Thursday, 23 September 2010

How to Select a Childrens Backpack and Encouraging Them to Hike

I have enjoyed hiking and rambling since I was a young boy. However now I am a Dad and I of course have brought up my two boys to also really love hiking. I was looking forward to buying my kids their hiking gear and in particular - a childrens backpack. However I had a problem of encouraging them to get off their computer games and go on a ramble or hike carrying a heavy childrens backpack, being very tired and having aching feet? We know this as the spoils and challenges of a hike.

However I wanted my kids to want a childrens backpack rather than just giving it to them and selling the positive points of hiking . I did a bit of promoting by suggesting hiking was fantastic fun. You had to be grown up to hike and wear a childrens backpack. Also it was the BIG boys that like to carry the backpack. Not only did I try to verbally encourage them but also what also helped was to be a great example and hike myself. I took them on small local hikes in the area (although it was flat). I found that planning small hikes is the key to ensuring your kids grow with the pastime.

The reason I am writing this is because I have seen so many times on hiking forums that encouraging your kids to hike and wear a childrens backpack is a problem for the best hikers I know.

I also made sure they were involved with outside groups like scouting for boys. My eldest is 10 years old and has just finished a 12 mile local hike with the local scouts. He loved it
I found that by putting all the above into action we not only bought a childrens backpack for him but he cannot put it down and nearly went to bed wearing it – which was of course very amusing. Now of course I am being pestered by my youngest to buy a childrens backpack as well. It will not take a lot of arm twisting to get him a childrens backpack

Also last year I took my kids up the Ben Nevis mountain which is the highest point in the UK. They achieved this being at the ages of 9 and 5 and yes with a childrens backpack. This year we travelled to the Lake District and climbed Scafell Pike and we loved ever moment of it

So if you want to get your children involved and enjoying hiking I suggest

* Positively encourage your children,

* show by example and get them involved slowly.

* This will lead onto more adventurous things

Very quickly you will be proud to buy them a childrens backpack and being as proud as I am even if they have never shown any interest at all. Have a great Hike!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

4 major points to consider when buying women's rucksacks

We all love hiking and rambling and getting out in the fresh air and getting amongst the countryside and of course It does not matter if you are a man or women. However whether you are a man or a woman we all need the same type of gear but there is a problem that can be gender based. Are their different types of gear required?

In particular are there different types of rucksacks required between a women and a man? If so what is the reason and in particular (in the case of a rucksack) what do women need to consider when purchasing woman's rucksacks. This is the particular question I will cover for Women’s rucksacks

I have heard some people say that Women buy more than men and therefore all women's products including women's rucksacks are geared toward a woman's market. I am not sure I agree and believe that Women’s rucksacks are needed for physical reasons and are different from men's rucksacks. It’s a matter of opinion. There are no catwalks in the mountains!

So here are differences and the areas to look for when buying Women’s rucksacks.

1. The shoulder straps are actually on narrower Women’s rucksacks to ensure a comfortable fit however are curved to allow for the bust area.

2. Women’s rucksacks are built with a wider waist belt. Getting a little technical - the waist belt should ideally have a conical shape to it. This conical form is achieved by angling the belt diagonally upwards and by curving the waist belt wings. You can get Women’s rucksacks that contain a frontal adjuster system. This will simplify the waist fitting procedure and will add some value.

3. The rucksack frame is shorter on a Women’s rucksacks than a man's. When choosing a rucksack (for anybody) I suggest going to a recommended hiking and rambling shop and getting yourself measured for the right women’s rucksack.

4. The back of the women’s rucksack are generally shorter. Although just because Women’s rucksacks are shorter this does not mean a women has to buy this type of rucksack. Some Women have longer backs and should look at a obtaining a man's rucksack for best fitting. It really is a personal thing

So there are the main four points which is not clear cut but a good way forward. A man could buy a man's rucksack and a woman could buy a women's rucksack and both could report uncomfort. They could swap and everything could fit nicely. There is no sure thing. However the above main 4 points are the points to consider when buying Women’s rucksacks.

So I hope you buy the right rucksack whatever your gender. More importantly hope you have a really great hike and ramble wherever this may be

What type of travel rucksack should you buy?

So you are out to buy a travel rucksack but there are some considerations when buying a travel rucksack. The question we need to answer is - what are you going to use it for? At this point it can get detailed and I wish to avoid this and keep it simple to buy the right travel rucksack so here are some tips in this article. So I hope it is useful

Your travel rucksack really needs to be fit for purpose. Is it going to be used for hiking and rambling or travelling? You need to know as you need to understand how waterproof and strong it needs to be especially if you are going hiking with your travel rucksack. Taking a travel rucksack on your holidays and just using it for travelling is not so much an issue. However a travel rucksack for hiking does need some attension.

Of course make sure that the travel rucksack is nice and comfortable. Nowadays most travel rucksacks are very comfortable compared to rucksacks years ago. A good travel rucksack now has a breathing system to allow some air to your back and help to stop you sweating. So in my case this is a great idea. In addition the straps are now adjustable to fit not only your shoulders but adjustable so you can wear the travel rucksack high or low on your back. This is useful.

