All posts with the keyword ‘alpine’

THE TERREX FREE HIKER – HIKING SHOE OR SNEAKER?

13. January 2021
Equipment

I belong to the Sneaker generation. “Sneakers”, as my mom still says, are in my opinion not only for sport and have been for a long time. And when my colleague Jörn asked me if I would like to test the brand new adidas Terrex Free Hiker, I was naturally hooked.

But I was also skeptical: When I think of adidas, I think of stylish sneakers rather than solid hiking boots. Even if this cliché hasn’t been valid for a long time, because under the Terrex label adidas has been offering equipment for outdoor enthusiasts for years.

HANDS-ON: WHAT CAN THE TERREX FREE HIKER DO

Yes, tastes are different and of course you have to admit that the Free Hiker does not look like a hiking boot at first. Rather like a running or trail running shoe. However, I was immediately impressed by the look. I was and still am on the road with the black and white version, whereby I find the “colorful” version almost even more ingenious.

Adidas advertises that the shoe is particularly robust and highly water-repellent (even without a membrane, I’ll come back to that in a moment). The well-known Continental sole is supposed to ensure safe progress. The midsole with the Boost technology, which Adidas also uses in its running shoes. This is particularly flexible and is supposed to have a small “rebound” effect – in other words, it releases stored energy again.

When I first put it on, I found the high shaft especially surprising. Surprisingly good. The shoe fits snugly on the foot, but could be a bit tighter on the metatarsus for my taste. But the stability is still perfectly acceptable!

The upper material is called ‘Primeknit’ (currently very trendy) and looks as if it is knitted. This makes the shoe very flexible, comfortable and fits almost like a sock. My colleagues asked me directly if the shoe fits and takes off well but I never had a problem with it, maybe because I wear it a bit bigger than my normal street shoes.

The Free Hiker was first used in everyday life and in the office, perfect for breaking in – and yes, because the mountains are just a few kilometers away. To be honest, I didn’t think he could handle tricky mountain passages even at the beginning. But I was to be proven wrong…

HOW DOES THE FREE HIKER PERFORM WHEN HIKING?

A team trip to the Montafon was announced and the Free Hiker couldn’t be missing. But at the end of May there was still a lot of snow and I thought that this might be too much for my new companion.

Nevertheless, I went straight up the mountain with it – after all, it’s not a children’s birthday party here. On well developed hiking trails it is great in any case. The walking comfort is great, the Conti sole grips well.

Shortly before the summit I saw the first snowfields and I quickly realized that this would be the first endurance test. I prepared myself internally for wet, cold feet – without a membrane, water would have to penetrate at some point – and took the first step into the remnants of the long, snowy winter.

Splash – during the first steps I wait anxiously for the cool wet that should immediately wet my socks. But it came… Nothing. Well, maybe it will take a few more minutes… I couldn’t quite believe it.

But even after less than an hour with lots of snowfields, meltwater streams and puddles, my feet were comfortably warm and dry. So here adidas did not promise too much! Due to the high shaft, no water could penetrate from above, which turned out to be a problem for some of my followers. But that is not necessarily a unique selling point of the Free Hiker.

Also on our tour on the second day the upper material stayed tight, even though we didn’t come into contact with as much moisture. By the way, the Continental sole also convinced me. It is always praised by our trail runners here among the mountain enthusiasts for its reliable grip. I can only agree with that!

The midsole shines above all with its dynamic performance, good rolling characteristics and comfort. I can’t judge whether energy is really being returned, but it’s quite pleasant to walk on it.

MUCH LIGHT, LITTLE SHADE…

The disadvantage of the strong, water-repellent properties of the upper material in combination with the good closing, half-height shaft is that moisture naturally cannot escape so easily. So it gets relatively warm in the shoe. Therefore I would definitely recommend wearing a rather light trekking sock with it.

THE CONCLUSION OF THE TERREX FREE HIKER

But all in all I am really positively impressed! In my opinion, the shoe is capable of much more than you might think at first glance. One should definitely not be deceived by the looks. This here is a real hiking shoe!

Due to its construction, I see it primarily in light terrain and it should be interesting for speedhikers due to its sole structure. And, of course, for all those who value a cool look.

With a UVP of 199.95 it places itself currently rather at the upper end of the price scale.

THE RIGHT SHOES FOR YOUR OUTDOOR ADVENTURE!

13. January 2021
Buyer's guide, Equipment

When choosing the right footwear for outdoor activities you should take your time. There are some questions that should be answered in advance to avoid problems with unsuitable shoes or aching feet. Not only physical ailments such as the well-known blisters are among them, but also a shoe that does not fit the purpose will not be a pleasure or will not offer sufficient stability and safety.

Table of Contents


WHICH CATEGORIES OF HIKING & MOUNTAINEERING SHOES ARE THERE?

The traditional German company Meindl has established an interesting and useful categorization for hiking and mountaineering shoes, which hikers can use as a guide when it comes to finding the right footwear for trekking, hiking and mountaineering. It is intended to serve as a first orientation in the shoe jungle:

  • Category A: Light hiking boots (mostly low shoes) for forest and meadow paths with flexible soles and little cushioning for everyday life as well as for shorter hikes with light luggage (daypack) on largely flat and paved paths.
  • Category A/B: High hiking boots for extended day trips or tours with overnight stay and medium-heavy luggage (backpacks up to approx. 35 liters) as well as for largely paved paths with (significant) ascents and occasionally loose ground. The sole is twistable, but relatively stiff and thick.
  • Category B: Classic trekking boots with torsion-resistant sole, thick midsole for lots of cushioning and with high lacing. Mostly made of leather and resoled depending on the model. Suitable for tours lasting several days with a large backpack (trekking backpack 40-70 liters) and mountainous and sometimes rough terrain, but still with clear routing. Can be used with Grödeln. Not recommended for long mountain tours, under very cold conditions or for high altitudes (over 3000 meters). However, in combination with thick woollen socks, it is ideal as a light winter (hiking) shoe.
  • Category B/C: Heavy trekking boots for tours on rough, steep terrain, possibly without direct access and for shorter winter tours in icy weather. Stiff sole with low profile, very high lacing and stable upper. Suitable for fixed rope routes and at higher altitudes (around 3000 to 4000 meters). Suitable for Grödel and crampons with double strap-on binding. From this category upwards it is usually possible to resole the shoe.
  • Category C: Mountain boots for touring on very rough and steep terrain, ice and firn as well as off-road paths. They can also be used for winter tours lasting several days or at higher altitudes (up to about 5000 meters). Very high shaft, usually additionally insulated. An edge at the heel allows the use of step-in crampons (heel clip at the back, simple strap-on at the front). High weight, very low profile and extremely robust materials.
  • Category D: Expedition boots with removable, insulated inner boot, extremely robust and durable manufacture for high altitude and extreme mountaineering or expeditions. Fully crampon proof. Also ideal for glaciers, long winter tours, ice and mixed climbing.

In addition to the differences in the primary purpose, the upper material (leather or synthetic), weather resistance (waterproof shoe with membrane or particularly breathable, membrane-free shoe) and the material of the inner lining (mesh or leather) must be considered. However, these are questions of demand and comfort that everyone must answer for themselves. For example, not everyone can cope with natural products. Although leather is generally more robust and durable, it also requires more care than synthetic fabrics, which dry quickly and are lighter.

