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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

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Beat the Heat this Summer with OTG Products

Hot Summer Gear from Outdoor Travel Gear!

Summer has rolled in, and while a blistering day isn’t the most conducive to adventure activities, it certainly isn’t going to stop us from stepping out, is it? The joys of a clear sky, great light for photography and fresh breezes make up for any trifling discomfort of high temperatures. Still, it’s better to go out there prepared. So this summer, don’t just invest in sunscreen, check out these great products from OTG that’ll help you beat the heat!

Hydration Bladders, Packs and Bottles

These hydration bladders are the best way tote around water when you’re outdoors. Buy the bladders and use them in regular backpacks, or buy them with the packs made especially for that purpose – you can’t go wrong!

Camelbak Antidote Reservoir

Available in both 2L and 3L sizes, carry this amazing hydration pack on all your adventure activities. What’s great about Camelback’s Antidote Reservoir is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee. It’s functional too, the snap lock makes it leak-proof and the access port is large enough to put your hand in, so cleaning it becomes a breeze.

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Camelbak Hydration Packs

Our range of Camelbak Hydration Packs is just the right thing to combat the heat. The hydration packs are a great combination of size and weight, making them the ultimate backpack for a range of physical and adventure activities.

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Camelbak Podium Big Chill Water Bottle

This 750ml bottle has a special Closed Cell Foam Technology within a double walled construction that keeps your water cooled for longer – twice as long as a standard bottle. Its ergonomic design allows you to grip and squeeze easily, and even better, it’s spill-proof with Camelbak’s patented Jet-Valve technology.
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CAMELBAK Arc 2™

CAMELBAK Arc 2™ is double barreled hydration on the run. The Arc 2™ runner’s belt comes with two 10 oz Podium Arc bottles held securely by the bottle cages attached to the belt. The Podium Arc bottles feature Camelbak’s patented Jet Valve™ technology for hydration on demand, with a simple squeeze!
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Everyday Wear and Clothing

Looking for something that you can wash and wear whenever you step out in the summer? Here is a great collection of tees and pants that will keep you cool and protected through the summer – no matter what the activity.

QUIPCO Ranger Camouflage Trek Pants

The Ranger Camouflage Trek pants are one of a kind. Cotton based, with an elastic waist, they’re purpose made for trekking, hiking, riding or other adventure activities.

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CRAGHOPPERS Nosilife Cargo Trousers

These cargo pants come with permanent insect repellant, as well as NosiLife’s Solar UV Shield, making it the perfect partner on those long treks and rides. They’re available in different sizes as well.

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CRAGHOPPERS Bear Grylls Core Trousers – Men

These men’s trousers are sleek and built for activity. With a multitude of pockets, and adjustable hems, these ultra-lightweight trousers are great for those long treks and hikes. They’re also equally sun and rain repellent – adding to your comfort on the trail.

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CRAGHOPPERS Bear Grylls Trek Long Sleeve Shirt

This tough, long sleeved shirt has a vented back, is sun-protective and comes with stretch panels for perfect trekking comfort.

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KNOX DRY INSIDE – Comfort Fit, Short Sleeve Tee

The Knox base layer tee comes in a comfortable loose fit, and the material is specially designed to wick away sweat from the skin. The short sleeved design is perfect for summer, and the product even promises to keep away odour through its anti-bacterial properties.
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HORIZON Coolmax Hiker Technical Socks

The Horizon Coolmax Hiker Technical Socks series is a must for the warm weather. These not only wick away sweat, but also have built-in ventilation channels that keep your feet cool and comfortable. What’s more, these are soft and have fine seams that prevent blisters from occurring. Designed for hiking and trekking, the socks come with soft grip sections that don’t allow your feet to move within your footwear.

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Caps and Hats

Who doesn’t need a hat or a cap in summer? However, this year, invest in a technical hat or cap that has been specially designed to beat the summer heat and keep your head and neck warm.

QUIPCO Explorer Anti UV Explorer Cap

The explorer cap is perfect for summer. Made from a quick drying, wicking material, it has UPF 50 Anti UV protection across the top, front and on the back flap. What’s extra-cool about the hat is its removable back flap, which converts it into a regular peaked cap for those days when you want the breeze to reach your neck!
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QUIPCO Commuter Anti UV Hat

Looking for a more safari like experience? Try the QuipCo Commuter Anti UV Hat. Soft, comfortable and lightweight, it comes with a wide brim to protect your face from the sun and your eyes from the glare. It also has UV protection over the top, front and back.

