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The skiing slopes, your catwalk. Dare to wear!

For many skiers and snowboarders, wearing the right outfit is of utmost importance. There are a lot of people who ski down the slopes. Nothing is more convenient than being able to recognize your friends because of their unique outfit. There’s the possibility of wearing a colorful (but fashionable) ski suit or even a fun onesie!

Continue reading The skiing slopes, your catwalk. Dare to wear!

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How to take care of your sleeping bag: do’s and don’ts

A sleeping bag can be a big investment, but it’s definitely an important part of your outdoor gear. It’s one of your best friends at night when you go camping or trekking. It keeps you warm and sometimes it even keeps you alive. So how do you make sure it lasts as long as possible? Here are some tips and tricks!

Open it up

When you go camping you want to put your sleeping bag open when you get up. That way, all the moisture that you lost at night can vaporize. In really good weather you can even hang it over your tent. Beware, only do that when your tent is for dry for 100 %!

How to store your sleeping bag

It’s not good for your sleeping bag to be crammed in that little bag all year long. That little bag is called a compression bag. It squeezes your sleeping bagit’s smallest possible form. That also means that the filling is compressed all the time. Because of that compression, the filling will lose it’s volume and with that (part of) it’s technical qualities. Which means it will become less soft and less warm.

Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate

You should try to wash your sleeping bag as little as possible. After using it for one night or several nights, you just hang it (outside) to ventilate. Open it up as much as you can and let it hang for a couple of hours.

(don’t) wash your sleeping bag

Is your sleeping bag stained with mud, you might want to wash it. Be sure to check the washing label. Soon a blog post will follow with tips and tricks on how to wash it.

Let me state one thing very clearly: DO NOT TAKE IT TO THE DRY CLEANER’S! The products used in at the dry cleaner’s are very corrosive and will harm the water repellency and damage the filling.

LINER

Regular users wash their sleeping bag once a year, when it starts to smell a little iffy or when it’s dirty. The less you wash it, the better; but you also don’t want to sleep in a dirty sleeping bag. A great solution is using a liner to put in your sleeping bag as an extra. It’s sort of an extra, very thin sleeping bag to put into your sleeping bag. They exist in a wide variation such as cotton, bamboo, or silk. After using it for a couple of nights, you just wash your liner in stead of your sleeping bag, which is a lot easier – I can tell you that!

Did you learn something new? Which tips will you start using? 

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How to reproof your waterproofs

You’re cycling in the rain. When you get home you notice that the sleeves of your sweater are a little moist, or wet even? You walk to the supermarket and your jacket soaks up every single drop of rain? I can hear you think: “time to get a new rain jacket…” Not really, though! Let me explain how you can reproof your waterproof jacket!

When you notice that your jacket gets heavy when it rains, or your skin gets a little clammy, chances are that the DWR-layer of your jacket has worn out. This doesn’t mean your jacket is no longer useful. It can be resolved with a dual treatment: washing and reproofing.

NO H2O

You’ve got two kinds of water resistant clothing: water repellent and waterproof clothing. Water repellent clothing will keep you dry in a light drizzle, but it won’t keep up in a shower. Waterproof clothing makes sure you’ll stay dry in any wet situation.

There are several components which make waterproof clothing actually waterproof. First there’s the membrane or the coating on the inside of the jacket. Secondly there’s the DWR-layer (Durable Water Repellent) which is applied to every single waterproof and water repellent item. The task of the DWR-layer is to let water pearl up and drip off the fabric.

Because of wear and tear the DWR-layer will loose it’s efficiency in time. When you notice your waterproofs take up more water than they drip off, it’s time to wash your items and reproof them. This will up the game of your waterproof clothing again, and restore its performance.

WASHING

Before reproofing your jacket, you have to wash it. Otherwise you will fixate all the (invisible) impurities in your waterproofs. In this article you can read how to clean your waterproofs.

REPROOFING

Reproofing is the technical term for ‘make it waterproof again’.  You don’t have to do that after every washing, by the way. But when your item doesn’t repel water anymore, it is absolutely time to reproof it. When the performance of the DWR-layer is substandard, the outer layer of your jacket will start soaking up water. The benefits of a (more expensive) jacket will be lost. Your jacket gets heavy and that also influences the breathability. Dirt, for example the oil of your skin, sweat, and mud won’t be repelled anymore and your outfit will get smelly.

