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Activity Essentials

Ordnance Survey Explorer Mobile Maps

Have you ever wished you could get your Ordnance Survey Explorer maps on your phone?  Well now you can.  Ordnance Survey are rereleasing their Explorer series of maps with a free mobile download included in your purchase.

Mobile Ordnance Survey Map

How does it work?

It’s simple, just download the Ordnance Survey OS Maps app for Apple or for Android.

When you buy a map which is marked as “Now includes Mobile Download” on the cover, there will be a unique code inside the map (hidden with silver like a scratch card), type in the code to your app and then you can download the app to your phone.

What can you do with the app?

Obviously one of the most helpful functions of a map on your phone, is that you can be sure of where you are!  The app will show you your current location, you can plan and save a route for later and you can search for places by name.  The maps are saved down to your phone so you don’t need to worry about not having a mobile signal.

Which maps can I buy?

Currently Ordnance Survey have soft launched these new maps by just releasing Britains National Parks and the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but later in 2015 all explorer maps will be available and in 2016 Landranger too!

Don’t forget the map!

It may be very handy to have an OS map on your phone but at Procamping we never travel without a physical paper map, you just don’t know when your phone is going to run out of batteries!

Shop –

Shop for Maps at the official Ordnance Survey Website (Make sure you look for the blue “includes mobile download on the cover”

Download the app for Apple or for Android.

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Activity Essentials

Ordnance Survey Locate

OS Locate

Ordnance Survey have just released a new iPhone App to help you pinpoint your exact location in the United Kingdom.  Whether you are completely lost or on a long trek and just want some reassurance this is a helpful app to show you where you are.

The App uses your GPS location and converts this into OS grid references, so that you can plot your exact position on a paper map.  As it uses GPS it doesn’t need an internet connection to work.

The App also contains a digital compass, and an about section full of tips and tricks to help you navigate.

As always at Procamping we love how technology can be used to assist your adventures, but do not rely on technology alone, too many times we have been out to find our phone battery die mid hike!

The OS Locate app is available for free from the iTunes app store here.

An Android version is coming soon.

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Activity Essentials

Exotac Matchcap

Matchcap

Exotac’s goal with the Matchcap is to create a virtually indestructible and waterproof match case for you to keep matches or any other firestarting materials that must be kept dry.

The case as a red phosphorus striker in the threaded core of the capsule so there is no need to pack a separate striker.  The Matchcap also contains a concealed o-ring for waterproofing, durable square thread, a bottom strike anywhere striker and it looks cool too!

The Matchcap can carry any size of matches from the standard kitchen strike-on-the-box to NATO lifeboat matches and even the extended length stormproof matches.  With the dual-striker design you can use safety matches, strike-anywhere matches, or a combination of two.

Features

  • Waterproof, safe and redundant match striker design
  • Replaceable striking pads
  • Works with both safety and strike anywhere matches
  • Holds matches up to 72mm in length
  • Square threaded cap for maximum durability
  • Unique lanyard attachment allows for two 550 paracord loops
  • Waterproof to depths >5 meters
  • Lightweight aircraft grade 6061 aluminum construction Anodized and laser engraved for durability
  • Unique knurl for grip and use with strike anywhere matches

Package includes

  • Match case
  • Extra O-rings
  • Extra match strikers
  • Lanyard
  • Instruction Manual

Shop for the Exotac Matchcap

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Activity Essentials

Therm-a-Rest Sandals

Freewaters Thermarest

If I said Therm-a-rest then I’m sure most of you reading would instantly think inflatable sleeping mats, and I’m sure many of you (like me) own a Therm-a-rest! What may not spring to mind is sandals, but all that is soon to change. Therm-a-rest and footwear manufacturer Freewaters have partnered to create a Therm-a-rest Sandal.

Freewater aren’t just a footwear company, as the name suggests there is another element to them. Freewaters believe that access to clean drinking water is a fundamental human right. Each pair sold helps support global clean drinking water projects.

On the new range of Therm-a-Rest Sandals Freewater Co-Founder Eli Marmar said “This type of partnership is something rare and really special, not only do Freewaters and Therm-a-Rest have perfectly symbiotic product technologies, we also share a passion for transforming lives through clean drinking water projects.”

The sandals contain a proprietary foam formula which provides the unique combination of instant comfort with strong rebound and durability. The signature Therm-a-Rest ridge pattern provides insane grip, flexibility, air circulation and water sipping. Combine all this with Freewaters ergonomic midsoles and attention to fit and the result is a total game changer in sandal comfort and performance.

