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Buying The Best Tent

Buying The Best Tent

Buying The Best Tent

There are a few things you should look out for when you’re buying the best tent for your needs. Whether you’re camping in the back garden or heading out on an expedition, the range of tents on offer can be bewildering. In our quick and handy guide, we give you a few tips to help you narrow down your selection.

Buying the Best Tent

Tent Buying Basics

Lets start with a few handy hints that can instantly help you reduce the number of options when your buying a tent:

1. Buy a tent that is designed to hold at least one person  more than you think you need (unless you’re going to be carrying the tent, in which case you might want to reduce weight by sticking to a tent hat exactly matches the number of occupants)
2. Try to actually view the tent, fully setup, before buying. It’s useful to physically get in, out and around the tent to get a feel for the size etc. You can always find the best model, then go home and search for it online to get the best deal.
3. Pitch the tent in your garden prior to going on a big camping trip. Completing a first time setup in calm and controlled conditions is better than trying to pitch your tent for the first time in howling wind and rain out on a campsite.

Useful Features

Independently Pitched Inner

Being able to pitch the inner tent by itself can be very useful in hot and dry climates, where your main problems are flying insects rather than sheltering from wind and rain. The inner of many geodesic tents can be self-supporting for simple pitching, while the inner of some tunnel tents will require the use of guy lines. Many models have also been designed so that the inner and outer tent can be pitched together as one. This makes it much easier if you’re pitching your tent in a hurry.

Types of Tent

Ridge or A-frame Tent

This triangular shaped tent used to be the most common, with a horizontal pole across the top. It was often made of cotton-canvas, but modern materials have rendered this obsolete. The shape could be reasonably stable, but the entrance could be awkward and depending on the wind direction, the whole tent could behave a little like a sail. Probably ok for kids to play in around the garden, but not recommended for actual camping trips.

Dome Tent

One of the most common tent designs today. Super stable and offering good internal space for their weight, dome tents are a great option. Small models are easy to erect, and use only a few poles, and are usually very spacious. The only caveat is that very large dome tents can be just a tiny bit less stable than smaller versions.

Frame Tent

These tents can be very box like, but for car-camping they can work well, especially if you’re basing yourself in one location for the duration of the trip. They usually have good headroom and are often divided into multiple internal rooms.

Geodesic Tent

These are similar to the classic dome tent, but with cleverly crossed pole designs for improved stability. WHere larger dome tents can be a little wobbly, large geodesics remain solid and are also good in windy conditions. These models can cast a little more than some others.

Tunnel Tent

These large tent designs have flexible U shaped poles that don’t cross over like the geodesic, but are parallel, making the tent look a little like a mini aircraft hangar. Often very spacious inside, with large porches and huge doors, they usually also pack up very small and light.


Famously used by nomads, this design of tent is becoming more popular as a semi-permanent camping option, with many campsites offering Yurts for hire. The wooden lattice frame is typically covered by canvas, and the design can allow for a wood-burning stove, which can mean cosy Winter camping trips are easy to achieve.


Look after your tent and it will last a long time. if it gets dirty then give it a clean with lukewarm water (but not soap as this can destroy the water repellent coating). It’s a good idea to check each pole and peg after each trip, and always ensure that the tent is completely dry before packing it away. Repair any tears with seam sealant.

Buy The Best Tent


We hope this tent buying guide has given you a useful starting point to buying the best tent for your needs, and we’d love it if you could share this page!

Why not take a look at some of the fantastic offers we have on our wide range of tents.




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Choosing the Best Base Layer

Choosing the Best Base Layer

Choosing the Best Base layer

Whatever your chosen outdoor activity, from walking or climbing to running or snowsports, choosing the best base layer for your activity can make a huge difference to your comfort and performance.

One key benefit of base­lay­ers are their ability to dry quickly, trans­porting mois­ture away from your skin. Depending on the material, they also often resist odours, and they can be softer on your skin than some other types of fabric or clothing.

This all-important layer that is often not changed for days on end and acts like a sec­ond skin is no place to skimp. Our guide will help you learn how to choose the best base­layer for your needs.

Choosing the best base layer

Base layer Mate­rial

The choice of base­layer fabrics really comes down to a couple of options: syn­thetic fabric or wool. Each of these options has it’s own advan­tages.

Wool Base layers

Wool has been used in clothing for cen­turies, and is well proven as a base­layer. Most good wool base­lay­ers use some mix of merino wool as the main fab­ric com­po­nent. It is some­times blended with small amounts of poly­ester, or other syn­thetic mate­ri­als to increase the prop­er­ties of the garment.

Merino Wool is also well known for its abil­ity to dry very quickly and resist odours. Some merino base lay­ers include acti­vated car­bon addi­tives to enhance the wool’s wicking and quick-drying prop­er­ties even further. An added bonus of acti­vated car­bon treat­ments is they tend to fight odours even more effectively than just merino wool alone.

