Lockdown best bits . . .

One of the questions we get asked most in the shop is which is the best . . . best waterproof, best backpack, best baselayer. Whilst we have our favourites, it’s not as easy as telling you which we like best because every product in our store has been designed with a specific set of specifications in mind. So we always bounce a question back – what are you using it for? What do you want from it. Now, bear with me here, because that might sound like a silly question if for example we’re talking about waterproofs. Of course you want it to keep you dry, and of course you’ll be using it in the rain. But what you are doing with it and what your hopes are for it will change which direction we point you in.

It’s also worth mentioning at this point that budget will have an impact on what you choose. If you imagine a spectrum of prices from poundland to luxury we sit happily in the middle and above. We will only sell gear that we believe will serve you well and for many years. We don’t believe in disposable fashion or cheap and cheerful. A good quality product will save you buying more often so over time is better for your pocket, and can be better for the environment by avoiding throw away products that inevitably end up in land fill.

For my first look at our best bits I’m going to be sharing with you some of the waterproofs we have in stock right now. Obviously we’re under lockdown here in the UK so our shop is sadly closed. But all the stock I mention is on our website and is available with free delivery for as long as we’re locked down and unable to see you lovely lot face to face.


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So,

What do you want?...

I want it all. I don’t want to spend too much, I want to stay dry and I want decent specs.

If you want it all we can highly recommend the Rab Downpour Plus. It is the beefier brother to the standard downpour and retails at £130. It is made with Pertex Shield, and features pit zips and a technical hood which are hard to find in other jackets at this price level. We stock it in two colours for men and women and is really a fantastic buy. If you prefer a liner with a brand name and can spend more then why not check out the Montane Pac Plus Jacket for men and women which features Gore Paclite fabric and is priced at £180. You lose the pit zips but you have a great Gore jacket.


What do you want?...

I want eco. I don’t want to harm the planet with the choices I make.

Easy. Whilst all our suppliers are working tirelessly towards improving the supply chain, minimising environmental impact and generally pulling up their eco socks, Paramo have been doing it for decades. Yes, decades. Paramo clothing is now all PFC free and they are the sister company of Nikwax so promote and use the PFC free Nikwax treatments. Most of Paramo’s garments are made in Columbia at the Miquelina Foundation factory and has been since 1992. The foundation offers safe and fair employment to over 500 women and supports housing and childcare facilities for it’s workers. The Miquelina Foundation has Fair Trade status and as such you can rest assured that your Paramo jacket has been well made and it’s maker is being supported fairly. Paramo also offer a recycling scheme where you can return your garment to us (we are one of a few selected partners who take part in the recycle scheme) and in return we will give you money off your Paramo purchase (Ts&Cs apply). Recycling prevents garments going to landfill. But which would we recommend?! Paramo do a huge range and we’re lucky enough to stock a lot of it as one of their Shop in a Shop partners, but the best seller for it’s features and price is the Alta III which retails at £300. Paramo garments come with a lifetime guarantee on parts so if you have an issue with a part of the jacket Paramo may well repair for free. Also, if you tear or damage your garment Paramo offer a repair service. If you like the PFC free story but not the Paramo price tag, take a look at the Sprayway Margil which has a PFC free Gore liner and retails at £170. Having a liner, it’s an entirely different beast to the Paramo jackets so if you’d like more info about what makes them different, drop us a line.

 

What do you want?...

I’m a runner, I don’t want to feel like a boil in the bag chicken, and I need it to pack small so I can stash it away.

So here we need a higher level of breathability to prevent getting sweaty when active. If you’re a hardcore runner you’ll have heard of Inov8 and probably know their paper thin Ultrashell which retails at £130 (weighing 97g) and Ultrashell Pro at £250 (106g). Rab, the new kid on the running block, have just released their Skyline running range and the Phantom Pull On at £150 (90g) is their equivalent and is getting great reviews. All three are engineered with race day kit check in mind, maximum breathability and just enough waterproof-ness to keep the moisture at bay. They’re so lightweight that we wouldn’t recommend them for anything other than race running. If you’re a runner but you want to get more use from your kit, then we would definitely recommend the Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra. It’s got stretch so moves comfortably with you, it’s tougher and more durable, weighs in at 192g costing £165 and as a bonus for a runner, it has pockets for . . . hands or snacks!

 

What do you want?

I just want an all round decent bit of kit for dog walking, day hikes, running,  and generally wearing out and about.

Our top pick for all round stretch, comfort and performance is the Rab Kinetic Alpine jacket. It’s the tougher sibling of the Kinetic that we stocked a few years ago and boasts tougher fabric on the hood and arms – ie where the rain hits most! We love it because it doesn’t have the crinkly feel of a standard waterproof, it has stretch and softness of a softshell but with taped seams. Retailing at £210 it’s up there, but you can feel the quality in the fabric and once you’ve put it on you’ll forget you’re wearing it.

 

That’s just a few from our range, I hope it’s helped. It’s worth a footnote on looking after your gear. Don’t shell out on an all singing all dancing waterproof and expect it to stay like that. Day to day grime builds up and will stop the water repellency, so be sure to keep it clean and proofed using Nikwax for a longer life, and make sure if you wear a rucksack that it is clean and fits you well to avoid any damage. If you need hints or tips on waterproofing check out my previous blog, or visit Nikwax’s page for helpful videos.

Stay safe during this time, enjoy your daily exercise if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where you can get out and about, and please come and see us when we’re open again. If you can support us online in the mean time with a purchase or even just a share on social media we’d be really grateful.