Most travel rucksacks which are large now come with the all important belt. Your hips should take more of the weight instead of your shoulders as this is the strongest part of your body. So make sure that a belt is included. The picture illustrates a travel rucksack belt

You need the travel rucksack to be waterproof. A good feature is a rain cover complete with a zip away bag cover. So that when it does start to rain (which you need to be prepared for) then you unzip your rucksack rain cover and cover the rucksack for rain protection. Again a useful feature. However some hikers do say that a handy top pocket is wasted by the rain cover. I suppose it is a personal trade off – pocket or cover? What is your choice?

What I do is keep my contents of the travel rucksack dry by using a plastic bag in the travel rucksack. Therefore I use this for waterproofing and shy away from the waterproof cover. However some people like it so I have included it. It is whatever you feel comfortable with as both methods are good for keeping a travel rucksack dry.

Another really good feature is a unique movable bio system which means as you bend or twist, the pack remains upright. This means that the centre of gravity remains the same reducing the risk of falling or loosing your balance – nice feature.

I always say – have a large number of pockets in your Pockets make it easy to store and retrieve the smaller but things like map, compass, emergency whistle, pocket knife etc.

Have a really great hike or travel well and enjoy your travel rucksack as its all part of the fun.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

How Ramblers Benefit by Joining a Rambling Club

I know that if you are out hiking I can fully see the joy that ramblers have. You will know how great it is to get outdoors, to challenge yourself to either height or distance and immerse yourself in the wonders of nature. Also of course it is a great way to exercise. Just ask other ramblers

That is whether you hike, are one of the ramblers or just walk often. You may be new to this and not confident to venture out. Or you may be on your own and want more company

However ramblers need to organise there hike. If you do this on your own you will need to work out where you want to go, what route you wish to take, where you wish to stay and who will go with you.

So a really simple solution to these type of problems is to join a Ramblers Club. There are many benefits. When you first join a Ramblers club they usually allow you to ramble with them to ensure you are happy with the club and they are happy with you before joining.

Fitness does come into it but you can ramble at the pace you need to. You must never or allow anyone else to hike or ramble at someone else pace unless you are ready for problems.. A Ramblers Club will take this into account. You will also be with very like minded people who love the great outdoors. Rambler Clubs are usually well organised, will have a list of great routes and do most of the preparation and organisation.

It is a personal choice to join a ramblers club. My personal choice is to hike with friends and family. However other people have different circumstances and a ramblers club might be the thing for them

Looking at the favourite search engines there are many clubs that ramblers use which are very localised to each area. Some Rambling Clubs consist of just a handful of members whilst others are greater in number and who meet regularly for walks, talks and socialising. These groups usually welcome new members as they share a common like for walking and rambling.

The way that clubs are organised is that they have different grades of hikes or walks and It is up to the individual which walk they wish to join. The decision here will of course very much depend on your level of fitness compared to the difficulty and length of the hike and your experience

You can be a rambler on your own and many people enjoy hiking in their own groups. This is what I usually do. After all hiking can be enjoyed however it is organised. If you do not have a like minded group of friends and want to join other Ramblers then a Rambling Club could be a great way to enjoy this excellent pastime.

Hiking Gear You Need to Take on a Ramble Or Hike

OK so we are going to go hiking. Before you do you need to understand what hiking gear you will need to take with you. The camping stores are full of lots of hiking gear that they want to sell you and lets face it – you want to buy (just like me).
However some important things you will need with you and for you to consider when deciding what hiking gear you need.

1. Rucksack. Sounds obvious but you want a quality rucksack when hiking. There are different sizes of rucksack depending on the type of hiking you are planning. You also need to investigate how to pack a rucksack as this is also very important and has a big impact to your positive or not so positive hiking experience. This is really a subject of its own and this is just a quick note to guide you in the right direction. However you need to concentrate on packing the heavy items at the top with easy access to the things you may need first (such as waterproof clothing etc). Also I suggest you go to a camping store rather than buying on line unless you are confident on exactly what rucksack to buy. The camping store will guide you on a one to one basis as deal with all types of hiking gear.

2. Clothing and waterproof gear. You will need to take at least one pair of complete clothing depending on the number of days you are hiking for. Whilst your clothes can get wet they should be resistant to absorbing water (i.e not jeans) and it is better to take a number of thin jumpers than a thick jumper. Also please remember 80% of heat is lost through your head - so a hat to insulate your head from the cold is important. In addition most importantly buy some good quality waterproof gear. A good raincoat (not thin) and waterproof leggings is essential to keeping dry and safe on a hike – this is especially in England where I hike. This hiking gear is very important for a hike.