Freewaters are an American company based in California, you can visit their website here. Currently there is no information as to whether these will come to the UK.

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Activity Essentials

Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Kitchen Sink 10L

Camping Kitchen Sink

When I’m off on holidays, particularly if I’m taking the car I probably take a little too much, packing everything I might need!  Sometimes I’m accused of packing everything but the kitchen sink.  Well no more, as now I can take the kitchen sink!

The Sea to Summit 10 Litre Ultra Sil Kitchen Sink is an Ultra Lightweight version of their Kitchen Sink weighing only 49g.  The “sink” is made out of High-tech materials such as Ultra-Sil® fabric, Hypalon® carry handles and a Delrin® stiffener ring which make the sink small enough to fit in a pocket and light too.

  • 10 litre capacity
  • Super lightweight and compact – only 1.7 oz/49g
  • Made from Ultra-Sil® 30 D siliconized CORDURA® nylon fabric for exceptional strength
  • Fully seam sealed and leak proof
  • Lightweight and strong Hypalon® carry handles
  • Delrin® reinforced rim for strength and easy use
  • Micro stuff sack for convenient packing

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Activity Essentials

Silva Expedition 4 Compass

Silva Compass

If you’re an avid hiker or Rambler its all very well having a GPS or a Smartphone, but you should always have an “Old-Fashioned” map and compass to fall back on.  Alternatively sometimes I find half the fun of a walk is following your route on a map, getting slightly lost is part of the fun.

The Silva Expedition 4 Compass pictured above is the civilian version of the compass that is developed by Silva for use by the British Army.  Traditionally it is used in the infantry as a soldier’s or officer’s compass.  The compass has a full sized base plate.

Features

  • Type of compass – Silva 1-2-3 System baseplate compass
  • Compass capsule / needle
  • Sighting System – No
  • Magnifying lens – Yes
  • Declination adjustment – Decl scale in capsule
  • Clinometer – No
  • Illumination / active time after activation in light – Yes 4 hours
  • Luminous compound – Tritium compound 80 mCi
  • Silicon friction feet – Yes
  • Other – Patented red/black N/S lines in capsule

I found the below video on You Tube, it is a great video taking you through the functions and uses of a compass (despite fuzzy background noise)

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Activity Essentials

Splashmaps

SplashMaps

SplashMaps were on show at the Outdoors Show in London but I completely missed them!  I have since read a couple of articles on the Splashmap and thought how could I have missed that!  But I guess however carefully you walk round an exhibition centre you’ll always miss something!  Splashmaps is a great concept, their thought is that traditional maps aren’t designed for the outdoors, a paper map gets dirty, ripped and wet, a plastic coated map is bulky and difficult to carry.

Enter the SplashMap, a fabric map, this makes it lightweight and durable.  The creators are even seen wearing it as a bandana while mountain biking!

The above You Tube clip shows a BBC News feature on Kickstarter a crowdsourced funding site which Splashmaps used to gain enough funding to attend the Outdoors Show and produce a new map.

The Maps

You won’t recognise any of these maps, they are not your traditional 1:25,000 or 1:50,000 maps, they have combined Ordnance Survey data and Open Streetmap data to create a map specalised to the needs of an outdoor adventurer!  This means the scale is actually 1:40 000, a scale that they describe as the sweet spot between having enough detail to know where you are, but being a large enough scale so you can cover a decent distance with just the one map.

Today SplashMaps are just starting out, they have two maps available to purchase directly on their website – The Western South Downs and the New Forest, they plan to continue to expand the range with maps of the National Parks of Great Britain, site-centred maps and maps of other parts of the world!

What do you think?

What do you think?  Would you find a fabric map an essential or do you find a traditional map just fine and see no need to change?  Leave a comment and let everyone know.

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Activity Essentials

Asolo Natural Shape Boots

Asolo Natural Shape Boots

The Asolo Natural Shape Boot range is a new range from Asolo.  The boots combine lightweight materials and take innovation from the Vibram barefoot movement to make you feel connected with the terrain.    The Natural Shape concept represents form-fitting, flexible footwear which allows your feet to feel free: to feel as close as possible to not wearing boots at all, while still adding grip, protection, and a degree of support.

Asolo Recommend Natural Shape for

  • Supreme comfort
    Enjoy support in all the right places with a new moulded footbed that is anatomically shaped to mirror the foot.
  • A superior fit
    Asolo’s new shape cradles your foot for even more stability, while allowing a natural flex and rolling motion in every step.
  • Optimal weight
    Lighter materials mean that every stride is a glide

The below video from Asolo shows Asolo Natural Shape Boots in use out in the great outdoors.

