Thursday, 22 October 2009

Running your self ragid

Water is an important issue if your a busy little bee!. Camping, Picnics, family days out hiking and school trips etc.
It's The young ones in the family you have to worry about getting dehydrated.
Sigg Bottle's have a brillaint range of childrens drinking bottles. Some designs are 'Sponge Bob and Patrick', Winnie the pooh, Spiderman and many more. With great designs on the bottles it should encorage the kids to drink more and keep there fluids up so the don't get dehydrated!.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Sweaty Betty in the Jungle!

Trekking through the Malaysian jungle of Borneo last month with one set of clothes to walk in and one to sleep in may have been a weight saving plan but by gosh did we stink.
Life venture all purpose soap was the only escape, if I didn’t have that stuff I think I would have gagged on my own stench.

Deet for all those nasty bugs was also a life saver, although I found the spray a lot more easier to use than the roll on which I originally bought, this was mainly due to the fact if you got a leech you couldn’t roll the thing, the spray on the other hand worked perfectly for this, Deet umm!.

By Jess Pike, member of Storm Outdoors

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Bog of Death!

As this was my first time taking my parents to Dartmoor, we were only walking around the edge and climbing tors near are campsite such as Yes Tor. Later on in the day we were having issues crossing the river.

Although I know it’s VERY dangerous crossing a large river with no rope, buoyancy aids etc, we managed to find a semi safe place to cross. We managed to rock hop without anyone falling in which was a plus, but as we got to the other side we discovered a mega bog, which some how my boyfriend and father manage to run across without getting stuck. As we eyed up the bog of death we decided to run across, three… two……shit! Quite literally probably, I was semi stuck and my mother up to her waist!

This was very amusing to my father and boyfriend who were standing on the side perfectly mud free until I got out - mawhahaha!.

Gaiters rule so always wear some to stop mega death bogs attacking you!.

Crazy wet summer

Who's got wet this summer being outdoors?
Soon I will be giving some tips to stay dry for wild camping to walking the Cotswold Way..

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

10 Products - Less than a Tenner Each!

Everyone loves a bargain and thats why we regularly hold sales here at Storm Outdoors!

We've got the top ten products all under a tenner each! When these camping bits and pieces have gone thats it! So grab yourself a bargain over at Storm Outdoors camping equipment website.

10 Quick Tent Tips that work!

One of our customers just came in and helped give out much of his wisdom on tents, putting them and keeping them up, here's just a few of them:

1) Pegs should go into the ground at a 45 degree angle away from the tent. Pretty obvious but the amount of tents we've seen come loose in windy gales has come down to just badly positioned tent pegs.

2) Limit your tent's exposure to Ultra Violet by camping as much as you can in the shade. UV is what kills a tent in time.

3) Keep the plastic lids off any Pringles. Sewn in ground sheets can get pierced and damaged by table and camping chair legs, place the lids underneath them to spread the weight. GREAT TIP!

4) New tent? Add coloured tape to code the tent poles to help working out what goes where next time you put it up.

5) Take your new tent and put it up in the garden (if space). Practise a few times taking it down and putting it up till you are confident, better learning at home than in a gale on a rainy campsite!

6) Try to purchase a tent that pitches outside first, nothing worse than a soaking wet inner.

7) In bad weather really make sure that none of your tent's inner or outer skins are touching, if it is try to find a better spot out of the wind. If thats not possible turn the side of the tent with the largest space gap between the outer and inner into the wind.

8)Remember that camping near a river is lovely but check you're not on a flood plain with a river that can quickly rise and burst its banks.

9)Clean your tent of mud (and other detriment) when you get home and put it out to dry. Storing a damp tent will quickly lead to its early demise.

10) Having the biggest/lightest/most technical tent does not make you a hardcore adventurer. Many tents are available at a great price, don't spend hundreds on a tent if you never intend to take it up a serious mountain, its not worth the price.

Camping Stoves continued...

Ok so in our last blog we discussed the types of fuels for camping stoves, which ones offer the best performance etc etc. Today we're going to list the types of camping stoves one might use whilst outdoors. Its not a huge list so it won't take long!

Camp stoves come in several shapes and sizes and can be somewhat categorised into three different types:

Mountain Stoves

Generally considered top of the line camp stoves they provide users with an extremely fast boil. They also have to be lightweight, reliable and strong. This type of camp stove comes at a price though.

