Wild Family Fun

Tales of living, working and enjoying life in the outdoors


May 08, 2015

Calm Leisure Base Layer – Review

I find that I spend a lot of time researching performance stats, when to comes to buying new outdoor kit and clothing. I talk to my colleagues and research online to find the right piece of equipment, and also relay on to others the knowledge and review results, as getting a good item of clothing is very important.

When I was asked to review a baselayer by Calm Leisure, I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to try a product directly from a company, and to expand my knowledge of outdoor clothing providers.

I was sent a baselayer to review. This is an item of outdoor clothing that is an important part of the layering system that most people wear when doing something outdoors. A baselayer starts next to the skin, and is designed to trap a thin layer of warm air against the body. It also works to pull sweat away from the skin, which is known as ‘wicking’. A good baselayer will keep you warm, and acts as the first step to correct clothing while in the outdoors.

The Calm Leisure company ethos is to deliver a range of products that are incredibly comfortable, innovative in design and also purposeful. Designed and manufactured in Great Britain, the baselayer is ideal for activewear in a multitude of outdoor activity environments.

Calm Lesisure

I thought it would be a good idea to try the baselayer in a few different outdoor activities that I had going on. First, I used it while I was on a Duke of Edinburgh camping expedition in Brecon, Wales. The weather was due to be cold, so it was a good way to test out how warm the baselayer would keep me. While walking between checkpoints, I normally wear a baselayer, a thermal and my windproof coat. It seems like a lot, but this was March and we were in Brecon.

Initially, what I noticed was how the baselayer fitted. It was really lovely. Snug enough to have beneath clothing, but not too tight to the point of feeling uncomfortable, and an additional plus-value was how long the baselayer was. Sometimes, I find outdoor tops designed for ladies can be a bit small in length, and don’t fit at the back of your body. By the time you’ve moved about, sat down, fitted your rucksack, etc, the top has ridden up and you spend the day tugging it down to cover yourself. However, for me, the longer length of the baselayer was a real positive point. It was long and stayed well-fitted for the duration of my walk.

It was great for walking. It kept me warm and it wasn’t until I stopped, waiting for a group, that I got a bit cold and had to put another layer on, which is very normal when you’ve stopped moving. I was very happy how comfortably it felt, and very happy how warm it kept me through the day.

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Starting the day with a Calm Leisure baselayer, under a long sleeved thermal top.

Next, I used it on a river paddling afternoon. I wore it under my cag, (which is like a waterproof paddling jacket that keeps the prevailing wind off the body), then on top of all this was my buoyancy aid. Again, I felt very warm throughout my paddling session, even though the baselayer was short-sleeved. It’s so off-putting in any outdoor activity to feel cold early on, but I was very comfortable. I was not too hot, but found that I felt the right level of comfort with the minimal amount of layers on. I really don’t like having lots of layers on while paddling, as I find that it doesn’t help with the physical mobility aspect of paddling, so to have a base layer that kept me warm enough throughout the day was really great.

I also tested the baselayer on a family walk up to the summit of Pen Y Fan, in Brecon. The weather was scheduled to be windy, with a slight chill in the air. So, I started the day with the baselayer and a long-sleeved thermal over the top. I was very warm and comfortable, and it wasn’t until I reached the bottom of Corn Ddu that I had to put another layer on. It was a really good test and proved that this particular base layer was a success in this environment.

In short, this base layer performed exceptionally well, and really did its’ job on a number of different outdoor activities.

Another good endurance test was how it retained integrity after washing. I always stick to the recommended washing instructions to ensure the quality of the product lasts well. After washing, the baselayer kept its shape, and there wasn’t any discolouring in the fabric. The best aspect was that there wasn’t any shrinkage of the material. This is where the old addage ” buy cheap – pay twice” came into its’ own. The total quality of this product is consolidated in performance, value and durability and, when you’ve invested a little bit more money in equipment, you really don’t want it to fail in any of these aspects. This Calm Leisure base layer doesn’t, and will not let you down.

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Showing the length of baselayer, the rounded neck and the length of sleeve.

I would recommend this product and I’ve talked with, and shown, my colleagues this baselayer. I think that finding good outdoor clothing for women is such a positive thing, and it’s one of the biggest topics of any conversation when we get to discussing the various brands and styles.

To find a top-quality item of clothing that does its job, fits well, and also lasts after washing is fantastic. The Calm Leisure baselayer shows that if you pay a little extra, you will be rewarded in so many ways.

 I was lucky to be offered a Calm Leisure base layer for the purposes of this review. My opinions are my own, and are un-biased.