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CRAGHOPPERS Nosilife Ultimate Hat

The ultimate hot weather hat, this hat comes with a wide brim, and an all-round face mesh that protects you from roving insects and mosquitoes. The mesh means that this hat’s ventilation is unmatched, and it even has a permanent insect-repellent built in. What’s more, it is lightweight, foldable and easy to pack away.

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CRAGHOPPERS Nosilife Desert Hat

A true adventure hat, this product comes with a UV protection SolarShield technology and permanent insect repellent technology. In addition to the flap that keeps your neck cool, it is lightweight, the peak is foldable and it has a cooling inner headband for those hot, hot days!

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Camping & Outdoors

Summer is a great time to take off on a camping adventure with friends and family. Escape the heat of the city; pitch your tent by the side of a river or on top of a mountain. Enjoy the cool breeze and share stories while the stars come out. But don’t forget to carry these camping staples along.

TRIMM Summer Sleeping Bag

This trim and slim sleeping bag is best used at temperatures above 11°C. What makes it an invaluable camping companion is its volume to weight ratio. It’s great for hiking, trekking and generally for just carrying around!

 

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MOS-QUIT-O  – The repellent blanket

A real find for all those late evening sunsets at a campsite, this mosquito repellent blanket actually comes in 2 sizes! The W.H.O (World Health Organization) standard mosquito repellent property of this blanket makes it an easier, more hygienic, and more environment friendly solution than any cream or spray in the market today. The easy to carry case is also a big plus.
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MPOWERD Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern

This solar lantern beats all the others in that it is inflatable! When deflated, it locks down to a slim profile, making it very easy to carry on a trip.
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ET Stone Solar Charger, Lantern & Torch

Originally a solar power bank, this device puts solar power to good use through the smart integration of a powerful torch and solar lamp. It also comes with standard charging options – great for that overnight camping trip!

 

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Multi-function Tubes and Headwear

These great pieces of versatile head and neckwear keep out the heat and dust very well, making it perfect for all sorts of outdoor activities.

QUIPCO Dune Tubes –

Versatile, lightweight and helmet friendly, the technical Dune tubes are perfect for outdoor activities in the summer. These are available in different styles and colours as well.

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WIND X-TREME Mint Wind Multifunction Headwear

This unique headwear makes life so much better! It releases an aroma of mint, reducing the harsh odours of high summer and pollution.

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Motorcycling Apparel

Motorcycling Apparel protects a rider from the elements. It provides protection from impact and abrasion and keeps the rider safe. An explosive rise in the popularity of motorcycling as a sport in India has meant that a lot of thought is being put to make gear that makes riding in hot and humid Indian conditions as bearable as possible, without compromising on the safety and utilitarian features of the gear.

Mesh Riding Jackets:
Jackets meant for summer are typically made from purpose made mesh fabric, or a mix or poly textile and mesh. These jackets typically include heavy padding on the elbow, spine, and shoulder regions. Ventilation for the torso and protection for the impact areas are the key features of summer riding jackets.

RYNOX Air GT:
The Rynox Air GT comes with Heavy Duty European Standard F2 Mesh with Polyester Frame for strength and durability with two separate detachable liners – Rain Liner and Thermal Liner.

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RYNOX Asphalt: Rynox Asphalt jacket is a dual season mesh protective riding jacket and also comes with Detachable Rain Climate Liner.

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RYNOX Tornado Pro:
Tornado Pro is everything that seasoned riders wants in their summer riding jacket. It comes with KNOX® Protectors and DuPont Cordura® reinforcement at impact zones that provide a rider with un-compromised protection.
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CRAMSTER Breezer 4S: The Cramster Breezer 4S is an all weather riding jacket – designed for all 4 seasons. This jacket comes with Heavy Duty Aramid TechMesh.