You'll find many mountain stoves use liquid fuel as this gives the most efficiency in high altitude mountainous terrain and conditions. A true mountain stove makes use of a detachable fuel source that can be easily carried onwards to your next camp together with a burner that generally sits low to the ground.

You may find gas canister mountain stoves however in our experience they do not work well above 4000 feet (so you may get away with using one in the UK mountains).

Backpacking/Hikers Stoves

The generic of camping stoves, no really. Used for pretty much any outdoor activity they are simple to use and can be carried. They may not be the lightest in your rucksack but they'll be sturdy enough for most. Generally you'll see one of these types of stoves powered by a small gas canister or methlyated spirits. They're pretty good value and if looked after you'll get many years use out of them. Abuse and fail to look after them and you could find it being tossed within a couple of seasons (not very good at all).

Family Camping Stoves

Weight is not considered a major issue with family camping stoves as these types are generally kept back at "basecamp". You will want your stove to be easy to use and safe especially around kids (as much as humanly possible). Most types of this stove generally use gas canisters and come with a "domestic" looking hob and some even complete with a grill. It is not the sort of stove you would want to be carrying around, they can be bulky (which admittedly does give you more room to cook on).

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Camping Stoves - Which fuel to use?

Types of Camp Stoves and Fuel Available

With such a bewildering array of different stoves you can use when camping the decision on which type of camping stove and its associated fuel suits you best just gets harder and harder.

So let us help you – down below is a detailed breakdown on the most suitable types of fuel and stoves for your needs, whether its high mountain walking or just chilling out with the family under canvas.

From experience we always ask customers what type of fuel they would prefer to use (i.e. to create a flame or generate heat) with their camp stove.

The most common fuel types are:

Gas Canister Stoves

Gas canisters are extremely easy to use providing a decent level of performance though they can perform poorly at high altitude or in very cold weather conditions (they affect the pressure inside the canister reducing performance). To light a gas camping stove is very simple, you switch on the stove, light it and that’s pretty much it.

Downsides to using this type of fuel are having to dispose of the empty canister (when it runs out) and they can be quite expensive to buy, particularly at campsites (in our experience).

Petroleum Liquid Fuel Stoves

Stoves like these need a method of pressurising the fuel commonly via the integral pump and then need priming to pre-heat the petroleum fuel and convert it to a gas state to burn efficiently. Liquid fuel stoves can take extra effort to light but once you are used to it you’ll never really look back.

Camping stoves using liquid fuel tend to cost less to run and perform better in a wider range of weather and atmospheric conditions, using fuel more economically so you can carry less (important if you are backpacking).

Methylated Spirits (“Meths”) Stoves

Generally considered safer, meths based camping stoves tend to not be as explosive when starting and burn at a lower temperature (which make cooking times longer). Traditionally these types of stoves rely on the methylated spirits to be poured into a small container that allows the meths to emit vapour which is then burnt to heat up your pots and pans.

A common type of stove that uses meths is the Trangia stove which is particularly popular amongst youth groups such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and the Air Cadets.

Solid Fuel Stoves

These are usually very simple stoves which fold out allowing you to burn a tablet or gel to generate heat. Solid fuel is considered safe, lightweight and cheap but they have a serious downside in that they offer very poor adjustability in temperature.

Our next post will be about the types of stove best suited for your planned activity.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Family Camping Tents worth buying?

We're all having to review our holiday spending for the forseeable future, cutting back on those luxury hotels abroad with a/c rooms and tropical pools. Shame.

BUT we can take comfort that family campsites across the UK can give us enough to keep the kids entertained and us rested in reasonable and highly affordable comfort.

Because of this, camping with the family in large tents has become as the “In thing” to do.

Many families have opted to camp this year in the UK (tent sales at our shop seem to indicate this), and we do not see this trend of family camping on a budget ending anytime soon. According to the industry the sales of family tents have skyrocketed during the first few months of 2009.

Choosing a Good Size Family Tent

  • Give yourself ample room to move around, especially on a rainy day. Kids in the tent under your feet means you should have got a bigger tent.
  • There are also tents with privacy flaps to insure total privacy.
  • Get a tent that is light enough for you to manage and store safely in the car on your next trip.
  • Make sure you purchase a tent that you will be able to set-up and take down. Although most family camping tents are simple to set up, some are a little harder than others.
  • Know how to put your tent up, setting up a tent for the first time in bad weather is not fun!
  • For a variety of 4-persons, to 7+-persons tents, visit Storm Outdoors Family Tent Sales and find a Family Camping Tent for you and all the family.
Family Camping is a great way for you and your children to have a great holiday at a far lower cost than spending time in hotels.

