All posts on this topic ‘Equipment’

MIPS - Brainy helmet technology

MIPS – Brainy helmet technology

4. January 2018
Equipment

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.

How to set up a slackline without trees

How to set up a slackline without trees

4. January 2018
Equipment, Tips and Tricks

Slacklining is so easy to do. All you need are two trees! Wait, but what if you can’t find two trees strong enough to be your anchors? I mean, you can’t use any old thing. Your anchor points have to be capable of withstanding the extreme loads they’re put under. And, that’s no exaggeration. You can find out just how severe these loads are using our trusty new calculator:

>> Calculate the loads on the anchors in your slacklining setup here!

So, since most of us know how to set up our slacklines with trees around, we’re going to talk about setting them up without them and without doing a lot of damage to the neighbourhood or the surrounding area in the process.

If you have the right tools and material, it’s not as difficult as it may sound. In fact, if you’ve got the right ground anchors or the necessary frame, it’s easy to set up a slackline without trees. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof!

Forces in slacklining

In slacklining, there are some pretty gnarly forces at work that you really need to take into consideration when setting up your line. More specifically, it is important to make sure that your line, surrounding technology (whatever that may be) and anchor points are strong enough to withstand the load. So, before looking for possible alternatives to trees, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the forces involved and how they come to be.

The first and certainly easiest force to understand is pretension, which is the force generated when the slackline is tensioned. Another force is generated by the weight of the slackliner as well as the sag of the slackline. There is also something called a dynamic force, which has an effect on the entire setup. This is brought about by the slackliner’s movements and increases with the degree of activity. Thus, these reactionary forces are much higher as a result of jumps than they are when a slackliner simply walks or turns around.

With the help of our calculator, you can calculate the anchor point loads quickly and easily. This will help you to familiarise yourself with the forces at work before setting up your slackline as well as give you an estimate as to whether a potential anchor point is capable of withstanding the load.

Slackline frames

Of course, we can’t forego anchor points entirely. Even slackline frames need some kind of anchor. Strictly speaking, these handy and self-supporting systems can be installed everywhere. When using one of these frames, the slackline is tensioned between two anchor points by means of an integrated ratchet. Frames of this kind are either made out of metal or wood and usually consist of several modules that allow you to save space when you store them. A good example of such a frame is the Slackrack from Gibbon. This three-part set allows you to set up a 2 or 3 metre long line.

Since these are generally self-supporting systems, no further fix points are required. The frames are built in such a way as to be sturdy on level ground and easy to handle. Slackline frames are therefore ideally suited for fitness as well. They’re a great alternative to the usual slackline setups for schools, clubs and families as well. Of course, the coolest thing about these systems is the fact that they can be used indoors as well, no matter whether you set it up in your child’s room, a make-shift gym in your cellar or a regular gym. You’ll always find a place for it!

Securing the ground anchors

If you prefer to pursue your hobby in your own garden or at a park, but you can’t seem to find any anchor points, you should have a closer look at the free-standing options with anchors. These kinds of sets are made by a number of different brands, but all of them follow the same basic principle: Two ground anchors are screwed into the ground, the slackline is mounted onto it and brought up to the desired height using the two frames. Then, all you have to do is fully tension the slackline, and voila! Let the fun begin!

The cool thing about this is that the length of the slackline can be adjusted however you like it. You can also adjust the height and then choose between several clamping heights. Another great thing about this kind of setup is how quick and easy it is to disassemble. Plus, once you’ve taken it apart, it packs down nice and small. When used properly, the ground anchors hardly leave any traces in the ground. Thus, systems like the Frameline Set from Slackline Tools are ideally suited for any slackliners who want to be as mobile as possible and not have to rely on trees.

Setup options for gymnasiums and climbing centres

Since slackline sets with ground anchors can only be used outdoors and trees rarely grow in gymnasiums and climbing centres, the following question basically asks itself: How would you set up a long slackline indoors?

Well, if the building has strong concrete walls, it shouldn’t be a problem. There are plenty of different anchors and setup options. These are usually bolted to a wall with several heavy-duty anchors. Thus, by using permanent wall hooks, you can set up a line from one wall to another. But, this will only work if the walls are sturdy enough and may require the opinion of a stress analyst beforehand.

When it comes to gymnasiums, there are even more interesting options. Similar to the setup with ground anchors, a slackline can be attached to the floor anchors for horizontal bars. For more height, two small crates are pushed underneath. This setup is particularly suitable for school classes or clubs. Since the slackline runs over the crate at both ends, it’s much easier for kids to get on. Plus, the setup is much quicker and easier since you’re using the existing infrastructure of the gymnasium and permanent installations are not necessary.

Conclusion

It is not impossible to set up a slackline without trees. In fact, as we’ve seen, there are plenty of options out there that’ll do just that. Whether you’re looking for something for indoors or outdoors, big or small, or beginners or professionals, the market is full of all sorts of clever slackline kits. Speaking of clever, there are even slackline systems that have been designed to be used in physical therapy with the aim of improving the mobility of those who have been in accidents or have chronic illnesses. To tension these slacklines, you don’t really even need to use that blasted ratchet anymore, either. These are often included in complete sets, but can also be replaced with an Ellington pulley system, provided you have the proper material.

How to break in your walking boots properly

How to break in your walking boots properly

4. January 2018
Equipment, Tips and Tricks

No matter what kind of walking boots you have, it is absolutely essential to break them in before heading out on a trip. This process will soften the material, allowing the boot to mould perfectly to your feet. But, before you break them in, you need to find the perfect pair among the countless number of walking boots on the market today. This can be time-consuming, but it’s incredibly important to make a thorough search of it because our foot shapes are just as numerous as the lasts used by shoe manufacturers. For example, some shoes are a bit roomier or narrower in the toe box, whilst others are narrower at the heel or have an overall more compact shape. 