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CRAMSTER Breezer – Lady:
Breezer-Lady is redesigned to fit women, with all the features of the original men’s version retained. It is a true all weather 3-in-1 mesh riding jacket with dual detachable multi climate liners, consistent comfort and safety in any climate, specially summer.

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Motorcycle Riding Gloves
Similar to summer riding jacket, summer gloves are typically made of mesh with a combination of poly textile and / or leather. Knuckle and finger protection and palm protection from abrasion are the key features.

CRAMSTER Twister Gloves
:
Twister Gloves  are general purpose gloves suitable for all forms of casual riding. These gloves also have full genuine leather semi gauntlet to cover the jacket cuff. The gloves are long lasting and comfortable.

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RYNOX Rampage Pro:
The Rynox Rampage Pro gloves are meant for daily use. They’re made from a combination of leather and textile. These gloves come with TPU knuckle protector with memory foam insertion with ample air ventilation at fingers and knuckles.

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RYNOX Shield Pro:
A perfect blend of protection and ventilation are the Rynox Shield Pro gloves. The gloves have a leather shell construction with mesh inserts designed to provide optimum air ventilation.

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KNOX Hand Armour Oren (OR 1) Off Road MTB Gloves – 2014:
The Knox Oren Off Road Gloves are MTB gloves. They allow natural heat of the body to escape through the fabric. The gloves flex with the natural movement of the hand and do not restrict body movement.

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Motorcycle Under Shirts and Shorts

Motorcycle under-armour is worn under the outer clothing of the rider, immediately next to the skin. The under-armour is typically made from thin heavily breathable mesh, and is elasticated to flex with body movements.

KNOX Defender Shirt – 2014
:
KNOX Defender Shirt – 2014 is an adventure shirt with a focus on fit and performance. It’s fitted with Knox Extreme Impact Armour for the upper body.

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KNOX Urbane Shirt – 2014:
Designed and manufactured in Britain by Knox, the Urbane Shirt offers comprehensive upper body protection with a classic look. It has amazing ventilation and is perfect for touring in hot climates.

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KNOX Venture Shirt – 2014:
The Knox Venture Shirt is designed so you can wear whatever outer clothing you choose knowing you are protected underneath. It’s a perfect solution to uncomfortable bulky armour in standard motorbike gear. This versatile garment will appeal to commuters.

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KNOX Venture Trooper Top – 2014:
The armour in the Knox Armour Trooper Top is low profile and so comfortable that you can hardly notice it. This under shirt is a technical short sleeve top with the added benefit of impact protection. It is part of the Award Winning bike clothing collection of Knox.

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KNOX Defender Shorts – 2014:
KNOX Defender Shorts are suitable for all types of action sports. These are high performance shorts with fully articulating hip, thigh and coccyx protection. These are designed and manufactured in Britain by Knox, and made from breathable British knitted Meryl Lycra, a superior fabric chosen for its wicking and fast drying properties.

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KNOX Trooper Shorts – 2014: KNOX Trooper Shorts – 2014 allows the body’s natural heat to escape through the fabric. These flex in 2 or more directions and do not restrict body movement.

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KNOX Guerilla Shorts – 2014:
KNOX Guerilla Shorts – 2014 allows the body’s natural heat to escape through the fabric. These have soft waist elastic for a comfortable secure fit.
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Motorcycle Riding Pants
Wearing the right motorcycle gear is essential for a smooth and comfortable ride. Whether a person is a sports enthusiast or a motorcycle commuter, owning quality motorcycle clothing items can make any ride safer and more enjoyable. That’s where motorcycle summer riding pants come in. Purpose built for riding in summer, they’re highly ventilated and duly armoured.

RYNOX Advento Motorcycle Riding Pants:
Rynox Advento Pant is the flagship pant with some exclusive features which make it perfect for all terrains. The pant comes with patented AERO-FLIP mechanism which gives the level of ventilation never seen before. It also allows you to adjust the KNOX leg armor as per your height, comfort and riding posture.
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MOTOTECH Storm Balaclava

This free-size face mask makes riding a breeze in the summer. Its soft cotton material is hard-wearing, washable and completely breathable, making it your best bet for under-the-helmet conditions.

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So go out there and get sunburned, with the assurance that OTG has your back!

www.OutdoorTravelGear.com
#OTG #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

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”

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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!

