When shopping for gear to keep you dry, you’ll see both waterproof and water-resistant products on offer.
How do you know which is best for your activities? There’s usually a price difference between both, with the designs most likely to keep you dry costing a little more. Shopping for coats, hats, pants, boots, and accessories providing maximum dryness in even the wettest weather can be tough if you’re on a budget.
However, investing in the best available leads to the best results. Your comfort, safety, and health are always worth paying for.
Let’s look at the differences between waterproof and water-resistant materials to help make that daunting shopping trip a little easier …
What is Waterproof?
Some products out there claiming to be waterproof may not actually be.
While the idea of ‘waterproof’ coats and accessories is fairly simple, the materials and the manufacturing processes involved is anything but.
To be officially classified as waterproof, any product should be able to keep the user (or any items contained within, such as in a waterproof bag) totally dry in even the heaviest downpour. Seams are typically fully-taped and outer fabrics are coated with a waterproof agent.
In specialist products, there may also be a membrane lining, which encourages better breathability. Any jacket or item of clothing featuring one of these will be much more comfortable to wear, leaving you without a build up of moisture over time.
The tiny holes put into the membrane, which allow for this breathable function, are also minute enough to prevent water getting in.
At Adamant Gear, for example, our Adamant X-Core Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack is made with 500D PVC Tarpaulin, providing completely waterproof performance in even the heaviest rain, snow, and sleet. As the seams are heat-sealed, this can keep the contents dry even after hours of constant exposure to moisture.
For anyone spending long periods in wet conditions (or where wet weather is likely), completely waterproof products will keep yourself and your goods dry. When hiking in the rain, for example, you will need to keep your map, phone, GPS device, drinks, snacks, and spare clothing safe from rain. Likewise, wearing waterproof jackets will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable no matter how much time you spend at the elements’ mercy.
Investing in coats with a breathable membrane and wind-resistance is a smart move, reducing the risk of overheating and chilly conditions.
What is Water-Resistant?
For anyone engaging in everyday activities during wet weather, water-resistant clothing and accessories may be a suitable, cost-effective investment.
Water-resistance applies to any product which has been coated with a waterproofing agent without having its seams fully-taped. As a result, water will still be able to penetrate the jacket or accessory in heavy exposure.
In the case of water-resistant jackets, these are generally best worn when going from one place to another in a hurry. They are totally unsuitable for long hikes, runs, or bike-rides in extremely wet weather.
For the dedicated outdoors-enthusiast, water-resistant gear should be your priority. No matter how you like to stay fit and enjoy your surroundings, you have to be prepared for all weathers and situations.
Running on a treadmill is private, convenient, and even allows you to exercise in a comfortable temperature.
But there’s no denying it: when you run on a treadmill, you deny yourself certain pleasures.
For a start, you’re out in the fresh air, away from the sweat-tinged confines of your gym. You have beautiful surroundings to enjoy, and a clearer goal to work towards: rather than thinking ‘I want to hit five miles today’, you can say ‘ I want to reach the top of that gorgeous hill’ instead.
You can run outdoors at any time, in any weather (safety permitting, of course). Perhaps you prefer to get a half-hour in at dawn, or two hours after work. Perhaps you prefer throwing on a hooded top and working your legs in winter’s chill rather than summer’s sweltering heat.
Running outdoors is fun, free, and invigorating. However, if you’re just starting out, it’s important to prepare. Not only can a little research help you avoid injury, it can also help you get more out of your time on the trail.
Let’s take a look at a few expert tips for beginners.
Pick a Popular Running Trail
Feeling self-conscious about exercising in public? You won’t be the first or the last.
However, don’t let your anxiety lead you down unfamiliar paths. Choose a popular running trail or spot in your area. If you have no idea where this may be, ask around: speak with colleagues, friends, and family to pick their brains.
Not only is this safer to avoid your getting lost, it also means there will be other runners around to ask for help or advice should you need it.
Don’t Push Too Hard
As with any form of exercise, you have to ease yourself into running.
You might be tempted to run as hard as you can, for as long as you can. However, if you do so, you may well end up injuring yourself.
Start off slowly, and run only for short periods. Don’t set unrealistic goals. Be prepared to stop before you feel ready.
Warm Up First
Not planning to warm up before you start running?
Well, you may risk injury and strain. Even something as simple as a quick five-minute walk around the block can help get your body ready for a more intensive workout, along with a few minutes of stretching.
