BootMark

It’s ironic that you need to keep hydrated while on a trek, cycle ride, motorcycle ride, water sport activity, expedition etc., but at the same time keep your body and your belongings/equipment protected from any external water penetration; so that they are ready for use and you don’t fall prey to any high altitude and cold sicknesses. To avoid this it is important to be aware of the difference between the terms Waterproof and Water Resistant and select your gear accordingly. It is important to be aware of exactly to what degree your gear can protect you from rain, dew, shower or any water body during your adventure.

Water Proof vs. Water Resistant: What’s the Difference?

It’s ironic that you need to keep hydrated while on a trek, cycle ride, motorcycle ride, water sport activity, expedition etc., but at the same time keep your body and your belongings / equipment protected from any external water penetration; so that they are ready for use and you don’t fall prey to any high altitude and cold sicknesses. To avoid this it is important to be aware of the difference between the terms ‘Waterproof’ and ‘Water Resistant’ and select your gear accordingly. It is important to be aware of exactly to what degree your gear can protect you from rain, dew, shower or any water body during your adventure.

Waterproof and water resistant – the moment you start shopping for monsoons, you’ll stumble across these two terms, be it electronics, rainwear, jackets, gloves, luggage, backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, watches or footwear.

Do they mean the same thing? Which one’s better? What’s the difference?

We at OTG are questioned about this difference quite often by our customers. We hope this blog clears the air for all readers and adventure enthusiasts, so that they can decide on the appropriate waterproof or water resistant gear for their use, according to their need in the outdoors.

Let’s look at the exact definitions.

Waterproof: Completely impervious to or impenetrable by water. That means the water cannot seep in through the stitches and zippers as well.

Water Resistant: Able to resist the penetration of water to a certain extent depending on the intensity of water droplets or shower.

In short, waterproof gear means no water can seep in, no matter what. On the other hand, water resistant gear will stop water to a certain extent, beyond which water will pass through.

But that’s really vague, isn’t it? You need to know the exact degree beyond which a particular piece of water resistant gear will fail, and you need to know this BEFORE making the purchase decision. You don’t want to find yourself in the middle of nowhere with gear that you bought to keep you or your stuff dry, falling short of the task.

Two different types of globally accepted rating scales are used for this purpose:

Ingress Protection Scale (IP Code): The IP code follows an international standard called IEC 60529 – Degrees of Protection Provided by Enclosures and it was developed by a technical committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission.

  • The IP Code classifies and rates the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of solid objects, dust, accidental contact and water.
  • The scale takes into account three types of variables; the angle at which water hits the product being tested, the minimum duration for which the test must be conducted and the speed or force with which water hits the product.
  • The IP code is typically used for electronics, drybags, protective cases, etc.
  • The scale is measured from zero to eight, with IPX0 meaning no protection from water and IPX8 meaning protection against continual underwater immersion.

When buying gear that is certified under the IP code, you should look for the exact IP specification code on the packaging. Here’s what each of the codes in the IP system means in short.

The IP code follows an international standard called IEC 60529

 

Among the brands available on OutdoorTravelGear.com, Aquapac products are IP rated. The Packdivider DrySacks, Trailproof bags, Toccoa, Noatak and Stormproof bags from Aquapac have waterproofing rating of IPX6 , which indicates that these bags protect against powerful water jets / heavy seas / temporary flooding. These are great for heavy rains, but are not submersible. On the other hand, the Aquapac Whanganui cases have waterproofing rating of IPX8. This means that these are designed to not just keep out the rain but can also be submersed up to 30FT/10M under water for 30 minutes without any water ingress.

 

Hydrostatic Head:

  • Hydrostatic Head scale measures the degree to which a piece of gear can hold back water
  • Process: A patch of the material being tested is clamped at the bottom end of a clear transparent tube. The tube is then filled slowly with water. The idea is to see how high the column of water can get before the material lets water drip through.
  • The HH scale is typically used for fabric, tents, clothes, etc.
  • The scale is measured in thousands of mm. For eg., a Hydrostatic Head rating of 5000mm means that the column of water was 5 metres (5000mm) tall before the material leaked. The higher this number, the more protection a material provides against water.

(Source: bit.ly/GearWeAreHHRating)

1) Hydrostatic Head scale measures the degree to which a piece of gear can hold back water

 

In practicality, where you have water being pushed by wind and gravity against your gear, you will need a measurement of around 1000mm to resist light showers. Heavy rain and wind will create more pressure on your gear and it will require a higher rating of around 5000mm.

For really heavy-duty use, look for gear with a rating of about 10000mm. Gear with this level of rating should survive against water being pushed through by something physical, like a person or vegetation rubbing on it in the wind.

HH Rated Gear on OutdoorTravelGear.com

The Quechua Arpenaz 2 Tent has 2000mm PU-coated Polyester which means that the material can withstand pressure exerted up to 2 metres (2000mm) column of water without allowing any leakage.

The Quechua Rain Cut Jacket available with www.outdoortravelgear.com has an HH rating of 2000 mm.

Some brands may not quote the waterproofing standards for their products, but may advise you on the water resistance / waterproofing levels of the gear. It makes good sense to defer to the brand’s advise and use the gear accordingly.