For further information and to see the range of clothing offered by Calm Leisure please visit : www.calmleisure.co.uk/

Calm Leisure can also be found on Twitter :@CalmLeisure

April 27, 2015

GETmore Water – Review

While on Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, the importance of drinking plenty of healthy fluids and being hydrated is key to a successful experience. I find that I have to force myself to drink enough water on any typical day, but while on expedition it’s so important to have a regular, above-average supply of fluids.

In our D of E centres, we don’t allow our young people to bring energy drinks, or canned fizzy sweet drinks. Instead, we promote water or squash, as some young people, (myself included), find it boring to drink volumes of plain water.

However, in the evening, I often allow myself an orange juice, as it can be a nice treat and is something to look forward to after dinner. When I was asked to review GETmore Water, I thought it would be a great supplement to have on a Duke of Edinburgh camping expedition.

GETmore Water

More Drinks

More Drinks. Low in calories. High in vitamins.

More Drinks bring you Get More and A Little More, two ranges of drinks that help adults and children get more of what their bodies need. Every product in the More Drinks range communicates a single, simple message that tells you what you’re getting and why it’s good for you.

  • More vitamins and minerals – to help you stay strong and healthy.
  • More flavour – because no matter how good something is for you, you won’t drink it unless it tastes great.
  • More spring water – to quench your thirst and keep you hydrated.
  • More convenience – for nutrition on the go.

Personally, I liked the fact that they’re available either still or very slightly carbonated, and are available in a variety of flavours, so that everyone can find a flavour to suit their taste. The added bonus is found in the added vitamins and minerals within the drink. I chose apple & raspberry with B vitamins, as I thought it would lend itself to the physical activity exerted while I’m on expedition.

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This was my favourite. It has a delicious flavour and really made a nice change to watery squash. Refreshing and sweet, it really gave me a boost when it came to late evening. Food and drink become a huge focal point, as we tend to camp away from shops and stores. Most of the time, we have to rely solely upon what we can take with us. My colleagues tried the citrus with multivitamins and, again, they were surprised and pleased with the crisp taste, as well as being very happy with the low-calorie content within the drink.

I find that some other flavoured waters leave my mouth feeling “coated” and the after-taste puts me off choosing them. But GETmore Drinks don’t have that problem, and it gave a lovely sweet taste which refreshed me. I felt like I’d had a little treat, without having the unnecessary “bad” extras that can be found in some drinks.

Yet another bonus is that GETmore Drinks also have a child-friendly range of drinks which come in a selection of wonderful flavours, all of which really appealed to myself and my daughter. My daughter has a weekly kayaking class, after which she always has a snack when she comes home. She tried the still mango flavour with D vitamins, and absolutely loved it. To have a children’s drink that has a low-calorie and low-sugar content, which also encourages healthy hydration, is amazing for kid’s and such a help to parents. My daughter has since spotted them in our local shops, and we now regular buy them for school lunches. Also, the handy sports cap enables no spillage, which is great for when we’re on car journeys.

a-little-more-vitamin-d-drink

I can recommend GETmore drinks for multi uses from lunch boxes, family days out, walks and camping expeditions.

GETmore Drinks are currently available at Tesco, WH Smith Travel, WH Smith High Street, Asda and other stores nationwide.

To GETmore information:  http://t.co/X2eDHHoYol

Also, you can follow GETmore on Twitter: @morevitdrinks

Also, on Facebook: morevitamindrinks

I’ve received a selection of samples from GETmore drinks for review purposes. My opinions are my own, and are honest and unbiased.

 

Review: SLPY – The Wearable Sleeping Bag

I was very lucky to be contacted, recently, by a company called SLPY. I was asked if I would like to review a new style of sleeping bag. The company kindly sent me links to information about the sleeping bag, and how it even becomes a wearable clothing item to suit different scenarios. For more info, visit  www.slpy.com

I usually spend at least two (or more) nights per month on a camp, and a sleeping bag is a very essential and well-used piece of my kit. The SLPY is just like a ‘normal’ sleeping bag, the only difference being that it can be worn in three different ways.

To sleep in. It can be used as a traditional sleeping bag, but it has a hood. It also has zips where your arm area is, and this allows you to sleep with your arms out of the sleeping bag.

It can be worn. The zipped additions at the arm and feet areas, means that the SLPY can be worn as a clothing item, allowing you to move about. That’s the interesting and very unique difference to this effective and functional sleeping bag.

Explore in it. By engaging the zip-cinch system found at the base of the bag, it can be pulled up to the waist and secured. This allows you to wear the bag more like a coat, allowing more movement whilst still within the warmth of the bag.

Designed in Yorkshire, the SLPY is machine-washable. It has a soft outer fabric which is then filled with “Thermalite Extreme”, providing a Comfort Rating of -5 and an Extreme Rating of -15. This means that it’s a fucntional three-season bag for outdoor use. It easily becomes a four-season bag, if you want to use it indoors as a really cosy, snuggly blanket!