In addition to the last used to construct the shoe, there are a variety of other factors you should consider when shopping for walking boots, such as the material (leather or synthetics), the height of the ankle support (e.g, mid or low-cut) and the stiffness or flexibility of the sole, to name a few. Once you’ve figured out what kind of shoe you want – be it a lightweight walking shoe, a trekking boot or a crampon-compatible mountaineering boot – it’s time to really start shopping!

Finding the perfect walking boot – the perfect size, width and shape

Only a walking boot in the right size and proper width and shape can be broken in properly. For walkers and hikers, it’s always a good idea to try on the shoes with the socks you’ll be wearing on your trip and using to break in the shoes. Walking socks are made out of all sorts of different materials, including merino wool, synthetic fabric and fabric blends. They should be comfortable, moisture-wicking and fit securely. Remember: your walking boot is only as good as your walking socks.

Once you have the right pair of socks, you can start trying on walking boots. You’ll notice that the walking shoes vary in size and width from brand to brand. The differences aren’t huge, but oftentimes it’s wise to try on a half size larger or smaller in order to achieve the perfect fit. If you’re having a difficult time deciding, it can be a big help to try on a size 9, for example, on one foot, and a size 9.5 on the other. That way, you’ll be able to compare them directly without having to take them on and off.

It’s also very important to tie the shoes properly, meaning the tongue should be in the centre and the shoes tied moderately tightly. Even though only you can know whether a shoe fits properly, we thought it might be useful to put together some important points you can tick off before making your final decision.

  • Does the walking boot have the proper length? – Your toes shouldn’t rub up against the front, but you shouldn’t have too much room, either. This would cause your foot to slide forward, and you wouldn’t get enough support.
  • Does the walking boot have the proper width? – You shouldn’t have too much room on the sides, nor should they pinch or feel too tight.
  • Does your heel feel secure in the boot? – Your heel should not slip to the side or out of the boot when tied. You shouldn’t experience any pinching or unpleasant pressure, either.
  • Is the collar comfortable? – Of course, you should be wearing a sock that extends past the collar of the boot. If the collar or upper is a bit stiff, no need to worry. You can usually break these in quite easily. But, if you feel any uncomfortable pressure anywhere, take the boots off and try on a different model.

Breaking in your walking boots properly

Once you’ve chosen the walking boots of your dreams, it’s time to get ready for your first steps in them! As mentioned above, be sure to wear the walking socks you plan on wearing during your trip and tie your shoes as you normally would. Your legs and feet are supposed to make the boots’ material more flexible, and your shoes need to be tied in order to do that.

Before heading outdoors in your brand spanking new walking boots, you should wear them around the house for a few hours. Once you feel that your feet have become accustomed to your new kicks, you can take them for a leisurely stroll in the park or on easy, flat terrain. With time, these mini adventures will turn into longer strolls and more intense walks with some elevation gain and more uneven terrain. Only after all that preparation will your boots be ready for all-day trips and adventures in the hills.

Breaking in leather or synthetic walking boots

Synthetic walking boots do not mould to your foot as completely as leather boots do. That’s why, breaking in non-leather footwear often seems less time-consuming. Leather shoes, on the other hand, need more time to loosen up, gain flexibility and adapt to your individual foot shape. However, you can do things to speed up the process. If you dare, you can venture out into the rain or in the morning dew. The water will soften the leather, allowing the leather to adapt more quickly and easily to your foot. Of course, you’ll need to walk in your wet boots for a while before anything happens. But, if your walking boots are waterproof, this shouldn’t be a problem.

There’s also the possibility of widening your leather walking boots after breaking them in, if you feel that the shoe is still too tight. A professional cobbler can usually stretch your leather boots by a couple of millimetres.

There’s really nothing better than really comfortable, broken-in walking boots. No blisters, pinching or general discomfort even after hours walking is the dream of walkers, hikers and trekkers everywhere. Thus, once you’ve found your dream pair of walking boots, make sure to care for them properly so that you can enjoy them for a long time to come. Proper care, proofing and shoe wax can really work wonders!

Barometric and GPS-based altimeters

Barometric and GPS-based altimeters

4. January 2018
Equipment, Tips and Tricks

Isn’t it irritating to have trekked through the mountains all day or mountain-biked your way over some tough single track only to find at the end of the day that you have know idea how much elevation you’ve gained? Fortunately, those days are basically over. In recent years, manufacturers of outdoor hardware have been incorporating altimeters into watches, cycle computers and GPS devices that usually calculate the elevation gain and loss you’ve accumulated over the course of your ride, run or walk.

There are two types of altimeters: GPS-based and barometric altimeters. We’re going to take a closer look at both of these technologies and tell you what the pros and cons of each are!

Barometric altimeters

The basis for this method of measurement is air pressure. The barometer measures the air pressure and figures out the altitude out based on that. Atmospheric pressure drops as you gain altitude – if you want to know how much, you can use our handy altitude conditions calculator.

One advantage of this kind of measurement is its accuracy in stable weather conditions and constant temperatures. In conditions such as these, measurement errors are not as drastic those made by GPS-based device. The disadvantage of this method is that a point of reference is required, meaning a pre-determined location above sea level at which the air pressure is measured. Both mountain huts as well as passes are good references points because more often than not you can find the actual altitude by looking at a map. If you recalibrate your barometer in such places from time to time, the information you receive will be accurate within a few metres.

GPS-based altitude measurement

As the name suggests, GPS devices use the American Global Positioning System (GPS). The exact position of the device is determined by means of the signals from various satellites in the earth’s orbit. However, in order to receive information on the current altitude, the receiver requires the signal from at least 4 satellites. The accuracy of this geodetic triangulation of your location also depends to a large extent on the quality of the signal. If there are several available satellites, the receiver will be able pick and choose, giving you the best or strongest signals. However, if your device only receives four satellites, it is possible that both your position and altitude information will strongly deviate from the actual values.

This is due to the fact that a GPS signal behaves physically similar to light. Clouds weaken the signal, and deep canyons can even isolate the receiver completely. Even a dense forest can weaken the signal. The signal can also be reflected off walls. All these things can have such a negative impact on the determination of your position and altitude that they can even result in deviations of up to 100 metres.