For e.g. a number of brands selling motorcycle luggage in India provide rain covers for their luggage that are water resistant. Dirtsack offers the Gypsy with ‘water retardant’ fabric that wards off light showers coupled with an external rain cover making the bag resistant to showers. Dirtsack also offers the Frogman series of bags made from heavy duty PVC material that are 100% waterproof dustproof and rainproof.

The Hurricane Rain Overtrousers from Mototech are technical rain pants with fully seam sealed tapes and Hipora fabric which is waterproof and breathable. Mototech also offers the Hurricane Rain Jacket as a water proofing solution sold along with Contour Air Riding Jacket as one unit.

So what’s the moral of the story? Now that you know the difference, the next time you want to buy gear that is waterproof or water resistant, find out what it exactly means for that product and see if the product is specifically rated under any of the two scales we saw above.

Don’t let the rains keep you home. Go ahead. GET OUT!

www.OutdoorTravelGear.com
# OutdoorTravelGear #GetOut

OTG: Tips and Tricks post: Gear Research Point Blog post_001

How To Do Research Before Buying Adventure Gear

“My budget is Rs. XXXX, which jacket will be perfect for me?”

“I want a waterproof bag, do you stock any?”

“I leave for a trek tomorrow, what should I take with me?”

Outdoor Travel Gear completed 10 years in 2015. Over the decade that we’ve been in business, we’ve been asked these and other similar questions, a countless number of times.

We don’t mind it when you ask us questions. On the contrary, we encourage every shopper to engage with us, in-store or online. That way we can be of best service to our customers’ needs.

More often than not, a buyer seems to have started his purchase process with either a specific product or a price point in mind. This reduces the options / choices that they would otherwise have had, and in that case, there’s a great chance that they end up with the wrong product.

From our experience, here’s our recommendation of the steps / process to follow and the research to be done before buying adventure gear, to ensure that the gear you end up buying is best suited for you.

  • Identify your need

Never start the process of gear purchase with a product in mind. Identify your need first. Contrary to popular belief, your need is not in terms of a product. Be aware of your need in terms of the utility that you want fulfilled.

For e.g., if you’re going on a himalayan adventure, you’ll need to stay warm and dry. If you’re getting into an action sport, you’ll need to stay safe while enjoying your sport. If you’re going camping overnight, you’ll need shelter and sleeping support.

  • Identify the features

Match your need with the features that will provide that utility. You shouldn’t be thinking in terms of a physical product yet. More than one type / category of products can fulfill your specific need. In listing the products, get as detailed as you can.

  • Understand jargon

In this decision making process, to make sure you end making the right purchase, it is very important to understand the jargon used for defining the features you want to understand.

For e.g., with the varied advanced methods of waterproofing available today, it isn’t enough for a brand to simply say that their product is waterproof. A product can be waterproofed up to various levels. The IPX grading system classifies these levels from IPX1 to IPX8, based on various parameters. The higher the number, the more waterproof that product is. In simplest terms, though an IPX1 rated product is waterproof, it is not submersible and the protection from water ingress lasts only for a short period of time. On the other hand, an IPX8 rated product can be submerged in water and remains waterproof for a long time. It thus becomes crucial to exactly specify your need and to match that need with the exact feature and degree of performance.

  • List the products

Prioritise the features you’ve identified. Mark them as “must-have”, “good-to-have” and “need-not-have”. Now find out products which are accessible to you and which match the list of features you’ve made.

  • Do your research

Most of the reviews are product oriented. So they’ll be of help to you only once you have arrived at the shortlist of products. Try to get your hand on comparative reviews. See online user reviews. Look for first impression reviews and long-term ownership reviews. Try searching for user videos.

But more than just that, talk to your friends, others who’re in the same sport/ adventure as you are in.Try talking with people who’ve been using the products you’ve shortlisted. Ask their opinion. Also find out the places that sell the gear you want to buy and go see the options available.

  • Project your usage

Think ahead and try to project how you’re going to use the gear. Be realistic about variables like frequency of use, seasons of use, ideal longevity, is this your first purchase in the category. Prioritize this list and keep it agnostic of budget.

For e.g.: Sleeping bags come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, warming factor, etc. If you walk into a store without knowing exactly when, where and how often you are going to need to use the sleeping bag, you’ll end up buying the wrong one and might end up in a tight spot, somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

  • Make a shortlist

While shortlisting products, eliminate products from your original list that don’t meet your basic need criteria based on your online/offline research and understanding of the terminology.

  • Find parity and take your time

Now you have a shortlist of products. This is when you think about money for the first time. If any product is out of your range, but if it’s the perfect product for you, you should think of the following:

  1. How soon and urgently do you need the product.We repeat“NEED the product” and “Not WANT the product”.
  2. By how much can you stretch your budget.

Ideally, if you don’t need the product immediately, put aside the money you have and save up the difference and then go for the product. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

For e.g.: Let’s say you need to buy a helmet for motocross. Motocross is a high-risk sport. There really is no point in compromising on quality and your own safety, just because you can’t afford your ideal helmet. You might as well wait for a while, save up and then get that helmet.

Depending on the importance of the product vis-à-vis the sport / adventure that you are going to use it for, if needed, you may consider postponing your plans to get into that sport / adventure instead of using a sub-optimal product.

On the other hand, even if you can spend more than what the minimum required product costs, don’t overspend. Save the extra cash for a rainy day.

