! Sleep tight!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask our experts in customer service. They are available during the week from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 03 33 33 67058 or via e-mail.

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The North Face's Thermoball: An alternative to down?

The North Face’s Thermoball: An alternative to down?

23. Januar 2018

Thermoball? Warmth + ball? What the deuce is that supposed to be? What do these two words have to do with each other?

Well, hidden behind this interesting combination of words is a new and innovative insulation technology developed by The North Face in collaboration with Primaloft. The North Face is surely a term you’re familiar with. You know, the American brand that combines innovation and adventure with loads of style? Yep, that’s The North Face. PrimaLoft, on the other hand, is a brand of thermal insulation material developed for apparel.

The aim of this development was to imitate the positive characteristics of down insulation with the help of synthetic fibres whilst simultaneously eliminating down’s negative properties and the usual synthetic fibres available on the market today. In the following, we’d like to introduce you to this new technology and tell what it can and can’t do.

A jacket for every adventure

When you’re in the great outdoors, you’re constantly exposed to different weather conditions. Sun, wind, rain, cold, fog, ice, snow and that’s just a few of the mighty weapons Mother Nature can throw at you. There are so many other beautiful and not-so-beautiful combinations as well.

If you ever asked outdoor enthusiasts about their dream jacket, they would probably say, “One that is packable, quick-drying, warm, breathable, waterproof or water repellent at the very least. It should breathe when you sweat and insulate when you’re more relaxed. Oh, and it should look good, too.” A jacket that keeps you warm when you’re relaxed and stops insulating when you move? Sounds a lot like that milk-giving wool-pig the Germans are always talking about.

Anyway, The North Face has developed a new insulation material that doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel, but still manages to combine the positive properties of down and synthetic fibres. They’ve created an insulation technology that broadens the areas of use for insulated jackets significantly.

Thermoball is very versatile, so it can be used in a variety of ways: either as an insulated jacket (meaning a layer underneath your hardshell jacket) or as your outer layer in dry conditions. Thermoball can also be used as padding and fixed directly under your hardshell, thereby eliminating the need for an additional layer.

The North Face sees Thermoball as a single-jacket solution for any adventure. By this they mean that, because Thermoball has such excellent properties, it is extremely versatile. Whenever you need breathability, insulation and flexibility, as you would while hill walking, trekking or trail running, Thermoball is a great choice.

Warmth with none of the disadvantages of down

The advantage Thermoball products have over down lies in their ability to insulate when wet and dry much more quickly. And the disadvantages? There are supposedly none to speak of.

Now for some specs: The insulation provided by Thermoball is supposed to be comparable to that of 600 cuin goose down insulation. But, what does 600 cuin even mean? This unit refers to the so-called fill power of down. It measures how much of one cubic inch is occupied by 27.3 grams or one ounce of down. The higher this value is, the higher the thermal insulation relative to its pack size. Obviously, you want high thermal insulation, but I’m sure none of you want to lug around an extremely thick jacket or huge sleeping bag, unless you were on an expedition in Antarctica. In other words, the magic recipe is good thermal insulation and a small pack size.

For the animal lovers among you, synthetic fibres have the additional plus that they’re not made from animal products and can thus be used without a guilty conscience. Well, let me take that back. Our eco-friendly friends out there will be disappointed to hear that Thermoball is not a natural fibre and thus not biodegradable.

Thermoball technology

Where Thermo comes from is obvious, but what about ball? Well, Thermoball insulation consists of small, round synthetic fibre clusters or balls that have the positive characteristics of goose down. Thermoball is fluffy and very packable. Regardless of the insulation material – be it down or Thermoball, the thing that keeps you warm is the air. The air between the Thermoballs is heated up by the body and trapped by the balls. The result is a warm air cushion around your body.

Unlike standard synthetic fibres, Thermoballs don’t stick together, so you’ll get more joy out of the product for a longer period. You can even wash Thermoball every now and again and nothing will happen!

We hope that the Thermoball technology is as good as TNF claims it to be! We’re looking forward to hearing about your own experiences.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask our experts in customer service. They are available during the week from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 03 33 33 67058 or via e-mail.

There’s a lot going on in the climbing and outdoor industry. New products are being invented, existing ones are being reworked and improved, and we, too, are learning more every day. And, of course, we would like to share this knowledge with our customers. That’s why we regularly revise the articles at base camp. So, don’t be surprised if a post changes a bit in the coming months. This article was last edited on 03/03/2016.

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Packing list: Trekking

Packing list: Trekking

16. Januar 2018
packing list

The vastness of nature and the feeling of being in the great outdoors and carrying your home on your back for multiple days (or even weeks) are things you can only experience by trekking. The kit you need may vary depending on the region, season and length of your trip. Regardless of whether you’re travelling in spring, summer or autumn, it’s important to consider the weather in advance. Of course, good planning is half the battle!