Syn­thetic Base layers

Syn­thetic base­ layer mate­ri­als often use poly­ester as the primary component.

Although many manufacturers use their own special fabric technologies, the fab­rics themeselves are often actually very sim­i­lar across the different brands. Many polyester-based gar­ments blend other materials other syn­thet­ics into the cloth to add extra stretch. Some syn­thet­ic fabrics also include antimi­cro­bial treat­ments to help fight body odour.

When if comes to choosing between wool or synthetic, deci­sions are often made based on price point. Merino wool can be more expensive, however many peo­ple will still choose wool for its soft­ness and nat­ural feel.


Base­lay­ers are used in a wide range of weather con­di­tions and activities, from freezing ice climb­ing and snowsports to hot sum­mer runs. To accomodate all of these extremes, base layers can come in a wide variety of weights.

Light­weight Base layers

Many peo­ple select a light­weight base­layer as their first layer against the skin, no matter the tem­per­a­ture. Light­weight base­lay­ers help pull mois­ture away from the skin and are very ver­sa­til­e. Both syn­thetic and wool light­weight base ­lay­ers are good on their own for hot tem­per­a­tures, or under many other lay­ers in the colder conditions.

Mid Weight Base layers

A mid-weight base layer can be worn against the skin or over a light­weight base layer as extra insu­la­tion. Most mid-weight options are thick enough to pro­vide warmth on their own, espe­cially if used with a light weight shell on top. These lay­ers are a common choice in Sum­mer moun­taineer­ing clothing, around the campsite at night, or as part of a win­ter lay­er­ing system.

Heavy Weight Base layers

Heavy base­layer clothing is usu­ally just for win­ter use. Although they can be useful at other times of year as stand-alone tops, they gen­er­ally give too much insu­la­tion for warm weather activ­i­ty. Wear­ing heavy weight base­lay­ers close to the skin pro­vides an effective wick­ing layer that dries quickly and also insu­lates against the cold.

Com­pres­sion Base layers

Compression Base Layer

Some base lay­ers are designed to be tight fitting. These lay­ers are called com­pres­sion lay­ers, and they work by reduc­ing vibra­tion and lat­eral move­ment in work­ing mus­cles, which research has shown can help reduce fatigue. Com­pres­sion gar­ments are pop­u­lar in running and oth­er sports, where you can see a ben­e­fit from this type of mus­cle sta­bi­lisa­tion.

Base layer Tops

From technical t-shirts worn all year-round, to heavy Winter options, base ­lay­ers are pop­u­lar tops for all sorts of activ­i­ties. They can be worn in a broad range of con­di­tions and most are designed to also look fashionable. Fea­tures to con­sider are long zip­s or but­tons under the col­lar that can be opened to release heat dur­ing aer­o­bic exer­tion, thumb loops on long sleeve mod­els and hoods, which can sig­nif­i­cantly add to the warmth and versatility of the layer.

Base layer Bot­toms

Sometimes also known as long johns, mod­ern base layer bot­toms are a fantastic piece of kit for Win­ter activities. A heavy weight bot­tom worn underneath a shell is often enough insu­la­tion for down­hill ski­ing or snowboarding, even on mod­er­ately cold days.

When choos­ing bot­toms, also take into account the weight of your other lay­ers. Will you only wear a shell over the bot­toms or do you wear insu­lated shell trousers? Insu­lated trousers need much less addi­tional warmth and a light­weight base layer will probably be better for all but the very cold­est of days.

Anti-mi­cro­bial Base layer Prop­er­ties

Most base­ lay­ers deal with body odour to some extent. Most com­monly, some type of antimi­cro­bial treat­ment or addi­tive slows the growth of the bacteria that causes body odour smells. While most manufacturers treat their base ­lay­ers in some way, some work better than others. It can be worth inves­ti­gat­ing the way the treat­ment is applied and how long it’s guar­an­teed to work. Some older treat­ments were known to wash out of gar­ments over time., while mod­ern tex­tiles are tested for antimi­cro­bial prop­er­ties through around 50 washes.

Sun Protection with SPF and UPF

If you’ve ever used sun­screen you’ll know about SPF, how­ever UPF is a slightly less seen rat­ing that’s also used for gar­ments. It stands for Ultra­vi­o­let Pro­tec­tion Fac­tor and many base ­lay­ers include an addi­tive to increase resis­tance to ultra­vi­o­let radi­a­tion. They will fre­quently list the SPF rat­ing of base ­layer shirts as part of the tech­ni­cal infor­ma­tion for the prod­uct.

As a comparison, a thin white cot­ton t-shirt will have a UPF rating of about 4, while a dark blue cot­ton t-shirt could be as high as 18. Look­ing for a UPF or SPF rat­ing on out­door cloth­ing guar­an­tees a measured level of protection.