Be sure to cool down after your run too. Again, allow yourself a brief walk and stretch your legs to minimize discomfort.
Take Supplies (Just in Case)
Even if you only plan on a quick run, you have to stay hydrated,
Take one larger bottle of water, or two smaller ones, in a backpack. You should drink little and often to avoid dehydration, especially if running in hot weather.
Don’t forget to pack a protein bar or two if you plan on running for long distances, to replenish lost energy. You might also want to take a map if in unfamiliar territory, or a book if you plan to stop at the halfway point for a break.
Taking a waterproof backpack is ideal in rainy conditions, to keep your supplies safe and dry.
Running can be fantastic fun, improve your health and well-being, and give you a new lease of life. Take care when you start out – and accept that you won’t be able to run a marathon on your first day!
Every year, millions of Americans go camping.
For individuals, couples, and families looking to relax in our country’s most beautiful spots, camping just can’t be beaten. First and foremost, it’s a cheap break, without the expense of hotels or flights to foreign lands.
Of course, camping also puts you on nature’s doorstep – the perfect reason to explore your surroundings and embrace the American spirit of adventure.
Still, despite camping’s ongoing popularity, many people find themselves reluctant to try it for various reasons. Perhaps it’s the fear of being disconnected from today’s 24/7 online society. Perhaps it’s the sense of isolation they expect, or a feeling of vulnerability away from the city.
Well, in this post, we’re looking at four camping myths – and debunking them.
Myth #1: Camping Is All About Tents
Think camping has to involve tents, sleeping bags, and dozing under the stars?
Well, this is absolutely irresistible to plenty of campers, but others prefer to stay in an RV instead. The beauty of this is that you get all the perks of the camping experience without the more ‘hardcore’ aspects.
You can enjoy a comfortable bed, running water, lighting, and plenty of space to relax. You can lock your RV up and go explore, taking in the sights and enjoying all the usual activities, without missing out on the home-comforts you’re accustomed to in the evenings.
If you ARE staying in a tent, keep your essentials (phone, wallet etc.) in a waterproof backpack. Even if rain seeps through your canvas or you spill water over it, your delicates will remain safe.
Myth #2: Bears WILL Attack You
Even those of us living in regions without a history of bear sightings may well avoid the woods for fear of being mauled. They also give camping novices plenty to sweat over – but is this trepidation justified?
Statistically, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a bear while camping. If you’re visiting a dedicated camping site or national park, their staff will be able to provide information on safety and preparation.
If you’re still worried, just be sure to avoid leaving food in your tent, take care when cooking foods with strong scents, and never leave waste close to your campsite.
Myth #3: Poison Ivy is a Contagious Risk to Others
Poison ivy’s frightening enough to have even the most seasoned campers watching their step while out walking, but do you need to worry if a friend or relative gets a rash?
No! Poison ivy isn’t actually contagious.
The rash is created by the oil contained on the ivy’s leaves and stems, and if this stays on the person’s skin, that may rub off onto someone else. This is unlikely, though, and easy to avoid with the proper care.
Just be sure to change your skin and stay clean.
Myth #4: You’ll Get Dirty
Without doubt, the fear of feeling filthy and smelly is enough to put novices off of camping for life. However, many of the best campsites offer showers with hot water and even baths (for a more luxurious experience).
Of course, if you’re staying in an RV, you may have your own shower. Alternatively, you can wash yourself down in the sink!
We all know hygiene’s important to avoid infections etc., but showering after a long hike or spot of kayaking helps to soothe your aching muscles. You’ll also be able to feel more relaxed if you’re not self-conscious about your body odor or stinky clothes.
Feeling tempted to try camping? We hope so. It’s a great American tradition, and the perfect way to get close to nature in an affordable, fun way. For your first camping trip, perhaps try to take an experienced camper along with you, for your own peace of mind.
Now that winter’s on our doorstep, finding the motivation to keep cycling might not be quite so easy.
Depending on your location, your physical condition, and your bike itself, you may well feel daunted at the prospect of hitting that frosty road. Those of us living on hilly terrain (for example) might struggle with multiple inclines in the colder weather, while those in areas prone to floods might find their usual routes blocked off.
Still, provided you have the right gear, you can keep cycling through winter – and have a blast. To help you get the most out of your time on the saddle, we’ve put together four great tips to stay safe on your winter rides.
1: Layer Up
The right cycling clothes are important at any time of the year, but absolutely crucial in winter. You need to invest in wicking thermals to keep you moisture-free but warm at the same time, as well as waterproof top-layers. Even on crisp, bright days, you never know when an icy shower might come along.