After washing out all the impurities, your waterproofs are ready to get a new DWR-layer. Those kind of products exist in a spray, like Nikwax Spray-On, but also in a wash in product, like Nikwax TX Direct Wash-In.

SPRAY
  1. Spray the product all over your jacket, or on the spots you want to reproof.
  2. Wipe the product open so you won’t get stains on your item.
WAsh-in
  1. Pour the recommended amount of product in the dispenser of your washer.
  2. Wash your waterproofs in the same cycle as you did before when washing them.
  3. Put your waterproofs in the dryer (if it is allowed by the washing prescriptions in the clothing tag!) on low or medium heath. If you can’t put it in the dryer, you want to add some heat by using a hairdryer. The warmth will activate the water repellent layer.

Have you ever tossed out a jacket that didn’t seem waterproof anymore?

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How to wash waterproof clothing

Your faithful waterproof clothing: rain pants, your daily raincoat, your dear 3-layer trekking coat and your skiing gear have two things in common: they are waterproof and they suffer from intensive use. If they are dirty or don’t smell very clean these pieces of clothing have to be washed. “Washing? Waterproof clothing can’t be washed?” “Yes, it can, and yes, you should!”

WASHING PRODUCTS

Before you start, STOP, and read this blog post to the end. Don’t just throw your jacket in the washer, put detergent in and add softener, just don’t. Waterproof and technical clothing need  a separate treatment and products. You should never ever use your daily detergent, and certainly no fabric softener.

Technical clothing, like a waterproof jacket, skiing gear, rain pants, but also a cycling outfit and thermal underwear should be washed with great care. This means you should use a product that is specifically made for washing technical clothing. These kind of products will not harm the technical and waterproof properties of your garments.

In outdoor stores, and even on amazon you can find these special products. Two examples of these washing producs are Nikwax Tech Wash and Grangers Performance Wash. You could also use a soft, fluid (!!) washing product you might also use for wool and delicates. These products don’t contain corrosive or bleaching ingredients that will harm the technical properties of your clothing. Down jackets should be treated separate and require special detergents.

WHAT ABOUT STAINS?

Laundry detergents that are suited to wash technical and waterproof clothing will clean your garments of (invisible) dirt. Usually they’re not strong enough to remove actual stains from your garments. If you think you’re dealing with a persistent stain, you should treat that spot with stain remover before actually washing it. A natural stain remover like ox-gall soap, won’t harm the technical properties of your waterproof clothing.

Example washing instructions clothing tag

WASHING WATERPROOF CLOTHING

  1. Before you throw your clothes in the washer, make sure there’s no clumps of dirt sticking on it. Up all the zippers and close all pockets. And carefully read the clothing tag with washing prescriptions.
  2. Make sure there’s no leftover detergent or fabric softener in the dispenser of the washing machine. As mentioned above, those products are harmful for the technical properties of your waterproof clothing. If you are not sure whether your washer is clean of products, let it wash a hot cycle once more. This will clean your dispenser and washer.
  3. Pour the recommended amount of product in your washer – if you’re using a special product for technical fabrics, there will be a user manual on the back of the bottle.
  4. Put your clothing (preferably 1, maximum 2 pieces) in the washer. Don’t wash your waterproof clothing with other ‘normal’ clothes.
  5. Let your washer go through the entire cycle. The cycle you choose depends on the washing instructions on the tag in your clothes, but washing it on 30°C and low tumbling are standard instructions that shouldn’t harm your clothes.

After washing your waterproof clothing you’ve got three options
1. Hang your clothing on a hanger (in the shower) to let it leak and dry.
2. Put your clothes in the dryer on low temperature (if the washing instructions on your clothing tag allow it).
3. Impregnate your clothing to make it fully waterproof again.

WHAT IF I HAVE WASHED MY PRODUCT INCORRECTLY, I.E USING WASHING POWDER?

Washing your clothing with washing powder or biological detergent can damage the fabric’s breathability and water resistance. This doesn’t necessarily mean you ruined your item, but you might have to work hard to restore it. You might have to re-treat the item several times to regain its performance. Damage can be more severe if washed several times in wrong detergent.

IMPREGNATION

If your waterproof jacket is relatively new, washing will do to restore the technical properties. For the somewhat older pieces, that have been washed a couple of times, it might be necessary to restore the waterproof properties. You’ll notice it’s time to do so if the outer layer of your coat absorbs more water than it repels. This means it’s time to impregnate. What, how and why you’ll read in this article (clickity click).

water repels

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I WASH MY WATERPROOF CLOTHING?