Base layer Seams and Stitching

Finally, some tight fit­ting base ­lay­ers, especially com­pres­sion lay­ers, have specially stitched seams dur­ing their pro­duc­tion process, that help to elim­i­nate chafing.

Choosing the Best Base Layer


We hope you found this a helpful guide to choosing the best base layer for you. Why not take a look at our wide range of base layers for some fantastic deals and special offers.








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Best Sleeping Bag Deals of 2016

Best Sleeping Bag Deals of 2016

Best Sleeping Bag Deals of 2016

Camping is becoming ever more popular in the UK, so to help you sleep well outdoors we thought we would share some of the best sleeping bag deals of 2016. With so many beautiful locations to explore in the UK, spending our holidays in the great British outdoors is a fantastic way to escape and relax, and staying warm and comfortable for a good night’s sleep is incredibly important.

Choosing a sleeping Bag

When you’re chooisign a sleeping bag, there a few important things to consider:

  • Weight: will you be carrying the bag in a backpack, or are you driving to the campsite and using it as a “base”
  • Fabric: Are yo ulikely to use the bag in damp or wet conditions, and if so is the fabric water/moisture replant?
  • Fill: Down or synthetic? Down can become very heavy and loose its warmth if it gets wet, although there are some modern techniques that can make water resistant down. Synthetic can do better in damp conditions but can also be a littel heavier than down
  • Shape: Check the bag is large enough if you’re tall, but also not too big to efficiently keep you warm
  • Left or right zip: if you’re camping with a loved one, you may want to zip two bags together, and this is often possible with a left and right zip combo

Lets take a look at some of the offers available right now.


Coleman Big Basin Sleeping Bag

RRP: £59.99 current offer price £45.70

Coleman Big Basin Sleeping Bag

If you like plenty of room, or if you’re tall and need a larger sleeping bag than some of the standard designs available, then the Coleman Big Basin Sleeping Bag could be the perfect choice. Designed to help you stay comfortable even when it’s cold, the roomier design helps keep taller campers up to 6 ft. 6 in. warm from top to bottom.

Key Features

  • Maximum size for taller campers
  • Ideal for camping, caravanning or at home
  • Coletherm insulation for extra comfort
  • Size: 234 x 99cm
  • Comfort levels: -13 to +7 degrees Centigrade


Highlander Echo 350 Sleeping Bag

RRP: £52.99 current offer price £31.79

Highlander Echo 350 Sleeping Bag

The Highlander Echo 250 sleeping bag is designed to keep you snug and warm in colder temperatures. The sleeping bag is filled with 250g/m synthetic Hollow fibre, which is a feather shaped fill  that gives the bag extra loft without adding weight. It features include a 3D neck baffle, cowl hood and foot box offering extra protection and comfort to keep you warm from head to toes, and is ideal for those camping in winter or in cooler temperatures.

Key Features:

  • Warm and very comfortable
  • Soft inner fabrics
  • 2 way anti snag zip + full length baffle
  • Thermal hood with draw cord
  • Shoulder baffle with draw cord
  • 3D neck inner baffle
  • Foot box
  • Inner security pocket
  • Hanging loops
  • Shell Material Cire W/R Coated polyester Ripstop 260T
  • Lining Soft Polyester 240T Microfibre
  • Filling 250GSM (2 x 125GSM) QXF3D Polyester Spiral Hollowfibe
  • Comfort Temperature 4 C
  • Upper Limit 13 C
  • Lower Limit (-) 2 C
  • Extreme Temperature (-) 18 C
  • 3 Season

Additional Information:

Rip-stop polyester outer
Soft polyester lining
The 3D neck baffle
Cowl hood design
Ergonomic box foot design
QXF3D spiral hollow fibre filling


Mountain Equipment Xero 550 Sleeping Bag

RRP: £400.00 current offer price £370.00

Mountain Equipment Xero 550 Sleeping Bag Special Offer

Mountain Equipment’s newly developed “Alpine Fit” mixes ground level seams and re-profiled down distribution to create the best thermal efficiency and minimise weight and bulk.

The high quality goose down is used alongside their lightest fabrics and EXL® technology for uncompromising performance and ensures incredibly high warmth-to-weight ratio. It’s one of the lightest bags of it’s type in the world, and the Xero range remains the perfect choice for anyone who needs to travel light and fast in difficult or remote environments.

Key Features

  • A Good Nights Sleep Rating down to -11C
  • EXL – Expedition Fit with EXL top lining to improve loft, thermal efficiency and comfort.
  • Trapezium 4 – 4 baffle trapezoid foot piece with Bull-Eye technology for maximum down control and warmth.
  • Ground Level Seams – Maximises insulation at the sides of the bag.
  • Zip length with anti-snag baffle.


