Whether you are a seasoned adventurer or dipping your toe into the water for the first time, the importance of being prepared can never be understated. Once you have decided upon your chosen adventure, the next thing to consider is most likely going to be the equipment you may, or in some cases, may not need.
Across each discipline, be it kayaking or paddle boarding, coasteering or camping, the outdoor clothing you choose can make all the difference. But with so many options available, how should you go about choosing what’s right for you? To help with that very question, we’ve put together a little guidance for you.
Outdoor clothing purpose
Understanding the environments where you will be going will be one of the biggest factors in your decision process. Common questions should include; does it have to be waterproof? Am I going to wear it when it’s hot or cold? Does it have, or does it need to have ventilation? Am I going in the sea? Will it provide the right amount of protection that I may need? Will I want to use it as an item of casual clothing too?
Knowing how you may use it, will then influence what you do next.
Does it fit?
On the surface this may seem like a really strange question, but in reality, if your equipment doesn’t fit properly, it won’t be able to do its job as well as its designers intended. When buying online, sight unseen, you can easily find what should have been perfect, is anything but. This is where your local retailer will prove their weight in gold. By physically trying on a variety of garments in store, you will ensure the fit is perfect and to cap it off, you’ll be helping local businesses too.
How do I look?
One of the biggest mistakes people make when choosing what to wear, is they go for form over function. Just because you like the colour, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s what you need. Choose with your head, not your heart.
The prices of outdoor clothing can vary hugely depending on the manufacturer and what features are included. The manufacturer will attempt to dazzle you with terms like ‘Gore-Tex’, ‘Neoprene’, ‘Cordura’, Vibram’ and all manner of other ‘scientific terms’. The key here is to do your research and know exactly what each term means. If in doubt, ask.
For example, Gore-Tex is a fully ‘breathable’ waterproof fabric membrane, often found in jackets and clothing that keeps wind and rain outside the garment. Its breathability is thanks to thousands of microscopic pores which allow excess body heat to escape without compromising the waterproofing element, ensuring the user is able to maintain their body temperature.
Neoprene is a readily available stretchy type of rubber used in a broad variety of clothing, including wetsuits.
Cordura is a hard wearing and durable fabric often used in workwear and outdoor clothing, whereas Vibram is often found in hiking boots and trial shoes and is company that specialise in producing a variety of hard wearing, flexible rubber outsoles that maintain high levels of grip in wet and dry conditions.
As we previously mentioned, the breadth of situations where you can wear your outdoor clothing will greatly increase not only its versatility, but also its value. A helmet used for kayaking is a very sensible choice, but is unlikely to have multiple uses; however a good comfortable pair of waterproof walking boots, can be used almost anywhere which could soften a higher purchasing cost.
Like what you buy
If you don’t actually like what you buy, the chances of using it are slim, completely undermining the purchase. By following some of the advice we’ve laid out here, you should be able to purchase exactly what you are looking for. With so many options available to you, with some thought and a little research, you will be the proud owner of some really nice kit that perfectly suits you and your needs.
Whatever kit you use, looking after it is essential to ensure longevity and future enjoyment. Following all the washing instructions and making sure you store it correctly after use, will greatly increase its lifespan. Don’t expect it to be box fresh if, after the last use, you’ve tossed it into the back of the car and forgot about it for a week.
Here at Land & Wave we are a close knit bunch of friends and family. If you are with us on one of our many adventures, or are thinking about joining us and have a question about your kit, just ask.
We want to ensure you get the very most out of your time with us and passing on our experience and knowledge is just part of what we do.
It’s all about living the dream and loving life.
27 September 2018 by Matt Brown