  • Be sure of size and fit

If you are sure about your size, shop online. Look for a sizing / fitting chart on the site where you’re shopping from. If this is your first purchase in the category and you want to shop online, be completely sure of the size and / or buy from a brick and mortar store.

If you are buying a motorcycle bag in a store, take your bike with you, if you are buying an overjacket, try it on with all the layers you’ll be wearing inside. If you’re buying an expedition pack, try it on for shoulder size and be completely sure that you can carry all that the bag can hold once it is completely loaded.

  • Caveat emptor (Let the Buyer Beware)

Anywhere you buy your gear from, online or offline, every brand is likely to have their own terms of guarantee / warrantee conditions. These conditions are set down by the manufacturing brand and followed by the reseller. The reseller typically cannot give warranty / guarantee if not supported by the brand.

Also, every reseller will have their own terms and conditions for incorrect size being bought, the customer not liking the product after making the purchase, defects in / after warranty period, etc.

Be apprised of these conditions before the purchase. Always carefully read the warranty, guarantee and returns procedures before purchasing online or in-store. Make sure none of the intrinsic terms of purchase are going to be a hurdle later on. If you are not able to get the complete return / warranty information from the website, then contact the seller through email, chat or phone and clear your doubts with specific questions.

  • Buy!

Go ahead and make that purchase confidently. You’ve done your research. You’ve deserved it!

 

We’ve really tried to detail out the purchase journey as we see it. Depending on your previous experiences, you may or may not go through all the steps individually. The basic idea here is to be aware of your specific need and the various ways in which it can be fulfilled.

Once you know exactly what gear you need, go ahead and buy it!

We love talking to our customers and sharing our experiences about the gear we sell. Do feel free to get in touch with us. You can:

Or, you can walk in to any one of our stores: https://www.outdoortravelgear.com/storelocator

Have a crazy adventure! And be safe out there!

www.OutdoorTravelGear.com
#OutdoorTravelGear #GetOut

Adventurers that inspire us at Outdoor Travel Gear

The adventure sports and travel community in India is still fairly small, but is very tight knit and is growing at a phenomenal speed! As adventurers in India, we’re lucky that wherever we are in the country, we have plenty to do and explore, always have a community we can draw on for help and support and to pursue our passion.

There are some crazy adrenaline junkies out there who’re expanding the boundaries of their sport and doing things that dreams are made of!

Here’s a list of adventurers that inspire us. We’re sure they’ll have the same effect on you too. Remember that while we’ve compiled this list with many parameters in mind, there are plenty of people out there who could possibly be on this but aren’t – mainly due to the fact that we simply didn’t have enough space for them all!

 Ishani Sawant (Mountaineer): OutdoorTravelGear.com had recently featured Ishani on our blog. For your daily dose of mountaineering, check out the Facebook page and website of Ishani Sawant – a 23 year old mountaineer from Pune. Her pictures faithfully record her daily moments, her mountaineering activities and her training, making it a fascinating and real portrayal of her life.

Ishani Sawant: FacebookInstagram – Twitter

 

 

 

Helmet Stories (Motorcycle Tourers): The dynamic duo of Harsh Man Rai and Vir Nakai has been inspiring riders for almost a generation through Helmet Stories. Started as a motorcycling touring company, their photos and videos of the mighty Himalayas are drool-worthy.

Helmet Stories: FacebookInstagram – Twitter

 

 

 

 

Abhijeet Singh (Adventurer): Now what can’t Abhijeet Singh do? Mountaineer, adventure photographer, acro-yogi calisthenics athlete, and filmmaker. Follow him for guaranteed daily dose of thrills!

Abhijeet Singh: Instagram 

 

 

 

Sumitra Senapaty (Traveler): Sumitra Senapaty started the truly inspirational WOW (Women on Wanderlust). A platform for women to get together and travel, WOW has been steadily increasing in popularity over the last year with women travellers. Follow the WOW page to get a gist of some exotic Indian and international destinations.

Women on Wanderlust : Facebook – Instagram Twitter
Sumitra Senapaty: Facebook Instagram

 

 

 

Shubham Dharmsktu (Cyclist): Shubham is an #OTGAthlete who set out on The Great Himalyan Cycle Trip. OTG sponsored gear for him that would help him on his journey – AQUAPAC Wet and Dry Waterproof Backpack – 25 Ltrs, AQUAPAC Small Bike-Mounted Waterproof Phone Case, Gerber Compact Multi-tool, QuipCo Dune Tube Future, QuipCo Tundra Fleece Balaclava. He is an avid traveler and cyclist is currently working on his sustainable tourism venture – all about travel, cycling, home-stays, local food etc. Check out OutdoorTravelGear.com’s feature blog on Shubham to know more about him.

Shubham Dharmsktu : Facebook

 

 

 

 

Andy Pariat (Travel Photographer): For a taste of Meghalaya that will come close to making you swoon, check out Andy Pariat’s photography covering that magical and under explored part of India.

Andy Pariat :  Facebook – Instagram

 

 

 

C S Santosh (Rally Raid Athlete): India’s Motocross Racing Champion. Unarguably India’s finest off-road racer. Enough said.

