All posts with the keyword ‘Mountaineering’

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.

MTB shoes buyer’s guide: How to find the right shoe

27. August 2020
Buyer's guide

Mountain bike shoes for tours, trails and downhill

Choosing the perfect mountain bike shoes is really easy. To find the perfect shoe, all you have to consider is your shoe size, the design, area of use, and pedal system, the weather and the season. Easy, right? But seriously. When it comes to MTB shoes, there are actually so many different models and designs that you can quickly get lost in this shoe jungle. To stop you getting confused, let’s suss out all the factors that are important when choosing the perfect bike shoes, one by one.

The pedals: Flat pedals or clip-in pedals

Depending on the pedal type, mountain bikers need shoes with relatively flat and grippy rubber outsoles which the pins of the flat pedals can “bite into” properly.

With clip-in pedal systems, like for example the popular SPD (Shimano Pedaling Dynamics) from Shimano, the MTB shoes are firmly attached to the pedals for optimal grip. They are connected with what is knows as cleats or pedal plates, which are screwed onto the soles of the mountain bike shoes. For perfect power transfer, mountain bikers clip their shoes into the pedals and can detach from the connection again with a gentle sideways twist.

Some shoes can even be used to ride on both clip-in and flat pedals. Occasionally, hybrid pedals are used, too, which have pins on one side of the pedal and are fitted with a clip system on the other. Usually, though, mountain bikers specialise in a particular area such as downhill, racing or freeride, and choose the pedal-shoe system accordingly.

The area of use: dirt, racing, downhill or touring

Of course, there are no fixed rules about who, where, when and on which routes which shoes should be used. Nevertheless, certain preferences for particular kinds of shoes and pedals can be more easily discerned in some disciplines than in others. Most mountain bikers head out with flat pedals for dirt jumping and in bike parks. This is because for some jumps it’s important to be able to take your feet off the pedals and then “catch” the bike with your shoes. For controlled jumps from the bike, mountain bikers can react much better and faster with flat pedals than with fixed pedals.

For mountain bike racing and touring, on the other hand, many cyclists rely on the efficient power transfer of the clip-in pedal. For downhill, enduro and on trails, mountain bikers like riding with both systems. While some value the better bike control and perfect grip of mountain bike shoes with cleats, others swear by comfortable cycling sneakers with their versatile flexibility.

The weather conditions: between heat, rain and icy cold

Most cycling shoes are perfect for medium temperatures and dry road conditions. This means that from spring through autumn, they’re fantastic for riding on most days of the year. It gets harder in particularly wet weather conditions, especially during winter in ice and snow. Normal MTB shoes are not insulated and, especially with clip-in pedals, an uncomfortable cold bridge forms. In rain and mud, waterproof mountain bike shoes are at least pretty good at keeping the foot dry.

Waterproof and breathable cycling overshoes are more effective. They not only ensure that the feet stay dry, they keep the entire cycling shoe itself from getting wet. Because they’re open at the sole, you can clip into the pedal with no problem.

In very low temperatures, mountain bikers can to an extent make do with warm socks and cycling overshoes. There are, however, also special winter shoes for mountain bikers that have special insulated soles. Depending on the model, these can even be comfortably worn to ride in temperatures of -20°C.

Mountain bike shoes are constructed completely differently according to the pedal system, recommended area of use and weather conditions. Not only does the design range from urban styling to futuristic high-tech looks, the construction and composition of the sole, outer material and lacing are tailored to the different areas and systems.

The sole: soft and grippy or stiff and dynamic

Flat-pedal shoes from Five Ten, adidas or Giro are equipped with soles made from special rubber compounds that provide the best grip on the short pins. The sole construction is really flat, reminiscent of skate shoes or sneakers. This means that mountain bikers can take perfect advantage of the large area of the flat pedals and adjust the placement of their foot really easily while riding without losing contact with the pedal. Flat pedal shoes are comfortably cut and guarantee good cushioning. In comparison to skate shoes, however, for mountain biking the rubber compounds from Vibram or Five Ten are significantly more durable.

MTB shoes for clip-in pedals have a completely different sole design. The rigid nylon soles are made for mounting the pedal plates and guarantee the best-possible power transfer.

Depending on whether mountain bikers tend to be riding long tours or are fighting for every last second in a competition, the soles can be a little softer or harder. Softer soles usually mean they’re more comfortable, while harder soles usually transfer power better. Modern mountain bike shoes are fitted with profiled soles which are also suitable for short passages on foot, offering good grip even on slippery forest floors. Here, the cleats are mounted so they don’t protrude beyond the profile. This means that they won’t annoy you while you’re walking and they enable a comfortable gait. The stiff nylon soles are, however, unsuitable for longer hikes.