So there you have it, just a few of the great sleeping bag deals available right now. Whether you’re preparing for a camping trip this Summer, planning a bigger expedition, or looking ahead to some time under the stars this Winter, there’s plenty of great sleeping bag offers to suit all budgets and requirements. We’ll keep this page updated, so keep checking back to see more of the best sleeping bags of 2016.

Take a look at our full range of sleeping bags here

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Vango Odyssey 500 Air Beam Inflatable Tunnel Tent Review

Vango Odyssey 500 Air Beam Inflatable Tunnel Tent

A perfect tent is one of the equipment’s that most campers give priority. The best tent to be considered in the market should be strong, durable, waterproof, spacious, comfortable and above all easy to pitch. The Vango brand is a leading tent maker with a high credibility level across the globe. This is one of the right brands to consider when shopping for a recreational tent, and in this review we’re checking out the Vango Odyssey 500 Air Beam Inflatable Tunnel Tent. Continue reading Vango Odyssey 500 Air Beam Inflatable Tunnel Tent Review

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Buy The Best Walking Boots

best walking boots

How to Buy The Best Walking Boots

If you’re about to buy a new pair of walking boots, this article will cover some tips and advice to help you buy the best walking boots for your needs. Badly fitting boots can cause discomfort, pain and in extreme cases permanent injury. At best, they will ruin your walk or day in the hills. So lets take a look at some things to consider when you’re buying a pair of walking boots.

Buy The Best Walking Boots You Can Afford

You don’t need to break the bank to get a good pair of boots for hiking,  but when you’re buying walking boots it’s advisable to steer clear of trying to save your cash and buy really cheap boots. As a general guide the price of a pair of walking boots will be linked to the quality, so be prepared to invest a reasonable amount on your hiking boots as it will be money well spent.
buy the best walking boots

Make Sure Your New Boots Fit Correctly

We all have differently sized and shaped feet. Boots should be shaped to suit your foot type, and accomodate the correct thickness of socks. You should also ensure there is room at the toe, to prevent your toes banging on the front of the boot on descents, which will typically lead to bruised toenails (which then often fall off!). If in doubt, pop into a shop and have an experienced boot fitter advise you on the best boots for your feet. Some shops may even have a treadmill that will allow you to walk in the boots to check them for comfort, fit and support. If the price is too high, you can always search for the same boot online later ( in fact we have a great range of walking boots here on Rock and Mountain).

Buy New Walking Boots In The Afternoon

The time of day that you are fitting new walking boots is important. Your feet will expand throughout the day as you walk on them, and their size increases slightly due to the increased blood flow. This change in volume can be noticable in many people, so don’t go shopping for new hiking boots first thing in the morning, as your feet will be at their smallest.Trying boots on later in the day will give a more accurate feel of how they will be out on the hill.
best hiking boots

Comfort Is More Important Than  Durability

If you’re buying your first pair of walking boots it’s worth selecting comfort over durability. Although you may be tempted by a tough, durable pair of boots because they may last longer, the tougher, durable boots tend not offer as much comfort as less durable boots. If you select a very tough pair of boots for your first pair, then you may find your feet aren’t tough enough to match them! For your first pair of walking boots choose a comfortable, softer design. After you have been walking for a while your feet will start to strengthen — which means you will be able to invest in a tougher pair of walking boots in the future.

Leather Or Fabric Walking Boots

Leather used to be the material of choice for outdoor footwear because leather is tough, durable and breathable, meaning it allows moisture from sweating  feet to escape, ultimately keeping your feet more comfortable and less prone to blisters. Advances in modern materials mean that many walking boots today are made using high tech fabrics that offer toughness, durability, breathability and comfort. Modern fabric footwear may not be quite as tough or durable as leather footwear but will almost certainly offer better comfort and breathability.

Break New Walking Boots In

Breaking in new boots is the process of settling your boots to your own feet. Footwear that has been worn for a while and become shaped to your feet will be far more comfortable and cause less blisters. Wear new boots around your house at every opportunity, to soften up the fabric and help mold the boots to the shape of your feet. If you do encounter any real discomfort, tightness or slipping, as long as you haven’t worn your boots outdoors you can often return them to the shop and exchange them, have them modified or request a refund.
Once you have worn your boots around the house and are happy with them, continue the breaking in process outdoors. It’s a good idea to go on shorter walks to begin with, gradually increasing the length of your walks to break the boots in. The more time you spend doing this, the more comfortable they will become.
walking boots

Ankle Support

There are many styles and options of boots and hiking shoes. Walking shoes may look and feel very comfortable but they do not provide the same level of ankle support provided by boots. If you intend to do any walking on uneven terrain then ankle support is important, and can sometimes greatly reduce the risk of ankle injury. This choice can be partly down to personal preference and weight saving requirements, as shoes can be much lighter than full boots, and therefore less tiring on longer walks.

