Backpacks and eco-clothing

By JW Dowey - 28 Jul 2014 13:27:0 GMT
Backpacks and eco-clothing

Whether high in Spain's Gredos Mountains or low in the plains where it rains, make sure those shorts look and wear better than hers! We had a look at some possibilities for eco-clothing and equipment that might appeal to you- with no nasty pop-up ads; Avila image; Credit: ©Shutterstock

When you consider the summer or winter clothing and equipment you need, we can look at the eco-options available to you. While the backpack could be the most important item to you, your own comfort has to be improved beyond something that could resemble the Victorian tweed and "stout shoes" that once ruled the outdoor fashion code. These products are eco-friendly because they last for years and insulate, waterproof and clothe you fashionably, saving your energy and that of the environments around you.

Some not-so modern makers such as Rohan are unfashionable now, but offer the breathability and waterproofing needed. The most popular companies produce a colourful 'sack or perfect shorts, but it's best to check their boasts with sky-high price and all the alternatives.

Starting with the North Face backpack known now as the Banshee, or possibly a Terra, in flashy green or blue, the mass is tiny at 3lb (1.3kg) with comfort more important now in harnesses and the essential aluminium frame and belt for heavy lifting. The breathability here is also important for your back with heat often building between your shoulder blades if designs don't allow air flow there.

The Banshee, also in women's models, is top-loading with "8+" pockets, making it convenient in woven nylon for good waterproofing in the mountain rains. For better indestructability, go for the Bombastic cargo chute nylon fabric of the North Face Prophet, which has a moulded back panel, but you'll pay even more. Alternative backpacks could find you with Osprey's Talon, with lots of pockets too, and a really well ventilated frame for those shoulder blades. There's a Pack Sizer App to help you get the perfect fit and it should be cheaper, depending on where you shop.

Trousers can help us get to the end of this interminable list of possible things to wear in desert, hill or country-seat! Your shirt is your own affair, given the teenager-look that you tend to see even on the highest Scottish Munro. Nevertheless you should ideally choose breathability and comfort, and of course the cognoscenti always have the undershirt! Rohan's well-known and trusted products such as their Dry Explorer are still among the best, but expensive unless there's a sale on. Montanes's Terra Pants are among the many more trendy competitors that are cheaper. Check every one to make sure they have water resistance, breathability and keep you warm too. Jeans, for example, have never been able to perform at all in the great outdoors, have they?

Boots are very fashionable recently, but fit is the thing if you're going beyond the car park. Salomon are just about the market leader with X Ultra Mid GTX fabric, but it really is personal choice and feel that matters. Even grandad's old trusted pair could be for you, if they have that supreme comfort level you crave for a week's expedition off the roads, and of course also on rock and tarmacadam. Normally a Goretex boot or even a shoe such as Meindl's Portland will be ideal for a real outdoor trek.

Almost forgot that expensive jacket we mentioned in the intro. Berghaus' Stormcloud is good value, with the Goretex alternative being the Carrock. Rohan's jackets are very comparable, from the most breathable Pinnacle jacket, down to the reduced-price Mountain Guide.

We won't go into your underwear, socks (useful to improve the fit of a boot), the waterproof of choice, and whether you use GPS only or keep a respectable map for emergencies. Tents and sleeping bags can be replaced with a simple strong plastic bag in the summer, but I'm sure most people won't go there! Hats- you need them in sunshine or in freezing conditions, but they blow away-swimwear, and wetsuits, no wonder there are whole sites devoted to selling you the most expensive gear this year. Don't forget that next year there will be even newer technology and if not, they will claim it's different anyway. At least your phone claims you won't need a camera, but what about that underwater Panasonic Lumix FT5EB! Only a 4.6X optical zoom but that beats various Sony cameras while competition from Fujifilm Finepix XP70 seems a cheaper option.

We promise we'll look at other ideas for the winter, or the Southern Hemisphere's summer, but to cover too much would be inadvisable. Please get back to us on Facebook if you have any great ideas from other sources. Ours are totally our own and not subject to any links, as you can see. Have fun out there.