C S Santosh : Website– Facebook Instagram – Twitter 

 

 

 

H V Kumar (Explorer): With an encyclopedic knowledge of Indian roads, HV Kumar started up the HiVayKing Club, one of India’s most popular support groups on Facebook for travelers. His personal pages are also worth following simply for the number of people who are connected to him in some way or the other.

HiVayKing: Facebook
H V Kumar : Facebook Twitter


 

 

Abhinav Singhai (Travel Photographer): A travel photographer with a difference, Abhinav is intent on showing the world the beauty of the night sky.

Abhinav Singhai : Facebook Instagram –Twitter – Flickr

 

 

 

Shanu Babar (Travel Film-Maker): A film maker, editor and cinematographer -Shanu makes India come to life through a lens. His work is largely urban, and completely magical.

Shanu Babar : Facebook Instagram – Twitter

 

 

 

 

Swati Saxena (Explorer):If long distance walking is your thing, you can do no better than to follow Swati. An ex-accountant, she now ‘walks around the country’, and writes while she does it too. Her blog is full of helpful hints for those who want to explore on foot.

Swati Saxena : Blog – Instagram 

 

 

 

Jehan Driver (Kite surfer and Explorer)

Jehan is a kite-surfer – one of the few of his kind in India. He owns a travel and exploration brand – Quest Expeditions, which also undertakes training for water-sport activities like kite-surfing, kayaking, sailing and outdoors survival.

Jehan Driver : FacebookInstagram – Twitter

 

 

 

Rishad Bhumgara (Mad BawaMotorcyclist)

Rishad is a long distance rider who loves doing it the old school way. He successfully completed a solo ride from Mumbai to Myanmar and back; on his 30 years old Yezdi! Rishad has been a long standing customer with Outdoor Travel Gear and a dear friend. Recently, we had invited him to be a guest blogger for outdoortravelgearblog.wordpress.com. Check it out in our blog

Rishad Bhumgara : Website –Facebook – Instagram

 

 

 

Kaustubh Khade (Kayaker)

Kaustubh is on a kayaking journey for life discovering bits about this own self along the way. He’s been literally making ‘waves’ at international kayaking circuit. Kaustubh maintains a blog showcasing his escapades. A must follow for any one who has an adventurous streak.

Sagar and Pritesh from Outdoor Travel Gear met with Kaustubh in summers of 2015 and amongst other things, they discussed kayaking, water-sports and adventure – #OTGathletes – Paddle Hard with Kaustubh Khade

Kaustubh Khade : Facebook –Instagram – Twitter

 

There’s also much inspiration outside our borders. Here’s another (very short) list of people you should follow if international travel and adventure is your thing.

 


 

Brad Ringstmeier (World Traveler): An aerospace mechanic turned travel photographer, Brad has been on the road for a year and half with his venture Perpetual-Moto-Discovery – collecting adventures, stories, memories, goodwill and friends as fast as he can ride.

Brad Ringstmeier – Facebook – Instagram

 

 

 

Pete Mc Bride (Explorer): Pete Mc Bride is a film-maker and Nat Geo photographer, in addition to being a writer and speaker on all things inspirational. You can follow Pete’s work on his website. His focus is largely on the travel and environment.

Pete Mc Bride – Facebook –  Instagram

 

 

 

Tiffany Coates (World Motorcycle Tourer): Tiffany Coates is an inspiration to women the world over. Regardless of the terrain, Tiffany rides her heart out in conditions that would daunt the most adventurous riders.

Tiffany Coates :-Website – Blog – Facebook –  Twitter

Tiffany Coates (World Motorcycle Tourer)

 

 

 

Ewan McGregor (World Motorcycle Tourer): The famous actor and television producer is also a motorcycle tourer. His two movies – Long Way Round and Long Way Down are audacious on their attempt to document some of the longest rides ever.

Ewan McGregor : Instagram – Twitter

 

 

 

Eric Cedeno (Cyclist): Eric Cedeno instituted Bicycle Nomad with the intention of pursuing not just cycling, but also a cultural immersion. Through his cafe store, merchandise and dedicated documentation of his journeys, he inspires thousands to join him in to being nomads.

Eric Cedeno : Website – Facebook –Instagram 

 

 

 

Hubert Kriegel (World Traveller on a Sidecar)

Hubert Kriegel has been travelling the world ‘horizontally’ and ‘vertically’. This is the 12th year of the 10 years on road! His website is a must read for understanding how colossal sounding dreams can be achieved – simply by getting on to it.

Team Outdoor Travel Gear had a unique opportunity to track down Hubert when he was in India and spend quality time talking to him about his globe-trotting experiences –A day with Hubert Kreigel – The Timeless Ride

Hubert Kriegel – Website

 

 

 

Anders and Petra Stridfeldt (Biker Couple)

When their three sons moved out to do their own thing, Anders and Petra knew it was time to do theirs. So they sold their house and everything they owned, hopped on to their BMWs and started an epic tour round the world. They are an inspiration to many bikers around the world.

Anders Stridfeldt : Facebook –Instagram
Petra Stridfeldt: Facebook – Instagram – Twitter
Two Bikers One World : Website – Facebook


As you can see, the list of travellers and adventurers is immense… and growing! So whose name would you like to see on our next list?

Adventure Survival Kits – The why and how of it

Adventure Survival Kits – The Why and How of it!