OUTDOOR LOW SHOES

Furthermore, there are some subcategories, especially among the low shoes, which depend on special purposes and are associated with the A-category.

  • Multisport shoes are light hiking boots in a design suitable for everyday use or particularly robust running shoes, which combine an extra light upper fabric with the sole of a hiking shoe. They are optically appealing, sporty-light and perfectly suited for everyday use as well as for easy hikes or walks. They are also suitable for speedhiking at moderate altitudes as long as you have little luggage with you.
  • The so-called approach or access shoes are interesting for climbers. These are usually half-height shoes with a robust and relatively stiff outer sole, which have an edge at the front of the inner foot for easy climbing (as with climbing shoes). The appearance and construction are comparable to hiking shoes, but in addition to the sole, the lacing that extends far forward is also similar to climbing shoes. These shoes are ideal for the way from the car over slopes and scree to the rock as well as for securing or for simple via ferrata. Approach shoes are mountain oriented and belong to the A/B shoes. The design is sporty and suitable for everyday use. Models with softer soles can also be used for hiking. The cushioning makes the shoes suitable for use with touring backpacks and hardware.

SPECIAL OUTDOOR-SPORTSHOES

  • Climbing shoes and bouldering shoes are more or less pre-curved and asymmetrical, have a perfect fit (the more of these features, the more uncomfortable and the more ambitious), have a prominent climbing edge at the front of the inner foot and lacing or Velcro fastenings that reach far forward (usually a matter of comfort). Upper and lining are often one and usually made of leather. They also have a completely smooth rubber sole. This guarantees the best grip on the smallest steps. You can find out everything else in our detailed purchase advice for climbing shoes.
  • Trail running shoes are very light and have a highly flexible and cushioned sole. The synthetic upper material is highly breathable and depending on the model, there is a waterproof membrane between the outer fabric and mesh lining or not. There are special quick lacing systems as well as differences in sole profile depending on the preferred training surface. Running shoes are also versatile, carefree companions in everyday life.
  • Bicycle shoes are available as MTB shoes or racing bike shoes. Here, special attention must be paid to the suitability of the pedal plates and the locking system. You can find out everything else in our separate purchase advice for MTB and road bike shoes.

SUMMER SHOES

Pure summer shoes are different types of sandals and water shoes. They serve as a proper companion on vacation in the summertime, when kayaking or canoeing, as well as for use in the water and on land. Toe sandals are particularly suitable for everyday use – here design and comfort are important. Trekking sandals have an outsole like light hiking boots and are moderately cushioned. They can be used for day hiking tours with little luggage or as a second shoe for summer trekking. There are waterproof models as well as variants in soft leather and quick-drying synthetics. The strap arrangement should definitely meet the comfort requirements. Water shoes are made with a quick-drying mesh or sandal-like upper and a non-slip, profiled sole for rocky, wet surfaces. They are particularly suitable for boat trips.

WINTER SHOES

With the winter shoes one differentiates between pure winter boots and winter hiking boots. The latter are A/B or B shoes in boot form. They are always waterproof, lined on the inside, and have a particularly non-slip sole, thus distinguishing them from their three-season colleagues from the hiking sector. A smooth upper material is easier to clean from slush. The insulation is either made of soft fleece, a particularly light and warm synthetic fiber, or natural, odor-resistant virgin wool. Sometimes there is a removable inner shoe that can be used as a hut shoe. Winter hiking boots are sufficiently cushioned for touring backpacks up to about 50 liters.

Pure winter shoes have a non-slip sole and insulation, but are not made for hiking, as they are not cushioned. There are low shoes, fashionable boots and especially light down shoes. Here the optical aspect and details such as the lacing, the insulation performance (down is warmest, followed by synthetic fiber, then wool and fleece) and the upper fabric (leather or synthetic) play a particularly important role.

EVERYDAY SHOES & LEISURE SHOES

Slippers are also made for warm feet, but can be worn all year round. There are very soft and light models for the sofa and variants with stable soles for taking out the garbage. Mostly wool felt, down, synthetic fibre and leather are used. Clearly shoes where comfort and design play the biggest role!
Even rubber boots are everyday shoes and can be used all year round. Here it depends on the bootleg height and if necessary the closure.

Sneakers and leisure shoes are suitable for slacklining, after training, for the way to university and to the office and are therefore bought clearly according to design and comfort features.

TIPS FOR SIZE SELECTION

In general, men’s models are usually cut wider, women’s lasts are often slim. If in doubt, buy outdoor shoes a little larger, especially hiking boots and boots will often end up one size higher. Many models are now sustainably produced and are completely or partially recycled and made of biomaterials.

Important for the fitting: in the afternoon and with authentic socks! So nothing stands in the way of the right choice of shoes!

VEGAN ON THE GO – ANIMAL-FREE PRODUCTS FOR OUTDOOR PEOPLE

5. November 2020
Equipment

It’s an unavoidable topic nowadays: the issue of sustainability dominates the outdoor market like no other. Manufacturers have put the concept of “social and ecological responsibility” on their agenda, obtaining certifications such as bluesign or developing their own. This is, of course, very welcome!

With this background, product lines for vegetarians and vegans are now also being developed. As this is becoming increasingly topical, every now and then a customer asks, “What vegan items do you have in your shop?” We wanted to explore this question…

Vegan for your feet – walking boots

One of the first things that comes to mind when talking about vegan outdoor equipment is probably shoes. Of course, leather is ubiquitous in trekking boots and walking shoes, so this is particularly problematic when looking for animal-free alternatives. However, its not just the material itself that can pose an issue. The devil is in the details and for example, the adhesive used on the shoe may contain animal protein.

Fortunately, there are companies that have recognised the need for vegan alternatives. LOWA, for example, is conquering the hearts of all wanderlust vegans with its own product line. A textile/synthetic material is used for the upper and the built-in GORE-TEX membrane makes the shoes waterproof. The Swiss outdoor company Mammut offers a very similar design with its T Aenergy models. The shaft is made of two differently structured polyamide yarns, which makes it abrasion and tear resistant. Gore-Tex ensures that the shoes remain waterproof. In the Approach footwear segment, the Vegan Award goes to Salewa, whose Wildfire series also manages without animal components. For climbing shoes, Red Chili also offers vegan versions with the Durango VCR and Durango Lace, and last but not least, the The One by SO ILL should also be mentioned.

And today, you don’t have to sacrifice good performance just because you wear synthetic shoes. Leather shoes are very durable, but the development of synthetic shoes has progressed so far that, with the right care, they too can be a faithful companion for a long time. Genuine leather adapts to the shape of the wearer’s foot but expands over time. This does not usually happen with synthetic leather or synthetic shoes. They retain their shape. Synthetic shoes are also particularly suitable for everyday use, as they are very easy to clean and do not require the intensive care of a leather shoe.

Vegan on top – what to look for in clothing

Vegan outdoor equipment does not stop at footwear, although this is probably the area where the issue is most relevant. There are also a few things to keep in mind when it comes to outdoor clothing.

The big elephant in the room is ‘down’. This comes from geese or ducks, so is not vegan. The alternative is synthetic fibre. This insulation technology based on polyester has now also progressed so far that there are numerous jackets and thermal layers that can keep up with their down counterparts and even surpass them in some areas. The key concept is ‘thermal performance with moisture’. Companies such as The North Face are trying to imitate the structure of down. In marketing speak, this is known as “Thermoball“.

