Categories
Outdoors

Clothing Layers For The Outdoors

No matter the season, you will be packing clothing that can be layered on so that you can stay warm, cool or dry.

The exact contents will vary from region to region, so this post will focus on the items you might pack for New England or the Canadian Maritimes.

It’s All About The Layers

Typically you will be dealing with three (3) layers where given the season and region you might be adding or removing layers.

  • Base Layer
  • Mid Layer
  • Outer Layer

Base Layer a.k.a. Spider-Man Layer

The purpose of the base layer is quite simple; wick away moister off your skin. Getting that dampness off your skin will reduce the chills or skin irritation. I call this the spider-man layer because traditionally it is a form fitting layer and since I call it the Spider-Man layer, well you get the idea how tight it should be. But let’s not kid ourselves, this layer for most is a t-shirt.

A good example of this can be found be a number of brands and I prefer a long sleeved base layer or compression shirt from Nike and base layer pants from Smartwool for bottoms during colder months.

Mid Layer a.k.a Insulation Layer

This layer varies a lot mainly on thickness and your personal preference. The purpose of this is to give you a bit of insulation protection. This layer is not meant to protect you from the wind or rain but you may find some clothing choices that may include some panels in strategic areas like chest or shoulders.

I tend to gravitate towards wool products instead of synthetics because of my personal preference as they tend to be more breathable and when they get wet, they still retain much of their insulating properties.

The Skar Hoody from Kuhl is a good example of a light mid-layer where you can use it for camping on those cool nights or on winter hikes.

For something a little more heavier, the Interceptr Hoody from Kuhl is also a goos example of being warm enough to use on its own or underneath the last layer.

Outer Layer a.k.a. Ziplock Layer

This layer is pretty simple; it’s the one that will keep you warm or dry. This layer is usually a jacket and pants you put over the other layers. As with a ziplock bag, you wrap yourself in this layer but based on your preferences, you may prefer material to be breathable or not.

If you are standing still working along a roadside or watching a game in the pouring rain in October, you probably want something pretty water tight. But if you were hiking or working up a sweat you may want something that can let out via evaporation the moisture from the inside.

Thanks to Kuhl for providing support to produce this post. All opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.Thanks



Categories
Outdoors

Packing Checklist For The Office and Outdoors

Limited Space For Business Traveler

For a number of us, being on the road for work is a fact of life. I am not immune to this as it seems that I’ve been living out of my carry-on luggage for the last two years. During that time, I’ve been able to refine my packing list so that I can enjoy up to five days on the road, more if my hotel has laundry facilities.

Dress Code For The Office And The Outdoors

My wardrobe over the last few years can be simply described as “Office and Trail Ready“; Meaning that the style fits in my work environment as business casual but can handle the trail or anything outdoor related as soon as the work day is over. So here’s what I’ve been packing for typical five day business trip where I have to take a plane and/or car rental to another major city.

Number Of Item
2Shoes, sandals, boots, sneakers
2 or 3Pants
1 or 2Shorts
3 or 4Shirts
1 or 2T-shirts
1 or 2 Sweater, hoodie, jacket
3Pairs of socks
1Ballcap or other hat
3 or 4Pairs of underwear
1Toiletry kit (meds, toothbrush/paste, shaving, deodorant)
1Gadget kit (charging cables, headphones, wall adapater)

Travel Day

A travel day is pretty straight forward; this is a combination of comfort and no metal so that I can breeze through airport screening or do a long drive.

Footwear (1)

Depending on the time of year, this varies. But these are my go-to items for footwear depending on the season to choose from. If I’m not wearing a pair of sneakers, they are in the carry-on.

  • Keen Sandals: Traveling in the summer? A pair of these is a must.
  • Sneakers: Nothing beats a good pair of sneakers when you have to pace across the airport terminal when you get delayed for a few hours.
  • Chelsea Boots: They are a bit more popular these days, but my 7-year-old pair of Bludstones while not as pretty; don’t trigger any airport screening machine. Perfect for colder weather traveling.

Bottom (1)

I once heard a comedian who was on a plane every few days that their outfit of choice when flying was to simply sweat pants and other loose clothing. And I must admit that is true.