Summer or Winter

Many of the features that  make a boot ideal for summer use will also make it less suitable for winter use. All year round boots are available but will often not offer as much comfort in summer or durability in winter as boots that are specifically designed for seasonal use. You may want to simply decide on when you will do most of your walking, and buy boots correspondingly. If your budget allows,  purchase one pair of boots for spring and summer use and another pair for autumn and winter.

Walking Socks Are Important

After all the time and money that goes into getting the best walking boots, you should do the same for your socks. Socks can make a huge difference to the comfort of your walking boots. Blisters will form if your feet are damp or wet, so choose a pair of socks that wick sweat and moisture away from your feet. It’s also a good idea to choose socks with padding in the heel and toe areas, to absorb the impacts of your walking. A seamless toe area also greatly reduces rubbing and discomfort, and therefore blisters. Don’t wear cotton socks when walking, as cotton absorbs and holds moisture, leading to blisters.


Having the best pair of walking boots for your individual needs will enhance your enjoyment of walking and hiking. Take some time to find the right pair for you. We hope our article will help you buy the best walking boots for you.

Take a look at our range of walking boots here

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Buying The Best Waterproof Outdoor Jacket

Buying the best waterproof outdooor jacket

Buying The Best Waterproof Outdoor Jacket

Buying the best waterproof jacket for walking, biking, camping and other outdoor activities, can be time consuming. Waterproof jackets have progressed rapidly over the years, and new technologies can be confusing. We decided to put together this quick guide, to help you understand what’s on offer.

Buying the Best Waterproof Jacket

Waterproof Jackets and ponchos (non-breathable)

These are usually solid layers of fabric designed to keep the rain and wind out. They can feel a little like wearing a plastic bag and work ok as long as you’re not very active. As soon as you start to warm up or sweat, things change. If you start to sweat any moisture is trapped, so you’ll very quickly get damp. Not pleasant or comfortable.

Having said this, using a non-breathable waterproof jacket during certain activities can sometimes be acceptable. You’ll  need to control your temperature well though, using zips and flaps to stay ventilated or occasionally allow some fresh air to enter from underneath a poncho.

Waxed Cotton Jackets

Country style jackets often use non-waterproof fabrics and then coat them with a type of wax, which makes them repel water. They will need regular treatments to keep the wax effective, especcially where it has rubbed off the fabric over time. These jackets tend to be heavy and bulky but they can be very waterproof, and are commonly used for low-intensity activities like walking (but not hill walking).

Breathable Waterproof Jackets

This is  now the most common type of waterproof jacket. There are many different technologies on offer, and sometimes the different options can seem confusing.

There are also various design options available, and it helps to understand these when you’re making your selection. Some of them are for functional reasons rather than aesthetics, so it’s good to consider what you’ll actually be using the jacket for before you choose. For example, a climbing jacket will not necessarily be the best choice for general walking, and vice versa.

Buying the Best Waterproof Jacket

Choosing the Best Hood

Cold ears, wet hair, and water trickling down your back can be enough to make an outdoor adventure pretty miserable, so a good hood is really important. You can go for removable hood or a permanent one, the choice is up to you, but either way it should be adjustable and have a peak that keeps the rain out of your eyes. If you plan on wearing a helmet under it, consider a hood that’s designed for this.

Zips and Closures

Fully waterproof zips can add cost to a jacket, so most waterproof jackets  just use showerproof zips that will be partly effective but will eventually start to let in water. Plastic coated zips will keep rain out for a little longer, but it’s a good idea to look for a waterproof channel of fabric behind the zip that will help funnel any water down and out of the bottom of the jacket. Cuffs will usually include a velcro fastener to seal tightly around the wrist and keep out drips. The neck area should be fitted well enough to prevent wind and rain getting inside, however some rain finding it’s way inside is inevitable.

Types of Ventilation

Even the highest specification breathable waterproof fabric will not manage to let out all your sweat, so the main way of regulating your temperature is by using the main zip and any additional ventilation openings such as armpit vents. Jackets that are aimed at high-intensity activities, such as running or mountain biking, typically have more ventilation.

Buying the Best Waterproof Jacket

Jacket Pockets

If you’re out in the wind and Rain, cold hands can be a problem, so hand-warming pockets can be really useful. Pockets should have rainproof zips, and can also have rain flaps, which should help to keep most of the water out. Internal pockets should ideally be totally waterproof. If you’re going to carry a map, having a specific map size pocket is a good feature Some jackets specific to certain activities such as running, may have arm pockets. These can be really useful since items in them won’t bounce around as much as they would in other pockets.

Jacket Length

Short jackets  can give more freedom of movement and feel less restrictive, but are less suitable for some activities. For example, if used with a harness  for climbing you may end up with a gap between the jacket and trousers, especially if the arm length isn’t very generous and you’re reaching for climbing holds.