The following is a basic kit list that you can adjust according to the demands of your trip.

The big four

Clothing in your layering system

1. Layer (underwear):

2. Layer (insulation):

3. Layer (weather protection):

Food: Eating and drinking


Other items

Optional (depending on the trip and time of year)

If you still have room in your pack

The word trekking is usually used to describe long-distance, multi-day walks. The cool thing about it is how independent you are. Neither time, nor place is really a factor. Plus, you’re far removed from civilisation as well. Trekking is about the challenge of having to depend on yourself, being completely exposed to the elements, doing your own thing and experiencing nature in a completely new way! There is nothing better than feeling one with nature in all its various facets. True, you may find a bothy or some other kind of shelter along the way (depending on the country you’re in), but for the most part, you’re on your own!

Thus, you have to pack accordingly. Your kit will consist of the basics (similar to a hut trip) along with the “big four” (rucksack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat) and cooking supplies for your trip. Of course, it’s important to choose the appropriate footwear as well. At the very least, you should have an ankle-high pair of shoes for additional stability. That way, you can avoid tearing any ligaments (like from rolling an ankle) along the way. The shoes should also have a softer, more flexible sole than mountaineering boots, since you’ll be tacking on more kilometres than you would be in the high mountains and usually won’t have to do any scrambling or climbing.

Now, we’re going to talk about some practical little gadgets, which may not seem as useful at first glance as they actually are. Stuff sacks! Stuff sacks are something you should definitely have with you in addition to waterproof zipped bags for electronics and documents. That way, you’ll be able to keep the contents of your pack organised. Stuff sacks are available in a wide variety of sizes and colours so that you can quickly identify which sack is for laundry, clean clothes or your medication. Another must-have: duct tape. Whether you’ve got a hole in your tent, your shoes are falling apart or you just can’t get your travel buddy to shut up ;), duct tape can pretty much fix any problem. Just as useful is a couple metres of Paracord or a thin accessory cord. These cords are extremely tear-resistant and can be used as laces, a belt or a clothesline. Elastic bands and a couple of zip ties are also incredibly useful and hardly take up any room. They can help you tie and secure all sorts of things – perfect for whenever you need to improvise! Last but not least: tampons. And yes, for men too. Tampons can be used as a makeshift pad for deep cuts or can be used as a tinder to start a fire. Usually, just one spark is enough to get a nice, warm campfire started.

If you’re a perfectionist, we recommend opening up Excel and putting together a list tailored to your individual needs: By listing weight information, quantities and food (including calorie data), you will get a good overview of how much your pack weighs, how much room you may have to spare for additional items, but also (and most important) which items may prove to be completely useless! Once you’ve got everything together, you should go through each and every item and ask yourself whether or not you really (!) need it. First-time trekkers tend to pack a lot of things they never end up using over the course of a trip, but as the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Usually, you’d begin with shorter trips in more tolerable climatic conditions, anyway, so that you can figure out what you do and don’t need for future treks.

Thus, a packing list in this form can serve as a point of reference when you’re preparing for each trekking trip. In sum, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Excess gear on a trekking trip have an effect on multiple areas: a large rucksack and a corresponding amount of weight, sturdier shoes, (due to the increased amount of weight on your back), gear and clothing for all eventualities. A properly packed and organised rucksack can be a huge help (use colour-coded stuff sacks in different sizes!)
  • A very important thing to consider while trekking is food: If you think about just how much your grocery basket weighed last week, you’ll know why (light and high-calorie) trekking foods were invented.
  • Since you’ll be far removed from civilisation, it’s incredibly important to think about your safety as well as first aid in the event of an emergency. Thus, it is advisable (especially for first-time trekkers) to choose a trek that you know you can complete and to take a mobile phone with emergency contacts with you on your trip. This is even more important if you’re going out alone. And, don’t worry if you don’t finish. Any experience or knowledge you gain about yourself as a trekker, the weather and your equipment is valuable. It will help you not only to pack more efficiently and to optimise your approach in the future but will even give you the know-how necessary to improvise to certain extent later!

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MIPS - Brainy helmet technology

MIPS – Brainy helmet technology

3. Januar 2018

With the development of new technology and the acquisition of scientific knowledge, we see advancements in both our beloved sports as well as the gear we use for them. This is especially true for skiing. The sport is getting faster and faster, the ski runs are getting steeper, and skiers are becoming more and more daring, as is evident by their massive jumps and crazy tricks.

That’s all fine and dandy, as long as ski safety technology can keep up! And, so far, it has, thanks in large part to the MIPS helmet system.

In the following, we’re going to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about this technology!

What does MIPS mean?

MIPS is a safety system for helmets in general. It was developed by 5 Swedish scientists from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and is the result of 30 years of hard work.