There’s plenty of information on the web about survival kits and how to put one together. Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you’ve already read up on the basics – a fire starter, a utility knife etc. However, regardless of how well put together your kit may be, it is most likely that you’ve forgotten one big aspect – as an adventurer, you are choosing to put yourself in high-risk situations. Any pre-assembled survival kit you buy is likely to be based on a certain premise, for eg: you will be in a city, or that there will be search and rescue teams out looking for you (think natural disasters like the floods in Sri Nagar). But as an adventurer, a climber, a camper, a rider – these assumptions may not hold good at all, rather, they may even prove fatal! So here are some tips on how to put together an adventure survival kit – something every adventurer should do without fail.

  1. Think Big: Most survival kit tips out there tend to focus on making them small and handy. These are kits that focus on convenience and the fact that you’ll carry the kit around every day, in work situations etc. While a kit like that is also a good idea, you should definitely carry a larger one on your adventures. Don’t limit yourself by size. A medium-sized backpack is a fair starting point. It can be carried around on all your adventures, while also being large enough to accommodate some of the bigger necessities.
OutdoorTravelGear survival kit -02

While a small kit is handy for daily, regular use, one should definitely carry a larger, more extensive and purpose built survival kit when on an adventure trip.

  1. Think tools and gear: Being an adventurer will put you in high-risk situations fairly regularly. With this in mind, seasoned adventurers always carry along the tools of their choice and spare parts or gear as well. However, do consider if you are prepared for a true emergency. Before setting out, assess the risks objectively and pack for the maximum risk. For example, if you’re a cyclist setting out on a solo ride or a cycling expedition; objectively assess the chances of all possible high-risk situations. You’re likely to be carrying a puncture kit, but imagine you having a breakdown in a completely remote area with no mobile connectivity. What could have gone wrong with your cycle to make his happen? Pack accordingly. If you’re a motorcyclist, carry the exact fuses, spark plugs, a length of electric wire, and jump starter set. Campers, trekkers think about a fire starter kit, a spool of paracord, etc. Water sports athletes; don’t forget your dry bags, spare towel and a change of clothes. If you’re out rafting or kayaking in winter, also think about how you’ll keep yourself warm after getting wet.

    Think tools and gear: Being an adventurer will put you in high-risk situations fairly regularly. With this in mind, seasoned adventurers always carry along the tools of their choice and spare parts or gear as well. However, do consider if you are prepared for a true emergency. Before setting out, assess the risks objectively and pack for the maximum risk. For example, if you’re a cyclist setting out on a solo ride or a cycling expedition; objectively assess the chances of all possible high-risk situations. You’re likely to be carrying a puncture kit, but imagine you having a breakdown in a completely remote area with no mobile connectivity. What could have gone wrong with your cycle to make his happen? Pack accordingly. If you’re a motorcyclist, carry the exact fuses, spark plugs, a length of electric wire, and jump starter set. Campers, trekkers think about a fire starter kit, a spool of paracord, etc. Water sports athletes; don’t forget your dry bags, spare towel and a change of clothes. If you’re out rafting or kayaking in winter, also think about how you’ll keep yourself warm after getting wet.

    Always carry along the tools of your choice, spare parts as well as gear, and be ready and equipped for emergencies.

  1.  A multi-utility knife, basic medicines, a small torch, a fire starter kit and a length of strong rope are definitely important. But don’t forget to include some more stuff depending on your activity. For campers, include a large knife (or a weapon of some sort) for protection. For trekkers and hikers, an additional set of warm clothes can go a long way in case you’re forced to spend a night in the open. For motorcycle riders or cyclists, a small bag of mixed nuts and bolts, some super glue and zip ties (cable ties) will come very much in handy.
OutdoorTravelGear survival kit -03

Research on small tidbits you’re that’ll be specifically useful for your type of adventure in an emergency. With time and experience, you’ll have a holistic kit.

  1. Pay Heed to the Forces of Nature: Irrespective of what season it is, in a terrain like Ladakh, for example, the weather can be really unpredictable. Ask anyone who’s ever travelled there and they’ll tell you. So carry some rain protection, some cold protection and an extra pair of socks everywhere. You may also want to include a set of bandannas, scarves or simple large squares of cloth that you can use in multiple ways – for shade, for warmth, for protection against dust, and so on. In countries like India, it is also a good idea to carry along mosquito or insect repellent. As a last resort warming solution carry packets of Warmee. Warmee is a self heating pouch that keeps you warm for 8+ hours. You can use it under the outer shell of your clothing or in the sleeping bag at night. It is also handy for keeping the batteries of your cameras and other gadgets from draining out due to the cold.
  2. Food and Water: One of the big mistakes we make is tending to forget these two simple things. In India especially, we tend to operate under the assumption that food and water are easy to come by. Never start your adventure without planning for these two things. Getting stuck even for a few hours in North India in the summer will put your body under tremendous strain. Now multiply that by days, and it can quite easily prove fatal. You should carry at least 2 liters of water in your kit, and emergency food rations are a must. When packing food, make sure you pack high-energy bars, peanut bars and the likes, to give you a boost of energy. Remember, this ration of food and water should go into your adventure kit and are quite separate from the regular rations you will carry on your journey anyway. These are to be broken into only in case of a serious emergency. It’s also a good idea to keep dry fruits with you as they are nutritious and have a high content of iron and protein depending on the dry fruit, and perfect for emergency nutrition.

