Your essential packing guide for Tanzania’s
Kilimanjaro has gorgeous views, abundant
wildlife and challenging landscapes making it the perfect destination for the
adventurous traveller. Luckily, Mt. Kilimanjaro is less of a technical climb
and more of a long trek, making it a possible climb for those without extensive
mountain-climbing experience. It is often called the ‘walk-up’ mountain. But Africa’s highest peak is not an easy
climb. It is an ascent into extreme altitudes of 5,589m on a trek that can last
anything from five to nine days to complete. Statistically,
less than half of all climbers on Kilimanjaro make it to the summit, although
all make it some way up the mountain to enjoy the awesome views of waterfalls,
lava rock formations and glaciers. Pre-trip
training and packing the right gear will increase your chances of summiting the
iconic Uhuru Peak and will ensure an enjoyable, thrilling yet safe adventure
that is memorable for all the right reasons.
Kilimanjaro has two rainy
seasons, the first is from March through May and the second occurs in November.
This means that there are two
distinct trekking seasons, January-March and June-October, which give the
optimum conditions for climbing. January to March is generally colder than June
through to October and there is a higher probability of encountering snow on
the summit. The gear list below is suitable for both climbing seasons.
Kilimanjaro guides warn that most
travellers bring too much gear. For this reason, we have kept the list to the
bare minimum and to the essentials. It
is worth noting that all climbers are obliged by Tanzanian law to climb with a
guide AND to hire a porter to carry equipment.
Outdoor Adventure Store staff have tried
and tested all the gear we sell and are on hand to assist with your questions
and gear related queries.
We want you to enjoy your Outdoor
Adventures to the absolute max!
Ok folks. There are sleeping bags and there are
functional zipped body bags that will adequately do the job required of a bag
that you sleep in. Then there are rolling clouds of enveloping coziness that
fold gently around your tired body and hold you snugly in their comfiness while
So, how do you know which you are buying?
In this blog, we will talk you through the joys of good sleeping bags, great sleeping bags and life-saving sleeping bags. Our simple explanation of temperature guides, insulation options and the best shape bag for you will help find a sleeping bag best suited to your needs. As always, at Outdoor Adventure Store, we have an incredible range of sleeping bags to choose from and friendly, knowledgeable staff to assist. Check out our mid-price two season sleeping bags here.
Shapes and Sizes
Square sleeping bags are the classic of the species. A basic square sleeping bag offers more room at the bottom where the feet should be. This gives more toe wriggling room. If you don’t like your feet to feel constricted while you snooze, this is the one for you. Square sleeping bags are also available in double size, so are the best choice if you prefer to sleep as a couple.
Mummy sleeping bags are well named. Wrapping yourself up in a mummy sleeping bag, which is cleverly tapered at the bottom will keep you ‘snug as a bug in an Egyptian sarcophagus’ vibe. The design is excellent, as it keeps warm air inside and without circulating and cooling it ensures your sleep is at a steady warm, toasty level. The Mummy design is commonly used from single season to expedition bags, and is a must in sub-zero temperatures.
The size of your sleeping bag is a
very logical matter. Manufacturers cater
the sizes of the bag for the average physique of kids, youth, women and
Kids and Young Adults
Children need a sleeping bag designed especially for them, with a shorter length. This is because excess space in the bag allows air to circulate and cool. Wee ones will be better insulated in a product that is meant for their size. This is true for teenagers and young adults too. The Kampkraft junior sleeping bag is particularly good value, offering a built-in pillow, soft touch fabric, a TOG rating of 13.5 and an easy carry bag.
Some manufacturers offer sleeping bags especially for women. This is in recognition that a smaller physique may need a better fit and higher insulation. At Outdoor Adventure Store we can advise on the most appropriate sleeping bag for every shape and size of body type. Both for men and women. Check out the choice here
Season Ratings Explained
Anyone who has
ever shared a bed with another human being, can testify that we all have
different comfort temperatures for a good night’s sleep. There is the generalised belief that women
feel the cold more than men, as previously discussed, although our customer
feedback indicates that it is not always the case. Your personal optimum sleeping temperature should
be a consideration when purchasing a new sleeping bag. But the most important thing to consider is
the time of year and the temperatures prevalent where you will be sleeping.
Most sleeping bags are season rated, following a very logical thought process
of Season 1 being light weight and heading up to Season 4/5, where the
expedition bags abide.
1-2 Sleeping Bags are generally compact, light and ideal for camping in warmer
climates and temperatures. This is the
most common all-use sleeping bag, suitable for family camping, Irish summer use
and general festival camping. A comfortable rating for most seasonal uses.
Season 3-4 Sleeping Bags are a thicker sleeping bag, often made with down filling and offering that bit more insulation than the lighter models. Season 3 to 4 rated sleeping bags are ideal for those on adventure trips and expeditions in late Autumn and early Spring outdoor adventures. A season 4 sleeping bag copes easily with extremely cold temperatures, while having a low weight and small pack size. Check out this sleeping beauty, a mummy sleeping bag which fits most needs at a good price.
Its unique Thermal Embrace System allows the bag to hug your body and maximize insulation while the aluminised reflective lining also pulls heat back. Simply snuggle into the Latitude and you won’t ever want to get out!