Don’t be tempted to put on a big, paddeds jacket on the coldest days – you’ll quickly overheat through exertion. Not only can this ruin your ride just be making you uncomfortable, it can be dangerous. Instead, layer up: with a waterproof shell, a top, and a thermal underneath, you can remove garments to regulate your temperature.
2: Keep your Essentials in a Waterproof Bag
On even shorter rides, you might take a bag of gear with you. Maps, books (for a spot of leisurely reading in your favorite hideaway), snacks, and spare clothes are all handy to have on the road.
However, if a pesky shower (or, worse still, a torrential downpour) comes along, you want your bits and pieces to stay as dry as possible. A solid waterproof bag will do the trick, and these are available in a range of stylish colors.
3: Stay Hydrated, Stay Fed
Just because it’s cold enough to freeze lakes doesn’t mean you won’t work up a thirst. You’re still pushing yourself as hard as you would be in warmer weather, and while you might not start sweating quite as quickly, perspiration will still come.
Keep a couple of flasks with you, perhaps filling one with cold water and one with hot chocolate. Water will keep you hydrated, while the latter will raise your temperature a little (and taste delicious).
Keep a couple of protein bars with you, to give you an energy-boost if you start to flag, and take a snack along for a more substantial lift. A high-fiber sandwich or pasta will do the trick, releasing energy over time.
4: Light the Way
Lights are essential in winter, even if you’re riding during the middle of the day: overcast skies can make you harder to spot on the road, particularly in shaded areas.
Invest in small, rechargeable LED lights that affix to your bike: these are simple to mount and will ensure drivers see you in gloomy spots. They also provide reassurance should you stay out later than planned.
Cycling is a fantastic way to keep fit and enjoy the great outdoors all year round, so follow the above tips and you’ll have a great time!
Image Credit: Josiah Mackenzie, Creative Commons
People who run for fun or fitness know just how important it is to choose a pair of adequate running shoes. They can make the running experience so much more comfortable, they can improve the efficiency of a training session, and most importantly, they can prevent injuries. So choosing the right pair is a bigger deal than just looking for the trendiest, best looking, or lowest costing shoes. Not that trends, looks and costs don’t matter – they do, but if you want to make a good choice, they should be second to the five things that are really important.
The Quality of Make
The obvious thing – before you look for anything else in the shoe, you should make sure that it is made of quality materials and assembled properly. With running shoes, synthetic materials are usually a better choice than natural materials. Synthetic leather, for example, takes less time to dry off than real leather. A large part of the surface of running shoes is made from a special kind of synthetic mesh, which is a material that can pass moisture from the inside of the shoe easily and in the same time prevent moisture from getting in. This will allow your sweat to evaporate, and prevent your feet from getting too wet if it rains. The sole should be made of a material that’s comfortable to walk on but in the same time sturdy enough so that it doesn’t wear out after a few running sessions. And all of it has to be put together by some quality seaming or stitching.
High quality running shoes, if too big, or not big enough, will not be good running shoes for you. The fit is important, and specialized shoe shops will usually have an instrument that will measure both the length and the width of your feet. So yes, the width is also important. If a running shoe fits well, it should have some room between your longest toe and the shoe, it should grip the heel well, it shouldn’t feel tight and painful on the top, and it shouldn’t be too tight on the sides. When looking for a good fit, it would always be a good idea to do it later in the day, because that’s the time when our feet are largest. They swell during the day, so if a shoe fits perfectly early in the day, it won’t fit so well by 4 or 5pm.
The Running Surface
You need to think about where you plan to do your running. A shoe that’s made to perform well on a treadmill or on a paved track will not perform that well for long on an off road track. That’s why shoes for off road running, also called trail runners, are made differently. They are heavier than regular running shoes, they are not as flexible, and their sole is different, all with shock absorption, extra stability and better traction in mind. On the other hand, the regular track shoes, like those made by Adamant, are lighter, more flexible, and with less pronounced treading on the sole. Using the wrong type of shoe for the wrong surface doesn’t have to cause many problems if it’s done once or twice, but the more you do it, the greater are the chances you’ll get unnecessarily fatigued, or even hurt, by the wrong choice of shoe.