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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!”

www.OutdoorTravelGear.com #OutdoorTravelGear #OTGvelo #GetOut #OTGathletes

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!

www.OutdoorTravelGear.com
#OutdoorTravelGear #GetOut #OTGadventure

Mountaineer Ishani Sawant - Outdoor Travel Gear - 4

Outdoor Travel Gear meets Mountaineer Ishani Sawant

If you are a trekker, and are looking to take up the hobby more seriously, you’ve probably read up about Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, or the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. In the course of your reading, you’ve also probably wondered at the level of fitness and skill it takes to take up this extreme sport as a hobby, not to mention as a profession!

Well, Ishani Sawant, aged 23, has chosen this particular path as her career. Not an easy path by any means, Ishani says that she chose it because once she’d seen the might, the grandeur and the vastness of the Himalayas, she knew that there was no other thing she’d rather do. Even to get started wasn’t easy, but Ishani persisted.

“My mother has always been a tremendous support. She used to pay for all gear and trips. Coming from a middle class family, this was huge amount which others may not be able to afford. So I am thankful to her for life”

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Mind you, she made this decision at the age of 13! Over the last 10 years, she gradually pushed herself into taking on the most extreme challenges, and eventually turned what was a hobby, into her career.

Ishani’s career as a mountaineer has always been superlative. For example, she graduated with A grades in both the basic and advanced mountaineering courses in not one, but two of India’s top mountaineering schools – HMI and NIM. In 2014, she scaled the Stok Kangri Peak in Ladakh in a record 2 days (alpine style). However, she says that these accolades are not as important as being happy… and climbing makes her happy! They do, however, help bolster her career as an adventurer, though taking it up as a profession comes with its own set of challenges.

“Mountaineering”, she says, “is very different as a hobby and a profession. The risks you take on, the decisions you can take – whether to add a challenge, or extend your climb – is all on you, when you do it for recreation. But when you do it as a profession, you’ve to become an administrator. You’ve to maintain the quality of food, equipment etc. It’s very different”

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Apart from the physical and technical aspects of the sport, she also faced 2 additional challenges in that she was one of the few females in a male dominated arena, and that she (and others like her) needs a fair amount of funding in order to equip herself for some of the world’s record breaking climbs. However, she says that mountaineering teaches you important life lessons, enough to make it completely worth the while even for someone who is only looking to do it once.

“Mountaineering teaches you values such as team work, sharing, caring, communications etc. It is an invaluable experience”

If all this wasn’t enough, Ishani actually graduated as a lawyer. She’s also done a further diploma in Forensic law, another niche field. When she decided to change paths and make mountaineering her life, she faced stiff opposition from everyone around her. She kept hearing that there was no money in adventure, that it would be hard for a girl to be taken seriously in this arena etc. 3 years later, she admits that while she would appreciate a more constant infusion of funds, the actual profession is picking up since the sport is developing in India, and there is a call for experts. In this light, she even teaches Naval cadets, teaching courses at the NDA!

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We asked Ishani what the sport needed in India, and predictably, a lack of funds for serious mountaineers is the answer. There are plenty of people out there who have the skill, and will, to take on the mountains, but they don’t have the money or equipment to do so regularly. Ishani claims that her background, and support system actually makes her comfortable in the industry, whereas there are others who aren’t as lucky. She believes that the industry should work towards the model of many developed countries – like the United States – where corporate sponsorships are available to athletes, or where trusts have been established by mountaineer’s families to further boost the sport. She herself wishes to give back by establishing something similar.

Ishani muses “I am actually planning to start a Trust or a Foundation in future for Mountain Athletes where they will be assured of remuneration. Their work will be to explore, to climb new mountains, to train themselves in outdoor climbing skills, to just climb! The only thing stopping them right now is money. Talent, we have. So that’s the plan.”

It is rare to meet someone who is close to the top of their profession and yet expresses such humility. Ishani’s endeavor to ‘give back’ to the profession that has given her so much is creditable, and a lesson to many of us.

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It’s this quality and promise that Ishani carries with her that we at Outdoor Travel Gear like and admire. We hope Ishani powers ahead to make her dreams come true, and we hope she continues to climb with everything she’s got!

www.OutdoorTravelGear.com