Which device is better

In our opinion, that depends entirely on what you plan on using it for. Here are some examples of possible uses and the best device for those particular activities:

Example 1: You’re a mountain biker or hill walker and would like to know how much elevation you’ve gained over the course of your outing:

For this purpose, a barometric altimeter would clearly be your best choice. Your device would measure the air pressure in defined time intervals, thereby determining differences in elevation and subsequently adding them together. When the weather conditions are relatively stable, atmospheric pressure is a reliable source for elevation calculations and perfect for calculating elevation gain and loss. The actual altitude is not usually the most important factor for such excursions, so you don’t have to calibrate your device beforehand.

Example 2: If you’re going on day-long trips with major differences in altitude (a thousand metres or more) and would like to know the altitude of your current position:

For this purpose, we would recommend using a GPS-based device. A GPS-based device may only be able to determine the elevation with an accuracy of 20 to 25 metres, but your position is constantly recalculated and the error will be balanced out in most cases. With a barometric measurement, it’s possible that the device was calibrated incorrectly after the first day, resulting in a deviation of 20 metres for every subsequent measurement. If you don’t have a known position at which you can recalibrate the device, the error could continue and the deviation could even increase. In such a case, a barometric altimeter would be even more inaccurate than GPS.

Example 3: You tend to go on adventures in places where the weather and temperature play a major role:

As was already touched upon, weather and temperature can have a major impact on air pressure. If the air pressure varies as a result of these factors, it’s better to use GPS. However, it’s important to mention that some devices have integrated storm warning systems: if the air pressure drops rapidly, this usually means that a low pressure area is approaching, which often leads to bad weather. Some devices warn you in advance. A barometer can make reliable short-term weather predictions that can be incredibly useful for mountaineers.

In sum, barometric altimeters are great if you’d like to know the elevation profile of your route. The fluctuations are much smaller and the accuracy is better than GPS-based devices. However, as mentioned above, it is imperative to calibrate the devices beforehand in order to receive precise data. For longer trips, we recommend verifying the elevation data at huts or on maps to get the best results.

If you are more interested in absolute elevation, GPS is the better choice. Even though they don’t need to be calibrated, GPS devices may not be as accurate in remote, isolated (mountainous) regions. However, devices with both GPS and GLONASS can often remedy this. The Russian counterpart to the American navigation satellites, which is actually called NAVSTAR, fills the occasional gap in the satellite network, especially in Eurasian and Asian regions.

Other GPS devices combine the advantages of the different methods by measuring altitude barometrically and repeatedly comparing it with the GPS data.

Packing list for hut-to-hut trips

Packing list for hut-to-hut trips

4. January 2018
Equipment, packing list

For a lot of fans of the great outdoors, it’s much more appealing to enjoy the outdoors during the day and have the luxury of returning to the shelter of a hut at night than to have to tough it out all by your lonesome on a long trekking tour. The advantage of a hut-to-hut trip is definitely how much weight you save as a result. You can just leave your food, tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat at home! Some huts even offer food and drinks as well!

We’re well aware that a lot of our fellow Alpine Trekkers are experienced travellers, but we thought we’d give all of the beginners out there some assistance as to what to pack when embarking on a hut-to-hut adventure.

Clothing

1. Layer (base layer):




2. Layer (insulation):

3. Layer (weather protection):





Food





Hygiene & Health








Gear









For the hut



If you still have room in your pack








Let’s just start off by saying that our packing list is merely a suggestion. If you’ve already gone on a hut trip before, not only do you know what you need and what you don’t, but you are fully aware of what you’re capable of carrying and what you can leave at home next time. The most important thing to consider is the duration of the trip. If you’ll be travelling for more than four days, we recommend taking spare clothing and travel detergent with you.

Of course, the region in which you plan on travelling plays a significant role as well, e.g. in Scandinavia or the Alps. When it comes to weight, the general rule of thumb is that your rucksack shouldn’t weigh more than 8kg without drinks for a multi-day trip, especially if your route has a lot of elevation gain.

Rucksacks with multiple compartments are incredibly helpful, but if you don’t have one, you can use lightweight stuff sacks to compensate for the lack of compartments. We recommend packing your belongings according to how you’ll need them over the course of the day. Keep your water bottle and food within reach, and if you think you might run into to bad weather, store your waterproof jacket and trousers in an easily accessible compartment.

When choosing clothing and gear, you need to keep your route in mind. Will you be crossing a glacier (gaiters, crampons, snow spikes, glacier glasses, etc.), will it be raining or will it be mostly dry? Do remember to take gloves with you for routes secured with steel cables, since they’re not fun to hold onto in cold and wet weather.

If you’ve never travelled in this way for multiple days at a time, you should practise beforehand to see how you get along with your kit. For in contrast to daytrips, any poor decisions you make can end up being a pretty big deal. You don’t want to have to call it quits because of some silly mistake!

A huge advantage of hut-to-hut trips is the food and drinks. Depending on the hut, you can stop for a bite to eat and a cold drink at an affordable price. That way, you won’t have to lug a whole bunch of extra weight with you for food. The only thing weighing you down will be the food you plan to eat over the course of the day.

So, that being said, have a fun trip!

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How polarised sunglasses work

How polarised sunglasses work

3. January 2018
Equipment

A polarising filter is something every photographer is familiar with. It increases contrast and decreases reflections. But, does the same go for polarised sunglasses? What is the purpose of polarised sunglasses and how do they work? And above all: do your sunglasses really need to be polarised?

The human eye is capable of adapting to changes in brightness to a certain extent. However, if it gets too bright, we need some sort of aid, and sunglasses do just that. In extreme conditions, such as during glacier crossings, we need glacier glasses of the highest category. These glasses hardly let any light through and provide the eye with the protection it needs.

Many of these glasses happen to be polarised as well. However, this doesn’t have as much to do with protecting the eyes as it does with safety during activities in the mountains. What polarised glasses do is, increase the contrast we perceive. If you’d like to find out more about how polarisation works, keep on reading!