Generally, you will be able to see in the attributes on our product page, whether animal components have been used. It will say “contains non-textile elements of animal origin”.

If you’re interested in the ecological production of clothing and the sustainable conservation of resources, you should look out for products made of recycled polyester. Production from melted PET bottles consumes between 50 and 70% less energy than the conventional production of a chemical fibre from crude oil. Some brands such as Bleed (which also explicitly offers vegan clothing), Klättermusen, Patagonia and Vaude already have such products in their range.

You should take a look at the label, which will explicitly state whether recycled content is used. The American outdoor outfitter Patagonia, which has long been a pioneer in the industry when it comes to environmental protection, has gone one better. Patagonia operates its own take-back system. This means that customers can bring their clothes back to the shop or send them to the factory and new clothes will be made from them again. Patagonia also offers to repair broken or damaged clothing to prevent products from ending up in the bin too soon. Pyua from Kiel has also specialised in this and takes back goods after use. This creates a cycle in which outdoor clothing made of synthetic fibres is always reworked into new garments after use.

Back to the Roots – Back to natural fibre

You can even go one step further and use natural fibres. I know what you’re thinking, “Do clothing made of natural fibres and sweat-inducing activities really go together?” At first glance, you might think that you’ll start to smell quickly, and for a long time the idea was considered unthinkable. Until now, base layers have been made of microfibres that had to be treated with nano-silver to prevent odour formation.

But it works. The Swedish company Fjällräven has used its reliable G-1000 material since its foundation. Today, although it is no longer 100% cotton, it is still one third cotton. The big problem – at least from an animal perspective: many Fjällräven models feature leather applications and the wax that makes the clothing weatherproof contains beeswax.

Lundhags, on the other hand, offer polycotton technology similar to Fjällräven, but models such as the Women’s Gliis Jacket and the Lomma Jacket forego leather appliques. However, this synthetic hardshell material is still not quite up to the job in terms of rain resistance. And you still need to check carefully here, as polycotton is occasionally offered in a waxed version.

Vegan food on tour

Of course, there is also the issue of nutrition. After all, what would a hike or trekking tour be without a snack to keep you going? Anyone who has been a vegan for a long time probably has a good idea of what works and what doesn’t in terms of nutrition anyway. But of course there are also companies who supply suitable trekking food, such as Adventure Menu, BLA BAND, Lyo Food, Innosnack and Chimpanzee –to name just a few.

In case of doubt, check the ingredients list, as this will tell you exactly which ingredients are in the product.

At the end of the day…

…whilst vegan clothing and outdoor equipment are not yet dominant in companies’ product lines, they have at least made it onto the radar in recent years. And fortunately, it’s even reached well-known companies who produce high-quality animal-free products. In light of the fact that more and more people are changing their lifestyles, this is certainly a welcome development.

You can find vegan products by searching for ‘vegan’ and then filtering. Or, simply follow the link below:

To enable screen reader support, press Ctrl+Alt+Z To learn about keyboard shortcuts, press Ctrl+slash

SKI GOGGLES – A QUICK OVERVIEW

13. January 2021
Buyer's guide

https://www.bergfreunde.de/basislager/skibrillen-eine-grobe-uebersicht/

They feel huge, some of them look quite spacy and sometimes you wonder if the person behind them can see anything through these colorful glass lenses. But why do the lenses have to be so colorful? Is it just design or is it function?

We have collected the most important facts about ski goggles, so that you have a better overview of the different functions when shopping. Of course, appearance is important, but it is crucial to have the right lenses on your nose!

Ski Goggles not only complete the outfit and are a fashion accessory, they also effectively protect our eyes from external influences. To ensure that the protection is really there, all Ski Goggles are tested according to the EN 174 standard.

First, the light transmission (light transmittance) in the visible range is determined. The classification is made into the following filter categories:

  • Level 0 = 80-100% light transmittance
  • Level 1 = 43-80% light transmittance
  • Level 2 = 18-43% light transmittance
  • Level 3 = 8-18% light transmittance
  • Level 4 = 3-8% light transmittance

The glasses are also subject to strict requirements for protection against UV radiation.

Especially on the mountain this is very important. In addition to UVA, UVB and UVC protection, the goggles should therefore also protect against the dangerous blue light.

The lenses continue to be tested for their mechanical strength. Especially in case of a fall, ski poles and other objects can quickly become a danger. It is therefore important that the lens provides adequate protection, does not break and does not detach from the frame. Furthermore, the lenses must not have any distorting effect and must be water and snow tight.

LENSES

The lenses are primarily distinguished between cylindrical and spherical lenses. These are single or double curved. Spherical lenses have a better appearance, but their purchase price is also much higher.

Only those who have a clear view in all lighting conditions can set their swings precisely and avoid possible obstacles. That’s why there is a suitable tint for the most diverse weather conditions to enhance contrasts and support the eye in its perception. While dark tints such as black, grey and brown are suitable for sunny conditions, blue, purple, red and pink are suitable for slightly cloudy skies. Only when the conditions are really bad and fog and snowfall reduce visibility one should turn to yellow, orange or even transparent lenses. However, you can also infer the purpose of use from the filter category:

  • Category 0 for heavy clouds and night skiing
  • Category 1 for changing light and weather conditions
  • Category 2 for sunny days with low cloudiness
  • Category 3 for mainly sunshine
  • Category 4 for bright sunshine and glaciers

Polarized lenses in the ski goggles also prevent the glare effect, which is further intensified by the surface of the snow. Depth perception is improved, making it easier to detect irregularities in the snow.

LENSE CHANGING SYSTEM

It is not uncommon to have fog with snowfall in the morning and bright sunshine and blue skies in the afternoon. If you don’t want extra glasses for different light conditions, you should look around at manufacturers who offer an interchangeable system. With most manufacturers it is sufficient to simply press out the lens and replace it with a different tint. Uvex offers with its Take-Off System an equally easy to handle solution: With the help of a mini-magnet, which is attached to both sides of the frame, the dark magnetic lens is simply fixed to the base lens of the ski goggles. If you want even more comfort, you should go for the glasses with Zebra or Cameleon lenses from Julbo. These lenses are self-tinting and change their protection level within approx. 20 seconds depending on the incidence of light.

With the meanwhile huge selection of sizes and shapes, the field of view also differs from model to model. It is therefore advisable to try out different shapes to get a feeling for the correct view.

Oakley and Smith Optics show that “a little bit more is allowed” with their high-end glasses Airwave and I/O Recon. Here, information such as speed, slope, altitude and temperature are projected directly into the field of view by means of a complex prism technology and the glasses display the current cell phone playlist and incoming calls or SMS via Bluetooth.

VENTILATION

Who is not familiar with it: During a rapid downhill run or in spring you start sweating and in the lift you get cold again. Just like a good ski helmet, the ski goggles must therefore always provide a pleasant climate. Various ventilation inlets ensure an exchange of air, let warm air escape and dissipate the wind accordingly.

Since the wind does not cool during short breaks on the piste and the body heat causes the goggles to mist up, so-called antifog coatings are another quality feature of good ski goggles. This is the only way to always have a clear view – even in adverse weather conditions.

