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Q1 2019

Safe and comfortable on the hiking trail

Hikers need a variety of products, both to keep them safe and to make their time out enjoyable on what is often difficult terrain. Your consumers will love, and appreciate, this selection of products, say the respective brands

It’s essential for anybody taking part in an activity to be equipped with the correct clothing, footwear and equipment for the job — especially in hiking, where being under-equipped could be dangerous. Hiking takes the participant off the beaten track and away from civilisation, which means that he’ll need to take everything and anything he needs with him to cater for any situation that may arise.

As a retailer, it’s therefore important to know which products suppliers have available to you, and what these products offer.

The right boot for the job

The correct boot is a crucial piece of equipment that a hiker should pay special attention to as it will keep his feet safe and steady on rocky trails and the pain of ill-fitting boots could bring a hike to an agonising end. In addition to the various technical features that will keep the foot safe, boots therefore also need to be comfortable.

Zamberlan’s Rolle Evo GTX trekking boot caters to the hiker who will be carrying a medium-weight backpack. The lowered back line improves fit and heel locking, while the upper is waterproof and breathable and reinforcement protects the toe. The Flex-System junction on the ankle area helps with flexibility, a PU wedge adds cushioning and the Vibram Curcuma outsole enhances traction, grip and durability. It is available from Traverse Outdoor Gear.

Comfort and safety were at the top of mind when making Hi-Tec’s Wild-Fire Gamekeeper boot. The heel on this men’s boot has reflective webbing for safety and moulded chassis for added stability and protection, the lightweight and durable fork shank ensures flexibility and even more stability, and the OrthoLite Impressions sock liner has slow recovery foam for cushioning. Additionally, a soft, mesh lining adds to the comfort and feet are kept dry with the Dri-Tec waterproof and breathable membrane.

Other features include the exo-skeletal high-performance Stabila-Clip cradle for torsional flexibility on all terrains, a Multi-Directional Traction (MDT) rubber outsole for added grip and durability, and adjustable 3D non-slip laces for a personalised fit.

Hi-Tec’s Outdoor Crossover collection is designed for wear from the city to the trail. Ravus Quest, which forms part of this collection, is a mid boot with a full grain leather upper featuring synthetic trim and breathable mesh underlay for a secure, yet comfortable fit.

Other features include the Dri-Tec waterproof membrane, padded collar and tongue, gusseted tongue to keep out debris, and a rustproof hardware lacing system for a secure fit. The removable EVA insole and compression moulded EVA midsole provide comfort, the lightweight, durable fork shank ensures flexibility, and the MDT outsole provides grip.

The boot is available in men’s and women’s styles.

Clothing to protect

The weather can put a damper on a hiking trip if the hiker isn’t kitted out correctly, and this includes the clothing he wears.

Getting wet, for example, is unpleasant and can cut a trip short. Your hiking customer will therefore appreciate a jacket such as Hi-Tec’s Orion, a 3-in-1 technical hiking jacket that has a waterproof outer. Remember to point out how handy 3-in-1 jackets are, and that he’s getting two jackets and three ways to wear them in one purchase: in these times of economic crunch, knowing he’ll get more might soften the deal and make your customer more eager to part with his hard-earned money.

If your customers plan to hike in colder temperatures, they’ll want thermal wear as well. ColdPrufe from Outdoor Supply Company has them covered with thermal vests and long johns, available for men, ladies and kids. The clothing is made from a blend of polyester, spandex and Viloft, which is made from natural eucalyptus wood pulp, sourced from managed plantations. Viloft is completely biodegradable and creates natural climate control with special fibres that create air pockets for thermal insulation, moisture wicking and breathability.

Socks for foot comfort

Falke’s Advance range of hiking socks , on the other hand, are designed with warm weather in mind and will cool feet down. They also feature ergonomic left and right construction for the perfect fit.

The Advance Hike Cool 2 crew sock is for the everyday hiker who will be hiking in warmer temperatures. It’s made with drynamix yarn that wicks away moisture to keep the foot dry, and has full foot cushioning in addition to a rib cuff for comfort and support. Its knitted mesh panels create ventilation and cooling, and it also features the drynamix yarn.

The Advance Hike 1 is a low-cut sock that has especially been designed to help guard against undesired fauna commonly found in warmer climates: an integrated anti-tick and mosquito treatment that lasts for up to 20 washes. It also features the knitted mesh panels and drynamix yarn.

Hike Wool also features the anti-tick and mosquito treatment. It’s specifically designed for longer hikes as well as hikers who’ll venture into colder climates, but it can be used in any climate as the wool is temperature controlling — keeping the wearer warm in cold and cool in warm temperatures. The sock is also made with full foot cushioning for comfort and support.

