Newport H2 in action

Another update from Nick after his first report back to us – we challenged the fact that he was using his Newport Sandals as we didn’t get any pics. So he sent us a couple which you can see below.

Nick sliding down rocks in Vietnam

“Things are warming up for the our film crew here in Vietnam as we get close to the start of our shoot. So it was a welcome break for me to shower and cool off in one of the beautiful gorges here and a chance to really test my Keen sandals. Well I have to report they stood up superbly giving me great grip in the raging torrent and the confidence i needed to execute our stunt rehearsals”

Rope traverse across a gorge

We’ve stopped asking him currently as we are all completely jealous! Suffice to say, we think he is road testing them fully now ;)

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Dead keen on Keen

Over at Webtogs HQ, we all love KEEN. I’m just looking around right now and 4 people in the office have them all on! Although they are a major US brand, they’re still scrappy newcomers in the UK. With this in mind, we wanted to do something a little different and from this week we are offering a 30 day comfort guarantee.

So How does it work I here you ask? Well if you buy a pair of Keen shoes, sandals or boots from Webtogs and you don’t think they are the most comfortable shoes you have ever had, we give you 30 days from the date they arrive with you to send them back to us. The key difference – you can send them back having used them. Yup, you read that right! As soon as we get them back, we’ll refund your payment card for the full purchase price you paid. We don’t, however, refund any delivery charges, or the carbon offset if you elected to pay it.

The catch is….well……there honestly isn’t one! The only thing you need to do is make sure they are clean when you send them back to us. We’re not talking brand new clean, but they do need to be free of any loose soil / mud / sand / other things!. This is actually a health & safety requirement and not us being afraid of a bit of dirt! One other thing, you can only use this guarantee once. This is an addition to our current returns policy. All of the normal ZERO hassle features you know and love are totally unaffected by this guarantee.

We don’t offer this guarantee on any other brand of footwear (or anything else, for that matter). It’s not that we don’t love our other brands, but they are all well established in the UK. We’re on a mission to spread the KEEN message as far and wide as we can. We hope that this extra guarantee will convince a few more people to try KEEN for the first time. If they’re like our current KEEN customers, we won’t be seeing too many returns! All our keen products can be viewed here.

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Our mate Nick’s in Vietnam……

Here at Webtogs, we are lucky enough to have some fairly gnarly mates, and they don’t come any gnarlier than Keiths buddy Nick Parks (not be confused with Aardman animation!) Nick is a full IFMGA Mountain Guide, and has been leading mountain expeditions on skis and on foot for almost 20 years, journeying with his clients to some of the most remote corners of the globe.

Keith & Nick out on the hills

He’s currently helping out Bear Grylls in charge of rope safety, mountain safety etc for everyone on the new series. Whilst he is out filming, we asked him to test some gear for us in some of the toughest environments that Planet Earth can offer. We gave him some Keen H2 Sandals and Icebreaker socks to use & abuse, today we received this missive back from Vietnam where they are filming at the moment.

“Now my first despatch on the Keen sandals and Icebreaker sox…. first off a quick weather report so your readers can appreciate the conditions I’m testing these under. Vietnam is about to enter its rainy season, which means temperatures and humidity are at their highest, I can only describe it similar to being in a warm shower! Sweat is just pouring off us, our shirts are drenched, the only respite is in the a/c of the restaurants or from the rush of air travelling aboard our 4 wheel drives.

Sandals first, very impressed, super comfortable, no rubbing which is so often a problem in high humidity. The insole claims to be odor preventing and so far, admittedly only 3 days, that’s true. This is highly significant as I’ve never had a pair of shoes or sandals that didn’t honk to high heaven from day one! This afternoon we scrambled around on the boulders next to the Saigon river and they felt very secure. I particularly like the protection offered by the chunky toe piece, not that I’ve tested this feature but if I do inadvertently
kick a rock ‘m confident I won’t lose my toe nails!

Sox, equally impressive.. I was dreading pulling on boots and sox in this temperature although admittedly I did this under my room fan. Beautifully comfortable in my very basic jungle boots providing much needed cushioning. They stayed this way throughout a hot jungle yomp, never got sweaty and where even dry and not smelly! when I pulled them off 8 hours later! But most impressive I was the only person out of our group of nine whose sox weren’t penetrated by leeches, I’m not sure if Icebreaker advertise this fact… maybe they should.”