SPECTACLE WEARERS

There are also ski goggles that have been specially developed for people who wear glasses (OTG – over the glass) and can be worn over corrective glasses. They are slightly larger in size and usually have lateral cut-outs in the foam so that the temples of the goggles can find their place. Julbo also offers so-called “Optic Clips”, which are fitted directly by the optician with the individual vision and then clipped into the ski goggles.

HELMET-COMPATIBILITY

A crucial factor to pay attention to is the helmet compatibility. The frame of the ski goggles should fit into the recess of the helmet and be flush with the face. The gap between goggles and helmet should not be too large. Silicone strips on the inside of the band prevent slipping and provide a secure hold. Ideally, you should choose the same manufacturer for both goggles and helmet.

THE AGONY OF CHOICE

If the ski goggles are not comfortable or do not fit optimally, then it is not the right one – no matter how beautiful the design is. When trying on the goggles, you should therefore pay attention to a few points to find out which goggles fit: To do this, shake your head vigorously in all directions. The lenses should not slip or press uncomfortably. It has proven to be a good idea to wear the lenses for a few minutes to test them, since only with time do possible pressure points become apparent. Furthermore, the headband should be flexible and easy to adjust.

THE RIGHT CARE

If the inside of the window is wet, never rub with a cloth or gloves, as this will destroy the anti-fog coating and the lens will become matt. It is better to tap the glasses out and let them dry. If you want to continue driving, you can dab the lens dry with a fuzz-free cloth if necessary. For this purpose, the usually supplied spectacle bag is suitable.

What are glacier glasses?

12. October 2020
Equipment

At first glance, glacier glasses may look like somewhat large sunglasses. But, they’re typically more expensive. Why? What can glacier glasses do that other sunglasses can’t? What makes glacier glasses so special and how do they defer from other sunglasses?

Questions upon questions… Here come the answers!

Regardless of whether you’re on a glacier, in the desert or on the water – when exposed to the sun for a long time, not only should you protect your skin but also your eyes. We usually remember to put on sun screen but we tend to forget that our eyes are also prone to sun damage.

(more…)

Altitude training – basics, tips and when it’s worth it

1. October 2020
Alpinetrek-Experts

If you’ve already conquered a mountain, then you’ve probably heard this sentence before: “Whew, the air is getting thin up here…” This isn’t noticeable on a classic hill walk or via ferrata but you’ll notice it whilst mountaineering at altitudes between 3,000 and 4,000 metres. But, the air isn’t necessarily getting “thin”, but the number of oxygen molecules per litre of air volume rather decreases with increasing height. So, there’s a decrease in atmospheric pressure. As a result, your body will want to fight this and you’ll notice that both your breathing speed and pulse have increased. So, if you want to prepare for mountaineering, an expedition or longer stays at high altitude, then altitude training is recommended. This training leads to an increase in the number of red (oxygen-transporting) blood cells in your body.

What is “altitude training”?

The definition goes as follows: “Altitude training is the targeted use of an undersupply of oxygen (hypoxia) to the organism as a stimulus to increase performance”.

When should you start your altitude training? And, when will you notice its effect?

Whether you plan on conquering the Kilimanjaro, Denali or Mount Everest in the Himalayas, a tour at high altitudes should always be carefully planned and prepared. And, both your equipment and physical fitness will play a major role in your success. So, to prepare your body for the special conditions at high altitudes, we recommend you follow an altitude training program before going on your tour. Plus, the effect of “thin air” is very diverse. For example, when it comes to endurance sports, altitude training has been known to increase performance. And, acclimatisation has long been used in mountaineering.

In addition, as of 2,000 m in altitude, the “thinner air“ begins to have an effect on the body. Here, both sensitive and previously ill persons will already experience their first symptoms of altitude sickness. And, the severity of the symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS) depends on several factors, such as: How physically fit you are and how good your general health is. In addition, some individuals may acclimatise faster than others with the same physical fitness level simply based on their genetics. And, experience may also be a helpful factor. Also, whilst ascending a mountain or trekking at high altitudes, you should take into consideration both the speed of the ascent and possible additional acclimatisation days required.

Regardless of the altitude, the oxygen concentration in the air is at 20.9% all over the world. However, the atmospheric pressure decreases with increasing altitude and the partial pressure of oxygen simultaneously decreases. As a result, this effect leads to an undersupply of oxygen to the body (hypoxia). You can find all important information about altitude sickness in this article.

Does altitude training really improve performance?

Journeying at high altitudes leads to an adaptation process in the body due to the reduced supply of oxygen. This includes a sensitization of the breathing activity, i.e. ventilation, just like when the body is stressed. In addition, the release of the body’s own hormone erythropoietin (EPO) is also stimulated. EPO is produced in the kidneys and takes care of the formation of new red blood cells in the bone marrow. At the same time, the body increases the amount of haemoglobin available. Haemoglobin binds oxygen and has a positive effect on endurance by increasing the oxygen transport capacity in the arterial blood.

Plus, several studies have come to the conclusion that physical exertion under hypoxia leads to changes at the muscular level, such as the increased enzyme activity of the energy metabolism. And, an increase in the muscular oxygen storage, the myoglobin, was also observed.

So, altitude training is perfectly suited for performance-oriented athletes who want to improve their endurance under controlled conditions. In case you didn’t know, altitude training has already been included in the training plans of endurance sports, long-distance running, triathlon and cycling athletes. However, even ambitious mountaineers who want to prepare for a high mountain ascent can improve their performance through altitude training.

Which form of altitude training is the most effective and useful?

In order to achieve the positive effects of your training for improved endurance performance, it’s important that a training stimulus is set under the same altitude conditions. Because simply staying at a high altitude without a specific training stimulus does not bring any significant benefits to improve your performance. So, there’s no use spending a few days in a hut in the Alps and playing cards all day. Running, hill walking and climbing at high altitudes is therefore necessary to achieve your goal.

How long does altitude training take?

Many experts and physicians have different opinions on this topic. A minimum stay of one week to ten days (after sufficient adjustment) is required for maximum efficiency, i.e. to be able to carry out performance-enhancing training. However, stays of three to four weeks would be ideal. In addition, top athletes often attend altitude training camps several times a year. But, this isn’t practical or even necessary for an amateur athlete because it’s so time-consuming. And in general, targeted altitude training over seven to ten days can already lead to the aforementioned positive effects for many athletes. Also, there are even special providers who not only organise high altitude training camps but also provide medical care and give advice to the participants.

How long does the effect of altitude training last?

The duration of both the training’s effects and the adaptation effects remain controversial in the field of science. The first few days after a longer stay at high altitudes involves a regeneration phase, which means that you should reduce both the amount of trainings and the intensity. You may even notice a drop in your performance at first, so a short break can help you get back on your feet. Also, various studies have come to the conclusion that the effect of good altitude training lasts between three and five weeks and probably even longer. Plus, red blood cells (erythrocytes) only live in the body for a maximum of 120 days. As a result, the effects cannot last more than 4 months.

Training with an altitude mask and in an altitude tent

With technical aids, altitude training can be carried out without mountains, be it in the city or at home. There are several products on the market, such as masks or tents that can be used for training and simulate “artificial hypoxia”. For example, a person may ride a bicycle ergometer and breathe through a special mask to simulate reduced oxygen conditions. Plus, there are also tents that can be set up on your bed and will simulate sleeping in hypoxic conditions. Also, some cities now feature altitude training centres that provide special training rooms in hypoxic conditions and can therefore also simulate altitude training.