The composition of the shoe: different materials and shaft heights

Mountain bike shoes can be made from the most varied of materials. From synthetic leather, smooth leather or suede through to synthetic fibres or mesh fabrics, manufacturers of high-quality mountain bike shoes such as Shimano, Mavic and Vaude use every possible material.

Depending on the shoe design, the companies place particular importance on good fit, stability and good ventilation. Sporty mountain bike shoes are often equipped with mesh inserts for comfortable ventilation, while all-round and touring shoes tend to put more emphasis on good weather protection. MTB shoes are reinforced around the toe area and at the heel to protect the shoes from damage and to give the foot the stability required.

Most all-round and racing shoes feature a low-cut shaft, which enables high freedom of movement and comfortable ventilation. Insulated winter shoes, on the other hand, are cut higher and come past the ankle. Downhill shoes are also sometimes cut ankle high, because this provides extra stability for the feet, and better protection from injuries if there’s a crash.

The lacing: classic or fast lacing system

While flat pedal shoes often provide the right level of stability and comfort with normal lacing, and sometimes with an additional hook and loop fastener, clip-in pedal shoes come with a diverse range of creative closure systems. Laces, fast lacing systems with a twist closure, hook and loop fasteners, zip fasteners and ratchet closures are combined in different ways to find the perfect combination of comfort and performance.

Practical ratchet, hook and loop, and twist closures are quick and easy to use. Ratchet and twist closures can be readjusted individually while travelling without having to take the foot off the pedal. This makes putting on and taking off the mountain bike shoe particularly quick and easy.

Along with a secure, firm fit, these closure systems guarantee the best possible performance when mountain biking with clip-in pedals. With fast lacing systems, mountain bikers fortunately no longer have to worry about loose laces getting wrapped around their pedal axle.

Ask Alpinetrek!

So, when buying MTB shoes, there can be a few things to consider. When all’s said and done, though, the choice of MTB shoe depends on what exactly you want to use it for and your own judgement. If you have any more questions, though, we are here to help you and our customer service team is at your service. You can reach our customer service team from Monday to Friday from 10 to 17 on +49 (0)7121/70120 or by email.

 

Bannock bread – the classic of the outdoor kitchen

27. August 2020
Tips and Tricks

Since the Middle Ages in Europe, bread has been the quintessential food. It’s not only at the bakery that the options are endless – there are also undreamt of possibilities for making it yourself, both in terms of the style and the preparation. A real classic of the camp fire and the gas stove is bannock bread. Bannock comes from the Scottish Highlands, and is a kind of flat bread that can basically be made from two ingredients. Hanna from the Alpinetrek online editorial team is here with some tips on how to make it taste the best and what you should pay attention to when preparing it.

Bannock breadWhat you need for bannock bread:

  • Must-haves
    • Flour (2 parts)
    • Water (1 part)
  • Nice-to-haves
    • Salt
    • Oil
    • Baking powder, bicarb or dry yeast (in which case, some sugar, too)
  • Practically decadent
    • Spices (helpful here: the spice shaker with 6 compartments!)
    • Herbs (wild garlic, dandelion…)
    • Chopped nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, beechnuts…)

Tipps for the bread dough

Know your cup. Nobody takes a measuring cup or scales with them on tour – but you’ve always got a cup. You can check at home what quantity it holds. You might even want to mark where 100 ml of water or 250 g of flour come up to.
Don’t knead in all the flour at once, always leave some extra in case the whole thing sticks to your hands. If the flour/water ratio is correct, your hands will be clean when you’ve finished kneading.
It’s easier to knead with oil. Well-organised bread bakers have a plastic bag (preferably zip-lock) of oil with them. You can even knead the dough in it without touching it with your skin at all – just put all the ingredients inside and then knead the bag.
When all the ingredients have been mixed together a bit but the whole thing hasn’t yet been kneaded until it’s soft, you can divide it into portions and knead smaller pieces – this makes it super quick to get the first loaves into the oven.
To do this, press the dough as flat as possible and fill it into the “baking tin” properly.