My preference over time has been loose, breathable and stretchy. Again, this varies during the season but I tend to wear for bottoms:

  • Pants: My travel day pants of choice have been these Showdown Chino from Under Armour. Stretchy and light.
  • Shorts: Kuhl Ambush Short is a good choice when the weather is warm. The extra pockets are great when you got small stuff for the plane like headphones, boarding passes, etc..

Top (1) & Outer Layer (1)

When traveling the main thing is to be in comfortable clothes that you can wear on those short walks from the airport parking to the terminal or taxi to the hotel.

  • Short-Sleeved Shirt: I tend to pick something soft and stylish since I don’t expect to be working out on this day. Kuhl Bravado Casual Shirt is a nice option. Another good option would be the polo shirts from Johnston & Murphy.
  • Hoodie: Nice soft and comfortable option if you expect to be inside an airport or in a rental.
  • Zip Jacket: When it gets colder and you don’t want to pack a winter jacket; I found that the Carhartt Hooded Front-zipped sweatshirt is about the best thing you can have from November to April.

Accessories (4)

  • Darn Tuff Socks: They are not cheap but these socks are worth every penny if you prefer medium weight wool socks.
  • Ballcap: pick your favorite or grab one from the kiosk at the airport.
  • Belt: A nice leather belt or one of those new webbing ones. Either way, you will probably need to remove it when going to an airport, so lets put this one in the carry-on bag.
  • Gym Clothes: You probably should add in stuff for the hotel gym just in case. Usually shorts and t-shirt

Workday Rotation

Now that you are at your hotel or Airbnb, you need to dress for Monday to Thursday with the last day being a half-day and the return trip is back home. You might only have time for a quick session at the hotel gym, or have an evening or two to hit a local park or outdoor recreation area. Either way, your time is short and you want to have the right clothes.

I’ll be omitting outerwear for colder months, but assume April to October weather along the East Coast.

Bottom (2)

I’m a long-time Kuhl pant owner and for the last two years, I’ve been rotating between Kuhl pants while on the road. The durability and styling fit in well at the office where I want to wear something nicer looking than blue jeans but seems like it was made to be in the woods. The added benefit when Kuhl pants are just starting to look worn, you can retire them from the office and keep them as weekend pants for additional years.

Kuhl Ryder Pant: Love these pants. A heavier weight denim pant with extra styling and movement in the knees makes this a winner as it fades and breaks in over time.

Kuhl Kanvus Jean: I picked up this jean in Kahki up when I was on the road last spring and I found the stretch properties and lightweight makes this a very, very good replacement to those Docker pants you have sitting on your drawer.

Footwear (1)

Red Wing Heritage Boots: While my Bludstones up above may be the logical choice for many reasons, I’ve found that it is not that great when walking along rugged trails. Depending on the location and travel day footwear option – Red Wing Roughneck 2942 Copper boots are my current favorite. These moc styled boots look great and the aggressive tread grippy lug tread gives me a lot of support during the day but also can grind out 5k walking trails after work or in the snow walking back to the hotel.

Tops (4)

This is where I mix things up. I tend to bring pieces that can be used if I have meetings or more casual as I get towards the end of the week.

  • Cotton Long-Sleeved Button Shirts: I tend to rotate between something casual from The North Face or if I want to be more business-like I head over to Johnston & Murphy.
  • Short-Sleeved Button Shirts: Not surprisingly that since I was such a big fan of their pants, that some of their shirts would come into play. What I like about the Kuhl shirts is that they have consistent color patterns, they are light and dries quickly, perfect for camp but look in place around a meeting table provided that you bring along the campfire smell with you into the meeting room ;).
  • Polo Shirt: For the last day at the worksite, this is an option.

The Color Swatch

And that will fit in a standard carry-on during a typical work trip. What do you think? Of course, this is skewed towards men and casual workplace, but depending on your job, you might be looking for new brands to explore hopefully I gave you some ideas.

Thanks to Kuhl for providing support to produce this post. All opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.



Categories
Outdoors

5 Tips to Keep Your Camping Gear Dry

Hiking in the rain is enjoyable for many reasons. The plants and grass look greener, insects come out of the ground and attract birds, and the trails are less crowded. On the flipside, you have to take care to ensure that you and your gear don’t get wet.