The Original SLPY comes in six different colours. I had one in orange, which is very brightly colourful and is very appealing to young, trendy campers! There are five other colours available, each to suit a range of tastes and sizes.

I was intrigued at this uniquely new and different design of sleeping bag, so I jumped at the chance of being able to put it to the test. Coincidentally, I had a D of E assesment weekend coming up, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to try it out.

I was sent one in medium size, and it was just great for my body shape. I’ve had problems, in the past, when trying to find a sleeping bag with a generous fit to allow unrestricted movement to a girl of my proportions. But, I have to say, I found that the SLPY gave me room to move comfortably, and wasn’t too tight around the top area. It was amply long enough to cover me from top to bottom, with a little room left for comfort and movement.

After a long day of getting to checkpoints, and making sure that all the young adults were ok, we got to the campsite at about 7.30 in the evening. It was definitely time for tea and biscuits for the staff. It was also a great time to test out the SLPY, as the sun was starting to sink, and the evening temperature began to plummet just as rapidly.

Here I am, at the end of a long day, enjoying a well-earned snack and hot drink. In the SLPY, I could easily walk over to our kit-van, collect my mug of tea and treat myself to a couple of biscuits!

It wasn’t too long before some of the young people from my group wandered over to see what I was wearing, (I think it was the colour that drew them in!). A couple of them tried it on, and immediately loved the comfort of the SLPY. Most of them go to music festivals, and said how useful it would be to keep warm, yet still be mobile, after a day of dancing. Others said that it would also be lovely to have a SLPY to relax in on the sofa while watching a movie, especially now that darker nights are drawing in.

I kept the SLPY on for about an hour, and I was so warm. While my colleagues were putting on warm jackets and hats, I ended up wearing a t-shirt with a thin jacket, and was plenty warm enough not to even have to put gloves on.

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Warm, toasty, cosy and snug!

The biggest issue, for me, was how I was going to feel when I had to get to sleep at night. By the time the group had settled and we’d tidied up, it was nearly midnight, as usual! In the open countryside, it gets deceptively cold very quickly, so keeping oneself warm, while asleep, is really important. I’d put my SLPY inside my tent, as we were camping by a beach and the air had become quite damp. It would have led to disaster, if I’d had to sleep in a cold, wet cold sleeping bag.

When I sleep in a tent, I usually cocoon myself in loads of chunky layers. I also wear a hat to bed, as a big percentage of body heat is lost from the head. However, I found the hood on the SLPY was quite big, so I thought I’d just use the hood “sans chapeau”. I rarely wear socks to bed while camping but, as I had the option of zipping open the bottom part of the SLPY, I tried thick bed socks and opted for movement over restriction. It’s usually quite an irritation to me, as don’t like the feeling of my feet being trapped at the bottom of the usual sleeping bag format, so it was nice to have a choice, in this instance.

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I was able to sleep with thick socks on, and feet outside for once. Freedom!

I was happily surprised and very impressed at how warm and comfortable I was. I wore a light thermal shirt to bed, and was warm enough to have my arms outside the SLPY, which was amazing. It was like having a thick quilt on, but also having the snuggest qualities of a sleeping bag. It really was very warm all night, and I didn’t notice not wearing a hat or having my feet outside of the sleeping bag.

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My friend sneaked a photo of me sleeping away, very comfortably indeed!

It was a very comfortable and warm nights’ sleep and, put simply, that’s all you want and need from a good quality sleeping bag.

I also managed to try it out, while I was waiting at my checkpoint the next day. Staffing a checkpoint usually means waiting around (for an age) in a mini bus, while all your groups check in and then move off. You see if they’re ok, check that they know their route and fill up water bottles, if needed. You can be at a given checkpoint for anything from half an hour, up to three hours it it’s a long day.

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I knew I was in for a long wait, so I put my feet up and got comfy. I enjoyed the Sunday papers and I really was very cosy, with total mobility, wearing the SLPY

As a sleeping bag, the SLPY is great. It offers all the qualities expected from a standard format sleeping bag, in regard to warmth and comfort. I really did enjoy having zips built into the design, as it gave me the opporunity to move more and find a comfprtable sleeping postion.

Unlike a standard format sleeping bag, you can benefit from all these qualities on the move while wearing the SLPY, in a whole range of different scenarios.

When it comes to the”sack race”, thanks to it’s unique and innovative deign, the SLPY wins hands (and feet) down !!

I was sent a SLPY product to review. My opinions are my own, honest and unbiased. For retail info,  www.blackleaf.com

View SLPY Email Footer.png in slide show

Follow SLPY on Twitter  @SLPYadventures

Follow SLPY at Facebook: SLPY Adventures