How often you should wash your waterproof clothing depends on various factors. Skiing gear could use a washing after a week of intensive use on holiday, before you put it in storage for another year. A waterproof winter coat could use a rinse before you put it away in spring. If your beloved canine jumped up with muddy paws, it’s a good idea not to wait too long to get the stains out.

Almost all technical clothing has properties of breathability. A typical indicator for a much needed washing is when you, more than before, break a sweat while wearing your jacket. This means the pores of your coat are clogged. A washing will free those pores of invisible dirt like sweat, air pollution a.o.

Hopefully this article gave you some clear instructions on how to take care of your waterproof clothing. If you have any extra questions, don’t hesitate to comment below or send us an e-mail!

 

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Hydro Flask for Outdoor Tea Time

As you could read in my blog post on reusable water bottles, I’m the happy owner of a Hydro Flask bottle. Hip hip hooray, because Santa brought me a Hydro Flask for Christmas. It is a beautiful blue one of 32 oz (1 litre).

At first, PJ didn’t understand why I wanted yet another water bottle. My answer: “to go skiing“, because I really don’t like cold water that much. And in a non-isolating bottle, e.g. my Klean Kanteen classic, water would become really cold while skiing. His reaction: “water doesn’t freeze when you’re skiing, though?!” That’s true, but PJ likes to drink water with ice cubes all year long. I prefer my water at room temperature or twice as warm.

It means that right now I can take delicious hot tea with me on the slopes of Alpe D’Huez – and in the rare case when I finish it, I can refill it with any kind of water I like. This way I can drink water all day long in the freezing cold, without getting brain freeze!

The first test was on the slopes of Ovifat: in the morning I made some tea and we drove all the way to Ovifat, once on the slopes I could sip nice hot tea and even during the drive home I could heat up my frozen body with deliciously warm tea. Hydro FLask FTW!

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The ultimate snow test of my Hydro Flask on the slopes of Ovifat (BE)

The second test: as we speak, yours truely is coughing and sniffling in bed because of a nasty virus in my body. The situation is as follows: tea softens the pain in my throat, the kitchen is on the ground floor, and the bed room is on the second floor. Thanks to my new Hydro Flask I don’t have to stumble downstairs every hour for warm water. All day long I can sip warm ginger tea without moving a foot.

Hydro Flask in bed
Hydro Flask, a day in bed with me

And now I’m in the Alpes. Oh, those beautiful mountains! Every morning I put on the water boiler and choose my flavor of preference of the day, I throw the tea bag in the bottle and I poor in the damping hot water until the bottle is filled to the rim. It’s almost a poetic ritual in my mourning routine. And so it happens that I can sip hot tea to hydrate and warm myself. Even the rest of my group starts to ask if they can have a sip of my tea – I don’t mind sharing – and then admire the ability of my Hydro Flask.

HydroFlask Alpes
Never been happier with a bottle in the Alpes

In short, I really like the latest addition in my bottle collection, but I will put the pros and cons in a little list for you:

HYDRO FLASK PROS

Visibility because of the color – I lose absolutely everything (temporarily)
Big volume
Light bottle
Thee stays hot for 6 hours and warm for 12 hours – when the bottle is full all the way to the rim
Easy to clean because of the wide mouth

HYDRO FLASK CONS

The wide mouth is difficult to drink from in a vehicle (car/bus), but that can be fixed with a so called ‘flip cap
The rim of the wide mouth can get a little warm as well. This can be solved by a ‘flip cap‘ or a ‘straw lid‘. Bringing a cup or just drinking carefully are also good options.

In Belgium you can purchase a Hydro Flask at A.S. Adventure. The prices lie between €25,95 for a 12oz isolating Coffee Cup to €45,95 for the 32oz isolating bottle.

I’m absolutely in love with my Hydro Flask. Would you like one too or do you already own one?