    OutdoorTravelGear survival kit -04

    How long you survive in an emergency is a direct function of how well stocked with food you are.

As you start gathering things together for the perfect adventure kit, you’ll be tempted to add more and more items to it. Our one bit of advice on this is to restrain you only in the case of really large or really heavy items. The trick is to have multi-purpose, multi-use items in there, and you’ll need to draw a fine line between what you can reasonably carry along, and what you’re likely to need. However, do remember that it is always better to be over prepared than under!

After you put your kit together, the key is to maintain it. Ideally, (and if you’re lucky), you’ll open this particular backpack only once every few months to replace your stores of food, medicines etc as they expire. Water will, of course, need to be replenished just before the start of your adventure. Make sure you check the items for damp, rust etc when you open the bag. It is also a good idea to make the bag itself waterproof. Invest in a waterproof bag or a dry bag, keep your adventure kit dry and snug, and step out confidently, ready to face anything that can be thrown at you!

If you’ve ever been in a situation and have had to use your survival kit, we’d love to hear your story in the comments below!

www.OutdoorTravelGear.com
# OutdoorTravelGear #GetOut #OTGadventure

OTG 5 Knots Every Traveller Must Know_Blog Cover

5 Knots Every Traveller Must Know

If you’ve done any kind of travel by yourself, then you know that skill, knowledge and resourcefulness are the three things that’ll pull you out of tight situations.

And the knowledge of these basic 5 knots will add to your skill-set, because these knots are simple to memorise, are versatile and can be used in a large variety of scenarios.

From securing luggage to rescue operations, knots are used everywhere. We recommend that you use this list of 5 basic knots as a starting point and then find out more knots that may be specifically useful in situations that you’re likely to face in your preferred mode of travel.

 

Clove Hitch

OTG 5 Knots Every Traveller Must Know_Clove Hitch_1

OTG 5 Knots Every Traveller Must Know_Clove Hitch

The clove hitch is a basic knot. It is primarily used for anchoring a rope to an object or an anchor; or to anchor an object to an anchor with the help of a rope. This knot is especially preferred when the object has a huge load bearing, as it is way easier to untie the Clove Hitch as compared to the Double Figure of 8.

To tie a clove hitch:

  • Pass the end of the rope around the anchor, and make a right hand loop
  • Continue over the standing end of the rope and around the pole a second time, this time making a left hand loop
  • Thread the end of the rope under itself (on the left of the standing end) and pull tight to form the clove hitch
  • Finish off with a thumb knot or the overhand knot

Tip: Though the clove hitch is a basic and versatile knot, be careful when using it. The clove hitch has a tendency to slip or bind if not finished off with a thumb knot (overhand knot).

 

Barrel Hitch

OTG 5 Knots Every Traveller Must Know_Barrel Hitch_2

OTG 5 Knots Every Traveller Must Know_Barrel Hitch

This is a very utilitarian knot. Typically, this knot is used to create a temporary carrying mechanism for an open liquid container, like a barrel of water. However, as you can see, one can use this knot for carrying or hanging any load that doesn’t have a handle of its own.

To tie a barrel hitch:

  • Lay an overhand knot on the floor.
  • Move the right-hand loop downwards and create a figure of 8 appearance
  • Place the barrel (or load) in the centre and tighten the knot such that the 2 outer loops tighten around the perimeter of the barrel
  • To secure the barrel, tie the 2 loose ends of the rope with a bowline knot
  • Finish off with a thumb or the overhand knot

 

Water Knot

OTG 5 Knots Every Traveller Must Know_Double Sheet Bend_4

OTG 5 Knots Every Traveller Must Know_Double Sheet Bend

The water knot is nothing but a variant of the overhand knot. This knot is ideal for joining 2 lengths of tapes or 2 ropes of the same diameter. It is sometimes also called a ring bend.

To tie a water knot:

  • Tie a overhand knot at the end of one of the ropes but don’t tighten it, keep it loose
  • Weave the other rope through the knot, following the flow of the rope, but in the reverse direction. (Start weaving the second rope, where the first rope ends and follow the path of the knot through to the other end)
  • Pull the two ropes tight
  • Finish off with a thumb knot or the overhand knot

 

Double Sheet Bend

OTG 5 Knots Every Traveller Must Know_Double Sheet Bend_4

OTG 5 Knots Every Traveller Must Know_Double Sheet Bend

The double sheet bend is a clever knot. It is the improved and safer version of the simple sheet bend, and we recommend using the double sheet bend whenever possible, instead of the simple sheet bend.

When using ropes, there’s often a need to join 2 ropes together, because a single length of rope is insufficient for the needed application. More often than not, the 2 ropes available are of different size (diameter). This is where the sheet bend comes in play.

To tie a sheet bend:

  • Form a bight (loop) in the thicker rope
  • Pass the thinner rope under the loop of the thicker rope, bring it over and then pass it behind the standing ends of the thinner rope, in that order
  • Tuck the thinner rope under itself twice to finish the knot
  • Finish off with a thumb or the overhand knot

Tip: Always start tying the double sheet bend with making the bight (loop) in the thicker rope and passing the thinner rope through it. This method has been tried over time and is proven to give the best results.