If you are buying your sleeping bag for a road
trip or festival, then the weight may not be a huge factor. But should you need to carry your bed on
your back, for longer expeditions and over difficult terrain, then you need to
choose wisely. Check bag weight and pack size (how small the sleeping bag is
when packed away) online or in the shop before you buy. For thicker sleeping bags a compression sack
can reduce the volume of your packed bag.
Even the most compact sleeping bag still takes up a fair bit of space
but a compression sacks provides
space saving solutions by packing and compressing contents to half their size.
This makes it really handy for bulky sleeping bags or clothing.
Sleeping Bag Liners and Accessories
The liner is a very useful light inner sleeve which fits inside the bag. A sleeping bag liner can prolong the life of your bed roll as it reduces the need for washing the entire bag. It also can be used alone on very hot nights or can add an extra layer in colder ones.
Over the past few years, sleeping bags have
evolved to the next level, putting you in control of temperature and comfort and
now with added extras. Built in LED
torches, mosquito nets and DVD
players. Ok, we were kidding about the
DVD players, but if you want a bag with its own integrated LED torch, mosquito
net or matching compression bag, chat to our staff and they will point you in
the right direction.
is a sleeping bag to suit every need, every wallet and every sleeping
temperature. Consider the dark cold nights ahead lying in your choice of
sleeping bag. You may be either
shivering in misery, cursing the cold, or hopefully, basking in the glow of self-satisfaction
and cozy warmth.
Autumn can be perfect for hiking. The weather is
cooler, the trails are less crowded and the beauty of nature takes on a new
golden hue. Early morning mountain air is just that bit crisper, there is less
danger of dehydration or sunburn and there is the self-satisfied feeling that
the rest of the world are slogging away at office, school and university desks
while you are free as the migrating swallows.
have put together some lesser known, but still accessible European hiking
trails that will tempt you to autumn trekking and hiking, off the beaten path.
Croatia – Mosor Mountain
Croatia has some
of the most breathtakingly scenic hiking routes anywhere in Europe. The
Paklenica National Park offers the best routes, including a 4hr return hike up
to Anica Kuk, featuring incredible views over the bay of Strarigrad. But this area is difficult to get to from
most major airports. If you have less
time available, the Mosor Mountain is right next to the city of Split. A destination
for many budget airlines. The route on
Mosor is easy to access and has wonderful views of the Adriatic and the city of
Split itself. Follow the trail to Vickov
Stup for a rewarding and mildly challenging 5 hr return hike. The mountain is home to wild deer and goats
and an amazing variety of alpine flora and fauna. If you are feeling truly energetic, there are
a choice of other mountain trails in and around Croatia’s second city which are
worthy of a stride out and are guaranteed to fulfil your sense of
adventure. Of course, Split is an
attractive coastal city with lots to offer in terms of food, drink, night life
and the beaches of the Dalmation coastline and a perfect place to rest up after
your vigorous trekking.
Spain – Montserrat, Catalonia
54 km away from Barcelona, Monteserrat is a less frequently visited gem of a
destination. Although this is one of
the most amazingly beautiful places in Catalonia, Northern Spain, it’s not
always included in the usual tourist itinerary. There are a choice of hiking trails for all
levels of competency. From the 5 km easy trek (with the sneaky option of a
cable car home!) to longer, way off the beaten track trails. The Montserrat hiking trail up to the San
Jeroni summit is by far the most rewarding hike. If you have the time, it’s definitely the one you should
choose. The 360 degree views, not only over the whole of the Montserrat mountain range, but also
over most of Catalonia will be your well-deserved reward at the end of this
trail. Spain is a great choice for autumn hiking as the temperatures are
very pleasant, but you should be aware that the hours of daylight may be shorter
than you are used to. Flights to
Barcelona are plentiful from Ireland and there is cheap local transport to
Monteserrat, making this a very accessible hiking spot for weekend trippers.
More often famed
for its sun tourist, Cyprus has a lot more to offer. Leave the crowds lying on their sunbeds by
the pool and tighten up your hiking boots for some awesome trails across the
island. The Madari Circular trek is an 8
mile trail which takes in some incredible views of the UNESCO world heritage
sites and rewards the trekker with magical views of the Xylliatos Dam. This trail is not particularly tough but is
very beautiful with unspoilt vistas and almost deserted tracks and trails. The island does have much to offer for the
more hard core hiker. The Besparmak
Trail is 255km long and you need to set aside at least five days to tackle this
experience. Traversing mountains, coastal trails, forests and quaint
villages. Crusader castles, monasteries
and churches, the wonderful scenic views will ease the journey. For the even more adventurous, there is also
the St Georges Trail. This is the most dangerous trail in Cyprus, famed for
high ground, steep drops and an abundance of snakes. If this is your idea of fun, then make sure
you have stout well fitted boots to go with that sense of adventure.
Georgia – Caucasian Mountains.
Completely off the track, beaten or otherwise, Georgia offers some hiking trails where you may well be the only Western trekker for miles. Time seems to have stood still in this beautiful wilderness. Locals use horse and carts to get around and traditional farming methods to survive. Follow the Mestia to Ushguli trail and it will bring you to nature at its purest. High glacial peaks, unspoilt lakes and lush valleys, the trail winds through one stone village after another. Guest houses are available for cheap sleeps on your journey and September is thought to be the most perfect time of year for the Caucasian Mountains where Europe and Asia meet.