Caution when baking

The classic method for the gas stove is to cook it in a pot or a pan. If possible, use a lot of oil so the bread doesn’t burn. It’s best if it’s moved around constantly. And don’t let it get too hot!
If you make a fire, you have more options. The original bannock bakers simply pushed the dough into the hot ashes and dug it out again a few hours later. An incomparable aroma! Like with a gas stove, a pot can also be placed in the embers. In that case, it’s best to lay rocks beneath the pot so that it doesn’t all get burnt (but something will always burn). If you’ve had some tinned food and you can wash out the empty cans, you can also bake rolls in them. This is best with lots of oil inside so that the bread practically fries, and so it doesn’t stick. For a fire, there are of course also specialities like the Dutch oven and the ranger’s oven (ultralight for touring – you build it yourself). An interesting in-between is the bushbox, which can be folded up.

A few pro tips

The possibilities are endless. Hardcore survivalists make their own flour and use white, cold ashes as leavening. For home-made flour, you need a dish cloth or cotton t-shirt, a stone, patience and your choice of beechnuts, roots, clover or acorns (all gluten free). You have to leach the latter a lot, though, until they are usable, so either boil them out several times in hot water or put them in running water for 24 hours (e.g. in a stream in your socks).

Choosing the right cycling glasses

20. August 2020
Equipment

The trails are muddy and dirt is flying up from all sides because of the terrific tempo – and you keep having to screw your eyes shut because you left your cycling glasses at home again. Something like this has happened to every mountain biker, especially when you’re starting out.

Cycling glasses are one of the most important accessories when you’re out on a mountain bike – or on a road bike, too. We’ll now explain why you should always have them with you, and what eyewear is right for you!

 

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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.

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Walking day trip checklist

Hiking clothes: the basics

16. July 2020
Alpinetrek-Experts

Which socks should I wear with my walking boots today? The striped ones or the ones with the flowers? Should I take the red or the blue jacket? I mean, it should match the shoes and socks. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the topic of the right sunglasses, okay?

Yes, these things are really important. After all, on the mountain, everything has to be perfectly coordinated. All kidding aside, the choice of the right hiking clothes should be well considered. One moment you might be hauling yourself over the mountain top soaked, through with sweat, while the next you’re freezing cold. What’s to blame? The wrong clothes.

The different elements of a hiking outfit should all complement each other. If, for example, you wear cotton underwear, the entire chain of breathability is broken from the very beginning – but you probably already know that. No? We’ll help you, then!

So, what are the right hiking clothes like? When you’re hillwalking or trekking, how do you deck yourself out from head to toe in a way that is both stylish and functional? We’ve got to the bottom of it.

Practically decked out from head to toe for hillwalking and trekking

When in the 18th and 19th centuries people in Europe gradually started to discover their enthusiasm for hikes through different cities, countries and landscapes, they wore completely ordinary everyday clothing. The clothes of the first hikers were trousers and shirts made of linen or hemp fabrics, shawls made of wool and, later, jackets and coats made of cotton, too. Partly for pleasure and partly out of scientific interest, they began to explore the world on foot. Their leather shoes may have been comfortable, but it took several decades until the invention of waterproof membranes and non-slip soles.

This made the hikes difficult and gruelling from today’s perspective, for the clothing was very heavy even when it was dry, and, after a solid downpour, it was even heavier. Windproof and well ventilated at the same time? No chance! Small packed dimensions yet still robust? No way! Functional layer system? No such thing!

Far from any of the comforts that modern hikers are loathe to sacrifice, the pioneers covered considerable routes over several hundred kilometres that even with today’s trekking gear would be challenging. They thus sowed the seeds for a popular sport that has spawned many functional innovations and which in the 21st century has experienced a downright boom with its outdoor companies and hiking tourism.

Comfortable walking boots with good grip

Instead of analysing hiking clothes from “head to toe”, this description starts with the feet and then works its way slowly up the hiker. Without doubt, walking boots are the decisive “garment” in distinguishing between those going on a hike and those taking a stroll, as well as people in everyday and leisure clothing. There are many different kinds of walking boots, but they all have one important thing in common: a grippy outdoor sole that guarantees secure footing and perfect grip on hiking trails and terrain.

Soles for walking boots have a strong tread and are made of rubber compounds, which also ensures good grip on muddy forest paths, loose scree and slippery roots. Alongside many different inhouse designs and rubber compounds, many companies draw on proven sole technology from Vibram or Michelin. Some walking boots can also be resoled, providing an even longer life span.

There are big differences in the design and construction of hiking boots and outdoor shoes, from lightweight multisport shoes with permeable mesh fabric, to low-cut approach shoes with pronounced rock guards, through to hiking and trekking boots with high shafts and multi-zone lacing. For quick hikes on easy terrain, lightweight walking shoes are ideal. On challenging tours with a heavy backpack, high walking boots provide ankles with the required stability and protection against injuries.

