Tip on Preventing Blisters

First of all, remember that blisters require three conditions to occur: heat, moisture, and friction. Eliminate any one of those factors and you prevent blisters.

Buy boots that fits

Friction happens when your shoes or boots don’t fit your feet well. Buy them in a store where the staff knows how to measure your foot size. Try on a variety of brands because they all fit slightly differently; find the brand that fits your feet best. If the best boots you find still don’t fit perfectly, try after-market insoles to customize the fit.

Eliminate heat and moisture: Keep your feet dry

This may be the easiest and most effective strategy  employed: Whenever you stop for a break of five minutes or more,  take off your boots and socks and let them and your feet dry out, eliminating or at least minimizing heat and moisture. As simple as that.

Carry extra socks

If your feet get chronically sweaty, change into clean, dry socks midway through a day of hiking. Try to wash and cool your feet in a creek and dry them completely before putting on the clean socks.

Wear lightweight, non-waterproof footwear

Any footwear with a waterproof-breathable membrane is not as breathable as shoes or boots with mesh uppers and no membrane which also dry much faster if they do get wet. If you’re generally day hiking in dry weather, why do you need waterproof boots? It may seem counter intuitive, but non-waterproof shoes or boots may keep your feet drier because they won’t sweat as much.

Tape hot spots

Carry blister-treatment products like Moleskin—but also carry athletic tape, which sticks well even on damp skin. If you feel a hot spot developing,  stop immediately and apply two or three strips of athletic tape to the spot, overlapping the strips, and then check it periodically to make sure they’re still in place.

Tape preemptively

When you’re taking a really long day hike where you exponentially increasing the amount of friction that can occur, tape your heels before starting out, because you may have developed blisters on them on day hikes longer than 20 miles in the past. If you routinely get blisters in the same spots, tape them before your hike.

Use a skin lubricant

Distance runners have employed this trick for ages: Apply a lubricant to areas that tend to chafe or blister, like heels, toes, or even the inside of thighs, to eliminate the friction that causes that discomfort. Numerous products do the job, from the traditional Vaseline to roll-on sticks like BodyGlide.

The Pine Tree and Its Many Uses

Did you know pine trees can be used as food, medicine and survival equipment?

The pine is one of the most useful trees on the planet, providing food, shelter, medicine and fuel. Knowing how to utilize this versatile resource could someday be the key to your very survival if you find yourself alone in the wilderness.

There are many species in the pine family (or genus Pinus), and they can be found virtually everywhere in the world.

Food:

Many types of pine needles can be used to make a tea rich in vitamin C. Simply steep a handful of needles for 5-10 minutes. The longer you steep them, the less vitamins will remain, so don’t overdo it.

It’s important to note that some pine needles are poisonous be sure to avoid consuming the needles from the Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla), the Yew (Taxus) and the Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa also known as Western Yellow Pine, Bull Pine and Blackjack Pine). Make sure to learn the differences between the edible and non-edible varieties before making pine needle tea.

Pine nuts from all varieties of pine are edible, although some are small and not typically harvested. They can be a little tricky to harvest and perish quickly once they are shelled but can be stored longer if left in their shells or roasted.

Inner pine bark and pine resin are edible; male pine cones and their pollen can also be eaten. Native Americans chewed pine resin as sort of a natural chewing gum. The inner bark of large pine trees is edible, and the bark from young pine twigs can be eaten as well. Be careful not to damage or kill a pine tree by tearing off too much bark, and never ring the bark from a pine tree.

Instead, tear off small pieces of bark or look for branches that have already fallen. The inner bark can be eaten raw it can also be boiled, fried or cooked over a flame.

Medicine:

Pine resin is a natural antiseptic and disinfectant. It also has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It can be directly applied to wounds or sores and helps keep germs out. Pine resin can also be used to staunch the flow of blood.

The resin can also be used to extract splinters just dab some on the skin where the splinter is embedded and within a day or two the splinter should come out on its own.

Fuel:

Pine resin makes a great fire starter, particularly in damp settings. You can usually find a spot on a pine tree where resin is oozing out from a break in the bark try not to injure the tree to collect pine resin, but if necessary, make a small break in the bark or break a branch. The resin will begin to ooze out as protection for the tree.

If you are in an area where there are pine stumps, look for places on the stump where resin has soaked the wood and made it sticky. Tear small strips of the stickiest wood from the stump and save them as aids for starting fires.

Shelter:

Pine boughs can be used to create shelter, and pine needles can be used to make a soft, warm and dry bed.