Albanian Alps: Hiking the Spectacular Theth to Valbona Trail
A five-and-a-half-hour flight can bring you to the far-flung coast of Albania, on South-eastern Europe’s Balkan Peninsula. It’s a small country with Adriatic and Ionian coastlines and an interior crossed by the Albanian Alps. The most famous hiking trails are here in the Alps. The most picturesque and inspiring trail goes from Valbona to Theth, through the Accursed Mountains. How Lord of the Rings does that sound? Spectacular landscapes of the Balkan Peninsula and the incredible beauty of the majestic Albanian Alps await the most intrepid traveller. The hike, called Peaks of the Balkans, crosses over into the neighbouring countries of Kosovo and Montenegro, follows an old mule track and is almost 20 km long, and can be completed in one day. There are many such routes through this wild and wonderful country and as the average temperatures in October are more pleasant than most Irish days, it may well be the perfect destination for hikers who prefer a less crowded route with all the challenges and beauty possible.
Purchasing hiking footwear can be quite a
daunting task. At Outdoor Adventures
Store we are always on hand to help our customers to ensure that the footwear
they choose is sturdy, reliable, comfortable and great value for money. We are pleased to answer some of the more
usual questions about buying hiking boots.
need hiking boots?
You do. You need hiking shoes and
boots if you want to trek long distances and upland trails comfortably and
without blisters or wet feet and all the time reducing the dangers of slipping
and falling. A good pair of hiking boots
are optimised for ankle support on all terrains and will protect your feet from
rocks and spikey trail debris. There
is a good reason why Mountain Rescue sites repeatedly recommend wearing proper
footwear to ensure comfort and safety while hiking. The wrong shoes are simply a recipe for
disaster. Those who start walking in regular footwear, often regret their
hiking boots be a size bigger than your usual shoe?
A controversial question indeed! Some
manufacturers recommend going a half size up, but this is not always good
advice. The answer is very simple. Check your foot size, length, width and arch
and then purchase a boot that will fit snugly everywhere. Look out for tight or squeezed spots and know
that this is going to be the source of extreme pain in the future if you walk
in that boot. You should be able to wiggle your toes. If the boot is too loose and your foot will
slip on down-hill trails, causing your toes to touch the end of the shoes and
cause discomfort or even injury. You
are also likely to get blisters. Consult
the sales advisor at your store. A
general guide is that your heel should be locked in position inside the boot
and won’t slide or move, as you walk. At Outdoor Adventure store, we can advise
at the fitting stage, ensuring a hiking boot that will keep you comfy, safe and
happy for years to come.
hiking boots stretch?
Hiking boots may stretch a little with
wear, but this is more a case of them becoming snug, and fitting better, after
you ‘break them in’ and not a case of the boots expanding to become too loose.
Leather is a natural material which responds to outside (and inside)
conditions. Stretching or easing, may
happen to your boots of natural materials.
I wear hiking boots for regular walking?
Yes. Hiking shoes and boots are designed
for walking long distances so are perfect for regular walking. However, if
walking on a hard road surface, in the sturdier, heavier hiking boots it may
make the going a little tough. In fact, you will be using more energy to cover
the same distance. A lighter walking shoe or trail runner is probably better
suited for road walking.
Can I use hiking boots for running?
It is not advisable to use a
heavy hiking boot for trail running. Trail running has become increasingly
popular over the past few years. For
this activity, it would be advisable to choose the aptly named, trail runner,
if running over bumpy terrain in isolated areas is your choice of outdoor fun.
Trail runners have no high ankle supports and are generally of a lighter
material. Generally, they have a narrow
sole, so you are closer to the ground, reducing the chances of tripping and
falling. Naturally, they are not as durable as sturdy trekking boots and will
not offer the same amount of protection from debris, stones and rocks. But each
boot or hiking shoe has been optimized for its designated activity.
need to spend a lot of money on hiking boots?
There is no need to spend lots of cash on your first pair of hiking boots. There are a wide range of hiking boots to choose from and even those with a modest price tag offer comfort, safety and reliability on the hiking trail. Of course, a lot depends on the type of hiking you intend to do. If you are into extreme trekking at ridiculously low or unbearably high temperatures, then you will need to adjust your purchases to reflect the stress that you and the footwear will be experiencing. If you are just new to the world of hill-walking, then you can purchase a good pair of sturdy, breathable, waterproof shoes to get you comfortably on the trail. Outdoor Adventure Store shops have an incredible choice of activity footwear and can advise on what meets your needs. Take on the trails in the Eurotrek Lite III Walking Boot by Hi-Tec. Waterproof and lightweight – they boast a Dri-Tec membrane at a very reasonable price.
long should hiking boots last?
This question can be answered by the
previous one. Sometimes, you get what you pay for. Cheap shoes will last just a
while. Expensive, branded and tested
hiking boots are more likely to be durable and hard wearing. Some people have trusted boots for years and
years. A good guideline for quality hiking boots and trail shoes is some 500-1000 miles
(805 to 1610 km). We know that is a huge range but there are many factors
affecting the mileage that your boots can handle. The terrain is very influential and firm, but
soft trails, will see your boots lasting longer than those that tackle rock,
bogs and scree. Clearly, the boots will
just take less of a beating on nice even trails as opposed to tough and
challenging terrain. Maintenance and
care of the boots will also extend or lessen their lifespan.
Spending time outdoors in nature increases your emotional and psychological well-being. The beneficial effects of enjoying nature and fresh air are so good for your mental health that it is being prescribed by mental health practitioners and clinicians as a positive therapeutic tool.