Light hiking shoes and durable trekking boots are usually available with or without a waterproof membrane. Walking boots without a membrane are usually very well ventilated. At the first wet meadow, though, they quickly become soaked through. With walking boots that have waterproof Gore-Tex membrane or another comparable laminate, on the other hand, your feet stay reliably dry even in sustained rain and on snowfields in the mountains. Despite this, water vapour can still escape through the microporous membrane, ensuring they feel comfortable to wear. Since breathable membranes require a certain temperature gradient to best transport the moisture away, breathability may be restricted in hot and tropical areas. This does not, however, impact on how waterproof they are – that’s always a given.

Different companies and shoe styles use different lasts. This means that some walking boots have a somewhat wider design, while others provide the perfect fit for narrow feet. The cushioning and footbed are also optimised to do what they’re designed to do best, so the shoes might feel very close fitting and firm or particularly soft and comfortable. When choosing walking boots, it’s therefore worth considering the terrain in which you’ll be using the shoes the most. When trying on shoes, it’s best to put them on for a while in the afternoon or evening (on account of the fit, since feet are often somewhat swollen then) and walk around in them in your home. After about an hour or two, you’ll quickly be able to tell whether the walking boots fit nice and comfortably. When you’re going out into the country to wear your shoes in, you should do the first few kilometres on easy terrain before going on your first big hike. Over the course of the first few hikes, the shoes will keep adjusting better to the shape of your feet, and will usually become a bit more soft. This process is a little faster for walking boots made of synthetic materials than for pure leather shoes. Once they have adjusted perfectly to your feet, though, leather walking boots have a particularly comfortable fit. To make the choice of shoe even easier, here is an even more detailed buyer’s guide for walking boots.

Well-fitting walking socks

Without the right walking socks, even good walking boots are only half as good. It is only through the interplay between shoes and socks that you can achieve a high level of comfort and a pleasant microclimate around the feet. The choice of walking socks depends on the choice of walking boots. If there is a low shaft and for sporty shoes, the socks can also be shorter and more sporty. For high hiking boots, on the other hand, you want longer socks with cushioning reinforcements on the shaft, heel and around the toes. In any case, the walking socks must reach past the top of the boot to prevent pressure points forming.

Walking socks are either made of synthetic materials, which allow for a particularly good fit, merino wool, or a blend with merino wool and synthetic fibres. Merino wool creates a particularly comfortable climate for the foot, and provides warmth when it’s damp or even wet. Merino wool is also naturally odour resistant. After a multi-day tour, though, you’d rather stick your nose in socks made of synthetic fibres than in merino socks. Socks made of synthetic material have the advantage that they dry more quickly than walking socks made of merino wool. Whatever choice you make in terms of the material, the walking socks need to fit perfectly or pressure points and blisters can form. A good walking sock shouldn’t slip down, wrinkle up, pinch or squeeze, and still feels great even after a challenging tour in the mountains. You can also find all the important criteria explained in detail in the buyer’s guide for walking socks.

Comfortable base layers

Base layers serve various purposes when you’re hillwalking or hiking. They keep you nice and warm in cool weather, and on hot days they dry fast and quickly wick moisture away from the body. And they always fit comfortably, never chafe and don’t leave behind any pressure points. According to what’s required for the weather conditions, base layers for hikers are available in long-sleeved and long-legged versions, as boxer shorts, practical briefs, t-shirts or tank tops.

Alongside a good fit with comfortable elastic and stretchy materials, high-quality workmanship with flat seams is always strongly recommended. Sport shirts und base layers are predominantly made of merino wool, polyester, and blends with other durable und elastic synthetic fibres. Merino wool feels really great on the skin as the bottom layer of clothing, and provides comfortable warmth in the cold while also cooling you down when the outside temperatures are warm. Even when wet, merino wool keeps the body warm and, thanks to its natural odour-inhibiting qualities, base layers made of merino wool are still comparatively fresh even after a multi-day hike.