 

Bow Line

 

OTG 5 Knots Every Traveller Must Know_Bow Line_5

OTG 5 Knots Every Traveller Must Know_Bow Line

The bow line is one of the more complicated knots from this series, but if you learn it well, it can literally be a life saver. In the absence of a purpose built harness, a bow line knot can be repurposed as a harness. Apart from that, it can be used as a noose or generally as a fastening knot.

To tie a bow line:

  • Make a small full circle loop, with enough rope for the desired loop size
  • Pass the end of the rope through the loop
  • Continue by passing the end of the rope under the standing end and then bring it back through the small loop
  • Finish off with a thumb knot or the overhand knot

Tip: Always finish off a bow line knot with a thumb knot (overhand knot), for added measure of security.

 

 

Bonus Tip: Knot Dressing

Knot dressing is the process of arranging a knot in a manner that improves its performance. Crossing or uncrossing the rope in a specific way, depending on the knot, can increase the knot’s strength as well as reduce its jamming potential. Every knot needs to be dressed well and should look clean and neat for optimum performance of the knot.

So there it is! Our list of 5 knots that every traveler must know!

Make sure you know the knot in and out before using it in a real scenario. A knot tied the right way comes in handy, but a knot tied a wrong way can be dangerous!

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Shubham Dharmsktu Cyclist - Outdoor Travel Gear

Outdoor Travel Gear Meets Cyclist Shubham Dharmsktu

Edward Abbey, author and environmental issues advocate once said, “A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles.”

Outdoor Travel Gear speaks to Shubham Dharmkstu, Design Student at NID and avid cyclist, who believes the same. Shubham recently completed one of his dream rides, the Great Himalayan Cycling Trip, where he cycled through over 6000 kms in the Himalayas, making it one of the toughest rides in the nation today.

Shubham is also one of the few people in India today taking baby steps towards creating sustainable tourism economies. We find out more.

One of our first questions for Shubham is about his choice of vehicle – why cycling as a means of travel? It’s a tough means to travel after all – unlike say a motorized vehicle.

Shubham says, “Cycling as a means of travelling gives me the perfect speed to observe things passing by when I travel. It keeps my mind alert. You won’t see someone who is cycling doze off, unlike someone travelling by car or bus! Also, what is the most delicious food you ever had? It’s probably not the last 5 star dinner you had, but the food you eat after you have been extremely hungry. And cycling does exactly that. It makes you hungry physically, but at the same time satiates the hunger for the beauty of the world, because you don’t miss a thing, you feel every meter when you cycle. It is the effort that enhances the experience”

Shubham Dharmsktu Cyclist - Outdoor Travel Gear - 2

He elaborates this with an example.

“For example, while going to Khardung La, I cycled from an elevation of 50 metres above sea level to 5600 metres above sea level, while cycling uphill.I felt every single inch of elevation and almost fainted twice (just few kms before K-top) but the hunger to see K-top kept me cycling.And when I reached the highest motorable road in the world, it became a more magical and beautiful place than any other place I have ever seen, even though it wasn’t the most visually beautiful place I had been to.”

Shubham Dharmsktu Cyclist - Outdoor Travel Gear 3

Our next topic of discussion is obvious – the Great Himalayan Cycle Trip- and how to prepare for something like this. As we discuss this, something comes up that astounds us. It turns out that Shubham hasn’t even been to the gym a single time prior to the trip to prepare. He assures us it’s a mental game, “You need to be prepared to take on whatever comes your way. The biggest challenge in doing these rides is to be able to gather enough courage to start. Once the first step is taken, everything else after that will fall in place”. Another thing he cautions us about is that a traveller should have all the appropriate equipment for riding in the Himalayas since you can face snow, rain and storms all in the same day.

“It isn’t about completing a goal, or reaching the top, it’s about the journey. Travel has been the best teacher to me, and every journey I undertake has taught me new things about the vast world, and more importantly, taught memore about myself. Each river I cross, each mountain I ride over, each person I meet and each hardship I face builds me up as a person, and that is the most important thing for me”

For his trip, Outdoor Travel Gear had offered Shubham the use of some of the gear we promote. We were curious about how he made use of it all. So here’s the final list of things he carried and how he ended up using them.

Shubham Dharmsktu Cyclist - Outdoor Travel Gear Aquapac 4

 

AQUAPAC Wet & Dry Waterproof Backpack – 25L – The backpack was waterproof, which saved all my stuff, including the filming equipment and my clothes from the extreme Himalayan weather.

Shubham Dharmsktu Cyclist - Outdoor Travel Gear Aquapac 5

AQUAPAC Small Bike-Mounted Waterproof Phone Case  – One of the most helpful products during the journey, because I could easily access my maps as compared to earlier when I had to hold my phone in my hand. I additionally kept my money in it, so that the phone and money were both right in front of my eyes and I didn’t need to worry about losing either!

Shubham Dharmsktu Cyclist - Outdoor Travel Gear Gerber 6

GERBER Compact Multi-tool – This was also very helpful, I used it for cutting, tightening screws, fixing tire spokes. It was like a magic tool that solved all the mechanical problems I faced during the ride.