Water-proofing and other uses:

Pine resin can be used as a waterproofing agent and works well on tent seams, boots and mittens.

Heat pine resin up and mix with ashes or charcoal from your campfire to make glue. Once cooled, the glue will harden but can be easily heated up again when it is needed.

Winter Camping and Backpacking Hacks

Winter camping and backpacking have a much steeper learning curve than three season hiking and camping because you have to carry a lot more gear and learn so many new skills. Here are some tips and tricks I’ve discovered or learned over the years that have improved the safety and comfort of my winter trips.

Dig a Pit under your Tent’s Front Vestibule

Dig a pit about 3 feet deep under the front vestibule of your winter tent so you can sit down in the front door when you take off or put on your winter boots. This also increases the amount of gear you can store under the vestibule fly.

Bring at Least Two Stoves in Case one Fails

Stoves can fail in winter. White Gas stoves can get gunked up and stop functioning if they’re not cleaned properly or use dirty fuel. Canister stoves can also fail when it gets too cold for their fuel to vaporize. You best bet is to bring multiple stoves when you go winter camping or backpacking in a group, preferably ones that share the same kind of fuel, so you have some redundancy in case a stove fails.

Wear Oven Bags Over Your Feet to Keep Your Socks Dry

If you wear gaiters for winter hiking, your socks will get wet from foot and leg sweat. This is a problem when winter camping because wet socks will freeze at night unless you sleep with them in your sleeping bag. However, you can keep your socks dry if you wear oven roasting bags under your socks. Your feet will sweat less and stay warmer and your socks will stay dry because the oven bags contain all that sweat close to your skin.

Wrap Fuel Bottles with Duct Tape to Prevent Frostbite

In cold weather, the temperature of white gas, or liquid fuel as it is also known, can dip below freezing but still remain in liquid form. If it touches your skin, it will evaporate immediately, causing frostnip or a more severe frostbite. In fact, simply touching an uninsulated fuel bottle with the bare skin of your hand in sub-zero temperatures can cause a cold injury. You can prevent this by wrapping the bottle with duct tape to insulate it.

Sleep with your Boots or Boot Liners in your Sleeping Bag at Night

If your winter boots or bootlines have become damp during the day, you need to sleep with them in your sleeping bag to keep them from freezing at night. If your boots do freeze, you may not be able to use them again until they are thawed out.

Carry your Water Bottles in Insulated Pockets

When hiking in winter, it’s best to use wide mouth bottles that you can pour boiling water into each morning. These should be stored upside down so the tops don’t freeze shut. Store the water bottles in insulated water bottle pockets on the outside of your pack or inside your pack, surrounded by insulating garments.

Wear Nitrile Exam Gloves as Glove Liners

If your hands sweat when you hike and you have to carry extra gloves or mittens, you can cut down on the number of gloves you need to pack by wearing nitrile or latex gloves as glove liners. They prevent hand sweat from being absorbed by your gloves and will keep your hands warmer too. It’s the same principle as wearning oven roasting bags over your feet to keep your socks dry.

Use Lithium Batteries instead of Alkaline Batteries in Winter

Alkaline batteries perform very poorly below freezing and in cold weather because they are made with a water-based electrolyte solution. Lithum batteries on the other hand are much more powerful than alkaline batteries and function very well in cold weather, making them ideal for headlamps and other must-have electronics.

 

3 Steps in How to Use a Compass

 

Compass

Despite the fact that a compass is a basic tool for getting around, it can be an intimidating piece of equipment for those who’ve never held one before, much less used it to safely navigate an unfamiliar bit of wilderness.

The first step in figuring it all out is familiarizing yourself with the various parts of a compass. Once you’ve got at least a rough understanding of what the lines mean, of which part turns and why, you’re ready to get some basic training under your belt.

A starter compass is a good place to start. The simple instrument can serve as an excellent introduction to orienteering as a hobby, sport, and overall enjoyable activity. The best beginner’s tool comes with only the essentials, so new users from children experiencing their first taste of outdoor exploration to adults rekindling an appreciation for nature can confidently build a foundation on which to build a growing knowledge of navigation.

The Silva System is a straightforward method for learning how to properly combine a compass and topographic map. The system can be boiled down into three easy steps:

Step 1

You may not be able to get from where you are to your ultimate destination in one go. In that case, you should break the journey down into more manageable steps. Set the compass on the map so the edge of the base plate (remember what that is?) serves as a line connecting your current position to where you want to go. You should be able to draw a line along the edge, as if it were a ruler—which it basically is.