While fresh air and exercise is no replacement for therapy or medical intervention, numerous studies have shown that being one with nature and the elements simply makes us feel better. The positive effects of a single exposure to nature – for example, a walk, a run or a stint in the garden – can last for seven hours after an individual has experienced it! It is also very enjoyable.
Walking away those blues!
Walking is one of the best ways to change your mood from blue to better. And feeling better is a great starting point! Studies of regular walkers have shown increased brain function, increased stamina and a flow of the good feeling hormones, serotonin and melatonin that also boosts your endorphins. Endorphins are a neurochemical that boosts your mental health, decreases your sensitivity to stress and pain, and can even make you feel euphoric or in an improved mood. A study in the Lancet medical journal found that people who exercised on a regular basis (including easy and gentle walking) had less self-reported “bad” mental health days, compared to people who didn’t exercise at all. Walking gets the blood flowing, the heart rate increasing and helps to de-stress in times of trouble. In older people, staying active by gentle walking can improve cognitive function, memory, attention and processing speed, and reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
We can presume that this is true too for the younger walker too. Walking is free and on your doorstep. Choose a pretty part of the world to walk your worries away. Luckily, Ireland is abundant in great parks, beaches, woods or mountain trails within easy access. Ask a friend to join you in making full use of these amenities and in walking your way to feeling happier. And of course all walking will help you to get physically healthier too, so it’s a win-win plan. Invest in some good walking shoes and suitable wet gear so that the positivity is not reduced by soggy weather or blistered toes.
The sea, Oh the sea!
To be beside the sea is a boost to your mood. A study carried out by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), found that those living along the sea coast were shown to have a lower risk of depression. This was attributed to greater physical activity and social interaction associated with the area but it also concluded that those lucky enough to have regular sea views were deemed to be at the lowest risk of suffering depression. For some people, it is not enough just to view the waves. They want to jump right in. Wild swimming has become one of Ireland’s most popular outdoor activities. Wild swimming groups and clubs are meeting all over the country at sea piers and mountain lakes to take the plunge together. Wild swimming often means diving into freezing water in isolated spots and can be described as absolute madness by those with a less adventurous spirit. However, there is a scientific basis, as well as a level of craziness, to diving in cold water.
A group of Berlin researchers observed a wild swimming group who regularly swam in ice-cold water during the winter. They discovered “a drastic decrease in plasma uric acid concentration” amid participants, both during and after cold water exposure. This resulted in an increased tolerance to stress, according to the findings. Cold water swimmers have also reported improved immune system, better circulation and increased libido, but the emotional benefits are reportedly amazing as pain of plunging into bitterly cold water is rewarded with a tsunami of endorphins. Being immersed in cold water for 15 minutes decreases the heart rate by almost 10%, reducing blood pressure and leading to a calming effect. After that you feel uplifted and happy.
Climbing the Walls!
It’s a daunting activity. It takes courage and a certain degree of skill. Rock climbing is a fast growing sport in Ireland and it is absolutely brilliant for your overall mental health. In the same way as any mindful activity slows down the chattering brain and focuses the mind on the important job in hand, rock climbing is a positive learning experience. It teaches patience while strengthening your mind body co-ordination and it puts life in perspective. Perhaps hanging off a craggy rock on a Saturday afternoon will do that! There are lots of indoor wall climbing facilities to begin your journey, or you might consider joining a club.
In 2017, a research study assessed 40 participants on the mental health benefits of rock climbing. Half the group participated in a single two-and-a-half hour indoor sport climbing session and the other half had a relaxation therapy session. Immediately after the activities, the researchers measured positive and negative effects, using depression and coping with emotions indexes. The results indicated that the climbing group reaped more significant benefits in terms of regulations of emotions and feel good factors, when compared to the second group. The benefits of climbing are so documented and practiced that it now has its own name. Boulder therapy. Call it whatever you like, there is no doubt that literally climbing the walls brings its own healthy feelings and is uplifting on all fronts.
There is no doubt that nature, fresh air and time spent out of doors gives our mental health a positive boost. It is free and it can be a social or a solitary experience. Given all these findings and a dose of nature might indeed be what the doctor ordered.
Hill walking and buggy pushing through nature
You are never too young to appreciate the
joys of hillwalking and hiking. A good
pair of walking shoes and suitable clothing is essential to happy trekking
trails for younger humans. Just as it is for older hikers! Explore the map and
plan the route together before you go, marking the stopping points where treats
and drinks can spur their little legs to go a bit further along the way. Remember that younger hikers may not have the
same stamina as you do and therefore you should choose achievable goals. The Sugar Loaf Mountain in Wicklow, for
example, is an accessible trail for most levels. Check online for medium and easy treks in
your own area. For tiny tots, there are many forest walks that will bring
adventure and excitement to an afternoon walk.
The Gruffalo Trail in Belfast is an incredibly cute and engaging walk,
with carved characters from the iconic story marking the way.