What are we really talking about?

We’re talking about light. In physics, light is described as an electromagnetic wave. A wave is an oscillation in space. The plane on which the oscillation takes place is called the polarisation plane of the wave. Polarisation is thus a property of a wave and any wave for that matter, since every wave can be traced back to an oscillation. Light is therefore always polarised.

Scattering and reflection change the polarisation of light. Sunlight that reaches the Earth’s atmosphere is scattered by every molecule in the air and broken up and reflected in the tiniest of water droplets. And, the polarisation planes get mixed up in the process. The light on the ground is described as unpolarised. This is obviously not completely correct, since light is always polarised. However, the light on the ground has a non-uniform polarisation. And that’s what matters.

When light hits a surface, some of the light is reflected and some is absorbed. Take a body of water as an example. The light is reflected on the surface of the water, but some light penetrates into the water as well, which is something you’ll certainly be familiar with if you’ve ever been snorkelling or scuba diving. The same goes for a glacier or a window pane. Some of the light is reflected and some penetrates into the boundary.

What is reflected and what is absorbed depends in part on the polarisation of the light. The boundaries act kind of like a polarising filter because if a certain polarisation is preferentially absorbed, then certain polarisations are reflected as well. Thus, a “preselection” of sorts takes place.

Now let’s get back to our polarised glasses. Like the boundary surfaces mentioned above, polarised glasses are also polarising filters. They have a defined polarisation plane and only let light with the same polarisation plane through.

Think of it like this: If you throw a thin stick at a net consisting of only vertical lines, the stick will always fly straight through it, provided it is vertically aligned and you happen hit the gap between two lines dead-on. If the stick is horizontal or diagonal, it’ll simply get caught in the net.

The same is pretty much true when it comes to polarised light as well. When light reaches your sunglasses, it will only be able to pass through if it has the same direction of polarisation as the glasses themselves. Of course, this comparison is only partly true. For light with a different polarisation plane won’t be completely blocked but reduced down to the bit that does have the same polarisation as the glasses. This is due to the simple fact that we’re talking about electromagnetic waves and not a stick. After all, you don’t want me to bust out a bunch complex formulas, do you?

So, instead of throwing sticks at nets, let’s find a wall with a slit in it to throw our sticks at. Once you’ve found one (I’m kidding), throw the stick at the slit. If you hit the target, the stick will pass right through. If the stick hits the slit at an angle, the part that touches the wall will be cut off whilst the part that hits the slit will still be able to go through. Just as the stick ultimately decreases in size, so too does the light that hits our sunglasses decrease in intensity.

What do polarised glasses do?

For a start, they reduce the intensity of the light that reaches your sunglasses. In other words, they make things darker. However, this effect is less significant than you would think because our perception of brightness is not linear. Simply put, when the amount of light that reaches our eyes is cut in half, we don’t perceive it as being half as bright. This is due to the composition of the human eye. Our eyes can perceive differences in brightness much better in the dark than they can in bright light. But that’s a different topic altogether. Even though most of us only wear sunglasses when it’s really bright out, the dimming effect is not the sole effect of polarised glasses.

Much more important for us outdoorsy folk is the ability of polarised sunglasses to help us better perceive contrasts. To illustrate this fact, imagine you’re doing a glacier walk. Here the sun is shining brightly, right in your eyes. But the sun doesn’t stop there: The sunlight hits the ground and is reflected off the surface as well. As was already mentioned, the amount of reflected light depends on both the polarisation of the light as well as the the makeup of ground itself (rock absorbs more light than snow and is thus darker) and the angle of incidence.

The opposite is also true. The intensity and polarisation of the reflected light depends on the surface and the angle of the reflection of the light.

For example, if there is a step covered by snow on the ground right in front of you, the light reflected by that plane has a different polarisation than the light reflected by a slope. These different polarisations are then filtered by the glasses to varying degrees with the result that you perceive these zones with varying degrees of brightness. The step is thus seen more clearly with polarised sunglasses than with a unpolarised pair of glasses, as the latter only makes things darker. That’s not to say that you wouldn’t see the step with unpolarised sunglasses. It’s just that the amount of light that is not let through is the same for all zones. Polarised sunglasses reduce the intensity of light differently depending on the angle of incidence.

Areas of use

Polarised sunglasses make a major difference on water. They filter the light that is reflected off the surface of the water differently, resulting in us perceiving waves more clearly. Thus, polarised sunglasses are beneficial in places where reflections need to be perceived differently. In other words, they’re perfect for bodies of water and the mountains. Whether or not you really need polarised glasses is obviously up to you. But, since they allow you to better identify the makeup of the surface you’re walking on, they will increase your safety, especially in the mountains. Glacier glasses should definitely be polarised, though!

Here’s a concluding remark on the perception of polarised light in general: The human eye is not capable of identifying the state of polarisation of light. The only exception is the phenomenon of Haidinger’s brush where many people can see a visual pattern in light after looking at completely polarised light for a longer period of time and then looking at a surface that is as neutral as possible.

It’s a completely different story when it comes to insects. Karl von Frisch discovered that honey bees are able to detect polarisation patterns and orient themselves using this ability along with the position of the sun. Cool, right?

About the author

Johannes is 24 years old and enjoys cycling in remote regions of the world. Three years ago, he completely fell in love with photography and began studying the topic and documenting his trips in the process. After 5 years of studying physics, he is quite familiar with most of the phenomena associated with light.

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How self-inflating sleeping mats work

How self-inflating sleeping mats work

15. November 2017
Equipment

There’s no way around it: a self-inflating sleeping mat is an absolute must on every expedition or trip in the mountains. Not only are self-inflating mats very packable, but they’re extremely comfortable as well. In contrast to a normal sleeping mat, self-inflating ones weigh only slightly more. Plus, they have a bit more to offer than their non-inflating counterparts.

