eCommerce will thrive in 2009

So despite the economic downturn, eCommerce projections estimate that online retail will continue to thrive as budget constrained customers turn to the internet for their product research and to get a good deal.

Our old friends at eMarketer has some good tats showing how US online retail grew 6% in 2008 compared with 2% for the high street, and we all know Amazon’s grew 31%. ASOS, who focus on the internet clothing fashion space also saw strong revenue growth and profits in 2008.

In fact, US eCommerce sales are expected to grow 12.5% in 2009, 11.1% in 2010, and 9.9% in 2011. The majority of this growth will be in categories such as online fashion, groceries, and household goods.

With better presentation, more information, reviews, advice, better security, and fast broadband systems – there is plenty of rationale behind these figures.

As that famous pop group once sang (I forget their name!) – “things – can only get better”.

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Twitter Icebreaker Giveaway

UPDATE: Competition entry closed at end of Jan and we have a winner! Congratulations to Ian Moore who is on twitter as @idmoore. We’ll launch a new competition in the last week of Feb.

Right, so it’s time to start our first Twitter contest and we’d like to start with one of the coolest brands right now “Icebreaker”. The aim is to do a competition every single month from now on and we’ll also be offering some exclusive ones just for existing followers.

We’re giving away one of the following this month (draw ends Friday 30th Jan 2009):

An Icebreaker Rock Zip Fleece Top – Women
An Icebreaker Rock Zip Fleece Top – Men

Want to win one? All you have to do is the following:

  • Follow @webtogs on twitter
  • Simply tweet “Just entered to win a cool Icebreaker Rock Zip Fleece Top for Fri 30th Jan. Just follow @webtogs and retweet. “

Here is the current (updated every minute) of all entries, showing your odds to win.

The contest is open to anywhere in the UK and Europe and is completely free to enter.

Good luck!

Here are some pictures of the Icebreaker tops:

Icebreaker Rock Women

Icebreaker Rock Zip Mens

P.S. Thanks to @simonianson for helping out with some inspiration for this.

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Basic Trail Etiquette

No one has written a book on trail etiquette yet, and that is probably a good thing. Hikers are an independent lot, but one thing we all share is a common respect for our surroundings (Earth). After all, it’s the only one we have. It makes me angry when I’m hiking a pristine trail and see it littered with sweet wrappers, sandwich bags and other rubbish. It’s simple enough – if you packed it in, you pack it out. It’s not just about respecting the earth, but about respecting your fellow hikers too.

If fires are allowed, burn only dead wood. We’re hikers, not loggers so leave the trees alone. Speaking of fires, it’s a good idea to make yours where others have made theirs, the less of an imprint we leave, the better. Treat campsites in the same way, there’s no need to clear away bushes when another campsite has already been done.

There’s no need to widen a path for the same reason. On narrow trails, it makes sense for a party to walk single file.

When going to the bathroom, do it far enough from the trail that it won’t bother other people. Dig a hole and cover it up. Of course, you should never go close to a water source.

When passing people on a trail, nod, smile, and say hello. You might admire their outdoor clothing style, gain some valuable information about the walk or even make a new friend.

Trail etiquette is common courtesy and common sense.

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First Aid on the Trail

If anything can go wrong, it will. Murphy’s Law applies doubly on the trail. Anyone who chooses to leave the comforts of civilization without basic first aid knowledge and a serviceable first aid kit is on a fool’s errand.

When things go wrong in the wilderness, they go wrong quickly and emphatically. A simple slip or fall could become a matter of life and death. Cheap or ill fitting outdoor clothing can add to any disastrous circumstances by aiding the onset of hypothermia. Learning first aid is essential for any hiker.

Webtogs offer a comprehensive assortment of first aid kits large, medium and small. As well as general first aid kits we have kits that are specifically tailored towards activities and/or a medical condition. First Aid Kits from Lifesystems

Check local resources for instruction on first aid. Police or fire stations can help point the way. If there is a local branch of the Red Cross or Salvation Army, they will probably offer courses and they will cost very little if at all. If you are taking children with you, make sure they have basic first aid knowledge, too. You never know who will be hurt on a trip. If it’s you, and you’re the only member of your party with first aid knowledge, things will not go to well.