Rock climbing and mountaineering are excellent for adventurous children of all ages and abilities. Climbing on real rock is actually very accessible for young climbers. It is a thrilling activity which can be accessed with the expertise of qualified outdoor instructors, making it both safe and fun, in a number of centres and clubs. Rock climbing and mountaineering can increase a child’s confidence and foster that sense of adventure that makes life worth getting out of bed for. Outdoor rock climbing is available for younger folk at a variety of venues including Carlingford Adventure Centre in County Louth. For suitable mountaineering possibilities for kids, follow this link: mountaineering.ie & Outdoor rock climbing
Zip Lining and other adventures
Birthday treats and summer holiday adventures may even see you, the willing adult, shelling out some money for outdoor adventure experiences. Zip lines and aerial walks are super popular with children and best experienced as a team activity. Safe enough and yet scary enough for the more timid child, zip lines are a wonderful memory making activity. Trip advisor have a comprehensive list of outdoor adventure parks and zip lines in Ireland. Consult before you go and leave a review when you come home. Delphi Adventure Resort
Water Play with a boost
Forget the large water parks of Europe and
check out Ireland’s new craze of inflatable water parks. Somewhere near you in
the lakes and sea inlets are large inflatable slides and bouncy castles which are
awaiting childish laughter. Check out
the links below and plan a day of splashing and playing in a well supervised
outdoor water park.
Young people can take to surfing like ducks
to the proverbial water! Surf schools
have popped up all over the coastline offering affordable surfing lessons for
young enthusiasts. Be warned though, a taste of the trills of surfing can lead
to a life of outdoor adventures, riding the waves from Brittas to
Bundoran. Surfing builds up a child’s
confidence in the water and in their own ability. They usually take place in waist deep water
with qualified instructors with them at all times but are often standing up on
their surfboards with big smiles in no time!
A more gentle and sedate fun can be had on a stand-up paddle board. An afternoon paddling down a quiet river with the family is perfect for enjoying all the nature which thrives along our riverbanks. Supping was unheard of in Ireland a decade ago, but has taken on huge popularity with young and old and makes a wonderful outdoor activity for your bored summer holiday kids.
Being outdoors doesn’t have to be a planned activity every time. Encourage outdoor play with bed-sheet tents and impromptu picnics. All you need to provide is pots, pans, water and lots of imagination. With making tiny fairy houses and insect hotels from moss, twigs and whatever you can find. Lie on the grass. Make daisy chains. Climb trees and swing on gates. The winter is long enough. Make the best of the long days, the summer sunshine and showers and for heaven’s sake, go out and Play!!
Summer is finally here and the mountains
and trails are calling to us all. The
longer days, the (sometimes) better weather and the absolute beauty of Ireland
in its full green summer bloom will always inspire to get us out and
What will you need to bring with you for your day long adventure trek into the highways and byways? Traveling light is essential, particularly if the temperatures are creeping up. Yet, you will need to pack something for every eventuality that an Irish summer can bring. Here is an essential guide to warm weather summer hiking. This simple and common sense list will cover all your needs while guaranteeing that you won’t be staggering uphill with an overweight backpack
The usual rules for hiking still apply.
Wear suitable footwear. Unsuitable footwear is the most common
reasons for slips, falls and broken ankles. Ditch the flip flops and the fancy wedge
sandals in favour of a good walking shoe or boot. Walking sandals are perfect for some terrain,
but if you plan to be off road, you may expect a few scrapes and cuts from the
undergrowth. Socks and sandals may be a fashion faux pas, but they make sense
on the gorse covered mountain ranges.
A walking or trekking pole, adjusted for the terrain and your own personal body type is invaluable.
Yes, sometimes we see the sun in
Ireland. Use sunscreen. Wear a hat and protect your eyes with a nifty
pair of sunglasses.
We often see rain and it is possible to experience a variety of climates all in the same day in Ireland. It makes sense to expect the odd downpour or two. A lightweight pair of over trousers will take a small amount of space in the haversack and you will bless their lightweight goodness when the sideways rain comes in from the Atlantic. A rain poncho is the perfect answer to keeping the worst of a summer rain shower off you and your backpack. Quick drying upper body clothing makes sense in the Irish climate. At Outdoor Adventure Store, we have a wide range of waterproofs and rainwear to keep you dry till those dark clouds pass.
Rehydration is a serious consideration for summer hiking. Make sure you bring enough water with you. And then, bring some more! Consider the real convenience of a water bladder. These clever hiking essentials can contain up to 2 litres and allow you to fill up and head off on any adventure without having to worry about searching for water.
Be Prepared! A lightweight First Aid kit will take up a small corner and add little weight to your journey. You may, hopefully, never have to use it. But, it is always better to have one with you come rain or shine. A comprehensive first aid kit need not be expensive and OAS have some for under €20 that can assist in almost every emergency.
We all eat a little less in the heat and
so, you might be tempted not to bring hearty food on a summer hike. However,
you expend more energy climbing in the heat, so do not be tempted to skimp on
the calories you will need. Eat well.
Stock up on high performing snacks, nuts, trail mix etc. Quality rather than
quantity might be your summer watchword as you avoid melty chocolate in favour
of high protein snacks.
Torch and navigational Equipment
The sunshine makes us happier and may lull
us into a false sense of security regarding wild walking and off road trekking.
We may be less inclined to plan for the unfortunate things that may happen. Unfortunately,
you can get lost while hiking in summer too.
A change of weather, an influx of low lying cloud or rain, can change
the landscape very quickly. Accidents or
incidents may slow you down and leave you out for longer than planned. Pack
your torch and whatever navigational equipment you use. Don’t rely on the phone for directions, as
coverage may be sparse. A map and
compass is still a great option in a digital age. Tell someone your route
before you go out and check in on your return.
loose-fitting, breathable clothing. Fabrics that breathes well will help your
body to regulate temperature. There is a vast choice of suitable trekking gear.
