Wardrobe Basics

Wardrobe Basics

As my missus will tell you, I’ve never been one with an eye for fashion .My wardrobe is made up of a couple of pairs of jeans and shorts and they get replaced when the old ones have so many holes in they border on indecent. But when it comes to clothing for outdoor adventures I’m willing to spend my hard earned cash on the latest and greatest.

If I’ve planned a trip and made the effort to get somewhere exciting to explore I want to be comfortable. The first rule is to be prepared for unusual conditions. Don’t assume that New South Wales in summer is always going to be warm and dry. Weather is always unpredictable, especially in wilderness zones or at high altitudes.

To make sure you don’t get caught out during a late spring freeze take extra clothes in a variety of weights and dress in layers. Always take at least one more layer than you think you'll need when you set out on your adventures. You can take a layer off and sling it in your pack or tie it round your waist if you get too warm but if the temperature drops you'll be glad for the extra haul.

My next outdoor gear fashion tip is one of the things my missus lives for – shoes. Getting the right shoe for the job is almost as important as your choice of tent and compass. Sturdy hiking boots are perfect to protect you from gravel on rough trails but are too cumbersome for simple trails in warmer conditions. All-purpose running shoes might be fine for family-friendly trails, but leave your high-priced high-tops at home and invest in a pair designed for walking long distances across uneven terrain.

The next item of outdoor gear I suggest will surprise some people. Winter or summer, pack your sunglasses. Whether you're mountain biking, hiking or climbing, glare from the sun can reduce visibility and permanently damage your eyes. Wearing ‘shades’ may make you feel like Tom Cruise but it’s the practical value I’m interested in. Lenses should always offer both UVA and UVB protection and be plastic. It's also worth the extra cost to get a polarized pair to reduce glare even further.

As with all outdoor gear, there are specialist varieties of sun glasses designed for different types of advednture. "Glacier" glasses are specially designed to protect your eyes from snow blindness when climbing mountains. They aren’t cheap so only buy them if that’s what you really need. If you're not sure what features to look for,outdoor adventure experts will explain the latest innovations for your specific needs.

Quality sun glasses will protect your eyes but you also need to think about protecting your head. If you’ve ever had sunburn you’ll understand what I mean. Years ago I got the top of my head burned while hiking in the Alpine National Park and ever since I don’t care how ridiculous I look as long as my head’s covered. Baseball caps are fine for roving around the garden on a warm day but they won't protect the back of your neck or your ears from sunburn. A hat with a wrap-around brim is the best for protection. Tilly hats aren't sexy, but they set the standard for outdoor headgear for a reason. For me they are standard issue for any outdoor adventure. Adjustable straps keep the hat on your head in high winds, and the waterproof material keeps your lid dry in wet weather.

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