If you are doing any sort of
outdoor activity -trekking, climbing, camping, diving, skiing
etc, then you need the right equipment. We have listed below
some of the better know travel equipment manufacturers and retailers.
For items like tents and sleeping
bags, the decision is a factor of weight and degree of protection
Choosing a backpack
-key factors in making a choice:
- Capacity -how much you need
to carry, and how far. Nothing is more annoying than having to
carry an extra bag along with a backpack. If you are new to backpacking,
I suggest you do borrow a pack first and try a couple of walks
with it laden to see what sort of capacity you can cope with.
Packs come in a number of sizes -Daypacks (up to 35 litre) for
short outings, Alpine (35-55 litre) for touring and climbing,
Backpacking (55-75 litre) for hiking over a number of days and
Expedition (75 litre+) for extended trips
- Back support/type of frame -don't
buy a floppy day-pack if you are going to walk long distances
-you need a proper framed bag with lumbar support -find a location
where you can try a number of types out with an assistant to
advise you. Frames can be internal or external -internal framing
is used largely for large loads and transfers the weight to your
hips whereas external frames have a higher centre over gravity
but leave room for ventilation.
- Adjustability -again try it
out -can you adjust the straps to suit your body? Women should
look for a pack where the straps and support is designed to fit
the female shape.
- Do you need an integral daybag
-something that you can unclip and use for lighting walking around
when you have reached your destination.
- Weather resistance -if you are
going to encounter really wet weather then buy a poncho.
- Budget -you will regret it if
you do not get the right pack -that doesn't necessarily mean
spending a fortune, but don't skimp either.
There is a really good article
on choosing a pack at Simply Hike, and if you want to find out
more about the art of travelling light, see Doug Dyment's site
Major makers of backpacks and
rucksacks: Aztec, Berghaus, Gelert, Karrimoor, North Face, Vaude,
Choosing a tent -key factors in
making a choice:
- Size -number of people -is it
just somewhere to spend the night for two people or will you
need one the size of a semi detached house to accommodate your
family and their airbeds!
- Weight/bulk -how far will you
have to carry it?
- Protection -degree of exposure
likely to be encountered.
- Setting up -separate inner and
outer sheet is more complicated but offers a larger ventilation
gap to avoid condensation, plus extra stability; there are now
instant pitch tents on the market but they are not for high exposure
and have an awkward folded shape.
- Cost -keep it cheap if you are
going to Glastonbury, but spend out it if it may save your life
on a bleak mountainside.
Tents are categorised as 3-season
for camping and backpacking in mild or hot weather; 4-season
for all year round backpacking, trekking and camping; expedition
for mountaineering, high altitude trekking, and camping in exposed
Leading tent manufacturers -see
Aztec, Coleman, Gelert, North Face, Terra Nova, Vango, Vaude,
Choosing a sleeping bag -key factors:
- What is the primary type of
use -backpacking, car camping, alpine climbing or traveling?
- Is weight and size an issue?
- Are you generally a cold or
- Do you tend to sweat beneath
the covers or wear socks to bed year-round?
We encourage you to be conservative
when considering sleeping bag temperature ratings.
Which insulation is best for
your primary activities? Will you be camping in humid climates
or in the desert?
Choosing travel clothing:
- Is weight/bulk an issue -do
you have to carry your luggage far and are you limited by airline
- Smartness -if you want to arrive
smart and stay smart then non creasing fabric avoids the need
- Weather resistance -dependent
type of climate you expect to encounter -temperature, rainfall,
- Budget -do you really need specialist
travel clothing or can you get by with an old pair of jeans?
Principle makes to look at: Berghaus,
Cragghoppers, Regatta, Rohan
- Aztec Outdoor
-tents, sleeping bags, rucksacks, furniture and picnic equipment.
- Berghaus has been developing and selling outdoor
gear since 1966 and is one of the leading brands of high quality
performance clothing, rucsacs, footwear and accessories.