Since every person reacts differently to altitude and some people even suffer from “altitude sickness”, it makes sense to check your tolerance before going on your mountaineering adventure. Also, a medical check should be carried out before starting your long, high-altitude journey, as well as before a simulated altitude training. So, if you’re preparing for an expedition or high-altitude trek, training in special hypoxic chambers can be quite useful.

Is altitude training harmful? Is it doping?

A long stay at high altitudes always puts a physical strain on the body, unless you were born and raised in regions at an altitude of 4,000 metres and above. So, attending an altitude training camp is therefore recommended and should be planned carefully. Otherwise you may drain your body rather than increase your fitness level. In addition, altitude training is not considered doping and is allowed before competitions. In contrast to doping with drugs or forbidden substances, the athlete only utilizes the natural effects of altitude during altitude training. As a result, both the body’s own processes and adaptation are exerted without the use of substances.

Is altitude training also useful for recreational athletes?

A well-planned altitude training can be very useful for recreational athletes and hobby alpinists. So, it’s important to consolidate your own endurance performance and ensure that it’s at a good level beforehand. In other words, you should do sports, run and hill walk on a regular basis for a few years before considering an altitude training camp. Also, a good state of health along with some experience with training are necessary to achieve a positive effect.

For recreational athletes, we recommend not going too hard with the training right off the bat and not to work at maximum intensity straight away. Your own assessment will improve with time and your body will then be able to take on new training impulses.

A summary of altitude training

In conclusion, altitude training can also be used to improve performance in popular sports under certain conditions. On the other hand, on trekking tours to high altitudes on the Andes, mountains in the Himalayas or even on the 4,000 m peaks in the Alps, it makes a lot more sense to reduce the symptoms of acute mountain sickness or to possibly even eliminate them in advance. Lastly, your training goal should be specific and strategic; a simple stay at high altitudes is not enough to achieve meaningful adaptation effects.

Buying Advice Backpacks

10. September 2020
Buyer's guide, Equipment

If you want to buy a backpack nowadays, you are suddenly faced with a huge number of different models and applications. There are daypacks, travel backpacks, trekking and touring backpacks, extra ski touring and climbing backpacks.

However, what is hidden behind all these terms and what kind of backpack do I need for myself? We will try to answer these questions in the following article.

BASIC

No matter which backpack you choose, the most important thing is always that the backpack fits well and is comfortable to wear. Otherwise it can quickly lead to pain or tension.

To carry the backpack as comfortably as possible, it is important that it is adjusted correctly. It must sit close to the body and compact.

Due to the different anatomies of men and women, some manufacturers offer extra women’s backpacks. This makes sense and should be considered when buying.

But now to the backpacks:

DAYPACKS

We start small with the so-called “daypacks”. As the english name suggests, these are backpacks for day trips to carry food, drink and clothes for one day. So these backpacks are quite small. They settle between 10 and 30 liters pack volume.

You can find them in all price ranges from 20 Euro to 200 Euro and more. Carrying system and hip belt are recommended if you want to use the daypack also for hiking. This is not absolutely necessary for a gentle stroll through the city.

Many daypacks can be folded very small, so they are easy to transport or store. Especially when travelling, this is highly recommended, because you don’t have to carry around a big backpack all the time.

In summary, you can recommend daypacks to everyone, because it is always handy to have a small backpack at hand, which can be used in many different ways. Here is an overview of the types of use:

  • Everyday life
  • City stroll
  • Day hikes
  • Additional backpack for travelling

TRAVEL BAGS

Travel backpacks are characterized by large volume as well as compact and robust construction. Most travel backpacks have an adjustable back length in order to fit exactly to the carrier. However, some manufacturers also offer different fixed sizes to choose from. They are available in all sizes from 40 liters to 110 liters.

Compared to trekking backpacks, travel backpacks have a cut similar to a travel bag, i.e. they are wider rather than deeper.

The pocket-like design is reinforced by side openings. This type is especially recommended for long-term travelers, since you can quickly access the complete main compartment.

Due to the size of these backpacks, they are all equipped with a carrying system.

Some travel backpacks have a removable daypack backpack integrated in addition to the main compartment, which can be fixed to the large backpack. So you only carry one backpack instead of two. As an example there are the backpacks, “Overland” from Bach or the “Waypoint” from Osprey.

But there are also other types of travel backpacks. Vaude for example offers with the Tecorail 80 a special highlight. This backpack can be used as backpack or as trolley. It has an integrated roll system with an extendable handle – and is therefore a perfect mixture between trolley and backpack.

Intended use:

  • Travel
  • Trekking

TOURING BACKPACKS, TREKKING BACKPACKS

The difference between tour/trekking backpacks and travel backpacks is not too big. With many tour/trekking backpacks there is an additional rain cape for absolute waterproofness, so that you can be on the way even with long rain of dry backpacks.

An important question to ask yourself: what kind of tour do I want to do? For a multi day tour with food I need a backpack with at least 70l, but for hut tours 40l are already enough.

With the large backpacks (70l+) it is recommended to pay attention to a head recess, so that you can move your head freely even with a full backpack. Another special feature of some of these backpacks are divided main compartments to accommodate the sleeping bag or clothes in the lower part. This has advantages, you can divide your stuff into 2 parts and both are accessible from the outside. However, this makes the backpack a bit heavier.

The carrying system is adjustable. However, even more importance is attached to comfortable carrying, because they were designed for long hikes and heavy luggage. For this purpose, there are backpacks with flexible hip fins to distribute the force evenly evenly during heavy passages. These hip fins also consist of several layers of foam to adapt as anatomically as possible.

In order to avoid excessive sweating on the back, a system is built into the backpack which pumps air through the existing foam by the movement of the running person and thus ensures air balance.

Most trekking backpacks are compatible with a hydration system.

Use of tour/trekking backpacks:

  • Trekking
  • Multi-day hikes
  • Hut tours

SKI TOURING BACKPACKS

Ski touring backpacks are available in different versions. On the one hand, there are backpacks for high-altitude and multi-day tours, which have a large pack volume, up to 60 liters, and are equipped with many fastenings to attach helmet, skis, rope, ice axe and other things to the outside of the backpack.

The other big category are backpacks for day trips, which are smaller and can also be used for freeriding. Depending on the model, they are also available with many attachments for the above mentioned equipment. Many of these backpacks also have an integrated back protector to protect the back. They stand out due to their beautiful and stylish design with intelligent space allocation.

Almost all ski touring backpacks have a separate compartment to store shovel and probe. This compartment is easily accessible from the outside to have everything you need at hand in case of emergency.

As additional safety, both categories are available with avalanche airbags, such as Pieps’ Jetforce, as well as avalanche backpacks made by ABS and Mammut.

In cooperation with Ortovox, ABS has developed a clever system that allows you to carry the ABS airbag with you at all times. However, the size of the backpack can vary depending on the tour. For this possibility the ABS backpack must be equipped with the M.A.S.S. system. With this system, you can “zip on” the airbags with backpack pockets of different sizes. For example, the Ortovox Free Rider 24 ABS Avalanche Backpack can be used as a basic frame.

You can find more information about avalanche backpacks here.