The Dare2B range has a tech-tee that actually moves sweat away from your skin and
keeps you feeling fresh. It looks good too. Nylon and polyester clothes
are good choices. Avoid cotton. When
cotton gets wet, it takes an age to dry and it is really not suited to the
warmer weather. Avoid overheating by not
wearing too much but at the same time, be aware that the top of mountains can
be much colder than sea- level. Pack for
a ‘Layer up’ should you need to address dramatic changes in temperature. Pastels are so in for hill walking
dahling! Black clothing attracts the
heat so choose lighter colours; white, khaki or tan to get the cool factor.
Pack spare socks. Trust
us! You can thank us the next time you
call into the shop. Spare socks are always needed.
Insect repellent. Midges, mosquitos and general flying, biting,
winged creatures may need to be repulsed.
Carry the necessary repulsion lotions!
All this looks like a
lot to think about, but it is a relatively small list, not too bulky or heavy, and
guaranteeing you a good trekking adventure, with all eventualities covered.
& Soul to Forbidden Fruit and Electric Picnic, there are plenty of
summertime festivals to excite, delight and thrill all the ardent festival campers
this coming season.
out the dinky flat heeled ankle boots, the Boho clothes you wouldn’t normally wear,
plonk on the obligatory flower hair wreath and your on point witty T shirts to start
planning those weekends full of music, street food and way, way too little
Ireland really knows how to do festivals! These days there are just so many to choose
from. From good clean family fun to hippy trippy eco warriors or just blasting
it out to sounds with the gang. Our
unique Festival guide will help you plan your summer events and make May to
August fly by in a haze of festivals….
to Mullingar on the 24th-26th May. Life is the
festival of dance music and yeah… it will be waking up the sleepy surroundings.
Located in the amazing surroundings of Belvedere House where the grounds and
the lake are a perfect background for the chance to make your moves to
international and local dance music talent.
Electronic music fans throng to Life and it is easy to see why. Celebrating
its 15th year, this is Ireland’s most revered and well-established
electronic music event, in other words this is the dance music mecca.
There are so many festivals
to enjoy in June.
Forbidden Fruit kicks the month off at Kilmainham, in the grounds of the iconic Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. The June bank holiday is the perfect timing for this six-stage festival event which offers an eclectic range of music over all tastes and styles. An awesome line-up includes Elbow, Skepta, Danny Brown and Mura Masa. Comedy, art and great food combine to make this gig an annual go –to event for so many die-hard fans. Cocktails, parties, fashion and lots and lots of amazing sounds make Forbidden Fruit a Festival that represents the diversity, uniqueness, fun and craziness of the capital city.
Solstice brings Midsummer madness in Cavan. Fake beaches but real craic. A food village, the Sunset stage and the club arena nightclub make this festival sound like the place to be in June. The Facebook page is alive with beautiful people having beautiful fun. Solstice only started last year with its inaugural festival and all reports were pretty positive. On the downside, they have yet to announce their acts for 2019, while tickets have been on sale for the past few months. But then, maybe it’s all about the ambiance and making the longest day of the year seem like the shortest. June 22nd in case you don’t know when the Solstice is.
Body and Soul ( 21st– 23rd June) in BallinLough Castle, Co Meath is often referred to as the ‘grown up’ festival, and caters well for those who haven’t quite left their raving days behind, but like some concerted recycling and hot stone massages before they dance it out in the big tent. A Fantastic line up in a beautiful setting with little interesting arty bits and musical cameos behind every faery tree, Body and Soul is more than just a yoga-momma day out. Super friendly (yeah, even family friendly-vibe) and well organised event, this festival does exactly what it says on the Marquee… it restores the equilibrium to the Body and Soul. Choose the quiet tent camping area, if you have had adverse reactions to lost drunk visitors stumbling in on top of your cosy sleeping bag. Choose the normal camping sites if you want the option of late-night revelling and partying. There is a family friendly site too, if you have wee ones in tow.
Sea Session, Bundoran 21st -23rd June. Donegal’s surf music festival is headlining 2019
with Sigrid, the Sugar-hill gang, The Two Door Cinema Club and a host of other
excellent music. This is an awesome line up to accompany all the tanned
beautiful people camping out along the Wild Atlantic Way for one of Ireland’s
super fun events. Sea Sessions is
in its 12th year and unsurprisingly, it sells out every single year
and has dedicated festival returnees. It’s a festival for the fit and freaky,
for the buffed and tanned and for all who love to bop to music by the ocean
waves. Body Boarding, surfing,
volleyball and numerous other exhausting events are enjoyed by the happy
crowd. Of course, an equal number of
festival goers enjoy lifting pints and swaying gently to this cool, slick
Bulmer’s Festival. Every Thursday is Festival time at Leopardstown Racecourse. From June 6th to August the 15th, All summer long, Leopardstown brings you a fantastic line-up of live gigs, great food, and thrilling horse racing on the Racecourse. Bulmer’s Live at Leopardstown has all the makings of a great night out, with a difference. Concert & Racing for only €17! The great thing about this gig is that the kids can come too, for a lower ticket price, naturally. So, get ready to enjoy bands like The Stunning, The Bay City Rollers (who??) and many others. Free shuttle buses and Luas at certain times. Book the next block of Friday’s off from work and enjoy Festival Nights
Longtitude. We love Longtitude! In Marley Park, Dublin from the 5th to the 7th July. However, it seems a bit mean to tell you that CardiB has been announced as the last headliner in this awesome festival. Why? Because it is all sold out folks! Yes, 2019 tickets have been snapped up. But should you win some on a radio show or blag some from a friend then you are in for a treat. Longtitude has a rep for attracting the younger festival goers (18-25) and is one of Dublin’s biggest outdoor music festivals. Sell a kidney or donate a limb for a ticket to this gig. Trust us, you won’t regret it.