A good first aid manual is essential. You can download one for free here or purchase one from any bookstore. Read it thoroughly, and keep it in your first aid kit.

Here’s what the Red Cross recommends in a basic first aid kit:

• Absorbent Compress 5×9 dressing to cover and protect open wounds.
• Adhesive Bandages (Assorted Sizes)
• Adhesive Tape (cloth) 1” to secure splints and bandages
• Antibiotic Ointment packets (approx 1 g)
• Antiseptic wipe packets
• Aspirin (Chewable) 81 mg for heart attack symptoms
• Blanket (Space Blanket) to retain body heat
• CPR Breathing Barrier (w/one-way valve)
• Instant Cold Compress to inhibit swelling
• Gloves (large), disposable, non-latex
• Hydrocortisone Ointment Packets (approx 1 g) for external rash treatment
• Roller Bandage 3” (individually wrapped)
• Roller Bandage 4” (individually wrapped)
• Sterile Gauze Pad 3×3 to control bleeding
• Sterile Gauze Pad 4×4 to control bleeding
• Thermometer, Oral (Non-Mercury/Non-Glass)
• Triangular Bandage for shoulder wounds
• Sling or binder/splinting
• Tweezers for removal of splinters and ticks

In addition, you will need a good Swiss army knife or multi-tool. A magnifying glass comes in handy for both removing splinters and starting fires. A small mirror should be added to the kit as well. They are useful for signalling if you are lost and for administering first aid to yourself. Always carry a lightweight foil blanket to preserve body heat. If any member of your party takes prescription drugs, remember to pack them.

Remember the old adage: It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

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Hypothermia is one of the predominant causes of death out in the wilderness. It is a quiet killer – mainly because it impairs your judgment when you need it most. Simply put, hypothermia is your body failing to maintain its temperature due to outside influences. It slows your metabolism, and untreated, eventually shuts down your body organs and kills you.

Preventing hypothermia is a matter of common sense. Stay dry, stay hydrated and dress according to the weather conditions.
Extreme cold can bring it on, but a cool, wet climate is just as effective. If you are caught in the rain, or manage to get yourself or your outdoor clothing wet by accident, you should immediately check yourself for signs of hypothermia, even if the outside temperature is mild.

Here are the hypothermia signs and symptoms:

• Shivering
• Slurred speech
• Abnormally slow breathing
• Cold, pale skin
• Loss of coordination
• Fatigue, lethargy or apathy
• Confusion or memory loss

As you can see, it is prudent to check yourself at the first sign. If you wait, you may not be able to later. Shivering is nature’s way of generating heat

The single best way to check is to take your temperature. Keep a thermometer in your first aid kit and always keep your first aid kid easily accessible. Your temperature should be around 37 degrees Celsius or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If it measures slightly below that, don’t panic. You will need to preserve the energy you have.

The two things you need most are water and shelter. If you have to drink from a river or stream, do it. Any clear water is good enough to drink in a pinch. Preserve the water in your body by breathing through your nose and don’t over-exert yourself to prevent sweating.

Find shelter and get something between you and the ground. Always carry a lightweight foil blanket in your first aid kit, they are meant for situations like this and work well. If your sleeping bag is handy, get in it.

Remember, it doesn’t take a catastrophic event to trigger hypothermia. Any prolonged exposure to temperatures below your body temperature can bring it on. Most deaths from prolonged exposure to water are due to hypothermia, not drowning. People have died from hypothermia in water with a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you are treating a member of your party for hypothermia, don’t rub their extremities, and follow the same general guidelines as for treating yourself, if a warm drink is available then get some inside you. Try to avoid coffee, tea, and alcohol. Body heat can be transferred so huddling together can save your friend’s life.

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