- Coleman -worldwide manufacturer of tents and
- Craghoppers -travel clothing and outdoor adventure
- Ellis Brigham
-retailer of quality outdoor and adventure equipment, selling
online and in twenty-five stores nationwide. As a leading mountain
sports retailer, they have a strong concern for the environment,
with a number of initiatives that are aimed at reducing their
environmental impact, including biodegradable packaging, and
working with manufacturers to promote environmentally friendly
- Gelert -full range of camping products, including
a quick pitch tent, as well as sleeping bags and rucksacks.
- Karrimor -the specialists in backpaks -range
includes ultralight packs for climbers, performance packs, travel
packs as well as day and urban packs for use around town.
Travel -suppliers of
a range of travel clothing, equipment, books and maps, medical
supplies and vaccinations for more than 16 years.They also support
many expedition organisations, including the Royal Geographic
Society, who venture out to remote countries, participating in
conservation work or independent expeditions that have set personal
Face -makers of expedition
tents, packs, shoes, sleeping bags, and apparel.
-specialists in scouting equipment.
- Really Interesting Tent Company -specialise in unusual tents from around
the world -Yurts, Teepees and Geodesic Domes.
- Regatta -outdoor clothing, footwear and rucksacks.
- Rohan -the best in lightweight and waterproof
packable travel clothing.
- Suunto -precision instruments for outdoor activities
-compasses, heart rate monitors, diving computor watches.
Nova -mountain, backpacking
and family tents and accessories.
- Vango -leading Scottish tent manufacturer.
- Vaude -specialists in mountain sports equipment,
including the Vaude Triset Rucksack.
Country -the UKs leading
specialist provider of high quality rock climbing equipment.
- Whipperleys -online retail of military style and
outdoor clothing and equipment including travel bags, rucksacks,
sleeping bags and camping equipment.
-suppliers of performance waterproof jackets, trousers and fleecewear,
sleeping bags, rucksacks and tents.
- Blacks -the outdoor experts, offering
products ranging from Berghaus and The North Face to Karrimor
and Salomon in 104 high street stores nationwide.
E Smith -outdoor equipment
retailers in Romford -they are a third generation, family run
business with over sixty years experience in the outdoor industry
and passionately committed to providing outstanding service.
- Craigdon's Mountain Sports -well established Scottish retailer of a wide
range of outdoor clothing and equipment for camping, snowsports
and walking - branches in Inverurie, Aberdeen, Perth and Inverness.
Pie.com -the official
shop for the Extreme Sports Channel, selling cool surf, skate
and snow wear online.
- Field and Trek -one of the UK's leading technical retailers of
outdoor clothing and equipment, supplying everything for walking
trips, camping holidays, backpacking & trekking expeditions,
mountaineering & climbing, adventure racing and travel.
Travel Club -founded
by Beccy Coombes Burr, GTC specialises in gear for women travellers.
They try to source all their products as ethically and as responsibly
as possible. The site also provides tips, unusual packing lists,
natural remedies and even games for travellers. There is some
seriously good advice on the site (and not just for women).
- Millets -Millets is one of the high street's
best-known outdoor stores, offering products from Peter Storm
and Eurohike to Berghaus, Columbia and Coleman.
- Gearzone.co.uk -outdoor equipment, clothing and travel products
such as Fleeces, Gore-Tex Jackets, Tents with brands including
Berghaus, The North Face, Craghoppers, Wild Country, Lifesystems
- Itchy Feet -from their shop in Bath, Nancy and
John Coppick have used their huge experience of travel around
the world to build up a mail order business with a range of the
best travel kit. Some useful packing lists for gap years, trekking,
round the world, tropical and high altitude travel.
- Safariquip -all aspects of travel equipment available
from their base in the Derbyshire Peak District.
Hike -tents, sleeping
bags, camping stoves, walking boots, rucksacks from Berghaus,
Mountain Equipment, Coleman, Craghoppers, Garmin, Campingaz,
Vango and Suunto.
and Under -outdoor travel
equipment from Wales.
and Windy -suppliers
of boating equipment and surfing kit.
- WildDay -leading outdoor brands online from
at up to 65% less than on the high street from Europe's largest
outdoor store -camping, accessories, sailing, ski and snowboard.
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