MIPS stands for Multi Directional Impact Protection System. Wow, that’s a mouthful. In simple English, MIPS is a system that was designed to manage energy from rotational and angular impact. These different directions of force are generated when the helmet is hit at an angle.

Regular helmets are best at absorbing static (straight) impacts that hit the helmet at right angles and do not generate any rotational force.

Since skiers usually don’t experience direct, vertical impacts on their head but rather hit objects at oblique angles, a helmet was needed that was capable of absorbing these kinds of impacts, thereby protecting the skier from more serious head injuries. And, the MIPS system does just that, absorbing both static and rotational impact.

How do rotational forces occur?

When impact occurs at an angle, the forces from the impact are directed not in a single direction but in several. This is how rotational forces come to be, and these forces hold great risks because they cause the brain to hit against the outer wall of the skull, resulting in a concussion or worse.

How does the MIPS system work?

The MIPS system was modelled after the human brain. To protect the brain, there is a fluid between it and the cranial bone. Upon impact, the resulting rotational forces are absorbed by this layer of fluid, which acts as a cushion for the brain and thereby prevents these forces transferring to the brain.

MIPS is basically a copy of this layer. It consists of two layers, the second of which moves. The second shell sits directly on the head.

When a helmet with this technology is subjected to an angled impact, the resulting rotational forces are not transferred to the head but reduced by the rotational motion of the first and second helmet layer.

This system is very effective and can be incorporated into any helmet.

What are the disadvantages?

Since the system is still relatively new and is only starting to be used by helmet brands, it remains very expensive. What’s more, there is no data on the lifespan of the system or whether or not it should be replaced after every accident. Another issue has to do with how snug the helmet has to be in order for it to provide optimal protection.

Apart from these concerns, the only thing you could call a “disadvantage” is that the helmets are 50-100 grams heavier than regular helmets, but I think for some extra safety, we’re all willing to carry some extra weight, right?

That said, I guess it’s safe to claim that there aren’t really any disadvantages, since the only thing we could think of is not to our detriment but for our own safety.

Who’s the system for?

All sorts of top athletes have been testing the system in their respective disciplines, but it’s not only intended to be used by professional athletes. The system is for anybody looking for extra protection. There are already plenty of cycling helmets with MIPS technology. Since the system can be built very compactly, there are no restrictions on who can wear it, either.

Things to consider when shopping for a MIPS helmet

Apart from being stylish, your helmet should fit perfectly as well. Other than that, the same “rules” apply as when you’re buying a normal helmet.

Where can a buy a helmet with MIPS technology?

You can find helmets with the MIPS system from all sorts of different brands in our online shop. Brands such as POC, Giro and Sweet Protection offer helmets with MIPS technology, so there’s quite the nice selection and something for everybody.

The great thing about this technology is that, even with the incorporation of MIPS, you won’t have to sacrifice any of the useful features you’d have in other helmets. In fact, most of them have the very same features as conventional helmets. A good example of such a helmet is the POC Helmet Receptor Backcountry MIPS Ducroz Edition, which you can find in our online shop. Apart from having MIPS technology, this helmet is compatible with Beats by Dr. Dre headphones and comes equipped with detachable ear pads and an integrated Recco reflector. Plus, the size is adjustable, so it can “grows with” a growing head size – perfect for kids!

Another great option is the Trooper MIPS ski helmet from Sweet Protection, which is an all-purpose helmet designed for skiing and snowboarding that comes with a size adjustment system, carbon outer shell, shock absorbent liner and ventilation.

The future of MIPS

The MIPS system is bound to be the standard, if it’s not already, and will continue to be reworked and improved. It’s a technology that not only significantly increases our safety but is also compatible with helmets for any sport.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask our experts in customer service. They are available on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at +49 (0)7121/70 12 0 or via e-mail.

There’s a lot going on in the climbing and outdoor industry. New products are being invented, existing ones are being reworked and improved, and we, too, are learning more every day. And, of course, we would like to share this knowledge with our customers. That’s why we regularly revise the articles at base camp. So, don’t be surprised if a post changes a bit in the coming months. This article was last edited on 01/02/2016.

A buyer's guide to waterproof trousers

A buyer’s guide to waterproof trousers

22. Dezember 2017
Buyer's guide

Bad weather can really put a damper on an outdoor adventure, regardless of whether you run into a seemingly never-ending drizzle or extremely heavy bursts of rain. But, you know what? It doesn’t have to! Just slip on your waterproof trousers and keep on moving! Wait, you don’t have any? If you’re one of those folks who have managed to get by without a pair of waterproof trousers but are interested in getting some, we’re here to help! In the following, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about waterproof trousers in this short guide.

True to the adage about bad weather and bad clothing, we’re here to tell you that a reliable outer layer is an absolutely indispensable part of your gear in adverse weather conditions. This goes for both your upper and lower body. These non-insulated overtrousers fall under the category of hardshell trousers. They come equipped with a flexible band at the waist and long zips on the legs that allow them to fit over all other trousers and even thick boots.