But, how do self-inflating sleeping mats work? What kind of models are there? And finally, what should you keep in mind when caring for and repairing them? In the following, we’re going to answer these questions so that you can find the right mat for you!

How self-inflating sleeping mats work

Although the term self-inflating sleeping mat may sound somewhat complicated, their basic function is quite simple. On the inside of the mat, there is a special kind of PU foam. This foam has open cells. When rolled up, the foam is extremely compressed. Once you roll it back out, the foam expands. When you open the valve, the sleeping mat literally self-inflates because of the vacuum created by it having been compressed. Air is sucked in from the outside into the pores of the foam. Of course, after the mat is completely inflated, the valve should be closed to prevent any air escaping when you lie down on it.

How to regulate the amount of air in your mat

Since some people like their mattresses firm and others soft, you can regulate the firmness and thickness of a self-inflating sleeping mat. As ground conditions can vary, this option is a very useful one to have. In order to get more air into the sleeping mat, all you have to do is blow air through the valve or through a mouthpiece. However, when inflating a mat with your mouth, keep in mind that the air you breathe into the mat can lead to a build-up of moisture and bacteria, which can eventually end up ruining the mat. This is due to the fact that mildew can form on the interior, which can have a negative impact on the foam and the insulating properties. But, mildew is not the only downside. The moisture can also end up freezing in low temperatures, thereby reducing the insulation capacity of the mat. And, believe me, that’s no good.

If you have a mat with foam and down insulation, such as those from Exped, you should make sure that no moisture gets in the mat at all, since it would cause the down to stick together and lose its insulating properties.

If all that sound pretty terrifying and you’d like to keep moisture out of your mat, there are various ways to inflate them without using your mouth. For example, there are integrated pump systems or those involving the use of the mat’s stuff sack as a bellows. The systems vary from brand to brand.

If you like your mat softer, all you have to do is let as much air out through the valve as you want.

How to store your sleeping mat when not in use

When you wake up – hopefully after a good night’s sleep – you’ll usually want to get things going as quickly as possible. To pack your sleeping mat down as small as you can, you’ll have to let all the air out. You can do this just as you would with an air mattress. Just fold the sleeping mat two to three times and then open the valve. As a result of the pressure applied to the mat by your folding it, air will be released through the valve. After doing this, close the valve and roll the sleeping mat up, starting at the foot of the mat. This will cause the rest of the air that is left in the mat to accumulate at the top. When you open the valve again, this air will be able to escape as well. When all the air’s out and the valve is closed, you can store the mat for transport. Oh, and it’s best to keep the mat rolled up during transport. When transporting or carrying the bag, you should definitely use the stuff sack to provide it with enough protection as well.

Self-inflating sleeping mats in different thicknesses

As you can imagine, the thickness of a sleeping mat can have a major impact of the its overall comfort. Mats usually have a thickness of anywhere from 3cm to 10cm. Mats with a thickness of 3cm are really only suitable for shorter trips, as they offer little in terms of comfort. What they lack in comfort, though, they make up for in their extremely small pack size! Much more comfortable are mats with a thickness of 4-6cm. When combined with a high-quality sleeping bag, a mat like this can give you all the comfort you need for a good night’s sleep! Even more comfortable, however, are sleeping mats with a thickness of 10cm or more. The obvious downside to these mats is their much larger pack size.

How to clean and repair your sleeping mat yourself

Since sleeping mats are used exclusively on hard and rough surfaces, it’s not at all rare for them to get torn or scratched up. Even if your mat’s been reinforced and you’re super careful, there’s really no way around this. It’s annoying, I know, but fortunately these minor battle wounds are easy to patch up yourself. Most sleeping mats come with a special repair kit you can use when you find a tear in your mat. The kits usually consist of patches for the top and bottom as well as a special adhesive to secure the patch to the material. That way, you can seal up holes and tears in the mat’s material with a few easy steps and go along your way without missing a beat!

Cleaning a sleeping mat is just as easy. Since sleeping mats are used exclusively outdoors, cleaning your mat regularly is a must, especially if you want it to last. To do so, all you have to do is wipe your mat with a cloth and a mild household cleaning agent, but make sure to do so when the mat is inflated and the valve is closed. Then rinse off the residue thoroughly. To prevent the growth of mildew, be sure to let the mat dry completely before deflating it and rolling it back up. If you follow these simple directions, you’ll be able to enjoy the comfort of your self-inflating sleeping mat for a long time to come!

If you have any questions about self-inflating sleeping mats, 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.

Walking day trip checklist

Walking day trip checklist

22. November 2017
Equipment, packing list

So, what do we mean by day trip? Well, a day trip basically means that you don’t have to take all your gear with you, but rather just enough to get through the day until you make it back to where you started. The most important thing is to take enough gear with you for the day (without an overnight stay). Here it is, our walking checklist:

Clothing







This is what you need













Optional (depending on the trip and time of year)











If you still have room in your pack









The biggest advantage of a day trip? If you forget something on your list, you only have to go a single day without it! Nonetheless, there are a few essentials that you absolutely must take along on your trip. All other items fall under the category of “personal preference” or “weird habits” :-).

Sympatex: Environmentally-friendly windproof and waterproof protection

Sympatex: Environmentally-friendly windproof and waterproof protection

16. November 2017
Equipment

There are countless materials, membranes, systems and other things engineered to keep us dry in the great outdoors, but how are we supposed to keep track of what does what? No worries, not many of us can, nor have to. But, since it is important to know which shoes, jacket or trousers to wear the next time you go on a trip, we figured we’d gradually introduce the most important membranes on the market today. Besides, a couple of technical terms never hurt anybody!

In the following, we’re going to talk about Sympatex and address basic questions, such as what this membrane provides and how it differs from others on the market. Plus, we’re going to touch on environmental protection and what it has to do with membranes.