3. Hiking boots. Essential item to your hiking gear are hiking boots. You need strong boots for the tough trail ahead. Your boots should support your ankles as well as your feet. Make sure they are comfortable and fit well. Also make sure that you wear your hiking boots a number of times before you use them on the hike. This will help prevent blisters - not very nice. If there was one thing you had to concentrate your money on as part of your hiking gear I would say good quality hiking boots.

4. Map, Compass. It is obvious but you need to know where you are going and plan your route and have a map and compass. It is an essential aspect of your hiking gear. It is also very important you know how to use them

Go to my blog on links in this article for a free report on a compass

Get it here

You need to know how to read a map and how to set a map using your surroundings and a compass. Again important part of your hiking gear.
This is not a complete list of all the hiking gear you need to take on a hike however it is a start for the main essentials.

The above hiking gear will help you to prepare for a fantastic and memorable hike. Have a great time!

How to Resolve the Backpacking Tent Problem - The Lightweight and Ultralight Backpacking Tent

As lover of hiking and rambling we love to go backpacking, as it is great to do this over a number of days. This way you get the time to really get into the countryside and away from all the stresses and strains of life and also away from the crowds and the roads. So a 2 or 3 day backpack is great for the sole and also great to develop even deeper friendships with the people who are going with you.

If you are backpacking a number of days you will need a backpacking tent. The problem some people find is that by taking a tent the extra weight in your backpack increases too much. This can cause back problems if not slow you down on a hike. This is not a good way to treat your body or conduct a backpack or hike..

Are there solutions for this problem? Well, of course there is.

Firstly if you are carrying the tent carry for a max 4 of you. If there is a fifth hike you need another tent

Secondly and the main solution here is to buy a lighter tent. There are many light backpacking tents on the market. The 2 types which are the most popular these days is a Lightweight or Ultralight backpacking tent.

An Ultralight backpacking tent is the expoerienced backpackers favourite choice in general. The reason for this is they are lighter than Lightweight tents. The maximum weight is 2kg for an Ultralight tent. Here seems a war on as to who can get the lightest backpacking tent.

Lightweight tents are slightly more heavier but are still up to the job for backpacking and still a good choice. These tents generally will have more space which you may want to consider when buying backpacking tents.

The good news that you would want to here is that both style of tent uses the most up to date technology advanced techniques to make the tent both light and strong. The other advantage is that by obtaining a lighter tent of course this will enable you to travel at a faster speed. Therefore covering more ground. An obvious point but relative to the subject and definitely a positive point.

Of course it is your choice which of the backpacking tents to go for. Either style will be fine and great for backpacking. Your choice whether you go for slightly heavier lightweight tent but with more space OR the lighter Ultralight backpacking tent. It’s a personal choice

So please make sure you have a light but strong backpacking tent to save any aching pains. In addition have a great and memorable hike wherever this maybe and good luck..

Nepal Trekking, Prevention and Dealing With Altitude Sickness

Nepal Trekking is a famous and popular part of the world to trek, ramble and hike, however there are dangers:

The country of Nepal is situated quite high in South Asia. The giant mountains that are situated quite near to Nepal reach over 20,000 feet. In fact the top 8 highest mountains in the world (including of course Mount Everest) are positioned quite north of Nepal. So this ia quite a special place. In addition Nepal itself is situated over 15,000 feet above sea level.

Another fact is a medical one. Hikers and trekkers suffer from Altitude sickness at heights of over 8000ft. Taking a look at these height figures it should be no surprise then that people suffer with Altitude sickness a lot when they go Nepal Trekking. So when you go Nepal Trekking Altitude sickness is a real problem that needs to be dealt with and prevented.

The problem with Nepal Trekking is that you are climbing high and as you trek higher and higher the amount of oxygen remains the same but the air pressure falls preventing the right levels of oxygen to the body. This situation causes you to get altitude sickness which is mainly a feeling of being unstable, headaches, and also feeling very tired and sick. If this gets so bad the body can even fall into a coma (not good). So you really need to watch yourself when you are Nepal Trekking.
Here are the following actions you can take either to prevent or deal with altitude sickness

1. Be physically fit before you go Nepal Trekking. You know whether you are or not. With me I use to be but not any more so if I was to go back to Nepal and trek and would be in the gym a lot more.

2. Try and avoid this by taking acetazolamide before you go Nepal Trekking. However as usual you will need to consult a doctor to determine the amount to take and to ensure this is medically right for you.

3. Make sure you are fully hydrated before and during Nepal Trekking.

4. Ascend slowly to avoid these problems

5. Try and reduce your food intake if you start getting the symptoms

6. Painkillers will help

7. If you feel sick try and descend to lower levels of the mountain.

Of course if you do fall sick and need to exit the mountains – when you have recovered Nepal itself is a great place to be. Whilst Nepal is very spiritual (being the birthplace of Buddha) there are also things you can do. Try and visit one of the many festivals or take a flight over the mountains or enjoy a cycling trip.

So the rewards for Nepal Trekking can be out of this world, however so can the dangers of altitude sickness. So enjoy your trek but also be aware of the many dangers including altitude sickness when you go Nepal Trekking.