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Gear Matters: Gearing Up for a New Year

popular hiking gear essentials by walking guide - Sherpa ExpeditionsEvery month our resident guide, John Millen, brings you an anecdote, update, or tip on the gear you are likely to use on a walking or cycling holiday. Always from his personal point of view. This month he brings you the latest outdoor gear news and talks about hiking gear essentials, drones, packing, and trendy camping gear. 

A new year dawns, and with it no doubt some of you are thinking about some bright and shiny new gear that you can spoil yourself with. So, let’s look at some of the newer trends rather than the obvious fleeces and waterproofs of yore.


Boots & Soles

What more innovation could a humble walking boot have after all of the material and waterproofing revolutions of the last few years? Well, Vibram, the famous sole manufacturer, has come up with the Arctic Grip Sole. The rubber of the sole is embedded with gritty-type materials that increase friction on slick surfaces. It is not designed to replace the crampon, but may give better security at times when you may have to cross an occasional short snow section like on a Tour du Mont Blanc trip, Haute Route, Alpine Pass or Norwegian Fjordland tour. 


Trendy Camping Gear

There are new makes of tents that double as a hammock, for instance ‘The Crua' is an all-in-one sleep system. It can be set up on the ground as a tent or hung as a hammock. It has a built-in insulated air mattress and detachable sleeping bag. It is made from ripstop nylon, with bug mesh with an aluminium frame so that the total weight is only about 3kg.

Different companies are offering “inflatable hammocks,” which can be used on the ground like a sofa. To inflate, no foot pump is necessary; you just swipe the bag through the air. Once the bag is filled, it closes like a drybag with a fastex buckle. The original one is made by Dutch manufacturer Lamzac, but there are others such as Windpouch. Besides serving as a perfect hiking gear essential, they also work on the beach or at an outdoors concert. Some have attachments so they can be used as a hammock as well and pack to about the size of a small sleeping bag.


popular hiking gear essentials - Sherpa Expeditions


Hot Weather Wear

Polartec has launched a fabric called Delta, advertised to “cool you down in the hottest conditions”. the fibres hold water yet let the fabric breathe and no chemical treatments are used. The fibres in the weave disperse moisture, increasing airflow, reducing friction against the skin when you move. There was no mention of how smelly this fabric may get after a couple of wears however.


Measure Your Meters

Power meters were developed primarily for cyclists to show their power output in Watts in order to train, but new technology is bringing power meters to walkers and runners. Although costly, during 2017 we will start to see models like Stryd and RPM2 enter the mainstream at a price. The RPM2 uses pressure pad sensing insoles and the Stryd is a device that just attaches to your shoe.


Packing Gear Essentials

If you like trekking from inn to inn, you can now get segmented roll packs. These are meant to keep your pack or luggage organised. You feed pockets with rolled up shirts, underwear, socks, toiletries and miscellaneous items. When you get to the hotel, pull the roll out, hang it up and easily find your things. These are made by Hang and Roll and if you like more information you can have a look at Kickstarter.  


popular hiking gear essentials for packing - Sherpa Expeditions


Droning On

Pretty soon any activity you do you could have your personal drone following and filming you. One example of this, the Staaker (perhaps should be called The Stalker), is touted as “artificially intelligent” enough to auto-follow (and film) anyone at up to 50mph. GoPro have brought out a (non-intelligent) model recently. Whether people will soon get fed up with being buzzed by these all the time and start waving their walking poles at them is another matter. 


Next month I test the power metres while being chased by a drone....or perhaps not!


If you have specific questions on your hiking gear, cycling equipment or other outdoor items, why not get in touch with John and the Sherpa team directly.  For more Gear Matters blog articles, have a look at this overview of the latest posts.


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