Medium length jackets tend to be all rounders, and are designed to go over trousers and help water funnel down over your backside and waist. Generally good for most activities.

Long jackets are are aimed at activities with a lot of reaching or bending movements, such as climbing or cycling. They will prevent a gap opening  between your layers and exposing an area around your lower back.

Jacket Waterproofing

Although there are some systems that work in a completely different way, such as Paramo and Buffalo, we’ll look at  the two most common methods of “waterproofing”.

Waterproof Coating

The process generally involves having the inside face of the outer fabric of the coat sprayed with a form of polyurethane. The varios panels of fabric are then sewn together and the stitching lines are taped over with a seam-sealer. The end product is an almost solid coating of plastic which is hard wearing but also allows some water vapour to escape. There are many examples of waterproof coatings, all of which work in a similar way, e.g.


  • Aquafoil – Berghaus
  • Hydrodry – Sprayway
  • HyVent – The North Face
  • AquaDry – Craghoppers, Dare2B
  • IsoTex – Regatta

Waterproof Membranes

A layer of plastic (PTFE/Teflon) is created with incredibly small holes, that are too small for rain to get through but large enough for water vapour to escape. This membrane is then bonded to the outer fabric of the jacket. The membrane itself is very fragile, so it is protected from damage in a number of ways:

  • Using a separate mesh, also known as a 2-layer technology
  • The membrane is printed with microdots of Polyurethane, also known as a 2.5-layer technology
  • Using a third layer of fabric bonded onto its inside surface, also called a 3-layer technology

Some examples of waterproof membranes which work in similar ways are:

  • Gore Tex
  • eVent
  • AquaDry membrane
  • Hellytech
  • Polartec Neoshell

DWR (Durable Waterproof Repellents)

To complete the waterproofing, most jackets are finally treated in a chemical water repellant, which makes the rain bead-up and run off your coat. This chemical can wear away over time but can be renewed to some extent by the the use of specialist re-proofing products.

Buying the Best Waterproof Jacket

Useful Extra Information

Hydrostatic Head

You will often see figures quoting Hydrostatic Head (HH) ratings of 10,000 or more. This level of HH should keep you completely dry even in the worst weather. There are some really high values of  Hydrostatic Head available, but it’s probably not worth paying more money for a jacket that has a rating much higher than 10,000 as the noticeable difference will be negligible.


When your exertion levels go up, breathability is nearly as important as waterproofing, since you really want all that moisture to escape the jacket. It’s also worth bearing in mind that in humid conditions, breathable waterproof fabrics don’t work quite as well as they do in a more dry heat.


We hope you found this guide useful, and it helps when it comes to buying the best waterproof outdoor jacket for your needs. Why not take a look at our range of outdoor jackets for some fantastic special offers



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Learn How to Pitch a Tent

Learn How To Pitch A Tent

Learn How to Pitch a Tent

When you first need to learn how to pitch a tent, it can seem like a confusing and difficult task. There is a huge amount of material, there are poles and pegs, and understanding how it all fits together can be tricky. While there are some people who have the pitching method for their tent perfected, there are also some who find the whole process stressful and overwhelming.

To help you prepare for your next camping trip, we’ve gathered some useful advice to help things go a little smoother.

How Do I Pitch A Tent?

Let’s start with a tried and tested method of pitching a tent. This one is used by many people and can make the whole process simple and effective.

Pitching a tent this way has several advantages:

  • It’s fast
  • It’s simple
  • It removes the need for a lot of heavy lifting
  • If it’s done correctly, you should have a very well pitched tent
  • With some practice, most tents can be pitched by one person

It is worth remembering that many people have their own preferred method of pitching a tent. The method we’ve shown may not be the ideal one for you or even your particular model of tent, but it is a popular and proven method so its a great starting point.

This method should work with almost any steel or aluminum pole tent. Fibreglass pole tents can also be pitched with this system, but you should ensure that you don’t put too much stress on the poles.

The Method

1. Pitching a Tent

One of the most important steps is selection of a suitable pitching area. Find a good space to actually pitch your tent, ideally somewhere with a nice view (if you’re pitching in the dark this may be tricky!). Empty the  contents of the tent bag and check that you have all the different component parts required to actually pitch the tent. This should include the flysheet, groundsheet, pegs, poles and inner tent where applicable.

If you want to be super organised, separate and arrange the various parts, connect the poles, and unfold the flysheet and groundsheet.

2. Setting the Groundsheet

Unfold the groundsheet and place it on the ground where you want to pitch the tent. This will give a good visual representation of the space and shape the tent will use. It’s also useful on a wet day, as it’ll help keep the flysheet dry and free from dirt when laying it out.

It can be a good idea to peg the groundsheet down at the corners to keep it’s shape and stop it moving around too much under foot or in a breeze. Obviously, if your tent has a fully sewn in groundsheet, just skip this step and lay the whole thing flat on the floor (as in step 3).