Step 2

Set the compass heading by rotating the dial until the letter “N”—for north—lines up with magnetic north indicated on the map. You should be able to find a compass rose indicating which way is which.

Step 3

Pick up the compass and hold it flat in front of you. Be sure that the direction of travel arrow points straight ahead. Then, rotate yourself, keeping an eye on the magnetic needle. When the red end lines up exactly with the orienting arrow, stop. The direction of travel arrow (it’s easy to keep the distinct arrows straight when you actually see them in action) will be pointing in precisely the direction you want to go. Look in the direction of the arrow and find a particular landmark that stands out. Hike to that landmark, at which point you can stop, regroup, and start steps one through three over again.

Even though this is a simplified navigation system, there is one other detail that should be noted: The magnetic needle will always point north, but north itself isn’t a fixed, immovable point. Well, magnetic north isn’t, anyway.

True north is a fixed point that never changes. Magnetic north wanders, due to the ever-shifting nature of the Earth’s magnetic field. The two different norths sit about 800 miles apart.

Mapmakers typically consider true north when creating their maps. Many topographic maps will, however, also include information on “declination,” which is the difference between true north and magnetic north from a given point.

The difference between true north and magnetic north can be so minimal as to not really matter, or it can be significant enough to prevent an unaware hiker from ever arriving at the intended destination.

A Simple Hatchet can Save your Life

swiss-reserve-hatchet

The hatchet is a small axe that is one heck of a survival tool, and it lends itself to numerous applications that help you not die. Let’s go over some of the way it can be helpful in a survival situation.

Fire Starter

You should have at least two to three different ways to start a fire, like waterproof matches, magnesium fire starter, and a lighter.  A hatchet is another very helpful item to have when needing to start a fire. It not only makes it much easier to cut large pieces of wood, but also functions as a striking tool to create sparks. Use as a striker only in an emergency situation to avoid premature dulling.

Defense

Finding yourself face to face with a large predator in the wild such as a cougar or bear is never ideal, and there’s no running away, as it sends a clear message that you’re food rather than a potential threat. Granted, you’d probably rather have a gun or an airbow to keep the predators at longer distances, but if things become too close, you can count on your hatchet. The hatchet works best when used in a hacking motion to maintain your defense.

Ice Cutter

Cutting ice and hard snow for water is much easier when you have a hatchet, as is digging out a snow shelter.  Ice cutting will come in handy if you need to dig a hole to protect a small fire from the wind.

Splint Assistance

Should you need to create a splint, a hatchet again comes in super handy. It makes it easy to cut and fashion a splint, whether for you or an injured party member.

Light Reflector

The metal section of a hatchet works as a light reflector, which sure is helpful if you’re alone in the wilderness and need to be rescued!

Hammer

The hatchet’s back end works as a very nice hammer.

Some would argue that you only need a fixed blade knife in your pack, while others would argue that the hatchet is the more important of the two. The reality is that you should have both. If you don’t have a hatchet in your survival bag, consider purchasing one. Chances are that you’ll be very glad you have it down the road.

Survival Basics – Controling your Core Temperature

A core concept of survival in just about any situation is the rule of threes. If you don’t know this rule it is that you can generally live:

  • Three minutes without air
  • Three hours without shelter
  • Three days without water
  • Three weeks without food.

 

For this post we are going to be looking at shelter or more specifically how your body reacts when we don’t have sufficient shelter to help us regulate our body temperature. Along with making sure you have plenty of food stored for your family and a sufficient source of water, you need to ensure that lack of shelter is not going to be a killer for your group.

The optimal environment for a human to maintain their core body temperature is between 79° and 86°F. The science of keeping your body in “the zone” of this ideal temperature is Thermoregulation. Thermoregulation can be the difference between living and dying and is the practice of controlling your core temperature. Every year people die from power outages during heat waves or winter weather.   Simple variations in environmental temperatures between 30° and 50° have wreaked havoc worldwide and many die from hypothermia or hyperthermia.

Minimal fluctuations to core temperatures can stress the human body and throw its vital systems into chaos.  In the event of stress, things can get pretty ugly and actually break down at the cellular level.  If your temperature suddenly plummets, the proteins in your cells clump together leaving behind areas of water that can potentially freeze and shred the delicate cell membranes.  If your body overheats, the cells can become too warm and essentially melt.  Any stress at the cellular level will cause immense damage to all the body’s organs and systems needed for survival.