The boot pictured above are the Asolo Mens Creek GTX boots, these are a 2 – 3 season boot.  The base of the boot is a lugged Vibram sole which mimics the shape of the foot, curved and contoured to allow a natural, unencumbered rolling motion as you walk, but still providing excellent
grip.  The rest of the boot has a GORE-TEX lined suede and fabric uppers formed into a shape which allows a fluid, comfortable fit.

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Activity Essentials

Strava – Tracking and Competition for cyclists and runners

Strava

If you’re a cyclist or a runner you have to check out Strava.com.  Cycling the same route to work, or same exercise routes can get pretty boring but with Strava you can upload your run and ride information to the web, compare your performance to other rides, or to other riders.

What do you need?

To use Strava you need a GPS device that you can use to record your run or ride.  This could be your smartphone (Android or Apple) for which free apps are available.  Or if you have one a Garmin cycle / run computer, which can track more information such as heart rate.

What does Strava do?

Ride / Run Tracking –

At the most basic level Strava will track your ride or run.  For each activity you get a page with detailed stats, A map of your route, a graph showing elevation profile vs power and speed, and lap tracking (my Garmin registers a lap each mile).  Everytime you go out on the same route you can start to compare your times and see your improvement week by week.

 Competing with Friends –

Tracking yourself is just the start of Strava, where it really comes into its own is its comparison features.  When you look at any other users profile you can quickly see a comparison of the miles, time and elevation that you have each ridden that month, year, or all time.

Segments

So far the above sounds fairly average like any other cycle or run tracker, but Segments is what sets it apart from the rest!  If there is part of a route you like to do regularly, you can set this as a segment, usually this would be a hill climb, but users have set up segments for their whole route, or for a flat sprint.  For this segment you can then see the times of everyone using Strava who has ever ridden it.  There are already many segments on Strava so generally on any ride you will go through one or two, and once you review your ride online you can see a leaderboard for each segment comparing yourself to everyone, friends (people you follow), Men / Women, Age group or weight.  Though be warned some professional runners and cyclists use Strava so it can be tough to make it to King or Queen of the Mountain!

Free or Paid

You get a lot for nothing with Strava, all of the basic features are available for free so I would suggest start off with the free version, see how you get on and if you enjoy it upgrade.  The paid features are

  • Weekly Progress Goals – Set yourself a weekly target mileage to motivate you each week
  • Leaderboard filtering by Age and weight – If you’re fed up of always being beaten by a younger cyclist, this gives you the ability to filter the leader boards by age or weight and see you’re performance against similar users
  • Heart Rate and Suffer Score – With Premium you can set up advanced heart zones to calculate a suffer score, this attempts to quantify how hard exercise is, ride harder or longer for a higher suffer score.
  • Pace and Power Analysis – Compare activity on a regular statement to discover your strengths and weaknesses
  • Export GPX files – If you see a great route that a friend or other Strava users has completed, download it to your GPS device as a GPX file.

Conclusion

Strava is NOT for ride planning, you can’t create custom routes, but it is fantastic for post ride analysis and for motivation.  Use Strava for free to track your rides, compare your performance and become King of the Mountain!

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Activity Essentials

First Aid Kits

 

Whether you’re out camping, on a mountain expedition, or just on a Sunday ramble, as the Scouts say Be Prepared!  A key part of your preparation should be carrying a first aid kit.  You don’t want to use it and hopefully you won’t need to but having one to hand can make the essential difference.

Lifesystems are a brand who understand outdoor adventuring, your choice of activity will greatly affect the most likely illnesses, ailments and injuries you may sustain.  This is why Lifesystems have produces First Aid Kits specialised to an activity.  Their range includes Trek, Adventurer, Camping, Mountain Leader and more.

Carrying a first aid kit is only the first part though.  Below are 3 outdoor first aid kits from Lifesystems.  Before you go out with one though make sure you know what it contains and how to use it!  If you need to carry a pocket first aid guide too.