New in backpacks

A backpack is another essential item to add to a hiker’s arsenal, but, as there are different types, he needs to be told what can be used when. A daypack, for example, is good for shorter trips, but also has the added bonus of also being useful in everyday situations.

Hi-Tec’s Milloy 35L, for example, works well for day-to-day use, on a shorter technical hike, or even to use while travelling. It has a unisex fit, is made from 100% polyester and includes a hydration system.

De Wet Sports’s Medalist brand offers a variety of daypacks for short hikes.

For example, the Flipside (20L), Rover (27L) and Venture (20L), which are hydration compatible.

Another hydration compatible pack, Escape 28L, features quad compression straps and a hip belt, in addition to water bottle pockets, the padded breathable back, and two main compartments.

Storage after use is often a hassle, so it’s handy when a product offers its own storage solution. The Medalist Pack-Lite daypack is foldable into its own tiny pocket, which allows the user to pack it into a suitcase to have an extra bag at his destination, without taking up much space.

The Medalist hiking packs were designed with added technical features that will be needed by a hiker, for example extra support and breathability. Medalist’s Nomad 38L and Trail Scout 50L hiking packs both feature s-curve shoulder straps with breathable mesh padding, hip belts for support, water bottle pockets, bungee cord gear stashes as well as a variety of stash pockets. Nomad also has a back panel with breathable mesh padding and side compression straps. Trail Scout has a sculptured back system with removable aluminium rods, an integrated rain cover, trekking pole loops, dual compression straps and a removable phone pouch.

Lights to walk by

Hikers that will end their trip in low light as well as overnighters will need something to help them safely see the trail towards the end of the day and to get around camp.

Black Diamond has updated its 325 lumen (lm) Spot headlamp with several useful features. For a start, it’s now housed in a smaller, more efficient design with a lower profile for better balance, that it is more ergonomic for added comfort, and the housing has an IPX8 waterproof rating. Its user interface has also been updated with a second switch for easy lens mode selection, and the Brightness Memory feature allows the user to turn the light on and off at a chosen brightness. Its brightness can instantly be adjusted and it offers peripheral lighting for close-range activities.

The brand’s Cosmo headlamp (225 lm at max) is also housed in a compact, watertight housing (that is ergonomic with a lower profile for improved balance, has a second switch for easy lens selection, and has updated optical efficiency that not only provides brighter light but also saves battery life.

Cosmo also has red night vision with dimming and strobe modes that the user can activate without having to cycle through the white mode.

Black Diamond is distributed locally by Ram Mountaineering.

Ace Camp’s LED headlamp (next column top) has a two-mode backlight that allows others to see the user from behind — a feature that will be handy for the hiker during other activities as well. Its anodized aluminium front light can be adjusted. The battery case is also positioned at the rear.

Ace Camp is distributed by Outdoor Supply Company.

Medalist’s Cosmo 3 and 6 headlamps feature bright, long life LEDs, tiltable bodies to adjust the beam’s angle and fully adjustable headstraps. Cosmo 3 features two white LEDs and one red, while Cosmo 6 has four white LEDs and two red.

The Spark and Micro headlamps also feature two red LEDs, tiltable lamp bodies and fully adjustable headstraps, but Spark offers 80 lm and two modes (Full and Flashing), while Micro offers 25 lm and four modes (High, Mid, Low and Flashing).

The Starburst headlamp has a fully adjustable headstrap and tiltable lamp body to allow the user to get the best personalised fit. The headlamp features a zoom function, three light modes (Full, Low and Flashing), offers 180 lm, a 150m beam range, and has an aluminium and ABS body.

Light around the campsite

Ledlenser’s rechargeable ML6 lantern is small, powerful and convenient to take on a hike. It offers glare-free illumination of the surroundings. The lantern, which can emit up to 750 lm, also features three switches for easy operation, a built-in battery indicator, and the light can smoothly be dimmed and brightened.

The ML6 can also be used as a power bank (3 200mAh battery) to recharge other electronic devices via USB, can be used in a variety of settings with its rubber hook, removable stand with an built-in hook and integrated magnet, and its fluorescent elements make it easier to find in the dark. The rubber hook also has a IP54 waterproof sealing for the USB ports.

It will therefore also come in handy during urban power outages.