Functional fabrics and environmental protection – do these two things even go together? It’s not at all rare to hear about membranes that are supposedly harmful to the environment or even carcinogenic. Oftentimes, you’ll hear about membranes that are made of polytetrafluoroethylene (a difficult word, I know), or PTFE for short. The process of making PTFE involves perfluorooctanoic acid, which may be carcinogenic and have a few other negative properties as well. The scary thing is that despite the fact that this substance does not exist in nature, it was detected in Antarctica! The good news? Fortunately, many manufacturers of membranes are now able to exclude this from their products.

If you’ve recently purchased a new jacket, you should check to see whether the manufacturer can exclude PFOA or not, since PTFE per se has not been proven to be harmful to our health. Alternatively, you could look for a membrane free of per- and polyfluorinated chemicals. That would save you a lot of work.

The Sympatex membrane is PTFE-free, recyclable and bluesign-certified!

If you’d rather not use membranes that are potentially harmful to you or the environment, you should definitely have a closer look at Sympatex membranes. These membranes are made by Sympatex Technologies GmbH in the Bavarian town of Unterföhring, Germany. A Sympatex membrane is much like a PET bottle: it’s 100% recyclable!

It’s not made out of PTFE, but rather polyether/ester. Yes, yet another rather difficult word, but it’s pretty simple in terms of its composition. It’s basically a safe, environmentally-friendly compound of polyester and polyether. How do we know it’s safe? Well, if the membrane’s countless certifications are any indication, the word is out – Sympatex is safe. Not only is the Sympatex membrane certified according to the Oeko-Tex Standard, but Sympatex is a bluesign-certified manufacturer as well. The Oeko-Tex Standard ensures that the material is not harmful to our health, and the bluesign certification guarantees that the product was manufactured in an environmentally-friendly way.

How does the Sympatex membrane work?

So, now that we’ve got an environmentally and skin-friendly membrane, it’d probably be a good idea to explain how it works. Is it as reliable as other membranes? Well, in terms of function, Sympatex differs quite a bit from other membranes. For a start, the Sympatex membrane is nonporous. Uh, ok, but what happens to the breathability? The solution: The function of the membrane is based on a physical and chemical principle.

Here’s a quick crash course in chemistry! The hydrophilic components of the membrane absorb moisture and transport it to the outside so that it can then evaporate. The water vapour molecules are transported along the molecule chains through the membrane. The compact molecular structure of the Sympatex membrane swells as a result of the moisture from the outside, thereby providing room for the transfer of body moisture. The requirement for this function is a partial pressure gradient of temperature and humidity from the inside to the outside.

If chemistry has never really been your jam, here’s a brief summary in layman’s terms: If you really work up a sweat during highly-aerobic physical activity, the temperature and humidity underneath the jacket will rise. If the temperature and humidity underneath the jacket become higher those on the outside of the jacket, this is when the Sympatex membrane is in its element. So, the more the body sweats, the more body moisture the membrane can transfer to the outside. We usually referred to this as “breathable”.

Windproof and waterproof protection guaranteed

The Sympatex membrane is 100% waterproof. As it should be! After all, waterproof protection is absolutely essential in bad weather. The measure of how waterproof a membrane is, called hydrostatic head. It measures how tall a column of water the fabric can hold before water seeps through. According to the EN 343, a rating of 1300mm and above is considered to be waterproof. The Sympatex membrane boasts a waterproof rating of 45,000mm, so it’s pretty darn waterproof!

Another important aspect is windproof protection, even if you won’t be travelling in extremely windy conditions, because it will stop the dreaded wind chill before it starts. Why is this bad? Well, wind causes that warm layer of air around your body to be drawn away, resulting in you thinking it’s much colder than it actually is. The windproof Sympatex membrane, however, shields your body from the wind, preventing wind chill and the decrease in performance associated with it.

Of course, as no windproof, waterproof and breathable membrane could go without a quality DWR finish, Sympatex doesn’t either! If you’re unfamiliar with what a DWR does, it provides the water and dirt-repellent protection needed to prevent the material and the membrane becoming saturated. Which DWR treatment is used is completely up to the manufacturer of the finished product and us, the consumer, as we decide which product we use to re-proof our clothing. An important thing to consider when it comes to DWR treatments is, however, the environmental aspect. Even though not all DWRs are environmentally friendly, there are some environmentally-friendly options available on the market today.

What laminates with Sympatex membranes are there?

There are different laminates for different applications. For example, you would need a different laminate for climbing in the mountains than you would for walking the dog or backpacking. For this reason, Sympatex has developed 2, 2½, 3, and 4-layer laminates to suit the specific requirements of users (i.e., usage, performance and properties).

The Sympatex membrane can be connected to several different base materials, such as knitwear, fleece, woven fabrics, leather or even foam to form a laminate for a certain application. For example, a laminate for waterproof shoes consists of (starting from the inside) a soft liner, the membrane, a textile layer and the upper material. The laminate for particularly lightweight jackets often leave out the lining to keep the weight and pack size of the garment to a minimum.

In sum, there are several solid membranes out there, but there is only one Sympatex. If health and environmental protection are things that are important to you, Sympatex is a good choice. After all, topics like sustainability, recycling and environmental protection aren’t going anywhere anytime soon!

How welded seams work

How welded seams work

9. November 2017
Equipment

Dedicated outdoorsmen and women usually don’t plan their trips according to the time of year or even the weather for that matter. As long as the snow isn’t a metre high, there’s really nothing keeping them from going, not even adverse weather conditions. Of course, in conditions such as these, the proper clothing is absolutely essential.

In other words, you need waterproof clothing. But, what makes a garment waterproof and how would you make those weak spots on jackets like zips and seams waterproof, anyway?

It may come as a surprise, but the answer to this question isn’t as complicated as it may seem. To make the seams, which are basically a bunch of holes in the fabric, on both hardshell and softshell jackets and trousers waterproof, manufacturers either weld or tape them. This along with the garment’s waterproof fabric forces water droplets to roll off the face fabric, stopping it penetrating the interior.

Another advantage of welded seams is that they make the clothing windproof as well. If a windproof material is used in the manufacture of the garment, it can then prevent wind getting in through the previously open seams as well, resulting in a garment that keeps you nice and warm whilst simultaneously keeping the bitter cold out.