Monday, 23 March 2009

A blog favourite of ours!

The above blog comes highly recommended for camping equipment reviews, we're certainly new fans of it!

Monday, 23 February 2009

10 Favourite National Parks

We love this link! Find out more on the Top 10 national parks (as voted by US National Park retired employees).

Chuffed to see Snowdon is mentioned!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

A very sad loss in the climbing world

We were saddened to hear of the loss of one of the Uk's up and coming climbers and adventurers recently.

We followed Rob Gauntlett's progress from a distance and admired such talent, skill and tenacity at a relatively young age.

Rob sadly died in an ice climbing accident in the French Alps together with his climbing friend, James Atkinson, on the 10th January 2009.

From the Times Online:

Mr Gauntlett’s family spoke of their devastation at their son’s death, adding that their only consolation was that he died while “doing something that he loved”.
We at Storm hope both of you though lost whilst climbing are continuing your quest and passion for adventure in the next life. You'll be missed by many.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Vampire Camping? Bite me!

Whilst I was surfing the web I found this little gem of a camping website over in Bulgaria, it made me chuckle and I thought I would share it with you!

If anyone does go and stay let us know at Storm Outdoors how you got on!

Impeding Life all the way to New York City

Food for thought:

America's Yellowstone National Park long known to be a volcanic caldera long overdue to violently explode has since the 26th December 2008 experienced 250 tremors, something that to some scientists is rather worrying.

If Yellowstone did erupt it is forcast that there would be enough sulphur dioxide to drastically affect the American Mid West where a lot of farming is done. Its reported it could destroy crops and impede life all the way to New York.

When you see the expected magnitude of this volcanic explosion it does leave one with a somewhat dry mouth and the feeling that this recession is nothing compared to the calamity and likely extremely severe losses Americans would face.

We as humans tend to easily forget the power of mother nature.

More here:

Would be a damn shame to see Yellowstone go up in flames and ash too, its certainly a gorgeous part of the world.

Sometimes you gotta think out of the bra!

Yup we like a good survival story and this is a great example of a young American lady who didn't think out of the box, more thought out of her bra!

Whilst hiking in the Bavarian Alps a solitary female hiker slipped and fell 18 feet in bad weather. Suffering injures sustained from the fall she managed to hang out her highly coloured bra on a cable used to send logs down to the valley below.

Luckily for her a logger spotted the bra, heard a woman was missing and contacted the emergency authorities. Within a few hours the young hiker had been rescued by helicopter under difficult circumstances. Its great to hear she is going to make a full recovery.

A couple of things we would recommend is don't hike in mountains alone if you are not experienced, instead go as a group so you have others around to help with your survival in the event of an accident.

If you are experienced enough to hike alone then leave a route map with someone and a time you expect to be back by and a time for them to contact emergency services if you have not made contact. Ensure you have enough food to last at least 24 hours (seems like this lady only had a small amount of biscuits and water).

The young lady mentioned above kept calm and used what she had available to attract attention but in 3 simple words:

She Was Lucky!

The REAL "Best Job in the World"

Heh its great so many people have submitted their details for the "Best job in the world" - a 6 month post paying $100,000 (USD) to somebody to hang out on a tropical island and work a few hours a week.

Tasks involved are to blog about the island once a week, walk around the beach, snorkel the crystal blue sea waters and explore other islands along the same reef. Sounds strenuous!

But there is another Best Job in the World! And thats here working for Storm Outdoors giving customers the best advice on camping equipment. You don't think so? Well we like it and thats the main thing we guess. We've all got the potential to have the best job in the world as long as we have the right mindset and the passion. More on the best job in the world here

Winter Camping Guide

Ya know we just love winter camping and we were all prepared to bring you a detailed report but seeing as we found this one we thought we would share it with you, its well written and produced by someone who knows what they are doing.

Some great tips are included in this guide to winter camping so don't miss out, its a real eye opener!

Monday, 5 January 2009

Plans for Walking Holidays this year!

Welcome to 2009 Storm Outdoors fans!