Hypothermia is the condition when your core temperature plummets below approximately 96° F. There are variables in the exact temperature, of course, when considering age, sex, percentage of body fat, or even time of day.  Suffering from even mild hypothermia can cause your body to burn through a ton of calories trying to keep your body and the vital organs heated, and this in turn will cut into your body’s food stores. Your body will also limit the amount of blood flowing to your extremities making them more susceptible to damage and impairment.  Shivering is another way for your body to create heat to keep you warm.  While shivering, your body is creating tiny muscle contractions, thereby using energy and heating up the body.  Unfortunately, shivering also burns through food stores in the process.

Hyperthermia is when your core temperature soars above approximately 100°F.  Again, this can vary, but this gives you a good guideline for sustaining a healthy condition when exposed to less than ideal temperatures.  Generally, in the case of hyperthermia, your body will succumb to dehydration.  Your body’s first line of defense is to circulate more than four quarts of blood per minute, dilate the blood vessels, and open the skin up to let the excess heat out.  That is why being dehydrated is so deadly.  Dehydration thickens your blood making it more difficult to circulate and do its job.  Your body also perspires, leaving your skin wet and cooling the outer core.

Thankfully, your body has a built-in alarm system to alert you or someone close to you that your body is stressed by either hypothermia or hyperthermia.

Stages of Hypothermia:

First signs and symptoms – Core temperature 95-96° F

  • Shivering
  • Decreased alertness
  • Unable to think clearly
  • Minor loss of function in fingers and toes
  • Stinging pain in extremities
  • Confusion

Simply put, you have to maintain your core temperature. People with mild hypothermia can warm themselves with additional dry layers or by stomping their feet. Simple physical exertion is a wonderful cure when you are cold. The old saying with a wood fire is that it warms you twice. Once, when the fire is burning and another time while you are chopping and hauling the wood.

Advances signs and symptoms – Core temperature 93-94 ° F

  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • Lack of stability
  • Increased lack of clarity

 

Get the affected person in doors if possible and rub cold areas. You can use the buddy system and have the warmth from one person help another person. In the Army they say that if your buddy has cold feet he should take off his socks and stick them on your belly or in your arm pits.

Serious signs and symptoms – Core temperature critical – 91-92° F

  • Gray skin
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased lack of stability
  • Speech affected
  • Spasmodic shivering

For more serious signs of Hypothermia, internal heating methods should be tried. Along with external warmth, warm (not hot) fluids should be consumed also.

Mortal signs and symptoms – Core temperature 87-90 ° F

  • Inability to walk
  • Incoherent speech
  • Shivering decreased

 

As with hyperthermia, if the body temperature gets this low medical help is almost always needed.

Stages of Hyperthermia

Early signs and symptoms – Core temperature between 99-100 ° F

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Thirst
  • Lack of appetite
  • Muscle spasms
  • Feeling weak
  • Profuse sweatingTo treat mild cases of hyperthermia, we need to first remove the underlying source of the heat. If the symptoms are caused by exertion on a hot day we can treat the person with increased water consumption and rest in a cool space.

    Advance signs of hyperthermia – Core temperature 101-102 ° F

    • Dizziness
    • Headache
    • Profuse sweating
    • Thirst
    • Disorientation
    • Cramps
    • Pale moist skin
    • Possible unconsciousness
    • Weak
    • Rapid pulse and/or breathing
    • Lack of appetite
    • Nausea and/or vomiting

To treat advanced hyperthermia, we can additionally use rest in a cool, shady area. Removing some articles of clothing and sponging down the head, neck and trunk area will reduce body temperature. Additional water consumption is mandatory. Immersion in a cool bath or body of water can help also.

Mortal signs and symptoms – Core temperature 103-106 ° F

  • Disorientation
  • Delirium
  • Unresponsive
  • Skin hot to the touch and can be dry
  • Shallow breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Coma

 

When the body temperature is this elevated medical assistance is almost always needed, but in a survival situation this may not be possible. The body must be cooled as quickly as possible and methods such as iced IV solutions aren’t uncommon. It’s crucial we don’t get to this point so maintain close watch over your group in heat situations.

Clothing Options

Wearing the proper clothing is vital so as not to inhibit, but to aid the body’s natural defenses against hypothermia and hyperthermia.  Wearing the proper clothing will help you adapt to any weather situation

Simple three layer system:

  1. A Base layer should be wicking to keep you dry and non-restrictive when keeping you warm to allow blood to flow freely.
  2. An Insulation layer should be next and can be removed or added as temperatures rise or fall
  3. The last layer is the environmental layer which should be loose fitting, water-resistant and breathable to allow moisture to flow through the fabric so it is not trapped.  To test whether a fabric is water-resistant and breathable, you should put your hand on the inside and breathe onto it from the outside.  If you feel the warmth of your breath, then it is water-resistant.