How welding works

Basically, welding seams works much in the same way as any method used by a welding apparatus, namely by applying heat and pressure in order to fuse two materials together, in our case waterproof material over the edges of a seam. This results in a seamless connection between both bits of material, resulting in a solid surface. Afterward, the seams look like little strips.

Clothing with welded seams should still be breathable

By welding the seams, you basically make them hermetically sealed. Normal seams would still allow air to seep through, resulting in the circulation of air and breathability we outdoorsy folk crave! Since this is prevented by welding the seams, the fabric itself needs to have breathable properties. Only then can overheating and excessive sweating be prevented. As you can imagine, this is absolutely crucial for high-intensity physical activities because it helps to maintain a high level of comfort.

Another way to increase the breathability is to use ventilation zips. Since these are waterproof as well, they won’t allow any water to penetrate when closed. But, when you open them, you feel the wonderful cool air against your body, giving you the relief you need when the going gets tough. This is an excellent feature because it basically gives you a manual ventilation system you can adjust to your liking.

Where welded seams are used

Welded seams are so effective that they are now used for other outdoor gear as well, such as tents. How could it be any other way? After all, you don’t want to sleep in a tent that isn’t up to par with your jacket in terms of waterproof protection, right?

In addition to clothing and tents, you’ll also find welded seams in shoes, which is necessary for obvious reasons. Without that waterproof protection, your feet are bound to get wet, even in lighter rain. Welded seams are also of particular importance in autumn and winter, as trails and forest paths are often wet, muddy and/or ridden with puddles, all of which can soak your feet as trudge through them. If you’ve ever had to walk a good distance with wet, you know how fun it is! For this reason, waterproof walking boots come complete with welded seams to keep your feet dry and protected in wet conditions.

How to repair sealed seams properly and effectively

High-quality functional apparel comes with incredibly durable sealed seams, and that for good reason. The bits of a garment considered to be high-stress areas, such as the shoulders, benefit significantly from said durability. For whenever you wear a backpack, the shoulder straps will rub up against the material used to seal the seams and can, with time, end up damaging them, if they’re not tough enough. Though inconvenient, it’s not that big of a deal if the welded seams do happen to get damaged. Fortunately, you won’t have to buy yet another expensive jacket. You can simply repair them yourself!

To reseal the seams, you need special seam tape. These are sometimes self-adhesive or come with an adhesive coating that reacts to heat. By ironing the seam tape onto the area in question on the inside of the garment, the tape adheres to the material as a result of the heat and reseals it. You should iron it on without putting on a steam setting. And, this method should only be used on heat-resistant fabrics. To prevent more major damage, try it out in a small or less obvious area beforehand.

Also: you can use seam tape to patch smaller tears and holes in your garment. All you have to do is iron them on, thereby sealing the defective area.

Rely on quality and you’ll stay dry

As with all products, there are individual garments that different significantly when it comes to quality. The same goes for sealed seams. Cheaper garments tend to have taped seams as opposed to welded seams. The downside to the former is that they come off fairly easily and don’t really seal up the area very well. So, you can get pretty soaked pretty fast. For better waterproof protection, it’s worth investing a bit more to get something with welded seams. That way, you won’t have to worry about bad weather the next time you head out!

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.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Pertex fabrics

Everything you ever wanted to know about Pertex fabrics

22. November 2017
Equipment

The 1970s were a decade in which a wide variety of new fabrics became available on the market, leading manufacturers in the outdoor industry to jettison those more traditional fabrics, such as cotton and wool, in favour of these new, more advanced materials. These functional fabrics had a clear advantage over traditional fabrics: they have a much smaller pack size and were significantly lighter as well. One of these functional fabrics was Pertex.

Ever heard of it? If not, you’re in luck. In the following, we’re going to talk a bit about Pertex, including everything from its origin to variations and the properties thereof to its area of use.

Pertex is the result of a collaboration between Hanish Hamilton, a British mountaineer and Perseverance Mills, a company that had specialised in the manufacture of nylon fabrics for parachutes. With Pertex, these two managed to create a lightweight and tear-resistant fabric that is moisture-wicking to boot. And so the Pertex we know today was born. And this material has remained an integral part of the outdoor industry ever since. Of course, there have been further developments to the fabric over the years, resulting in new fabric variations that are extremely lightweight and highly breathable. Now, there is a family of Pertex fabrics on the market, the members of which are used in all sorts of different areas.

Sleeping bags and insulated clothing

The original Pertex fabric is still available today – with slight changes – as Pertex Classic. Not only is this fabric lightweight but it is very durable as well. As a result of its special composition, the material also happens to be windproof, water repellent and extremely breathable. Thanks to these key features, Pertex Classic is often used as the outer shell for down and synthetic jackets as well as sleeping bags. Plus, it’s very well suited for lightweight windproof jackets as well.

Pertex Microlight boasts properties very similar to that of Pertex Classic, but it is much lighter. This material comes with a DWR coating and thus offers more weather protection than Pertex Classic. Plus, this fabric is extremely downproof. As a result of the softness of the material and reduced weight, down and synthetic insulation can fully loft.

One of the lightest, but still strong and durable fabrics is Pertex Quantum. Like Pertex Classic, this fabric is also perfectly suited for down and synthetic jackets as well as sleeping bags. The incredible thing is that Quantum is significantly lighter than Microlight but still manages to be strong and durable. The lightest option is Quantum GL. This material boasts the best strength-to-weight ratio and is thus primarily used in for ultra-light activities.

If you plan on travelling with a sleeping bag or down jacket in regions where the annual rainfall and humidity are high, the insulation therein needs much more protection. This is where Pertex Endurance comes in. This water-resistant and high-performance water-repellent nylon laminate provides excellent protection from moisture for sleeping bags and jackets alike. Plus, the material has excellent breathability and heat retention. Manufacturers like Montane or Exped use this material for things like high-quality and weatherproof down sleeping bags. Of course, Endurance is used in down jackets and all sorts of insulated clothing as well.