I always look forward to this time of year, the clear blue skies, snow and fresh, crisp (but cold) air changes the view of our towns, villages and more importantly hills and countryside. The Storm Outdoors store is busy both offline and online, in fact we received online orders on Xmas Day (a first!) and Friday the 2nd January was an extremely busy in the shop keeping us all very busy.

What we're really excited about is planning our walking holidays for this year. We're always great fans of The Lake District and regularly visit to relax (and secretly I get to test new camping gear and equipment).

There's loads of places to stay in the Lakes, from campsites, to caravans through to wonderful cosy cottages in the villages and towns like Ambleside, Grasmere, Keswick or Windemere. To help you out here's our favourite websites for staying in the Lake District:

For Lake District Campsites we recommend the Great Langdale campsite found at the head of the majestic Great Langdale and the National Trust Wasdale Head campsite (great for access to Scafell Pike or Great Gable).

For caravans we like the quiet peace of Langdale's Greenhowe Caravan Park - great value though a bit of a walk to the pub but its a pleasant enough stroll on a summer's evening.

But our favourite place to stay is in a Lake District cottage and really get a flavour of how life was years ago. Its also preferred especially when you return from a walk where the weather has been atrocious, its so great to sit in front of a wood fire and get warm.

We use the following websites and all have come highly recommended from our own personal experiences (though we won't admit to which cottages we regularly book unless you email us!)

These 3 Lake District holiday cottage websites all have an extensive list of properties to view and book online. We've used them all in the past and would happily book again with any of them.

Let us know how your holiday goes this year, we'd love to hear where you're headed!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Storm Surge - Tuesday Roundup

Yes, yes I know its early but I thought it might be a great way to present to our camping blog readers a round up of all things camping over the past 7 days.

I intend to post this once a week on Tuesdays and its just a short post to show what is happening in the land of camping and hiking. Who knows but you're likely to find something of interest!

Ok here we go, hold on tight, there's a Storm Surge comin' at ya:

Superb shot of Annapurna Base Camp

Tents made by brain boffins... you don't have to be clever to go camping, but it helps! ;)

Berghaus release a great new ad.... you really must see it. Extreme Base jumping, check!

One of our recently found and already favourited sites! Live for the Outdoors (looks like its from the publishers of Trail magazine but heh we're not complaining)

Something local for the Bristol outdoor crowd: Avon Outdoor Activities Club, with over 400 members its the place to get into!

Other recent developments at Storm Outdoors:

We're starting the rev up for Xmas so get over to our Camping Supplies website for a BIG pre Xmas sale!

Our New Flickr Account - check out some great camping and outdoors photos from the Storm Outdoors team!

We're now listed on FreeIndex

We've become a member of 4networking online too

Find us on Microsoft Live Search Maps

So thats it for this week, we'll be posting Storm Surges regularly so stay tuned!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Brecon Beacons Online

We like the Brecon Beacons - its reasonably close to our camping equipment store so is easily affordable to get there quickly and get out on the hills. We surf the web (when we're not walking or sending our customer orders!) to find great informative sites on different areas which we like to share with our blog and website users. So here are the highly recommended Brecon Beacon websites we use to help us find our way round these great Welsh mountains!

Walks in the Brecons

Brecon Beacon Walks

Brecon Beacons Pubs - quench your thirst here after that almighty walk!

One of Britains BREATHING Spaces - official website to the Brecon Beacons

Did you know the Brecon Beacons "are named after the ancient practice of lighting signal fires on mountains to warn of attacks by the English" - taken from the Brecon Beacons page, Wikipedia

A little faster (well downhill anyway!) - Mountain Biking in the Brecon Beacons

If any of you have websites connected with the Brecon Beacons do let us know - we will happily post them here for you.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

FREE Outdoor Landscape Desktop Backgrounds!

A customer of ours has kindly donated quite a few images in a large resolution format as desktop backgrounds. If you like what you see then please send an email to and claim your FREE outdoor landscape desktop background! No strings attached!

Have a look below:





When you email just tell us which numbered image you would like and at what resolution and we will do the rest and send back a jpg for you.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Camping Disasters - tell us yours!

We're going to share a few Camping Disasters that we've experienced with you in the hope you'll learn how to avoid making the same mistakes. Why not post yours and share with everyone else - we would love to hear from you!

Camping Disaster 1

Whilst wild camping on Dartmoor many years ago we camped on a flat river bank that was only covered in short grass rather than the heathery stuff above on the moor. It looked a great spot until a storm hit us at 2am in the morning and we awoke to find one tent floating downstream in the quickly rising water and the 3 other tents being battered into total submission, refusing to stay up in the screaming wind.