ML6 features the Smart Light technology with Every Saving (optimizes burning life) and Constant Current (electronically controlled, continuous light output) modes. It also allows the user to choose between three light modes (Professional, Easy and Tactical Defence) with pre-set lighting functions: Morse (sends individual signal sequences), Power (high output), Low Power (for glare-free reading and working), Dim (set the individual desired light intensity), Blink (sends light pulses that are useful as a signal to mark a position), S.O.S. for emergency situations, and Defence Strobe (sends high-frequency light flashes that can be used as a non-lethal defence method).

Ledlenser is distributed by Awesome Tools.

Ace Camp offers two LED Glow flashlights, small and large (see top of p28). The small light, which can easily be carried on the wrist or in a pocket, can be used as a glow stick, flashlight, flasher or a whistle. The large one can be used as a torch, emergency flashlight, lantern or a waterproof storage capsule. It can also float on water.

Flare 9, in Medalist’s torch range, has nine bright, long life LEDs, an aluminium body, weighs 55g without batteries and comes with a wrist lanyard.

The Nebula and Meteor flashlights both feature three modes (Full, Low and Flashing), offer 120 lm and a beam range of 150m, have aluminium bodies, CREE Q3 3W LEDs, have zoom capabilities and come with wrist lanyards. Meteor is also rechargeable.

The lantern range has products featuring between 100 and 250 lm, and which have durable ABS bodies. Radiate, with 250 lm, has carry handles that can fold down, is water resistant, lightweight and compact, and offers 360o of illumination. It also has the handy feature where the user can pull it up to turn on and push down to turn the light off.

The 150 lm lightbulb LED lanterns are lightweight and compact, have three light modes (High, Low and Strobe), can give up to 10 hours of light on high, and have integrated hanging hooks.

Glow (100 lm), is rechargeable via USB, lightweight and compact, can easily be attached with its flexible charging cable loop and is water resistant. It also features three modes (Full, Low, Flashing).

Liquids at the right temperature

No matter the length of the hike route, hikers will need to keep their bodies hydrated. This means carrying liquids, and they thus need products to carry it in — and keep the liquid at the preferred temperature, be it hot or cold.

Klean Kanteen’s TKPro canteen (top of the page) has been designed to keep hot and cold drinks at their optimal temperatures for hours on end, which means the hiker can enjoy his favourite drink while away.

This plastic-free thermal canteen, launched in January 2019, features Climate Lock double-wall vacuum insulation, an integrated double-wall stainless steel cup, an electropolished 18/8 food-grade stainless steel interior that doesn’t keep or give off flavours, is leakproof and easy to clean, and is BPA free. Additionally, the outside has Klean Kanteen’s chip-resistant finish that keeps products looking good for longer and increases durability.

Klean Kanteen is distributed by Awesome Tools.

Ram Mountaineering recently launched three new GSI Outdoors insulated flasks that are exceptionally lightweight and designed to keep liquids hot or warm. Microlite 1000 Twist will keep liquids warm for 18 hours and cold for 32, Microlite 720 Twist will keep warm for 12 hours and cold for 24, and Glacier Stainless Microlite 500 for 10 and 20 hours respectively.

These lightweight flasks have thin, 2mm walls that create a compact footprint and allow the user to pack them in small spaces. They also use 18/8 stainless steel for purity and durability.

To make it easier to use in cold weather, even while wearing gloves, they each have a secure screw-top cap with a leverage-enhancing lobe. They also have leashes for convenient attachment.

Medalist’s Adventure flask is also has a cap made to be leakproof. It’s BPA free and made from food-grade stainless steel. The Ranger vacuum flask will keep liquid warm for up to 8 hours and cold for 12 hours. It features a stainless steel double wall, leakproof cap and is also BPA free.

Handy accessories

Plagued by insects and mosquitos? Ace Camp has a solution for keeping them away: their net that can be draped over the head is made from an ultra-light nylon mesh, which is ideal to take with on hikes.

Should your hiking customer plan on having a meal or snack while on the route, suggest that he considers investing in a handy kit such as Opinel’s Nomad cooking kit, which is a smart, compact kit to make cooking away from home more enjoyable. It features three different folding pocket knives, each made for a specific task, with handles made from beechwood and stainless steel blades.

The No10 corkscrew knife has a 10cm blade to cut, be used as a pairing knive and can also be used to open cork bottles.

With its serrated blade, No12, can be used as a bread knife or to slice big fruits and vegetables.

Another one designed for fruit and vegetables, the smaller No6 features a folding peeler.

The kit also comes with a beechwood cutting board (20x12x1cm) and a 3-in-1, quick-drying microfibre kitchen towel, which acts as a towel, small tablecloth and as a carry bag.

Opinel is distributed by Awesome Tools.

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