Intended use:

  • Ski-/High tours
  • Freeriding

CLIMBING BACKPACKS

There are again several categories of climbing backpacks. It is important to consider what you want to use it for, whether for sport climbing or for multi-pitch climbing. Of course you can use any backpack for anything, but there are certain advantages and disadvantages.

Backpacks for sport and indoor climbing, like the Black Diamond Shot or the Mantle, are built like bags. They have a carrying system. However, they do not have a lid pocket and can be opened to their full length. This allows a good overview in the backpack. In addition, extra loops are sewn on the upper end to which the exes are attached so that they do not go around in the rucksack. The rope is tied to the outside of the rucksack.

There are also climbing backpacks like the Black Diamond Demon or the Edelrid Cragbag II, which are backpack and rope bag in one. Both have a tarpaulin for the rope attached to the backpack. So the only question is where to put warm clothes and food.

Haglöfs – Roc Rescue 40 – backpack
Climbing backpacks guarantee sufficient freedom of movement

Another category are multirope length backpacks. These backpacks are designed for maximum freedom of movement. The center of gravity is set so that it has as little influence as possible on the climber’s balance. For this reason, they are cut narrowly and fit tightly to the body. They also have removable hip fins, as these are often disturbing. The carrying system is flexibly constructed so that the rucksack can follow complex movements. Anatomically shaped shoulder straps also increase freedom of movement.

The pack volume varies between 12 and 35 liters. The small versions (12l) resemble light daypacks, the large versions are more like trekking backpacks.

The third category is the haulbags. They are for all those who want to make long tours in the wall or who have to climb technically and therefore have to pull material behind them. The Haulbags are like robust sailor bags, but they have a removable carrier system. This allows you to carry the Haulbag to the wall, and when the carrier system is removed, the Haulbag cannot get caught anywhere on the wall when pulling material behind it.

Intended use:

  • Sport Climbing
  • Indoor climbing
  • Multi pitch tours

TRINKING BAGS

Drinking backpacks are backpacks that are only designed to hold the hydration system and maybe a few bars. These backpacks are very popular with trail runners, because they are usually very, very light and are almost unnoticeable or annoying even when jogging.

The drinking backpacks are also available in versions with more packing volume. However, they can then be called daypacks, as there are no striking differences.

You can find more details in the Buying advice for a drinking backpack in our online store.

Intended use:

  • jogging/trail running
  • Everyday life
  • Hikes

If you still have questions, our customer service will be happy to help you. Daniel is our backpack expert here. You can reach him under the number +49 (0)7121/70 12 0 or by e-mail.

There is a lot going on in the climbing and outdoor sector. New products are invented, existing ones are revised or improved and we also learn a lot every day. And of course we want to pass on our knowledge to our customers. Therefore we regularly revise our articles in the base camp. So don’t be surprised if after a few months a few things are different. This article was last revised on 03.03.2016.

How to pack your rucksack

Flyweights for the back –  the world of ultra-light backpacks

17. August 2020
Equipment

Can you still remember your first trekking tour or multi-day hike? For me it was like this: I borrowed the backpack, and it was actually much too big for the tour I wanted to do. But since you famously can’t set off with your backpack only half full, I ended up managing to pack in a load of bits and pieces, so in the end the backpack was full to the brim. This of course had nothing to do with being ultra-light; in fact, it was ultra-heavy! This meant that the backpack – despite having a good carry system and many other comforts – became not just a burden, over time it became a real problem.

Anyone who has had a similar experience has surely sworn: “Next time I’m taking less and lighter equipment in my backpack!” How do you do this sensibly, though, if you don’t just want the contents to be lighter but to reduce the weight of the backpack itself? To answer this question, let’s dive down deeper into the world of (ultra-)light backpacks.

What makes a traditional backpack different from an ultra-light backpack?

The ultra-light class is characterized by one thing above all: minimal material usage. In the trekking field, for example, to make a backpack with approx. 70-litre capacity that weighs under a kilo, everything that isn’t absolutely necessary is discarded. This includes mainly the internal frame along with thick padding. Another important way of reducing weight is the materials used.

This is now starting to sound really crass and like a really crappy backpack that can’t do anything. But of course, this isn’t really true. So let’s take a look at where weight can be spared in backpacks, and what the details might look like.

The frame and the carry system

Backpacks from the ultra-light segment usually have no frame. The reason for this is remarkably simple: the less is in it, the lower the weight. Because of this, sophisticated frame designs and the carry systems that often go with them are intentionally forgone. To make sure it’s still comfortable to wear, it’s therefor important that the rest of the backpack isn’t loaded too heavily and, for good measure, that it’s packed perfectly. We’ve put together the most important dos and don’ts of packing a backpack in a separate article. But I’ll give a simple trick away right now:

Your sleeping mat (in the ultra-light world, foam mats are usually used) can be used to reinforce the back panel. Not only does this ensure the backpack is well stabilised, the mat is also stowed away neatly. Companies such as Exped also offer conventional backpacks, like for example the Mountain Pro 40, that can be slimmed down as required, and can be lightened by nearly a third of their own weight.

Compartments and pockets

It is indisputable that having several compartments in and on a backpack make it more organised. At the same time, though, the compartments themselves also add more weight and often cause the backpack to be packed according to its own organisational system rather than from a functional perspective. This is why the majority of ultra-light backpacks mostly do without extra compartments. This means that the backpacks often come with only one large main compartment and 1-2 smaller compartments or pockets. Many ultra-light backpacks also have a roll closure, so there’s no lid compartments or anything similar. Depending on the model, ultra-light backpacks may also have ways of attaching pieces of equipment to them. A holder for trekking poles or ice tools has practically become standard here. You won’t have to do without compression straps on most larger ultra-light backpacks, either. Especially in the region of volumes of around 45 litres, this is a time-proven construction. Backpacks of this size are usually also absolutely enough for multi-day touring.

Materials

It’s also possible to spare some weight when it comes to the materials. Lighter, which often also means thinner fabrics don’t always have to be worse than their heavier colleagues. Through the use of materials such as Dyneema, a good and, above all, durable result can also be achieved in the lightweight segment. It’s important here, though, that the backpack isn’t overfilled, but that would render the concept of the ultra-light backpack absurd, anyway. Sharp and pointy objects have no place in your backpack, either, and, unless they’re packed well enough, should be fastened to the outside of the pack. If you want to see a good example of a large-yet-light walking backpack that’s made to last, we recommend the Radical from Ferrino. With this large walking backpack, it’s not only that everything that adds extra weight has been discarded, lightweight materials such as Cubic-Tech and Dyneema have also been used, making the backpack robust and hardwearing despite its low weight.

Prejudices and misunderstandings

Sometimes it seems like the world has been divided into two camps: the ultra-light disciples and those who have a fetish for robustness. At least, when exchanging experiences with friends and acquaintances and also when researching this article, I keep coming across countless prejudices, half-truths and open questions. This is why I’ve presented three of the most frequent topics of discussion below. In doing so, I do not wish to take sides with either the “ultra-light” faction, nor the “ultra-heavy” club.

  • Prejudice 1: ultra-light = ultra-expensive

The short story: this isn’t true. The somewhat longer story: it’s not always true. In the ultra-light sector, there are of course pieces of equipment that, because of the materials, the design, or the innovative technologies, come with a heavier price tag – excuse the pun – than other comparable pieces of equipment. But this also happens in the realm of “standard weight” equipment. Especially with backpacks, though, because the design is usually rather simple (no elaborate carry system etc.), ultra-light backpacks come off well in terms of their price compared to their conventional counterparts.