3. Setting Up The Flysheet

Get the flysheet and spread it out flat on top of your groundsheet, (keep in mind that the front door should be facing forward!). Make sure you have the groundsheet covered (unless of course both the groundsheet and flysheet are already connected).

4. Corners

Peg down each of the corners of your flysheet, doing your best to line them up so they are square.If you can’t get it perfect that’s ok, as they can be adjusted later on anyway.

5.Middle Pole

Now for an important step. Take the middle pole and thread it through the sleeve where it’s designed to go. Only do this with the middle pole for now.

If there’s no middle pole, e.g. on tents with an even number of poles, just select one of the two pole sleeves nearest to the middle.

Make sure all of the tension straps are fully loosened at this point. These straps are usuallyconnected on webbing near to where the ring and pin system just below where the pole sleeve opens at each end of the tent.
It can be a good idea at this point to partially unzip any doors and windows as it will allow air to circulate and can make lifting the tent a little easier.

Attach the pin into the base of one end of your pole, then go around to the other side and do the same again. There should now be plenty of tension in the pole. If you can, stand the pole up now.

Learn How to Pitch a Tent

If you’ve followed the guide and have the front and back corners pegged in, the tension in the fabric will make the pole stand upright. If you’re tent is one with with steel poles, it can help to get that middle pole stood up first , so thread the middle ‘ridge’ section through the sleeve, then connect the pole on one side of the triangle, and attach the pin to the base, which should make the pole stand up. Now walk to the other side of the tent and connect the other leg to the middle section and then to the pin on the other side. Hopefully, the tent should now stand up on the middle pole.

6.Other Poles

Now that you’re first pole is setup, thread the rest of your poles, ideally starting from the middle and working your way outwards.

One good thing about pitching a tent this way is that the main pole is now in it’s correct position, and you should find that the other poles will easily thread through and attach.

Be aware that some poles may feel pretty tight, and it can sometimes help to have an extra pair of hands to bend the poles onto the pin and ring connectors.

With some models of tent it can be a good idea to now connect a front guyline at this point, as it will add stability especially in breezy conditions.
Once you’ve inserted all of the remaining poles and attached them to the pins, the tent should look pretty good.

If you have a tent with a zipped in groundsheet, this is a good time to zip it in if you haven’t already. Its a good idea to do this before you tighten any tension straps and the other guylines, as the material will become too tight to connect.

Once complete, peg out the various remaining pegging points on the groundsheet. Now tighten all the tension straps at the bottom of each pole, where it connects to the pin and ring ystem.


Now go round and secure all remaining the attachments if you have any. There may be some small clips that connect the flysheet to the poles, make sure these clips are attached to the poles, as they add strength and help prevent contact between the inner and outer tent fabric.

Next, attach the inners if any remain loose.

Before you unroll and peg out the guy lines, make a final check to ensure that the tent is lined up properly, and looks reasonably straight from front corner to back corner. If needed, adjust the poles so they line up properly. You should be able to simply lift them and reposition them a tiny bit either way to line them up. You may also need to re-adjust the corners you pegged in earlier.

Make sure that you have all doors and windows zipped closed now before you tighten all of the guylines. If they are open, you may find that you can’t close the door because the guylines are now pulling on the material.

Learn How To Pitch a Tent

When putting pegs into the ground,try to push them in at approximately a 45 degree angle, as this will help prevent them from lifting out accidentally.


The method has several advantages, over other methods and is a good starting point for certain models of tent, especially if this is your first time pitching a tent.

We hope our quick giude has helped you learn how to pitch a tent, and if you’re looking for a new tent, then why not take a look at our fantastic range of tents and special offers.




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Snowboarding Gear

Snowboarding is one of the most popular recreational winter sports, and theres no shortage of choice when it comes to snowboarding gear. When you’re descending a slow-clad slope with a snowboard strapped on to your feet, it’s reassuring to know your kit won’t let you down.

From the early days of snowboarding, that took its inspiration from skiing, skateboarding, surfing and sledding, the technology used in snowboarding kit has moved at a rapid pace. Over a period of time, the sport has also evolved into different styles characterized by different techniques and equipment.

Snowboarding Gear

Akin to any other sports, snowboarding too has its own risk. So if you are a beginner you should start by choosing gear that’s appropriate for your skill level, and the type of terrain you’ll be riding. Even though it seems to be a little expensive, selecting your kit, and make a statement on the slopes with your own unique style is a big part of the sport for many people. Unlike skiing, snowboarding tends to attract the use of longer, baggier gear. Changing trends in the fashion have its own effect in the snowboard gears too. A visit to any snow board shop will give you a glimpse of various brands of snow board kit.