Ultimately we all moved into one large tent that we set up on higher ground in the dark and ferocious weather. After a mostly sleepless, cramped night we all awoke to find our tents below had (somehow) survived though the site looked like a bomb had hit it. Our kit was damp, soggy and strewn everywhere, this had to be one of our most miserable camping experiences.

Camping Lesson learned?

Don't camp near rivers or on flood banks even if they look more appealing than the land thats more undulating, further above.

Camping Disaster 2

We travelled all the way to the Lake District to spend the weekend up on Swirral and Stirling Edge's in the Lake District with a jaunt onto Helvellyn. We camped in the campsite above Glenridding much to the concern of one of our group who said we were in a highly exposed position and wanted to camp farther down the valley in a more protected spot. He was bluntly shouted down and we spent the night trying to keep our tents up against 70mph winds and driving rain. The next day one of our tents had a huge puddle at the bottom and the occupants found they were camped next to a small stream that flooded their tent as the water table rose beneath them.

Camping Lesson learned?

If someone thinks where you are camping is in an exposed position then reconsider your options. Do not just take the flattest ground you can find regardless of location... if we had moved down 300 yards we could have camped behind a large wall that would have protected us.

Camping Disaster 3

Getting plastered whilst camping seems like fun but not when in you're in a tent on your own. We camped near Simonsbath and whilst in the pub that evening it snowed quite heavily. One of our group decided earlier he would have his own privacy and camp on his own in sub zero temperatures. The alcohol helped him to sleep however when he woke the next morning he was not only hungover but also extremely cold. Even with walking for 4 hours his body refused to warm up and he spent a miserable day out on Exmoor.

Camping Lesson learned?

Take it easy with the alcohol when out camping. Being hungover can cloud your judgement and ultimately ruin your day as well as the others around you.

Camping Disaster 4

Wearing jeans I set up my tent in the dark at a commercial campsite in the Brecon Beacons. I had managed to bring my tent and plastic survival bag with me from the van. I got thoroughly soaked and couldn't be bothered to go back to the van to collect my rucksack, sleeping bag and dry clothing. I dived into the survival bag keeping my cold wet jeans on and spent an uncomfortable night shivering and praying I could dry my jeans out.... amazingly they did but not before they seriously lowered my body temperature which put me at so much risk up on Pen-y-Fan I was brought down by the leaders running the show as they initially suspected the onset of hypothermia... I was only 14 at the time.

Camping Lesson learnt?

Real campers don't wear jeans. Leave them at home and get some fast drying walking trousers instead. I also learnt to make sure that I get changed from wet clothing into dry clothing before hitting the camping sack!

Tell us your camping disasters - we'd love to share to help others avoid the same mistakes!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Old fashioned Nav skills are NOT old fashioned!

We like GPS.

We really do. Its great for convenience.
But its a tool you should NOT come to rely on.

How many times have we met someone on the hill without a map or compass, usually in the wrong clothing relying on their new fangled GPS to help guide them round their route?

Quite a few.

All well and good until the batteries end up exhausted. Then what? Oh thats right they'll just leech off your skills to get them home safe and sound. Thanks!

Can you rely on the good old fashioned skill of navving by map and compass? From map to ground and back again? How about triangulation? Aiming off anyone?


We suggest you get a lesson in "How to use a compass" so why not pop in to our shop and we'll happily show you how to use one effectively. We would rather have you back in our store safe in the knowledge that your skills in compass work kept you safe in a bad weather condition in the mountains...

For more information check out "How to use a compass like a Pro!" on the Storm Outdoors website.

If you have a compass tip you want to share feel free to post it here. We will give you full credit.

Technology is great and improves our lives but its no excuse for throwing away the traditional compass skills we've passed down the ages. Trust us on that one.

Our secret love affair with Lake Vyrnwy

Sshh don't tell our missus'

Well not yet anyway....

We admit we at Storm Outdoors have been having a somewhat secret affair and its not really with a mountain. Instead we've discovered a quiet lake away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

If you want somewhere REALLY peaceful to stay then check out the following accommodation around Lake Vyrnwy (actually its a man made resevoir), hidden away in rural Mid Wales....