Remember that the layering system should be used in a hot climate as well.  Some people feel that a tank top and shorts are the best clothing system, but unprotected skin only exposes your skin to the radiation of the sun.  Save the skimpy clothes for the beach when you are on vacation and not in a survival situation.

Hats are another important part of clothing and give the body added protection.  It is good to have a wide-brimmed, water resistant hat that will block out the sun’s rays in a warmer climate and a snug warm hat made of fleece or wool for colder temperatures to keep the heat in your head.

Fabric Choices

There are a myriad of fabrics to choose from for all the essential pieces listed.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each.

Cotton and linen are best suited for hot climates.  As you sweat the fabric absorbs the moisture and lays on your skin like a wet washcloth which is exactly what you want in scorching sunny conditions because it acts as an air conditioner for your skin.

Polypropylene is as unnatural as they come, but has incredible whicking capabilities and it lightweight.  The downside is that if a spark from your campfire will cause the fabric to melt.  It also holds the stench of sweat so well that you will never get the odor out.  Not a good base layer to wear if you are trying to repopulate the world; the ladies won’t be impressed.

Wool is a natural fabric that has the ability to absorb water (up to 50% of its weight) and distribute it throughout the fabric without feeling wet. It even has the ability to keep you toasty warm even when wet, making it a natural choice in the winter where weight isn’t a factor. There are differing qualities of wool so be thoughtful in your purchase.  My mom bought a wool sweater for me as a child and I hated it because it was “itchy”.  I found out later that better quality wools do not feel scratchy.  The downside to wool is that it is bulky and takes longer to dry.

Polyester is completely man-made but offers the widest range of clothing choices.  It can absorb a good deal of water, is somewhat water resistant, versatile.

Nylon is a super tough synthetic fabric.  Most of the waterproof fabrics are made from nylon with a special coating.  Try to avoid completely waterproof fabrics though, unless you are a sailor because it lacks breath-ability.  Nylon dries almost instantaneously.

Down is lightweight and very warm, however it is much like cotton and will weigh you down and freeze you to death if it gets wet.  It is very slow to dry.

With proper clothing layers it is possible to beat the elements and stay warm enough or cool enough to survive any situation.  If you are prepping for a family, be sure to have the basic layers for every member of your family.  Study the warning signs of hypothermia and hyperthermia because rarely does the individual suffering have the ability to recognize when they are in trouble.  These lifesaving tips should keep your body from stressing until you can build or find adequate shelter.

Favorite Thermal Layer & Shell Combinations For The Woods

Thermal-Layer-and-Shell-Combos_700

Clothing for the woods, call it what you will, I’ve been asked about it a lot. I guess it’s because I spend a lot of time in the woods and have done for many years.

I do shy away from talking about kit unnecessarily because I think there is an overemphasis on accumulating outdoor kit and an under-emphasis on accumulating outdoor skills and experience.

That said, we all need some outdoor clothing and equipment, more so as we move away from the equator. In particular, our clothing forms the first line of defense against hypothermia. In the woodlands of the northern temperate zone and into the forest, where conditions can be cold and wet, we need clothing which is both protective as well as tough.

The question of what I choose to use has come up several times in my shows as well as in other questions which have been submitted to me.

I’ve been repeatedly asked to talk about what I use, what I like and why. I’ve resisted doing this for a some time as I don’t want people to feel pressured to use what I use.

I talk about three sets of multiple thermal layers combined with a shell layer which I find make particularly complimentary combinations.

I should point out these are favorite combinations of mine.

While I would, of course, recommend all of the garments I suggest, this is not me saying you have to have any of these specific items before you go to the woods.

This is not least because some of the garments I use carry a significant price tag compared to some people’s budgets.

I’ve calculated that most professional people who have a number of good quality suits for their office job have spent more on those suits, along with shirts, ties and shoes have spent more than I have on my outdoor clothing.

My clothing also needs to last. I spend a good amount of the year outdoors, through the seasons, teaching outdoor skills, guiding trips and having my own outdoor adventures.

I’m responsible for others when I teach and guide. I shouldn’t be spending time sorting myself out because I’m cold and wet, when I should be looking after my clients, running a course or a trip. I need to rely on my clothing.