Standard snowboarding gear comprises of mandatory accessories like water-resistant snowboard jacket, water resistant snow board pants, goggles, snowboarding mittens or hand gloves, snowboarding boots, a snowboard with bindings. These days a helmet is common (and mandatory in many places) and most snowboard helmets are light and comfortable. Other protection such as wrist guards, knee pads, padded shorts and back protector can all be a wise investment, especially if you progress to doing tricks and catching air.

Choosing a snowboard can be a tough job as they come in a wide variety of designs and shapes. Two of the many types of snowboards available in the market are: Conventional Camber Snow boards ( a board that touches the ground in the middle of the board between the bindings and peels away the snow) and the Rocker/ Camber Combination boards(The one that can touch the snow at any number of points). As a beginner you may be unsure which is best for you, but a good snowboard shop assistant can help you in this regard.

Snowboard boots are classified based on the ability level and style of snowboarding. There are beginners’ boots, free style boots, all mountain boots and free ride boots. You can find each of them being unique with respect to flex, comfort, heel hold and shock absorption.

Snowboard Boots

Two trendy accessories in the snowboard gear kit are the jacket and the trousers. Two widely used styles are Insulated snowboarding jacket & trousers and Shell jackets and trousers. The former as the name suggests has insulation to keep your body warm, whereas the latter is waterproof with no insulation ( you will have to attach an insulated layer).

Some people prefer gloves on their hands, while many go for mittens. Gloves help in tying up the bindings while mittens keep you warmer. You can go for park gloves that are thin liners gloves advisable during the spring.

Snowboarding goggles are needed for both UV protection and also to help with visibility in windy or snowy conditions. Goggles come with a variety of lens specifications, and some models have inter-changable lenses.

Finally, before you jet off to your Winter resort, you’ll need a snowboard bag to transport your gear in. Snowboard bags will often have room for your all of your snowboarding gear including boots, bindings, board and helmet and they may even manage some of your clothing. They are lightweight, size adjustable and are available in different brands. Some bags even come with built in wheels to make them easy to pull along at airports etc.

So there you are, a round up of the typical snowboarding gear you may want to add to your kit list.  If you have a Winter sports holiday coming up remember that fitness is also important, and there’s some great training advice available over on If you’re shopping for equipment right now, why not take a look at some of Rock and Mountain’s fantastic deals on snowboard gear.





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OUTXE 10 Litre Dry Bag Review

OUTXE Dry Bag Backpack IPX7 Waterproof Dry Sack 10L Dry Tube Bag

In this review, we’ve been testing the OUTXE 10 Litre Dry Bag Backpack, and we have to say we love this product! OUTXE provided a complimentary backpack for our review, but did not provide compensation or exercise control over the content of this post, so we’re reporting on our findings from various tests as we put the bag through it’s paces!

Before we dive into the review, let’s take a look at the main features:


  • 100% watertight, Ziplock seal
  • Heavy-duty TPU material (non-PVC, doesn’t have an odor)
  • Two removable shoulder straps
  • Front mesh pocket (non-waterproof)
  • 10-liter capacity


This OUTXE dry bag is made from a tough and abrasion-resistant TPU, an eco friendly material that’s lighter than PVC and less stiff, so it’s more comfortable to use and carry. Although reasonably lightweight, it’s durable enough to withstand extreme environments , so there are no worries with this bag standing up to some serious use. In our tests, the material seems very durable and tough.

Dry Bag Fastening

If you’ve used dry bags before, you may be familiar with the traditional fastening methods at the top of roll-top bags, however OUTXE have gone one step further and introduced a ziplock seal and velcro strip that adds further security and excellent levels of waterproofing. The manufacturers claim this bag can be submersed as long as it is properly closed and we found this to be the case in out tests.

An added benefit, is that air can be trapped in the bag, making it a useful buoyancy aid in water.

Straps and Extras

There are removable shoulder straps included with the bag which can be un-clipped, or used in various configurations to fasten the bag kayaks, etc, and we found these to be pretty decent when used in a backpack format, and seemed very strong and robust. The straps have no padding, so if you’re carrying anything heavy this could be a minor issue, but we had no problems in our test use. The clips are secure and well attached to the straps, and the length can be adjusted to suit the use.

A nice feature that we found very useful was the front mesh pocket, which was a handy size and gave quick access to items.

Dry Bag Capacity

Although the bag is claimed to be 10L, you can extend this slightly if you roll the top a few less times, and we found the capacity more than adequate for a day of activities, where you may want to carry some food, extra clothing and some electronic devices.


This bag is not intended to replace a traditional backpack for hiking etc, although it can certainly be used that way. For watersports or activities where wet conditions are likely and you need to protect what you’re carrying from moisture, it’s a fantastic option and worth having in your kit list.

Overall, we highly recommend this bag. It’s a simple design and versatile enough to use for a wide range of activities from kayaking, beach trips to mountain biking in wet and muddy conditions. For the price it’s great value and should last for many years of adventures.

Click here to check out the latest deal on this product