  • Prejudice 2: ultra-light = ultra-flimsy

This prejudice must also be contradicted. But the following question also needs to be asked: what do you actually want from the backpack? If you’re looking for a super robust backpack for spelunking and chimney climbing, then, admittedly, it’s going to be difficult to find something in the ultra-light backpack range. Especially for (multi-)day hikes and trekking tours, though, there are many ultra-light backpack models that can compete with their heavier cousins when it comes to durability.

  • Prejudice 3: ultra-light = ultra-uncomfortable

Admittedly, adjusting from a backpack with a sophisticated carry system to one with a simple contact back was a bit strange at first for me, too. This was, however, also because I had always imagined that you had to carry a lot of weight. But this is not what ultra-light backpacks are designed for. It wouldn’t make any sense at all to first remove every possible gram of weight from the backpack itself, and then to carry a lot of weight on your shoulders anyway because of the heavy equipment you’re taking with you. You have to make a clear distinction. If you want to set out with lightweight and minimalistic gear, and if the planned tour allows for this, then an ultra-light backpack is definitely a good choice. But if your tour is such that, along with a considerable amount of equipment, you also need to take e.g. food and water (which is crazy heavy since unfortunately they haven’t managed to dehydrate it yet), a backpack designed to carry larger loads is definitely needed. In this case, it’s better to try to keep the weight of the contents to a minimum.

Conclusion

Ultra-light backpacks certainly have their place. Depending on what you’re using them for and what you put inside them, they can make a significant contribution to a carefree and successful tour. If you want to get into the ultra-light game, the backpack is certainly the piece of equipment where you can save the most weight. But it’s also important to make sure that the desired model is suitable for what you’ll be using it for and your own personal needs, too. So what are your experiences with lightweight backpacks? Are there any other misconceptions that you would like to clear up once and for all? Write a comment and let us know!

What does breathable mean?

10. August 2020
Equipment

In the outdoor sector, it often feels like you hear this word all the time, and it always seems like the egg of Columbus when it comes to the functionality of outdoor apparel.

But what is actually behind the term breathability? Does the clothing actually breathe? And what does it breathe? The outside air, or perhaps our sweat? Why is it so important?

We’ve collated the most important information on the subject of breathability for you.

(more…)

So, why not bake yourself some mountain bread?

9. July 2020
Tips and Tricks

Germany, March 2020. The Coronavirus is keeping the world in suspense and, like many others, you’ve been spending a lot of time between the four walls of your own home. You’ve already finished all your books, and Netflix now knows what you like better than your own partner does. It’s well and truly time for a bit of variety in your day! So why don’t you try baking some bread? Here’s a recipe for our delicious bread that’s perfect for the mountains!

Bread? That’s very funny!

Yes, yes, we know what’s going through your head right now: Yeast and flour – where am I supposed to get those? A little tip: Go to your local bakery and ask them for some. Most bakers have enough of both and will be glad of the extra income. But always keep the appropriate distance away from them! Otherwise, you could just make the yeast yourself.

Our “Extreme Spelt” mountain bread: The recipe!

Before you can really get going in the home bakery, of course you need a few ingredients. For the mountain bread, you need the following:

Ingredients (for one 750 g loaf)

Water roux:

90 g spelt flour (type 630)

Main dough:
350 g spelt flour (type 630)
90 g sunflower seeds
13 g salt
10 g yeast

Method

For the water roux (sometimes also referred to as tangzhong), simply bring 245 g of water to the boil. Remove the pot from the stove. Add the spelt flour and whisk it in quickly. Leave the mixture, covered, to cool overnight.

For the main dough, place the water roux together with the other ingredients and 140 g of cold water in a mixing bowl (preferably in a food processor – otherwise, for the climbers amongst us, you can get a really good upper arm workout at the same time :-)). Knead well for 10 minutes. If you’re doing it by hand, it may take a little longer.

Cover the dough and leave it to rest for two hours at room temperaturefolding the dough once every 30 minutes. Finally, leave the covered dough to prove overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature for two hours. After another one and a half hours, preheat the oven using the top and bottom heating elements to 260 degrees Celsius.

If you have a pizza stone, feel free to pop it into the oven! Otherwise, it’s also fine to use a normal baking tray. After the dough has warmed up, use wet hands (with cold water since the dough is really moist) to form the dough into a nice ball.

From there, lay it on baking paper and allow the dough to relax for another ten minutes.

And now it’s time to bake it! Put the baking tray on the lowest rack and ladle a little water into the oven. Then close the oven immediately! This process, known as “steaming,” ensures a great crust. Set your timer for 60-70 minutes. After 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 210 degrees Celsius.

Your entire apartment will slowly start to smell of fresh bread. Everything is as it should be.

Once the timer goes off, take the bread out of the oven and check that it has baked all the way through. Finally, use a pastry brush to brush a little water on the crust.

And now you have a super delicious loaf of bread. It may take a little longer than usual to prepare, but it’s worth it. We’ve sure got enough time at the moment :-)! If you want to stock up on bread, you can definitely bake several loaves and then freeze them in a freezer bag.

Serving suggestions: After it has cooled down, cut right into it – it’s a dream just with butter alone! And of course, our bread makes for a fantastic summit snack – as soon as we’re allowed back into the mountains.

Outdoor clothing in the city centre? I need that!

18. June 2020
Alpinetrek-Experts

It is the nightmare of style icons, fashionistas and cultural guardians: the outdoor wave that is sweeping the city centres. Ten years ago, people were sure it was one of those silly crazes that would be laughed off in 10 years’ time. But far from it, it still remains and shows no signs of fading. It’s even expanded into new areas and has long catered to those yearning of hunting, dog sledding and motorcycling adventures.

Even the fashion pages have become resigned to it. Strong criticisms can only be found in older articles. More recently, articles in outdoor blogs and fashion magazines have been favouring the trend. Let’s take a look at the critics and advocates and examine their common ground. As we do so, I’ll add my own two cents into the mix.

But before that, let us turn to an important, but difficult to classify controversial issue: sustainability.

The Controversy of Sustainability

Let’s get straight to the point: yes, it’s true that a multifunctional jacket uses more resources and “toxins” than grandpa’s good old wool coat.

But is “outdoor stuff” with its evil chemicals really so much worse than the “normal stuff” in the department stores and online shops? It is by no means the case that before the “outdoor boom” people only wore sustainable natural clothing. On the contrary, the percentage of “Made under bad conditions and with undeclared chemicals“ is quite high in on-technical everyday clothing.

What is more sustainable: if I wear an expensive, technical winter jacket from brand XY for ten winters, or if I wear several “simpler” and cheaper” quilted jackets from H&M, New Yorker etc.?

There is also criticism because of controversial “ingredients” in outdoor clothing such as down, leather and fur. But these things are also used in “non-outdoor products” and the outdoor industry also offers a growing range of alternative materials. There is also a growing segment called “Urban Outdoor”. These products are less “highly engineered”, do without membranes and chemicals, are not “polarized” and are not brightly coloured. They are more functional than conventional everyday clothing, as well as highly attractive.

Even so, it is a waste to buy technical-functional outdoor clothing for the evening dog walk. In the same way, you have to question when people wear it for show.