Another Love Story Festival takes place in Killyon Manor, near Kinnegad, Co West Meath from the 16th
to the 18th August. It’s
really hard to describe this event and probably because we have not been, but
mainly because the organisers say this
‘Out of the quickest of thoughts, the faintest of notions, the momentary flash of imagination’s incandescent light bulb & the heartfelt meanderings of a group of friends – Another Love Story came to life. A bespoke weekender of music, art, conversation, food, fun & frolics nestled in and amongst the glorious grounds of Killyon Manor.’
intriguing website and eclectic musical line-up promises a more genteel
festival than the norm and with a whimsical arty type edge. It’s still camping! It’s still festival time! But it is probably
not the place for the bag o’ cans and the throw away BBQ. Dig out the wicker picnic basket and the box
of merlot. Class line-up of music too!
Electric Picnic. It’s synonymous with being young in Ireland. How many of today’s yummy mummy’s and hipster dads popped their festival cherry at The Picnic, it is still the most popular outdoor music event in Ireland, and a big hit for first time and veteran festival goers. Over the years its audience has graduated from its ‘breakfast rolls and leave the tent behind image’, into a music loving, fun following audience and Electric 2019 is another well organised, well attended festival. But, let’s not get too excited as tickets went on sale in December 2018 and sold out in 15 minutes. 2020 beckons lads. Let’s not get left behind.
It is Ireland. The water is rarely warm. Choose a wet suit with the magic of neoprene for the chilly Atlantic waves and the icy sting of the Irish Sea. Neoprene has proven itself as maintaining great flexibility under all temperatures. It is the best option for a good wet suit. Before purchasing a wet suit, consider the thickness of the neoprene and the protection it gives. The thickness of a wetsuit starts at 2mm and goes up to a chunky 6mm of protection. Don’t think that a denser suit will restrict your movements. Designs have improved greatly over the past years and a 6mm wet suit will not impeded your amazing surfing/diving/generally awesome skills in any way. The wet suit will be thickest around your torso, and then the legs and then the arms. This is cleverly designed to give optimum warmth to your core. It also makes life easier for wild water swimmers, kayakers and other water sport enthusiasts as the arms keep working, the core is protected. If you are still wondering just how thick you need to be, from a wet suit perspective, then let one our trained staff at Outdoor Adventure Store talk you through the options. Obviously, if you are navigating giant waves in the North Sea on a chilly November morning, you should opt for the heaviest density of 6mm. If you really don’t take your clothes off for anything less than 21 degrees of rare Irish sunshine, you will be grand with the 3mm. In fact, 3mm is the most popular wet suit as it covers most options for Irish water sports.
Make sure your wetsuit is a nice snug fit.
Chafing is a real problem with ill-fitting wet suits and while the suit should
not be cutting off circulation or causing pain, it is normal for this piece of
clothing to be the tightest thing you have ever put on. Keep in mind that
neoprene stretches when wet and with usage, so If you’re in doubt about the
correct size – choose the snugger fit. Trust us. It will feel weird at first, particularly as
you pull it over the legs and thighs. But, you do not want to be slowed down in
the water by folds or air pockets so bear with it. If a wetsuit wasn’t snug, it would not do
its’ job of keeping you warm and improving your buoyancy. The very purpose of the suit is to keep a
very thin layer of water next to your body. That means that the wetsuit
is going to feel very tight, but comfy and touching your skin in the small of
the back, backs of the knees etc.
Wet suits tend to come in the amazing colour range of black, with interesting shades of grey. No one complains about this lack of colour as style in wet suits is really more about the cut and the placement of the zipper. The style depends on personal preference. Do you prefer a full-sleeved or sleeveless version? A Steamer, a Shortie or a Long John. There are pros and cons to each, but a Steamer, or longer-sleeved wet-suit, gives more buoyancy and warmth, while the sleeveless versions (a Long John) can be nice for those who don’t like their shoulder range-of-motion restricted, and is particularly used for sailing. The Steamer design is the most common suit and the one you’ll spend most of your surfing life wearing. Examine the zip before you buy. Back zips run along the spine, making a big opening and so, they are the easiest type to get on. At Outdoor Adventure Store we stock Typhoon brand,which feature the Storm Keeper Zip, a specialist zip featuring offset teeth that forms a minimum water penetration. The zip can often see water penetration, but this is greatly reduced when you choose a well-made brand. Some choose front opening zips, but again it is entirely a personal choice.