We’ll have more from Nick over the coming weeks as filming progress. We’re sending him some icebreaker boxers to make sure the leeches don’t go anywhere else they shouldn’t!

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Final proof us Brits are Tougher than old boot straps

This incredible article from the Telegraph details the story of Matthew Briggs who after breaking near enough bones most of us would break in a lifetime (ribs, ankle, wrist etc), camped out for 8 days before eventually going down the mountain in two days to summon help. Considering he ran out of rations and spent 10 days in pain, I’d be flat on my back demanding a lobotomy, but this guy was standing up asking for a cup of tea. Good to see the old British stiff upper lip is alive, well and living now in New Zealand!

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Dartmoor at Easter

Moving down to the South West has been a great move, but it’s not the first time I have lived down here. We lived just outside of Plymouth until I was 10 when I moved away. Part of the reason I love the outdoors as much as I do is the fact that when we lived there, my parents always took us to Dartmoor walking. Having such a beautiful wilderness on our doorstep really influenced my love of all things wild and this Easter saw us head down to Dartmoor for the first time in nearly 25 years.

sheep on hambledon tor

Walking over the tors and moors really brought back memories, the chuckle of water in the many streams, the call of grouse and the feeling of space and wilderness you get in so very few areas of Britain these days. Ifor in particular loved it, we had him walking as much as possible as there were no hills to fall down, it really is a great place for kids.

I reckon we go this way

We did two walks, the first was over Brich tor, through the standing stones and back up over Hambledown tor. The standing stones in particular were incredibly atmospheric and go back to the Bronze age. On the Sunday, we headed down to Badgers Holt and went straight up Yar Tor, Down to Sherwell, back through clapper bridge and over the stepping stones (hairy with a kid on your back) before heading back for a well deserved cuppa. The clouds threatened but didn’t deliver leaving us with a cool and calm walk, and the whole weekend awakened a love affair with Dartmoor again.

We’ll be back.

Birch Tor

on the way down from Yar Tor

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Tick awareness week

I was narked to see on Must be this way that I had missed Tick prevention week. Being a lover of the outdoors, ticks are a nasty risk that we all run when walking in our beloved country but the consequences of getting Lymes disease and the resulting effects are cautionary. So whilst you may have a spring in your step with the weather right now, keep those long trousers on and check the links above for further information about what to do. I have to be honest I had no idea how to remove a tick, and frankly enjoying the outdoors as much as I do, it’s a poor show I have only just read up on how to get rid of the blighters safely.

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Hambledon Hill

Amongst the unseasonably nice weather we have been having recently, we have been exploring the Dorset environs a bit more. Dorset isn’t just retirement homes and farms thankfully, we have been pleasantly surprised at how varied the terrain is as well. So, donning our Sunday best, we headed down to Child Okeford and took a stroll up Hambledon Hill in the glorious sunshine.

Hambledon Hill is an Iron Age hill fort which has some fantastic ramparts and dtiches that still survive. It goes back however even further to the Neolithic age, but evidence only survives from the Iron Age. What amazed us while we were up there was just how much earth had been moved. At that time in history and with the tools at their disposal, that must have taken a fair bit of human endeavour and actually walking across the fruits of labour from all that time ago really brings home how much effort it all took.

Ifor on hambledon hill

Ifor had a fab time rolling down the ramparts and ditches, we have recently switched our walking around so that we try and get him out of the child carrier early. He then gets tired quickly and we get a good long walk which is much better than having him run around at the end generally not having had a nap.

hambledon hill with ramparts

It was then a question of strolling amongst the Leylines as the hill also has great spiritual significance to a lot of people – my better half was dodging hippy’s up here over spring solstice. Sunday though, we had it all to ourselves, and the wonder & history of the place gave us a real lift.

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Easter Competition

Well we have had a twitter competition, so I reckon it’s time for a blog competition!

Pride of place we have here is a brand new North Face Doormat to make you the envy of all your neighbours or to take with you as the ultimate stylish accessory for your tent when welcoming you home after a hard day on the hill. We’ve combined this with a Victorinox Pen knife, Frisbee, Sit Mat and a base layer of your choice to the value of £30 from the site to help your Easter start with a bunny like spring.

What do you have to do to win this selection of goodies? Well all you have to do is to detail your favourite camp food recipe in the comments below. This could be anything from your favourite one pan dish to a rehydrated cordon bleu goodness idea. The winner will be the person who tickle our taste buds the most.

Now where’s my apron……..

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