Softshells

Pertex has a fabric designed to be used for softshells as well. This fabric is called Pertex Equilibrium. One of the key features of this fabric is the duplex weave construction, which not only provides excellent weather protection but also is highly breathable as well. The tough outer fabric also features a DWR finish, which works together with the double weave to keep light rains and wind at bay. Plus, due to the more open weave on the inside, moisture can be moved away from your body more quickly to ensure comfort on the interior. This fabric also boasts a great weight-to-performance ratio and is best suited for light softshells with maximum performance and a high level of comfort.

Hardshells

Inherent to all hardshells is the ability to shield you from snow, rain and wind. And of course, they should be breathable as well. After all, what difference does it make if you get wet from the outside (from rain or snow) or from the inside (due to sweat)? This is where Pertex Shield comes in. As all Pertex fabrics, Pertex Shield is extremely breathable. However, what’s different about Perxtex Shield is the fact that it has a membrane, which works together with a DWR finish to provide reliable weather protection.

The clever thing about this is that the combination of a highly technical outer fabric and a microporous coating ultimately led to the development of a strong and functional fabric. But the fun doesn’t stop there. With the fabric Pertex Shield+, Pertex took it one step further. Not only is this fabric lighter than the original Shield version, but it also has a PU membrane, which serves to provide a very high level of breathability that increases the harder you work. As a result of this dynamic breathability, this fabric is primarily used for lightweight and waterproof clothing.

I know it’s hard to believe, but Pertex Shield AP takes the breathability thing to a whole new level. This material is exceptionally strong and combines maximal weather protection with optimal breathability. This is due to the special constitution of the membrane. It has a microporous structure, which allows water vapour to escape but does not allow moisture to get in. In addition, the fabric is also very tough and durable. Thus, it is best suited for long periods of use in extreme conditions, all the while ensuring reliable protection over the course of the garment’s entire lifetime.

Conclusion

Pertex is not just one fabric. It’s an entire family of fabrics, the individual members of which are used in a wide array of areas, ranging from down sleeping bags to hardshell trousers. In addition to the plethora of other characteristics of the individual fabrics, their key features include a high level of breathability and light weight.

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.

Gore Windstopper: Your bulwark against wind

Gore Windstopper: Your bulwark against wind

17. November 2017
Equipment

An icy wind’s a-blowing over the piste, and the snow is being whipped over the mountains like a sandstorm. You’re shaking in your boots at the mere sight of it, knowing full well that you’ll have to leave the toasty warmth of ski lift station and venture out into the storm. So, you zip up your ski jacket, put your hood over your helmet and head bravely toward the door…

If you’ve ever found yourself in this or a similar situation, I’m sure you were relieved you were sporting your trusty windproof clothing. And, in all likelihood, both your trousers and your jacket bore the distinctive red, octagonal Windstopper logo from the company W.L. Gore & Associates, who also happens to be responsible for those oh-so famous Gore-Tex laminates. But, the American company doesn’t just specialise in waterproof jackets – they’ve set all new standards in all things windproof gear as well.

Windstopper: completely windproof and very versatile

Similar to their big waterproof brothers, the Gore Windstopper laminates consist of three layers as well. The core thereof is the ePTFE membrane (expanded polytetrafluoroethylene), which has numerous pores: around 1.4 billion pores per square centimetre, to be precise. These are so small that they are impenetrable to wind and liquid water, but still allow water vapour molecules to pass through. The fabric is completely windproof, water resistant and breathable. Perspiration can escape easily through the breathable membrane. Pretty cool, right?

So, it will come as no surprise that this advanced membrane makes up the core of various laminates:

  • Windstopper Active Shell is particularly lightweight, space-saving, completely windproof and very breathable. Thus, it is ideal for highly aerobic activities, such as trail running, running or cycling.
  • Windstopper Soft Shell products are those that offer a balanced combination of windproof protection, breathability and flexibility to conform to your movements. Products with this laminate are perfect for just about every physical activity.
  • Windstopper Technical Fleece combines the advantages of a windproof membrane with those of fleece. It won’t let any air pass through and simultaneously provides warmth and breathability. This is effective as a mid-layer or outer layer.
  • Windstopper Insulated Shell, unlike other laminates, consists of not three but four layers. The additional layer provides lightweight, breathable synthetic insulation and is thus the warmest in the Windstopper family. All while retaining its breathable and windproof properties! This is used in functional jackets like the Vanguard Jacket from Mountain Equipment.

The commonality among all laminates is that they get water-repellent properties from the membrane. Plus, a DWR treatment provides the additional protection of water repellency as well. This coating must be renewed after multiple washes. You can read about how that works and why it’s important here.

As a result of their versatility, Windstopper laminates are found in just about every kind of outdoor clothing. They’re especially popular among fans of ski touring because it not only provides protection from the cold, but offers mobility, can withstand snow and is breathable as well. It’s also used for base layers, such as the Craft Active Extreme WS Shirt, which was designed primarily for cyclists who often have to battle strong headwinds.

Defy the wind chill factor

Windproof active wear is an absolute must. After all, it will protect you from the wind’s chilling effect! The wind-chill is the difference between the perceived and actual temperature depending on the speed of the wind. In other words, the stronger the wind blows, the colder it’ll feel. It sounds fairly harmless in theory, but it can become a huge problem in practise, especially if you don’t have the proper windproof clothing. Even with the slightest decrease in body temperature resulting from wind-chill, you may experience reduced blood flow to your extremities and your circulation may become unstable, resulting in numbness and shivering. But, if you don’t give the wind a chance to get between you and your clothing in the first place, it won’t be able to take all that precious heat away from you!

Windproof clothing also plays a crucial role in layering and should not be underestimated. Even though waterproof jackets are always windproof as well, they pale in comparison to Windstopper clothing in terms of their breathability. For this reason, you should really make sure you have a long, hard think about whether you’d rather opt for a lighter, but windproof jacket on your next adventure in the mountains.

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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