Synthetic sport shirts and underpants, which are often a little lighter, can wick moisture away even more quickly. This is why they often feel a little cooler against the skin. Some t-shirts and trousers come with odour-resistant technology that imitates the natural effect of merino wool. Both pure materials and a range of blends are popular with hikers, and it largely depends on which material feels best to you. It’s better for hikers to avoid underwear made of pure cotton and t-shirts made of cotton, though. Cotton gets saturated quickly and takes a really long time to dry out again. This means that it cools the body down unpleasantly and is uncomfortable to wear. To this add the fact that breathable hiking jackets and trousers can only wick moisture away properly if the base layer is also good at conducting dampness away from the body. With cotton underwear, the entire chain of breathability is broken from the very beginning. If you are not sure whether synthetic fibres or merino wool is better for you, you can find additional information and suggestions in the blog article on base layers.

Walking trousers, zip-off trousers and hiking shorts

Good functional walking trousers are characterised by good freedom of movement, a comfortable fit, and durable materials that are fast drying and quickly wick moisture away from the body. A range of materials is used for this, from cotton and various synthetic fibres through to Tencel, true hemp and elastane. This makes some walking trousers particularly elastic and others extra robust. Mountaineering trousers with Schoeller fabric and the robust G-1000 material from Fjällräven are just two examples of well-known, high-quality blended materials. Sometimes, walking trousers are specially reinforced at the knee and in the seat so that stressed areas are well-protected from abrasion and damage while keeping the trousers very breathable and flexible. Ergonomically preformed knee areas, elastic gusset inserts and individually adjustable waistbands round off functional walking trousers. To make it easier to choose the right walking trousers, you can find even more information on the different outdoor trousers available here.

Zip-off trousers, that is, walking trousers with detachable legs, are very popular with hikers because they offer a lot of flexibility. When it’s still cold in the morning when you’re starting out on a hiking tour, but the temperatures will keep climbing around midday, practical zip-off trousers can be transformed into short or knee-length hiking shorts in less than no time. Usually you don’t even need to take off your walking boots. These flexible trousers are also perfect for multi-day tours in variable temperatures and weather conditions, making your backpack much lighter since you can avoid having to pack extra pieces of clothing.

On warm summer’s days, hikers prefer to reach straight for short or knee-length hiking shorts. In terms of their material and their design, they’re similar in every respect to walking trousers with long legs. Breathability and freedom of movement are also the most important criteria for shorts. With elastic designs and practical crotch gussets, they support the sporty hiker in any terrain.

Weather protection is also an important factor for hikers. Many walking trousers provide good protection against the wind and have a water-repellent DWR treatment (Durable Water Repellent). This makes droplets of water simply roll off the surface instead of being absorbed by the material. In heavy downpours, though, even a water-repellent surface treatment has its limits. This is why hikers prefer waterproof outdoor trousers when it’s raining continuously. Hardshell trousers with breathable GORE-TEX® membrane or other waterproof laminates ensure dry legs even in heavy rain. In changeable weather conditions, lightweight hardshell trousers are particularly practical because they can be worn over normal walking trousers if necessary. Waterproof trousers with side zips are perfect for this as they’re easy to put on and take off. Lightweight hardshell trousers are very compact, and with their minimal weight they’re barely a burden in your walking backpack.

When you’re walking through wet meadows or snow, waterproof gaiters are a great alternative to waterproof walking trousers. They protect you from the calf up, preventing snow or water from getting into your hiking boots from the top. The practical hiking gaiters only weigh a few grams and can be put on quickly when you need them without your walking boots having to be removed. If you need more advice in the choice of hardshell trousers and gaiters, the buyer’s guide for gaiters and the buyer’s guide for waterproof trousers are sure to be of help.

Hiking shirts, softshell vests und hardshell jackets

Plaid shirts made of quick-drying, functional material have been popular amongst hikers in the summer for a long time. These breezy shirts are really comfortable on warm days, easy to clean and robust at the same time. Sport t-shirts made of synthetic materials or merino wool will also stand you in really good stead. In cool and windy conditions, hikers often like to reach for softshell jackets or softshell vests and gilets. Functional hiking vests and gilets are very popular because they offer a good mixture of wind protection for the neck and upper body, but are well-ventilated around the arms and ensure comfortable freedom of movement. Many softshell jackets and outdoor vests and gilets are protected with a water-repellent treatment, too, so they also stand up to light rain well.