Gloves, hoods and booties are essential extras which water sport enthusiasts usually add to their kit once they have begun the activities in earnest. The addition of a good neoprene super-stretch hood with a snug face seal can make facing the winter white water rapids in your kayak a much more pleasant experience. If you are a hardy wild water swimmer, then you need to have that protection from the brain numbing chills! Booties not only protect you from the cold, they stop rocks and reefs from damaging your feet. Your feet will stay warm for a longer time. Your hands will be warmer with the addition of gloves, although generally speaking they provide protection from the air and wind chill and not just the water, particularly if you are surfing or canoeing. Good accessories and the secret to all weather participation in your favourite water activities from surfing to snorkelling, and just as it is important to buy the right wet suit, you should pick reliable brands in accessories, that will last the test of time and the rigours of your crazy water filled adventures. See our Wet-suit accessories here
Looped hikes are the best option for a satisfying and exhilarating day’s hiking. The reasons are as simple as they are logical. You have the joy of ending up where you started. Not having to turn back and retrace your steps to the starting point gives you a huge boost psychologically. Turning around to retrace your steps can induce a drudge like feeling. The end, the goal or the summit is the actual end of the hike. Phew! It’s also good to keep the views fresh and the road new as you wander through our wonderful green and pleasant land. On the practical side, there is no need to park a second car at the finishing place or ask a kind friend to be your taxi back to your own transport when the walk is looped. Looped walks are awesome. Even better if they can be accessed from the Capital city for that day trip to nature. A day of trekking and home for tea!
We have picked out 5 of the very best, stress free, minimum hassle, maximum pleasure, looped hikes, within easy reach of Dublin City for your enjoyment.
The garden of Ireland is always a first
choice for those city dwellers who feel the call for solitude, beauty and
incredible unspoilt nature. We have included two of the many looped hikes in
Wicklow. The first is a little shorter
at an hour and a half hiking and the second presents more of a challenge.
Ballineddan Mountain lies on the edge of the Wicklow Mountains and boasts wonderful views of the inland plains of Wicklow, including Lugnaquilla, Camarahill and Slievemann. It’s a moderately tough trek, so it’s important to dress appropriately and bring wet gear. The guide books warn of a steep ascent, partly on untracked heather and grass, which leads to the mountain summit. Other than this it’s a fairly easy climb for the experienced hiker. The broad, bare, grassy summit offers little shelter on wild and windy days but on a fine day it is a great walk. The views at the top are definitely worth the effort and the descent is gloriously looped to bring you back to your starting point. The whole trek is less than 5km from start to finish. Find the route here:
Maulin Mountain Loop near Enniskerry, Co Wicklow is a tough 3-hour hike more suitable for the more experienced hillwalker. It consists mainly of forest track and gravel path and provides a challenging route across the slopes of Maulin Mountain, with magnificent views into Glencree and overlooking the adjacent mountains and valleys. At one juncture there is an incredible view of Powerscourt Waterfall and the Great Sugar Loaf. Instagram heaven. In the distance Dublin Bay and the sprawling city are clearly visible. A 6km trail with a 350 m climb, this looped track is not a regular Sunday stroll. Just a short drive from the Big Smoke and set in the stunning Wicklow Mountains, it is definitely one for the looped walk wish list. See the route here
An hour and a half drive from Dublin to the beautiful Sliabh Bloom Mountains, near the village of Kinatty in Co Offaly, the Glenafelly Eco Walk is a moderate trail with plenty of flora and fauna and bubbling streams to delight. It’s a food choice for family outings as it provides plenty of diverse nature and not too much in the way of difficult terrain. The walk begins with scenic forest roads and a hiking trail by the river bank and continues with a short climb through mature conifers before leading to a gravel forest road. Lucky trekkers might see fallow deer, pine martens, badgers or foxes on this unspoilt wilderness trail. The Eco walk takes about 2 hrs at a constant walking pace. Full Route can be viewed:
The Cooley Peninsular has breathtakingly awesome views and great looped walks that are easily accessible from the capital city. Less than an hour and a half drive from Dublin, the little port of Carlingford is a starting point for most of these trails. We recommend the Slieve Foye looped hike, which offers incredible views over Carlingford Lough including the epic mountains of Mourne, sweeping down to the sea, on the other side of the bay. This is a tough 3-hour hike and is reviewed here with an excellent map and a great write up.
“Slieve Foye isn’t a mountain to be frightened of, but
it’s one to respect — even at the modest height of 589m, you want decent
weather and an absence of low cloud to make your way safely among its rocky
outcrops… What a mind-melter of a view,
from the majestic Mournes to the far-off Wicklow Hills down in the south, the
Ring of Gullion out west and the sail-dotted waters of Carlingford Lough and
Dundalk Bay in the east.”
This article will have you packing the rucksack and heading north at the next available opportunity.
Ticknock – Fairy Castle Loop.Literally on the doorstep! No need to travel far to enjoy some good mountain trekking. The proximity to the growing Dublin population does mean that you will probably share the trail with like-minded city dwellers escaping for an hour or two. This is a small price to pay for the convenience and enjoyment of Ticknock and the Fairy Castle Loop. A scenic looped walk on forest road and path through the Three Rock Wood and upwards to reveal amazing views of the city from Three Rock Mountain and Fairy Castle. At the top, there is a 360 degree panoramic view with the city to the north and the Wicklow Mountains to the south. From Fairy Castle a muddy track heads west before you turn north and descend along the edge of the forest and back to the car. It is rough enough terrain so very much geared towards properly equipped and experienced walkers. Good stout hiking boots and wet gear are needed. Just an hour and a half of moderate hiking is all it takes to complete this loop.