Use these tips to stay dry and never let a light spell or heavy downpour dampen your mood.

 

Waterproof your gear

 

  • Pack your tent, sleeping bag and other essentials in a stuff sack. Include a pack cover for an extremely wet environment.
  • Place electronics, mobile phones, documents and other belongings that need to be kept dry in a dry bag.
    • Vinyl dry bags are durable, resistant to tears and mildew, and suitable for small personal items.
    • Nylon dry bags are abrasion resistant although they may not be translucent.
    • As far as closures go, you can choose a dry bag with a roll top that rolls to create a watertight seal or a zipper seal.
    • A lumbar bag with a roll-top closure is suitable if you will be bringing along fewer items. It can also serve as an extra bag for gear on overnight trips. A backpack with a roll-top mechanism secures small and medium-sized hiking, fishing, surfing or paddling gear against moisture.
  • If you don’t want to carry multiple bags, consider a water-resistant cargo pack that stows various items and can be top-loaded onto your car’s roof rack.

 

Bring along hiking poles

 

In extremely wet conditions, hiking poles can help you estimate water and puddle depth. They also help you manoeuvre slippery ground with greater stability, minimizing the risk of losing your footing and getting your gear wet.

Hiking in tough terrain can put pressure on your knees and feet after a while. Trekking poles allow you to transfer some of this lower body stress onto your shoulders and arms.

Do your hands tend to swell from hiking? The use of hiking poles will activate your arm muscles, boosting blood flow and preventing fluid from collecting in your hands.

 

Pitch your tent wisely

 

  • Pick an elevated spot so you don’t have to deal with accumulated rainwater, and pitch your tent there.
  • Tighten loose rain-flies so they don’t flap or drip. Pitch the tent tautly to lower condensation, and to prevent stakes from pulling out of the ground and allowing rain inside.
  • Although your tent may be water-resistant, you can keep rainwater out completely by covering the tent with a tarp. Pack a tarp that is big enough to cover the entire tent. Secure the four corners of the tarp to the ground to allow rainwater to runoff.
  • Place a floor mat outside your tent to keep water and dirt from boots out of your tent’s living space.

 

Keep yourself dry

 

  • Wear a water-proof jacket as a first layer of defence.
  • Denim and cotton are ill-suited to hiking in wet conditions as they become heavy after absorbing water, feel uncomfortable against the skin and take a lot of time to dry off.
  • Wool is a better choice for a base layer as it feels warm after absorbing moisture and offers your body good insulation. A polyester or synthetic mid layer is also preferable to cotton/denim as both fibres dry quickly. Top-layer jackets have ventilation zips to let air in and perspiration out. Some have zippers in the armpits to allow wearers to adjust airflow.
  • Wrap gaiters around your hiking boots. They wrap around your calf and have a Velcro, zip or push stud locking mechanism, keeping your socks and feet dry.

 

Check the weather forecast

 

Although this may seem like a basic tip, a good idea about weather conditions is advisable to avoid getting caught in extreme weather conditions. It is even more important if you don’t have water-resistant bags or tarps. There is no fun in getting wet and staying overnight in a damp tent.

If you don’t already have one, consider downloading a weather app that offers weather maps, alerts, news or information such as wind speeds, humidity and rain predictions. Surfers will find surf forecast apps offering information on swell height and direction, water temperature and wind speed useful.

Categories
Outdoors

Popov Leather EDC Pocket Armour Review

tldr;

  • Great hand made leather product from Nelson, BC.
  • Perfect office EDC to hold your folding swiss army knife and pen.
  • Lots of leather and thread colors to choose from.
  • Great gift item along with knife & pen, super customizable.

 

When I got the itch to try to make some leather craft (mainly to make knife cases), I found the experience kinda neat. Luckily, I had a Tandy Leather Outlet within 20 minute drive so that I can run over on the weekend and pick up a few pieces and leather as I try to make something.

Where I got inspiration for designs was from etsy, pinterest and instagram. One account I followed was Popov Leather and I’m pretty sure I saw a pic of their EDC Pocket Armour that I molded into a horizontal knife slip case for my swiss army knives. So I was really happy that Ryan contacted me and suggested that I try his EDC pocket armour. This was hand stitched out in Nelson British Columbia using Horween leather and customized.