But, remember: One pair of waterproof trousers is not like the next! They have much more to offer than waterproof protection! Like a protective shield, waterproof trousers have to be capable to withstand all weather conditions and provide you with reliable protection in windy and cold conditions as well, preventing you getting cold. Plus, they should be breathable, easy to slip on and off and their pack size and weight should coincide with their performance.

How to find the right trousers

In the face of the abundance of waterproof trousers available on the market today, even the most knowledgeable of us can get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. The first (two-fold) question you should be able to answer before purchasing a pair is the following: What am I going to use them for and what should they be able to withstand? After all, there is no single pair of waterproof trousers that can do it all, so do make sure that they are tailored to your intended area of use. Things to consider could include: short distances vs. multi-days, scattered showers vs. pouring rain, walking vs. cycling, muddy flatlands vs. rocky ridges. As with other functional clothing, the thicker and heavier the trousers, the tougher they are.

Solid mid-range trousers for walking and cycling

Lighter overtrousers like the Fluid Pants II from Vaude or the Resolve Pant from The North Face are great for day trips in unpredictable weather conditions, a walk in the forest on a rainy day or a middle-distance cycling. A commute to work is a good example of the latter, because the distance is manageable, and if the sun does happen to come out, you can stuff the trousers in your pack at any time.

If you’re looking for a pair of waterproof trousers for a day-long trip out in the open or in rugged terrain, you should definitely opt for something more robust like 2.5 or 3-layer hardshell trousers. Both are windproof and will prevent your body getting cold. Thus, such waterproof trousers are the perfect addition to your outdoor gear, especially in stormy weather.

Waterproof trousers for the mountains

Since even the most experienced mountaineer is bound to work up a sweat some point or another, it is absolutely crucial from them to have a pair of waterproof trousers that not only keeps them protected from water on the outside but also allows moisture to escape from the inside. To meet this demand, manufacturers use fabric that is breathable and equip the trousers with side vents to help keep the temperature on the interior balanced. And, if they don’t have extra zip vents, you can open the ¾-length or full-length zips on the legs for extra ventilation.

Waterproof hardshell trousers are also a perfect addition for trips at high altitude. Basically, if you’re travelling in a region where temperatures can drop in the blink of an eye or you could run into a snowstorm, hardshell trousers are a great option to have as an extra layer over a softshell. Plus, you can wear them as an outer insulating layer over your long underwear when ski touring as well.

Hardshell trousers with braces are suitable for activities that require a lot of movement, like climbing. These models may not be as easy to slip on and off, but they do provide reliable protection in wet conditions.

Waterproof trousers for all-weather cyclists

Braces aren’t just important for mountaineers – they’re of interest to cyclists as well. Why? Well, since cyclists lean forward toward their handlebars when cycling, both their buttocks and lower back are exposed and often forced to bear the brunt of the bad weather. The braces on hardshell trousers are there to remedy this and keep these areas nice and protected. Plus, special waterproof cycling trousers also come complete with reinforced panels at the seat and crotch. For improved visibility and overall safety on the roads, they also have reflective elements.

A standard feature on most waterproof trousers, but particularly important for cyclists, is tight cuffs or adjustable hook-and-loop fasteners on the bottom trouser leg, which serve to prevent the fabric getting caught in the chain.

Waterproof trousers – you can’t live without them

Waterproofs can be a nuisance, I know. I mean, who hasn’t tried to justify not wearing their waterproof trousers with excuses like, “Oh, it’s just sprinkling a bit” or “It’ll be over soon, anyway.” We’re all guilty of this, but as soon as our walking trousers get wet, we realise our mistake. After all, once they get wet, it’s too late to put on your waterproof pair. And, if the rain somehow gets inside, you’re in for a really bad day. Add to that the water dripping down from your jacket and your trousers will soon be soaked in no time. What a nightmare. In other words, don’t let laziness get the better of you! Put on your waterproof trousers before it’s too late!

Here’s another little tip: When purchasing waterproof trousers, make sure they’re somewhat longer than the trousers you’d wear underneath. Alternatively, you can protect them from water by way of a tighter cuff. If the trousers underneath are peaking out, cold air and water will start creeping up the inside leg. Another option is to fold up the trouser leg so that it will stay dry.

If you stay indoors, you’re missing out

Regardless of whether up in the mountains, cycling or in the flatlands, a quality pair of waterproof trousers should be an integral part of your gear, especially on multi-day trips and at high altitudes. So, yes, the old adage is true. There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Besides, there’s something about hill walking in the rain, don’t you think? It’s quite nice! Plus, you won’t run into as many people!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask our experts in customer service. They are available during the week from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 03 33 33 67058 or via e-mail.

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