A fitful night’s sleep is no preparation for the big day ahead. Sleeping bags can make the difference between a comfortable sleep and suffering through the night.
Sleeping out without a mat is a good way to remind you of their importance. Getting cold and waking up with a stiff back and bruised hips is unpleasant, and will make you wish you’d brought something, anything, to sleep on. The best sleeping mats are warm, comfortable, lightweight, pack down small, and are reliable: they are every bit as essential as a good sleeping bag.
Waterproof clothing is deceptively complex: while it’s easy to make something waterproof it isn’t so easy to make it comfortable to wear. With terms like hydrostatic head, breathability, MVTR, RET, PFCs and DWRs there is a whole host of unhelpful jargon about waterproofs. This guide will cut through that and tell you what you really need to know.
Soft shell clothing is more windproof than fleece clothing and more breathable than waterproof clothing. Its windproofness, stretch and durability makes soft shell ideal for use in the mountains but ‘soft shell’ is a broad term, covering everything from featherweight fabrics to burly and butch ones so it can be a bit confusing.
Some people love shoes, some people collect stamps, but we climbers and mountaineers hoard gloves. Gloves are vital because cold hands quickly become useless, and if you can’t use zips, get to food, or operate a lighter then you could soon find yourself in difficulty.
Owning a down jacket used to mean that you were a climber or mountaineer, but what was once a niche and specialist product has become a global icon. Not all down jackets are made equal, though: there’s a huge difference between a down jacket designed for strutting down a catwalk and a down jacket that will really work on the hill.
The fleece is an outdoor wardrobe staple, being longer lasting, easier to care for, and more breathable than practically any other midlayer option. Incredibly versatile, whether you are climbing hard routes in the Greater Ranges or recovering from a tough day out, your favourite fleece can go with you anywhere. But there’s more to a fleece than just the fluff it’s made from, and here we’ll show you what to look out for.
The traditional layering system comprises several layers which can be worn separately or in combination to allow you to regulate your comfort when the weather or how hard you’re working changes.