People have asked, though, and I’m answering. These are clothing combinations I use year-round in northern temperate forests as well as spring, summer and autumn use in the forest. The various combinations of clothing in this video have served me well in the UK, Scandinavia and in North America.

Much of this is in woodland and it’s tough on clothing.

The shell layers are all resilient and tough, well suited to the higher levels of abrasion encountered in woodland settings.

Just in case there is any doubt, I’m not being paid to talk about any of the garments or brands in the video. All of the items were paid for by me personally.

It’s not just about specific brands or specific garments. There are some general principles at work here. I refer to some of these in the video, particularly with respect to base layers and hats. In the text below the video, I continue the discussion, drawing out some general principles which you can apply to find items of clothing which fit your budget and specific needs.

The final point, before I let you get to the video, is even though this is not a kit review, all of these garments have been used for many, many months in the field. First impressions are one thing but I don’t believe in video “reviews” which give opinions based on how the clothing looks when it comes off the hanger or out of the packet. I’ll use it for a few years and then give you an opinion…

Clothing Combinations Greater Than The Sum Of The Parts

I mention it in the overall value and performance I get from these clothing combinations is greater than the sum of the individual parts.

While I look at particular models from particular manufacturers in the video (because these are what I own), I feel it’s worth drawing out some general recommendations which you can apply using any number of different manufacturers and models.

Clothing Combinations To Keep You Warm – First Get The Basics Right

If you need to be donning warm upper body layers, then think first about what you have next to your skin. Invest in a good merino wool base layer. They make a huge difference to your warmth and comfort level. The performance they add to your overall clothing system far outstrips any additional weight or bulk.

The second basic which you need is a warm beanie hat. Again the added comfort and warmth from such a small item. A woolen head-over or scarf is also worth carrying in the colder months of the year.

Once you have the basics sorted, below are the generalizations of the three main clothing combinations I discuss in the video…

Protective Combo 1

A thin fleece pullover with zip neck, to wear over your base layer. This type of fleece pullover is both ubiquitous and inexpensive. I like simple models that can be tucked into trousers for extra warmth.

A medium to heavy fleece to wear over the thin pullover. In the video I show a medium weight fleece which also tucks in. If possible, I like this layer to have a hood as it adds a lot of extra protection from the elements for little extra weight.

A sturdy breathable smock of Gore-Tex or similar. This should be large enough to fit over the thermal garments above. This type of smock is good for prolonged periods in heavy rain. The longer smocks keep your groin (and trouser pocket contents) dry without having to don waterproof trousers. This is my go-to style of jacket for teaching courses in the northern temperate zone and wilderness canoe trips.

Protective Combo 2

A thin fleece pullover as described above or thin fleece jacket over your base layer.

A Primaloft or similar synthetic-filled duvet jacket, with a decent, full-sized hood. If the outer shell of this jacket can be made of a good windproof material then all the better. Even better still is a material which is also somewhat water resistant – shower proof if you like – which will help stop moisture going into the insulation. Belay jackets designed for climbers are a good place to look for many of these features. They also tend to be quite light for their performance. The one I use is a little over 600g (21 oz.)

A tough breathable shell jacket of Gore-Tex or similar. Triple-layered breathable membrane fabrics provide high performance and resilience. This style of jacket I use for hiking in heavy wooded areas and ski-touring. I look for good ventilation as well as good pockets for maps, compass, gloves.

Protective Combo 3

A synthetic pile-lined top with an integral windproof outer shell. There are a number of similar designs on the market, some designed to be worn close-fitting, some with a little more room. These garments tend to be very protective, even worn on their own. In the mountains, this is often all you need. The synthetic shell outer of this type of garment, however, is prone to damage from sparks in particular, but also thorns and the generally higher abrasion levels of life in the woods. In the woods, then, I recommend combining them with a tough smock over the top (see below).

A Ventile smock over the top of the above type of garment forms a very tough, protective and breathable combination for the woods.

Longevity And Value

Any of the three clothing combinations discussed above should last a long time if the items are selected carefully. None of the clothing I showed in the video is new. In fact much of it I’ve had for many years. For example, the Norrona jacket is at least 10 years old. The Buffalo Special 6 shirt is 15 years old. The Swazi Tahr is 7 or 8 years old. All of the garments have seen a lot of use. In particular the shell layers see months of use each year.

For the amount of use they have had, all of the garments have provided incredible value. And that’s before I think about how many times they’ve protected me from hypothermia.

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