What is clothes Layering and why is it important?
Layering forms small microclimates between each layer keeping you warmer and wicking away moisture from your body. There are essentially 3 layers of clothing that give this effect.
The inner layer is vitally important as it has direct contact with your skin. This layer is designed to wick moisture way from the body when exercising. In conjunction with other suitable outer wear, this moisture will reach the atmosphere and evaporate. Water is a very good conductor of heat and as such damp garments draw precious heat away from your body.Cotton is a terrible base layer. While very comfortable initially once wet it will remain wet and your body temperature will fall due to the water collecting near skin.
The best base layer materials are synthetics (polypropylene and polyester). These are light and strong, absorb very little water, and are quick to dry. Wool is also considered an excellent fabric for keeping the body free of moisture and keeping you warm. It also tends to smell less than synthetic fabrics. When choosing a base layer the garment should be a snug fit without being too tight and it is preferable it has few seams as these can dig into your skin if wearing a pack.
There are 3 thicknesses for base layers. Light layers are used for trekking and climbing where you will exert yourself and produce most sweat. Middle thickness is for stop start activities again for trekking. And heavy layers are for cold conditions where you will doing little activity.
The purpose of the mid layer is to transport the moisture you are creating away from the body and at the same time keep you warm. Wool and synthetics are great for this. Added to the particular material of the garment are features such as arm pit zippers and full length front zippers that allow moisture venting. This layer should also be quite snug.
The outer layer is a protective layer that will prevent wind traveling into it, warmth from escaping it and moisture entering it through rain and sleet. It will also allow excess moisture to escape to the atmosphere. Always prepare for the worst condition and as such waterproof jacket is essential just in case. A shell made of a breathable and waterproof fabric, such as Gore-Tex, will protect you from wind and rain, and allow water vapour to escape.
There are 2 2 outer shells available, soft and hard. Soft shells while rainproof and windproof do not retain heat well. They are fine for light trips where you will not be humping heavy backpacks as heavy packs tend to wear on the soft shell and the loose inner liners.
The other is hard shell, which are made of a sturdy fabric, are often thicker than soft shell and the liners are usually bonded together. Thus these are great for carrying heavy back packs as they are more durable. They are however quite a bit better at keeping your body warm which may not be appropriate for an alpine trek during summer and they are usually double the price of a soft shell.
Repairing A Tent Fly
How to repair a tent fly
You are laying there at night and the heavens open up. The sound of the rain on the tent lulls you off to sleep and then, splat!. A drop of water drips on your face and you discover that tent you borrowed from your "friend" has a hole in it. The following is how you can repair that hole the next morning.
-Urethane glue such as Freesole or SeamGrip.
-A piece of tent netting fabric that covers the rip and extends 5mm past each edge.
This repair is almost invisible from the outside when used for tears, but a transparent spot will remain when used for larger holes.
1.On the outside surface of the fabric, cover the hole or tear with clear packing tape. Hold the edges of the tear together while placing the tape. Do not use duct tape - it will leave a sticky residue when you remove it. 2.On the inside surface, spread a thin layer of glue over the tear, extending about 5mm past the edges. If the fabric is lined, open a seam near the tear to access the inside of the shell fabric.
3.Place the piece of netting over the wet glue to add strength to the repair.
4.Allow the glue to dry for 24 hours.
5.Remove the tape from the face fabric. If there are any loose fibres or threads remaining, you can carefully flash burn them away with a lighter.
6.Dust the dried glue with talcum powder or cornstarch to prevent the repair from bonding to itself when folded. Re-stitch the seam if you're working on a lined garment.
Looking After Gortex
How to look after your Gortex equipment
GORE-TEX fabrics are the most durably waterproof and breathable fabrics available, however it's very important to wash your GORE-TEX outwear regularly to maintain its performance. DWR or Durable Water Repellency that GORE-TEX garments have, is the ability of water to bead up and roll off the outer fabric instead of being absorbed. It is an ultra thin treatment that changes the surface tension that can be easily restored by applying heat. The simplest way to restore DWR is to tumble dry or iron. Over time the DWR will require replacing due to flex, abrasion and dramatic temperature changes. Use a fluropolymer based water repellent spray on treatment available at outdoor shops.You should always consult your individual garments care label to be completely sure.
Here are the dos and don't's for caring for your GORE-TEX garment:
Don't store your garment when it's dirty and sweaty because ground-in dirt and sweat are harder to remove the longer they remain on the garment. Be sure your garment is clean and dry before you put it in storage to prevent mould and mildew.
Store your clean GORE-TEX outwear in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight.
Machine wash on warm (40C) using pure soap, double rinse and spin. Pure soap products are recommended as they are less likely to leave residues that affect the DWR finish.
Do not use Bleach or fabric softener. Prewash stain removers can be used to treat stains on your garment. Treat stains as quickly as practically possible for best results. Ensure your garment is rinsed well after washing. Re-treat with DWR finish when required.
Tumble dry on warm setting (55C) until dry. Heat from the tumble dryer helps to enhance the DWR on the surface of the outer fabric as it is heat activated.
Ironing. Tumble drying is recommended, however ironing on the lowest steam setting will achieve a similar result.
Dry Cleaning is recommended for well used, dirty,sweaty and stained garments. Occasional dry cleaning won't harm the GORE-TEX membrane and thoroughly cleans your garment. Ask your dry cleaner to use clear solvent and to apply a flouropolymer based water repellency treatment to the outer fabric.
What about salt water I hear you ask? GORE fabrics say that salt water does not affect the properties of GORE-TEX fabric. However just like dirt and sweat, build up of salts can 'mask' the DWR of the fabric and cause the absorption of moisture.
To Chamois Or Not Chamois
To Chamois or not Chamois
It's just the little things that can make the difference between a great expedition and a pretty ordinary one. Take the chamois for example. This small piece of cloth is fantastic to dry your body after a shower or wipe your brow when your sweating. It is small and compact and a far better alternative to taking a large cotton towel. For them to work however they need to remain moist, which is fine when your in the tropics but when you are at high altitude or in a sub zero environment, the good old chamois freezes and becomes useless. To overcome this take a small quick dry sports towel, it doesn't need to be wet and remains useful in all conditions. So next time your off on expedition, think about what sort of environment you will be travelling through before you pack and you will surely have a great time.