In long-lasting, heavy downpours, a weatherproof hardshell jacket with a well-fitting hood is just what you need. Waterproof rain jackets and outdoor jackets are equipped with breathable membranes by GORE and other companies, ensuring that the rain doesn’t penetrate the jacket while still allowing water vapour to escape. Many hardshell jackets also have extra ventilation openings, for example zippered ones under the arms, ensuring extra ventilation on strenuous ascents. Waterproof jackets for hikers vary in terms of how light and robust they are. For tough mountaineering and walking backpacks, your hardshell jacket should be just as robust. As an accessory for day touring, on the other hand, what is often useful is a lightweight design that can be folded up and stowed away compactly. As well as classic waterproof jackets, some hikers also like to use rain ponchos or trekking umbrellas to protect themselves from the rain. Both have the advantage that your backpack’s straps and back panel won’t get wet in persistent rain. This is why some hikers also use a handy outdoor umbrella in addition to waterproof backpack covers and hardshell jackets, to prevent water from getting between their jacket and their backpack.

On particularly cool days, fleece jackets or insulating synthetic jackets are the perfect addition to your hiking outfit. They can either be worn “solo” over the base layer or as a practical mid layer under a hardshell jacket or softshell vest. Fleece jackets dry quickly, are soft, warm and easy to clean, so they are always really popular with hikers. The buyer’s guide for fleece jackets will help you find the right one from the wide selection.

Beanies, sunglasses and gloves

With this basic gear, you’ll already be really well equipped. Add to this the right walking backpack, maybe a pair of walking poles, and a water bottle or a hydration system, and let the tour begin! Because, however, the selection of backpacks and poles is just as diverse as the range of hiking clothes, we’ve dedicated entire articles to these topics: a buyer’s guide for backpacks and a buyer’s guide for  walking and trekking poles. But first, a few little helpers and accessories to complete your hiking outfit. It’s very important to choose the right headwear. A warm beanie or a soft headband made of fleece are perfect when it’s cold and windy. On clear, sunny days, a cap or sun hat helps protect against sunburn and sunstroke. Many hikers underestimate the intensity of the sun in the mountains. If the air is a little cooler, or a pleasant fresh wind is blowing, headache and nausea are practically inevitable. This is why it’s better to protect the head than to let yourself be roasted the whole day.

Perhaps it’s not exactly clothing, but when you’re hillwalking by the water or in the mountains, high-quality sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation are just as indispensable as good footwear and functional clothes. For most hikers, comfortably fitting sunglasses in category two or three are the right choice. If you’re hiking at high altitude and on snow and ice, you should even go for category four. You can read even more information on sunglasses and glacier glasses in the detailed buyer’s guide for sunglasses.

Lightweight fleece gloves or windproof softshell gloves are a fantastic addition on cold days. The thin gloves have a comfortable thermal rating while also guaranteeing good sensitivity when using walking poles. Many outdoor gloves are touchscreen-compatible, so they don’t have to be taken off to use a GPS device or smartphone.

A neck warmer, scarf or tubular cloth might not be needed on every day tour in the summer, but, whenever the weather turns, they will warm you up nicely and offer good wind protection.

Perfect functionality through an optimal combination of hiking clothes

Hiking boots, walking socks, trekking trousers, and hardshell jackets – walking clothes are a team and they all have to work together; their functional synergy is only as good as their weakest member. In plain English, this means that walking gear has to be coordinated, and can’t have any weak links. The best shoes are uncomfortable when your socks don’t fit, and a breathable waterproof jacket can’t wick away any vapour if the base layers have absorbed moisture underneath. A good fit and a comfortable feel are the sum of all (clothing) parts and make your life as a hiker more comfortable, easier and more pleasant.

Packing list: Day hiking tours

13. July 2020
Equipment, packing list

A day hike is any walking tour where you don’t take all your gear with you, but instead come back to your starting point in the evening. It’s important that you take the equipment you need for one day (without an overnight stay) with you.

Clothing







You should always have these with you, too














Optional (depending on the season and the tour)











If there’s space left in your backpack









What might be the biggest advantage of day hikes: Mistakes in equipment planning are only a nuisance for one day and can be remedied relatively easily. You should still definitely have a few essentials with you, though, as necessary for the tour. Everything else then falls into the category of “personal preference” and “habits”.

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.

A buyer's guide to outdoor jackets

Nubuck leather – the pros and cons of a natural product

25. June 2020
Equipment

Doesn’t the term nubuck leather automatically make you think of those classy leather shoes for upscale occasions? Well, interestingly enough, this natural material is used for much more than just fancy footwear. You can find nubuck leather upholstery, car interiors, in the form of reinforcements for clothing and oftentimes as the main material for gloves and mountaineering boots.

But, as with every other natural material, there are upsides and downsides to nubuck leather. In this post, we’re going to focus on the pros and cons of nubuck leather and they pertain to mountain sports.

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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.

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