QUIPCO Dune Tube Future – This saved my face and head from freezing in the extremely cold himalayan weather)

QUIPCO Tundra Fleece Balaclava  – Though I have used other Balaclavas, this one was much better because it dried quick, and didn’t hamper my breathing.Basically, I didn’t have to keep taking it off to breathe, which really simplified things.

Next, we ask Shubham about his sustainable tourism venture, something we had only heard of second-hand. Shubham is very keen to explain the principles. According to the World Tourism Organization, all tourism causes a certain amount of impact on the local environment. This of course, is offset by the revenue earned through the tourism industry by locals. However, in most cases, a large percentage of the revenue earned (between 70-85%) goes to MNC’s and other non-local organizations. Shubham and his partners dream of starting a company that reverses this scenario. Their sustainable tourism venture ECOTraveler will be launched this year, and will give back to the local community in a way never before envisaged.

Shubham Dharmsktu Cyclist - Outdoor Travel Gear 7

“Tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing industry in the world and is the greatest form of love, capital and knowledge distribution that ever existed”

He also believes that cycling should be promoted as a means of commute and daily travel, not just as a means of exercise. “This will bring people around to the idea of travelling long distances on a cycle”, he says.

Shubham Dharmsktu Cyclist - Outdoor Travel Gear 8

To round off our conversation, we ask him about his other dream rides. He says “Dreaming is like traveling, once you done exploring one, you need to keep dreaming and traveling. Yes, The great Himalayan bicycle trip was one of the biggest dreams and after experiencing every bit of it, it’s time for the next journey. I do have a long list of dream trips which include

  • Cycle around the world,
  • Climb all of the top 5 highest mountains in the world
  • Travel in a kayak from country to country
  • Travel every Indian road

And a lot more insane stuff. With time, I hope to achieve all of these!”

Well, at Outdoor Travel Gear we say “More Power to you Shubham!”

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OTG How to Pack a Backpack_Feature Image

How to pack your Backpack?!

Packing your backpack – How difficult can it be? We’re sure you’re asking yourselves right now whether you really need to know the RIGHT way to pack your backpack!

It IS pretty simple, but there is a technique to it. And once you get it right, you’ll notice the difference immediately!

A properly packed backpack, however heavy, will feel balanced and centered on your back. Nothing should be moving around inside and the weight needs to be evenly distributed.

Ideally, get acquainted with your backpack before leaving from home. Spread out everything you’ll be taking with you, use the right process to pack it and make a check list to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything.

When packing, we recommend using the following process. It is the most logical way to pack your backpack. The process focuses on optimizing the center of gravity of the backpack and ensures access to the most used items from your gear.

START PACKING FROM THE BOTTOM

Least Used Gear

OTG How to Pack a Backpack_Blog_Least Used Gear

Just like a building, a backpack packed with a solid sturdy foundation is a stable one.

Use the bottom of the backpack for gear that you won’t need throughout the day, till the time you camp at night.

Stash your sleeping bag, night clothes right at the bottom. If you’re going to be taking along items like an inflatable pillow, a sleeping bag liner etc., throw in those too at the bottom. If you use a carry mat that rolls up into a tiny shape that can fit into the bottom of your backpack, stuff that inside too.

Any other gear that you will need only after you’ve halted for the night, should go at the bottom, except for your torch or flashlight. Always keep your source of light handy and in a readily accessible place.

PACKING THE CORE

  1. Heavy Items
OTG How to Pack a Backpack_Blog_Heavy Items

So spend some time on this step and get it just right.

Usually, the items you place here will be things like rope, cookware, your food stash.

  1. Lighter Items
How to Pack a Backpack - Lighter Items

Next up, pack lighter and softer items around your heavy gear. This will make sure that the heavy gear is packed tightly and wont tumble around when you’re on the move. Use things like your clothes, jackets, tent body etc. for this purpose.

PACKING THE TOP AND PERIPHERY

Frequently Used Items

OTG How to Pack a Backpack_Blog_Frequently Used Items

Ideally liquids should be packed in external / side pockets to avoid any spills due to pressure of other items around it. If you’re carrying liquid fuel, to avoid a snafu in case of a spill, make sure the lid of the container is tightly secured.

Make use of daisy chains or loops on the exterior of your pack to attach gear that wont fit inside. There might be things like tent poles or carry mats, the dimensions of which are larger than those of your backpack. Take care to secure things tightly so they don’t snag on branches when you’re walking.

PRO TIPS

  • Try using pack dividers or smaller stuff sacks when packing things inside your backpack. This helps in dividing and better organizing your things and makes it easier to load and unload the backpack.
  • When stuffing gear at the bottom, make sure that it doesn’t catch on any aroma from your edibles. Also ensure against oil/liquid seeping into your sleeping bag, clothes etc. Not only will that spoil your gear, but it will also attract animals, insects at night; who’re very sensitive to smells. You don’t want them thinking you’re food!J
  • Always carry a rain cover for your backpack, even when you know it is not going to rain. A rain cover helps to protect the exterior of the backpack from the elements.
  • Know your weight carrying limit before you leave from home and make sure the weight of your backpack is a little lesser than that. If you have to buy some gear, food or other things during your trip, you don’t want your backpack to become heavier than what you can carry.

So that’s it then, the right way to pack your backpack! If you have some tips of your own that you picked up during your travels, then share them with us in the comments below.

Have an awesome adventure out there!

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