Annoyed by the outdoor wave: the features section

The harshest outdoor critics are most likely found in the culture pages A good summary of classical style criticism is provided by the Tagesspiegel article,which is probably the most frequently read and quoted on this topic:

There seems to be an unspoken agreement on this point: there are some clothes and situations that don’t go together. However, this intuitive sense of style regularly seems to fail thousands of people in this country when it comes to outdoor clothing.:

This taste is debatable in many cases. This is followed by two unfinished sentences, which seem to be about the fact that the clothes are made for the most adverse conditions and the buyers know exactly how nonsensical their behaviour is.

True, but only in part: by no means are all products seen in the pedestrian zones “suitable for polar regions” or “suitable for the Himalayas”, nor are they all brightly coloured. Such frequently read exaggerations suggest that the authors are rather less than outdoor enthusiasts. And their unfamiliarity with the subject matter becomes even more clear when they try to imitate technical outdoor jargon. Sometimes this doesn’t fit, as here in the FR, where there excessive exaggeration results in unintended humour. Want an example? Here:

Presumably, the wild colours (of outdoor clothing)can even scare away bears. And make campfires.:

Ha ha. Well, if only you knew, dear FR writer, how many bear attacks the Active-Bearprotect Shield of my Gore-Tex has averted at the last minute. And how many times I’ve been saved from frozen fingers by the integrated InstantFire Jet Technology…

Want another example? Here you go:

No one needs storage for carabiners, oil lamps or a three-day supply of jerky while they’re walking around the pedestrian zone.:

Yes, they do! I need oil lamp storage (fire retardant) in my climbing harness, which is always attached. And my jerky rations (tofu jerky, of course) have saved me from many a rumbling stomach in the CBD.

And one more to finish? No problem:

:

It might be true that we, the summiteers, do not always have the firmest foothold when it comes to the downhill run. But this is often because of the others walking around the fields after summiting. We still need a good grip when we’re picking up toilet paper in Boots.

However, it must be said that not all criticism is so easily refuted. Here’s the Tagesspiegel again:

In my circle of friends, there’s one crazy one who regularly goes on snowshoe holidays through Greenland or Lapland. I understand that he needs a Polar jacket. But when he returns home to civilisation, it returns to the cupboard where it belongs. He goes to work in a woollen coat. He understands: Everything has a time and a place. (…) The thermal coat belongs on the pack nice, not in the city centre.:

Very impressive. But is there really such thing, this law of nature for where things belong? Or is it not just someone’s opinion that has been elevated to a general standard? What if I’ve already spent quite a bit on my ‘mountain skins’ and so spending more on a ‘suitable’ woollen coat seems unnecessary? What if I wear a Gore-Tex jacket when it’s pouring down in the city just because I don’t have another waterproof jacket lying around?

Yes, I’m exposing myself here as one of those “overlapping users”, who actually does go into the mountains and the “wilderness’ in their outdoor clothing.

Also annoyed: ‘real mountaineers’ who ‘actually use this stuff’

As us “overlapping users” are so underappreciated, we are of course upset about the invasion of fake adventurers. For it is only us that should have the right to bear the signs of being an outdoor enthusiast.

So, dear outdoor clothing critics, please don’t always lump us hard nuts together with these fancy dress impersonators! We brave really icy wind and terrible weather. And when we put on a Gore-Tex jacket, softshell, fleece or synthetic trousers in everyday life, the unsuspecting confuse us with these wannabes. If only people could tell the difference, they would finally give us that slightly intimidated admiration that we well deserve!

I therefore propose that we introduce a permit for outdoor clothing: Goretex and Windstopper would only be able to be worn upon evidence of undertaking a tour. In order to avoid any confusion, we should also attach labels or stickers to our clothes:

”Hey, I’m actually going above 4,000 metres in this!”

or

”This jacket has been to Greenland and Nepal!”

Please recommend more effective differentiation measures in the comments ;-)

Elated rather than annoyed: the advocates

Is the case for outdoor clothingspan style=”font-weight: 400;”> sound and convincing at least? Are there good, strong ‘pros’ for Outdoor in the City?

Hm, not really – I only found a little andit’s hard to follow, like the following from Brigitte magazine for example:

Today, with the right clothing, you can demonstrate your love of outdoor sports, trekking, danger and adventure without ever having seen a mountain, a forest or a lake in person. This is certainly very fashionable, even though it may not always make sense to wrap ourselves up in clothes that have functions we don’t even need”.:

I find a person never seeing a mountain, forest or lake in person sad rather than fashionable. But perhaps you don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t know more than a picture. Maybe that would explain the following thought as well:

So-called ‘Sensation Seeking’ has become very popular. Our clothes should at least remind us of the wilderness. If danger (or a hailstorm) should befall us in the urban jungle, we are prepared – and can feel a bit like McGyver’s wild daughter in our Jack Wolfskin jacket.:

Oh, yeah. Except that, as the only male Brigitte reader on the planet, I’d rather be McGyver himself than his wild daughter. For me it’s much more important not to ‘imagine’ being in the ‘wilderness’ through clothing, but to actually travel to such environments.

So, to sum up, neither side are really rational or sensible. It’s about taste and personal preference.

Love of nature, vanity and fear of disaster: explanation attempts

Because there’s so little rationality, most attempts at explaining the phenomena ultimately fail. Let’s try anyway. We’ll go back to the Tagesspiegel to start:

Some people say its a love of woods and meadows, which makes it happen. (…) However, even a brief look at the products shows that this so-called closeness to nature is nonsense. After all, you can hardly get more artificial than an outdoor jacket. The lining is made of polyester fleece or polyamide and sealed on top with a layer of polyurethane or polytetrafluoroethylene. Does that sound something that would grow on any tree in the world?:

It’s rare that Teflon, PU and fleece would all be used in one item, but not inconceivable, and more and more companies are making progress in replacing artificial with natural components.

If love of nature is not the sole motive behind the outdoor wave, we must look elsewhere. One of the less positive motives would be vanity, which the Tagespiegel will illuminate here:

If you wear something you don’t need, you want to represent something. (…) In this sense, wearing outdoor clothing is no longer about preparing for extreme situations, but about simulating them – or better: claiming proficiency in them. Look, I would be prepared to brave wind and weather, arctic temperature drops and steep scree slopes – if I were to put myself in danger.”

Yes, you heard me right. This is addresses a sore point. But a sore point of what? Vanity is a driver for many types of clothing. And also for many human actions in general. So it is just as unspecific to our beautiful, colourful outdoor world as the compensatory instinct (also mentioned in the article).

Now, we’re just missing the entertaining motivation theories. One would be a fear of catastrophe, but that’s going too far in the psychological fog in my opinion…

What conclusion can be drawn from this? Well, if you’re out in the city in outdoor clothing, you can always hope for some attention.

 

 

Tips for choosing waterproof trousers

15. June 2020
Equipment

A downpour or steady drizzle. Big drops, little drops. Pelting down from above, blowing in from the side, or lashing from the front. Bad weather can quickly ruin a day on the mountain. But does it really mean you have to get soaked? Not necessarily! Get out your waterproof trousers, pull them on and keep going! Easy as that.

In this article, we’ll explore what you should think about when buying waterproof trousers.

(more…)

£ 5 now
For your next order
No thank you.