Your feet should have the arch support they need. They should also have the ankle support they need. You should know what kind of arch your feet have – low, high, or normal. If you don’t, you can to a simple test that involves a brown paper bag and some water. If you wet your feet, stand on the bad, and then look at the marks your feet left, you can see how much of the middle part of the print is visible. The more of it visible, the lower your arches are. People with low arches need extra support in the midsole section, while the high and normal arched will need the general cushioning seen on most running shoes. This is important because it will help align your feet and your ankles while you’re running, which will in turn make you run more correctly. This can prevent some of the wear not only on your shoes, but also on your feet and knees.
A Good Feeling
It’s obvious, isn’t it, that running shoes should feel good on your feet. You should always shop at stores what will have a treadmill in them, to allow you to try running for a bit in the shoes you’re planning to buy. You should be doing this because you can’t really judge running shoes by standing or walking around the shop in them. If the shoes are too tight, or too loose, or if they’re making your feet hurt, either adjust the lacing, or try out another shoe if that doesn’t help. Your feet will be doing some heavy work in those shoes, and your feet need to feel good in them.
The experts will tell you that there’s no such thing as a hiking boot. What you refer to as a hiking boot is probably something that is a boot and that can be used for hiking, but the exact type of footwear it is something other than “hiking boot”. The footwear that can be used for outdoor activities, hiking included, can indeed be a boot, but it can also be a shoe, and even a sandal. Also, hiking and trekking is something you can do while wearing some of that footwear, but so is mountain climbing.
Hiking footwear is generally divided into four distinct classes – A, B, C, and D. The people behind this system of classification are the people who make the shoes and the people who know the most about using them – the hiking experts. The criteria used to form the system are the weight of the shoe and the roughness of conditions in which they should be used.
In Class A, you’ll find the unlikeliest of all hiking footwear – the hiking sandal. This type of footwear is not your ordinary sandal, mind you. It is more durable than the ones you’d be wearing around town or on the beach, and it has a sole that is made for the rugged terrain that can be found in the great outdoors. Or at least some of the rugged terrain, because hiking sandals, as you might imagine, can’t really be used where only a hiking shoe can go. On the plus side, the hiking sandal is light, it has great ventilation, and it’s very easy to dry off if they get wet. On the downside, they are lacking when it comes to protecting your feet, as well as providing them the support that’s needed on more demanding trails. All in all, a hiking sandal is a great choice for some light hiking on an easy trail, when it’s a warm day.
Trail running shoes also belong to class A. Outdoors enthusiasts who also like jogging and running are probably very familiar with these – they are very similar to the regular running shoe, but they have more rugged soles that allow more traction, they should have better ankle support and generally be sturdier than regular runners.
Class B contains some hiking shoes, as well as cross-hikers, or medium-weight hiking boots. Hiking shoes, depending on the materials used in them, their weight, and their sturdiness, can be light enough to be classified as class A hiking footwear, or they can be bulky enough to be in class B. Either way, they will provide better support than trail running shoes, and they will be made from even more durable materials. It’s not uncommon to find gusseted tongues in hiking shoes, to provide better protection from the elements and prevent tiny stones from getting into the shoe. These shoes can be great for a hike on a well-maintained trail, and wearing them in rougher conditions can prove to be challenging.
Also in class B are the cross-hikers. These are what most people call hiking boot, and they are the first piece of footwear on the list to provide some solid ankle support. They are also the first to be a viable choice for wearing off the beaten paths, although the amount of off-track hiking you can do in these is somewhat limited. Good examples of cross-hikers are the boots made by Adamant.
Class C is where things begin to get serious. The off-trail, heavy boots that are found in this class usually feature toe caps, cemented outsoles, and heavy shock absorption. Some, but not all of off-trail shoes are also compatible with crampons. On the downside, they aren’t the most comfortable boots to wear out of the box, so they need to be properly broken in before taken on and off the trail. Even then, they will feel stiff, but that’s by design. The amount of protection they afford is a trade-off for some comfort.
The mountaineering boots fall into class D. If you were to do some real mountain climbing, like conquering the world’s tallest mountain peaks, you would wear this type of boot. They are heavy, hard, designed to be used with crampons, and they sometimes come with a plastic outer layer that can be attached to them to make them almost like skiing boots. For snow or ice, and for mountain climbing, these boots are not only the best choice but pretty much the only choice that can be made. As for hiking, the fact that mountaineering boots aren’t the world’s most comfortable boots will become obvious after only a few steps, so they wouldn’t be the best choice for that use. It is possible to find more flexible and comfortable variants of mountaineering boots that can be used for hiking, but for the most part, they are the boots for the hardest work in the harshest conditions.