Trek-First-Aid-Kit

Trek –

The Trek First Aid Kit is recommended Duke of Edinburgh’s kit.  It’s described as the perfect size for most daily activities and ideal for dealing with small accidents. The kit provides essential first aid items for treating cuts, grazes, blisters and other minor injuries.  Weighing 240 grams, it comes in a pack with a belt loop so you can have it easily accessible rather than stuck at the bottom of a rucksack.  The kit contains 23 items –

General

  •     1 x Primary Care Leaflet
  •     1 x Tweezers
  •     1 x Scissors (5.5cm Blade)
  •     6 x Safety Pins

Medication

  •     16 x Paracetamol Tablets

Bandages

  •     1 x White Open Woven bandage 7.5cm x 5m
  •     1 x Crepe Bandage 5cm x 4.5m

Preparations, Disposables & Tapes

  •     5 x 4-Ply Gauze Swabs 5 x 5cm
  •     1 x Micropore Tape 1.25cm x 5m
  •     4 x Hygienic Cleansing Wipes
  •     2 Pairs Vinyl Gloves

Dressings

  •     1 x Low Adherent Dressing 5 x 5cm
  •     1 x Pack of Assorted Plasters
  •     2 x Blister Plasters

Camping First Aid Kit

Camping First Aid Kit

The Camping first aid kit is a larger kit (also recommended for Duke of Edinburgh) and is designed for dealing with accidents that can happen when you are under canvas. The kit contains items for treating and preventing infection in burns, cuts, grazes, blisters and other minor injuries.  The kit weigh’s 452 grams and contains 40 items
General

  •     1 x Primary Care Leaflet
  •     1 x Tweezers
  •     6 x Safety Pins
  •     1 x Scissors (5.5cm Blade)
  •     2 Pairs Vinyl Gloves
  •     1 x Spot Check Thermometer

Medication

  •     16 x Paracetamol Tablets

Bandages

  •     1 x Crepe Bandage 5cm x 4.5m
  •     1 x Triangular Calico Bandage 90 x 127cm
  •     1 x Open Woven Bandage 7.5cm x 5m

Preparations, Disposables & Tapes

  •     6 x Hygienic Cleansing Wipes
  •     1 x Zinc Oxide Tape 1.25cm x 5m
  •     1 x Micropore Tape 1.25cm x 5m
  •     5 x 4-Ply Gauze Swabs 5 x 5cm
  •     3 x Burn Gel Sachets (3.5g)
  •     1 x Strapping Tape 2.5cm x 2m
  •     2 x Sterile Eye Wash (20ml each)

Dressings

  •     1 x Pack of Assorted Plasters
  •     1 x Medium Wound Dressing 12 x 12cm
  •     2 x Low Adherent Dressings 5 x 5cm
  •     1 x Low Adherent Dressing 10 x 10cm
  •     1 x Small Plaster Fabric Strip 4cm x 1m
  •     3 x Wound Closure Strips
  •     1 x Small Eyepad Wound Dressing

Mountain-Leader-First-Aid-Kit

Mountain Leader First Aid Kit

The Mountain Leader First Aid Kit provides the equipment needed to care for a large group of between 1 and 14 persons. This kit is also used by survival training schools in the UK. It has been designed with the help of expedition doctor Hugh Montgomery and members of the British Special Forces medical team.  The Kit is much fuller ranged than the others with 64 items and weighs 930 grams
General

  •     1 x Primary Care Leaflet
  •     1 x Tweezers
  •     6 x Safety Pins
  •     1 x Scissors (5.5cm Blade)
  •     4 Pairs Vinyl Gloves
  •     1 x Shears (6cm Blade)
  •     1 x Glo Stick
  •     1 x Resuscitation Face shield
  •     1 x Spot Check Thermometer

Medication

  •     16 x Paracetamol Tablets
  •     16 x Ibuprofen Tablets

Bandages

  •     2 x Open Woven Bandages 7.5cm x 5m
  •     1 x Crepe Bandage 5cm x 4.5m
  •     1 x Crepe Bandage 7.5cm x 4.5m
  •     1 x Triangular Calico Bandage 90 x 127cm

Preparations, Disposables & Tapes

  •     10 x Hygienic Cleansing Wipes
  •     1 x Micropore Tape 2.5cm x 5m
  •     1 x Zinc Oxide Tape 2.5cm x 2m
  •     1 x Duct Tape 2m Roll
  •     10 x 4-Ply Gauze Swabs 5 x 5cm
  •     3 x Burn Gel Sachets (3.5g)

Dressings

  •     1 x Pack of Assorted Plasters
  •     1 x Medium Wound Dressing 12 x 12cm
  •     2 x Low Adherent Dressings 5 x 5cm
  •     2 x Low Adherent Dressings 10 x 10cm
  •     1 x Small Plaster Fabric Strip 4cm x 1m
  •     1 x Large Plaster Fabric Strip 7.5cm x 1m
  •     6 x Wound Closure Strips
  •     1 x Small Eyepad Wound Dressing
  •     2 x Blister Plasters