Brook Mead Caravan and Camping
Lake Vyrnwy Hotel

Cyfie 5 star Farm

Sshhh for now... lets keep this just between us!

(There's some great walking to be had on the hills surrounding the lake too)

Our new site for camping equipment!

Our website has been extremely popular for some time now and we felt it right that it was updated in look and feel to harness the current demand for contemporary design.

We've adjusted the look of the site to make it easier for users to find their way around and secretly we're pretty proud of how it performs.

If you think you can help us improve it to benefit you whilst you are looking at our new online camping equipment store then do let us know - we take all comments seriously and review each one in detail with our web design team.

So do enjoy the new look and feel of the website... we're sure it will be a success.

A Huff and a Puff onto Scafell Pike

Huffing and Puffing Up on Top

We know a lot of people we speak to in our camping store have walked up onto Scafell Pike from the Wastwater side but to be truthful it always looked (from the pub anyway) a trifle steep getting up to the top from this side.

So this year whilst staying in Elterwater we decided to try a longer but potentially easier route from Great Langdale up the path alongside Rossett Gill down to Angle Tarn and then climbing to the Pike.

We made the right decision and thankfully started early - around 7-30am so that we would not be climbing in the heat of the day.

It was pretty easy getting up to Angle Tarn, a little steep on the old donkey track but we made remarkable progress. It was another story on the way up to Scafell Pike - it was a dusty, rocky and somewhat crumbly steep path up to the top. But boy, the view was certainly worth it!

Answers in an email please....

I was also out trying the latest camping equipment the boss had allowed me to take including a superb rucksack from Berghaus.

It took everything the good old British Summer weather can throw at it and then some. Its a great bag, comfortable and lots of useful pockets and other stuff to help you out on the day. Not bad for £70 either. It looks well made and will likely last me a lifetime... my old rucksack is still going strong after 20 years (!) though I have had to change it as the straps and padding are starting to wear and I'd rather it did not fail out on the hill.

So after a bit of a short slog we got up on top and admired the view out to the coast whilst eating an early lunch, before turning around and heading back down in our usual race to the bottom.

I came down last as usual... slow and steady might not win the race but I prefer to come down in my own time and intact ready for the pub ;)

Happy camping!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Why we just LOVE MSR Stoves!

We've been fans of MSR Stoves ever since they hit our shelves many moons ago at Storm Outdoors and each year MSR's new models just get better and better.
For that reason heres a rundown of the top selling MSR gear we sell to our clients at Storm:


This truly is the Big Daddy of camping stoves! It sells at a premium price (£100) but our customers tell us it never fails them and we've tested it ourselves outdoors in Dartmoor and the Lake District in some pretty horrendous weather conditions. Its ALWAYS impressed us!

Due to the popularity of this MSR stove we do find it regularly goes out of stock - is that a good thing? Possibly if demand exceeds supply then we'd tend to believe it is one of the best!

MSR Whisperlite

This MSR stove is so quiet AND effective in boiling up water quickly with its multi fuel burning capabilities. Plain and simple, we love it, especially for its speed in helping knock up a decent cup of campsite tea!

MSR Pocket Rocket

A true rocket of a camping stove on a budget - ONLY £24 (a steal!) the MSR Pocket Rocket stove is a favourite of Backpacker magazine due to its extreme lightweight design and fast boiling time based on its size. What more would you want from any MSR camping stove??

We like to think we're experts in MSR stoves so why not contact us and put us to the test???

These boots are made for walking

We get a lot of customers in Storm come in looking for a pair of walking boots and perhaps buy for the wrong reasons, some spend too little and others (even with our fair, impartial advice) spend way too much because they want the best brand for "the street".

So we've decided its about time our little blog did some "talking about walking" and genned up our blog readers in all things hiking boots!

First off, walking shoes or walking boots?

Does it really matter?
Well yes it does actually.

Perhaps its obvious but your feet are the most treasured part of your body when walking, especially long distances on difficult mountain terrain. The problem with buying walking shoes is that they seriously lack ankle support and if you are in the countryside, in woods, up hills or on English mountains then you are putting yourself at more risk of an ankle sprain or worse.

On the upside a good walking shoe that is waterproof and sturdy can be a great alternative, if on a low level walk along defined and well used paths. Avoid fashion trainers even on walks you think might be ok, if it rains you will get seriously wet feet and that makes for a highly miserable experience, just ask us!