Ryan offers Horween leather in several colors and thread – so you have lots of color options to pick from. He also offers initials engraving; I ended up having my initials on a Driftwood Leather with English tan thread.

 

But Which Knife To Use?

I used the pocket armour as an excuse to buy some items to go with it; mainly a Fisher Space Pen with Brass finish. The pocket armour is mainly designed for a two layer knife so I decided to scan Amazon for options. I stumbled upon the Victorinox Pioneer X Alox swiss army knife. The big thing about this knife is that the extra layer is used for the scissors. I had my Victorinox Climber to test out if a three layer knife would work well with the case – and it did.

 

Fisher Space Pen + Victorinox Pioneer X Alox + EDC Pocket Armour

After a few weeks, I finally had all three pieces together and ready to use them as EDC. I’ve never had Hornween leather before. It’s very interesting as compared to regular veg tanned leather you get for basic projects. The Deadwood dye and English Tan thread gives it a very nice rustic look. When you slide in the knife, I love how the leather stretches and the color changes. The overall look a very sharp.

Having done some leather projects, I know how hard it is to replicate certain features like:

  1. Straight Lines – It is hard to keep lines straight. Having done a few projects, it’s a skill to get your lines just right.
  2. Stitching – Tight saddle stitches make your leather look professional. I tend to use a single stitch, but you can tell the difference between the two. I noticed that the thread is flush with the leather. Unlike me who missed some tools, a groover was used to sink the thread into the leather. This will allow for less wear on the thread.
  3. Burnish – That’s the process to get the ends of the leather mooshed together  the edges and creases and give a finished look.  A must when stitching together two pieces of leather together as in this slip case.

 

 

 

Everyday Carry After A Month

I have to say that the Horween leather is NICE, man this thing is so soft and really formed quickly around the knife after I started wearing it. This will most likely age and give it even more character over the years.

The Fisher Space Pen is light, fits very snug in the webbing on the side. I was worried about it slipping off, but nope. It’s very secure. I’m looking forward to the raw brass finish to add the petina and associated character.

And what can I say about this Victorinox Pioneer X Alox? What I beautiful swiss army knife. The original Pioneer Alox is a two layer knife and would fit this case much better, but the X version with scissors was a big feature that I wanted and it ended up filling in the EDC pocket Armour  great. It feels great in your pants pocket and with the ring, I added a tag that I can grab the knife while reading in the pocket.

 

Why Get This?

This is worth a purchase. Ranging between 25-35$ CAD this is well priced for a hand made item. I would combine this as graduation of gift for dad as you can customize every aspect of the pocket armour and attachments.

Categories
Outdoors

Hit The Trails This Weekend

What better way to celebrate Canada’s 150 Birthday, than to get outside and experience its vast, beautiful, and unique landscapes. From coast to coast Canada’s awe-inspiring trails offers escapes for day hikes to multi-day wilderness adventures.

 

Whether you are a newly inspired beginner hiker or you’re a seasoned trekker, these are some great essentials for hitting the trail.

 

Icebreaker Women’s Sphere

For her, pair the light, versatile, breathable merino wool Icebreaker Women’s Sphere Low Crewe T-Shirt with Columbia Women’s Back Beauty Long Sport Shorts for ultimate comfort. Finish the outfit off with the North Face Women’s Ultra Mid Day Hiking Boots great for any weather and terrain.

 

As he navigates the great outdoors the moisture-wicking Canada red North Face Men’s Longline Short Sleeve Crew T-shirt  and Arcteryx Men’s Lefroy Shortswill keep him warm and dry. Attack the rugged trails in the Scarpa Men’s R-Evolution Hiking Boots that offer optimal traction and protection.

 

 

Osprey Stratos 34L Day Pack

Hiking can be tough work! That is why having the right gear is so important to get your prepared for the challenging treks.  The Black Diamond Trail Back trekking poles offer reliable stability and easy adjustment to suit any terrain.  Venturing into the backcountry? Have peace of mind in the palm of your hand with the Garmin inReach SE + Satellite Communicater with GPS. Pack smart with the Osprey Stratos 34L Day Pack that is supremely ventilated, durable, organized, and features an integrated rain cover to keep your gear protected.