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Three Commandments for Hiking Boots Maintenance

After a whole lot of thinking and trying, you’ve finally decided on the perfect pair of hiking boots for your feet. Of course you’d like them to last a while. In order for your shoes to retain their good condition and last a long time, it’s essential to regularly maintain them.

hiking boots stapschoenen

1. Clean after every intensive use

After every intensive use you should brush off your hiking boots. If they are covered in wet mud, you’d better let it dry and brush it off the day after. Is the dirt still quite tough and you’re not getting it off? If your hiking boots have a waterproof membrane, you can put them in some lukewarm water. After that you rub them off with a soft sponge. Be careful with the seams, because those are weak points and you don’t want to give those a hard time.

2. Don’t let your hiking boots dry next to a heath source

Bonfires, a stove or central heating are enemies of the leather and the glue that keeps your hiking boots together. Let them dry in room temperature. Also don’t put any newspaper in them, because the ink is also harmful for the leather and the glue. Use paper towels or a sock filled with cat litter or sawdust in stead. Those are absorbing fabrics that aren’t harmful for your hiking boots.

3. Use the right care product

After you’ve cleaned your hiking boots with a soft brush or a soft sponge, there’s one more step that will make your boots last considerably longer.  Smooth leather should be smeared with wax or fat. But if your shoes have a membrane (e.g. gore-tex, texapore,…) you should use a conditioner. That won’t clog the pores of the membrane and your hiking boots won’t lose their breathing capacities. There are also special care products of nubuck.
Be aware to carefully read the user manual of your product. One brand is better to be used on dry surfaces, but others attach better on moist surfaces.
If you live by these three commandments, your hiking boots will bring you a whole lot of miles further.

After 13 years I had to replace my Salomons with a pair of Meindls. Hopefully they will last as long! What brand of boots are a perfect fit to your feet? And what’s your favorite adventure you’ve experienced with them? 

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A reusable water bottle, a durable investment

Until about a year a go, I used to take a plastic bottle with me. The kind you buy in the super market, the kind you throw in the trash eventually. I used to refill those bottles a couple of times, but eventually they became kind of dirty after a while. Plastic is everything but a natural product and Mother Earth could use a lot less of it. So I started to think about the amounts of trash I produce and how I could reduce it. The first step was quite clear: buy a reusable water bottle.

kleankanteen1

Why would you buy a reusable water bottle?

The environment will be so thankful! A reusable water bottle will easily last for years. You only need a little common sense to realize that you will throw away a lot less of those plastic bottles.

Tap water is perfectly drinkable. Where I live tap water even tastes really good, but I realize that this is not the case everywhere. If tap water doesn’t taste great in your area, just let it run through a water filter. That will make the weird taste disappear in no time.

It is a lot cheaper in long term! Tap water is available pretty much everywhere. Just calculate how much you pay for bottle water… And how often you buy a bottle… I rest my case.

kleankanteen3

To what should you pay attention while buying a reusable water bottle?

Reusable water bottles exist in all shapes and sizes. The volume of the bottle is up to you. You’ll also find a lot of different prize ranges for reusable water bottles. In my personal experience, I would like to advise to invest a little more. I won’t trash talk about brands, but cheaper brands will very likely be less durable and might even harm your health when damaged.

A reusable water bottle which is completely made out of stainless steel, like Klean Kanteen, Hydro Flask, and Mizu, are safe options when you’re a little clumsy. They can take a beating and are perfectly safe, even when dented. When a bottle has a coating on the inside (a yellow coating on the inside of the bottle) you’ll have to be a little more carefull. When you drop such bottle, the coating may break and loosen.

Glass bottles are a stylish option for your desk. You’ll see in the corner of your eye and you’ll be reminded to drink regularly. Also a glass bottle with an infuser is a great option. A little bit of lime or lemon will freshen up your water break!

Hygiene

It’s not because you can’t see them, that they’re not there: bacteria. Give your water bottle a good wash up every night. A thorough rinse a day keeps the doctor away.

Hydroflask ski

I own three different reusable water bottles: a Klean Kanteen Classic, a Klean Kanteen for children, and a Hydro Flask 32 oz. It might seem a little too much, but all three have weekly functions. The Klean Kanteen Classic is for daily use. It reminds me to drink plenty every day: at least two bottles full during work. It is also a sturdy bottle and it is easy to clean. The baby bottle is perfect to carry in a purse. I take it with me when I go on errands, for when I might get a little thirsty. Last but not least my tea-buddy: Hydro Flask. It is an insulating bottle which keeps my tea warm from dusk ’till dawn, but you can read everything about the Hydro Flask in this blog post!

Plenty of reasons to buy a reusable water bottle? Do you already have one?

 

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