Walking boots really are the preferred choice when walking off-road or over rough terrain. With the best in protection and usually excellent ankle protection which is an absolute minimum requirement on steep hill or mountain slopes. Even better boots are usually designed to keep your feet dry and with Gore Tex liners help them breathe too which can help to minimise blisters.

What to ask when buying Walking Boots
There are many retailers offering many kinds of walking boots and with such an array it can easily become confusing as to what is right for you. So you may want to consider asking yourself the following when purchasing walking boots:
Are these leather or fabric?
Do these boots have a Gore Tex liner built in?
Do you an incline board so that you can test the boots at different angles (this simulates walking up, down and across slopes).
Is my foot loose inside this boot?
Should I be wearing my walking socks? (Yes!)
Is my big toe pushing on the front of the boot? (This should be a no!)
Does my foot feel hemmed in or is the boot truly comfortable?
Is the boot too much for what I want to use it for?
Is it too little?
Am I buying this boot because of price/brand rather than practicality?
Asking yourself these types of questions will all help ensure you buy your walking boots at the right price and ones that will work for you. Get the wrong walking boots and its too late finding out 12 miles from your destination - trust us we've been there, done that!

Storm raises over £1000 for Bristol Childrens Hospital

Our boss, Ian Portch, came in 6 months ago and advised us he was going to climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, in Africa. Now we as keen UK mountaineering walkers thought he must be quite, quite mad to do something like this with little experience in walking at altitudes above 10,000 feet.

When he said he was doing it to raise money for Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal for seriously ill children at Bristol hospital we thought "ok, less mad then but still rather you than us!".

So Ian established himself on a strict regime of no beer or chocolate and regular exercise to get himself upto a reasonable level of fitness to be able to cope with potential altitude sickness at such a height. It seemed to pay off in hindsight (though having porters help certainly took a load off!!)

And here is Ian (looking rather dandy I must say) on Kilimanjaro...

In all Ian raised over £1000 for the Wallace and Gromet Childrens Appeal which we feel is an outstanding contribution as well as conquering a 20,000 foot mountain! Nice one Ian!

Gear you will need for Adventure Racing

We at Storm Outdoors are specialists in lightweight camping equipment and get asked a lot by our adventure racing customers the best equipment to purchase to get the most performance in such a demanding activity.

So we'll start with the best lightweight weatherproof jackets we think you might want to consider, their overall performance in our humble opinion and the price you should expect to pay.

Adventure Racing Jacket

The Montane Featherlight H20 Jacket - windproof, waterproof and 100% breathable (according to the manufacturer) this jacket claims to be one of the lightest on the market.

We have tested this jacket in cool, wet conditions both walking and mountain biking and appreciated the jackets performance. The material feels at first somewhat flimsy but the actual strength of the jacket surpassed our expectations. The only downside is that the jacket comes with no hood which would have been appreciated in the very worst weather.

Its not bad value for money either coming in at just £60 in most places online.

Adventure Racing Pants

Now for trousers. Most adventure runners likely just need a decent set of lightweight quick drying trousers, again Montane raises its head above the parapet coming up with the following product (funny we're not biased, its just Montane is SUCH a good manufacturer). You can purchase lightweight waterproof trousers but they may prevent you running as fast as you like. From a safety point of view we recommend that you carry a set of lightweight waterproof trousers in your pack for the very worst weather.

So we think Montane Terra Lite pants work extremely well in wet and mountainous conditions. These lightweight technical pants performed well in the Lake District as well as on our recent charity trip to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Darren (Danger Daz we call him!) - our guest tester also rates them for use in hot, humid
condition too.

Breathable Base Layers for the Outdoors

Tops as a base layer are a must, needing to be wicken and highly breathable - cotton is an absolute no no! The most popular brands are from Helly Hansen or Lowe Alpine Dry Flo and usually priced between £25 and £40. These tops are designed to wick away sweat, keep the body dry when exercising hard.

Find breathable base layers online here.

Recommended X trainers for Adventure Racing

Finally your going to need a pair of cross trainers, light enough not to slow you down but tough enough to take a batter in the hills and mountains. For this reason Salomon's XA Pro X-trainers really do stand out, in our opinion they offer fantastic support and cushioning together with a gore tex waterproof lining - and all for just £90.

Adventure Racing should be fun, challenging and competitive. Investing in the best lightweight camping equipment will help you perform better, good enough perhaps to be the one holding the trophy at the end of the day!