The North Face Spring/Summer 2013 Clothing & Equipment

The North Face are undoubtedly one of the major players in the outdoor market and so having them as one of our brands is a great privilege. What it means is that we have the ability to choose the clothing, equipment and footwear which we feel suits our customer base, and their needs. Handy when The North Face have products across the spectrum, from trail running to expedition clothing.

The North Face
The North Face Clothing & Equipment

This year we’ve taken on a larger range of North Face Backpacks backpacks and this includes the all new Matthes Crest and Conness which are technical rucksacks for trekking and technical ascents in the mountains. The North Face have developed a fit system called Opti-Fit which is a five point adjustment system which allows the user to fit the pack closer to the body while maintaining ventilation in order to boost stability and comfort over tough terrain. There are gender specific versions of the Opti-Fit so you can have comfortable his and hers trips. Further down the range in the technical daypacks there have been some advancements in that department with the arrival of the Alteo, Casimir and Angstrom which cover volumes from 30 litres to 50. These packs show off their lightweight yet comfortable colours and are sure to be popular packs in the fast and light enthusiasts.

We have also stocked the usual suspects like the Base Camp duffel’s, Borealis and Jester packs so you can find them all in our backpacks and bags collection.

We have also taken on The North Face Tents for the summer and this is an exciting new collection which has updated old favourites and some new additions too. We have taken a range that varies from the VE 25 which is a super technical mountain tent made expedition level use right down to the Mica FL 1 for super light assaults. The North Face have managed to squeeze a lot of space from clever pole construction and additional vestibule construction which is great for backpackers and cycle touring enthusiasts.

Along with our growing backpack collection we have also stocked a comprehensive North Face travel luggage selection. The TNF luggage features the likes of the Rolling Thunder, which comes in 3 capacities; large, medium & small. This travel bag is a wheeled monster made from the same tough fabric as the well known Base Camp Duffel bags, of which we also have a large offering. We also have the Doubletrack, another large capacity wheeled travel bag, which has a zip out daypack – very handy on long hauls and stop overs. Speaking of long haul flights we have the North Face Long Haul which is a 75 litre, wheeled travel bag, made for distance travelling. This one features organisation, compression straps and, like most of the other travel bags, an ambidextrous retractable handle for effortless navigating.

We have a great collection of North Face products, and all our staff have had extensive training on all the products, so if you’re not quite sure on what item to go for then give us a call on 01179 113 869, we’d be happy to help.

 

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Montane Lightweight Waterproofs

Montane are a great British brand who specialise in designing and manufacturing fast and light gear and clothing for outdoor enthusiasts. This summer we’ve expanded our Montane collection to feature many lightweight waterproofs and technical backpacks.

montane lightweight waterproofs

The range of waterproofs are extremely popular and have been awarded many stars from gear testers, customer reviews and TGO awards. This year sees the birth of the Montane Minimus Mountain Jacket which, for me, is the most exciting addition as it offers an incredible amount of protection, features and technicality for a modest price and gossamer weight.

Montane have put a lot of effort into developing their products and maintaining their quality to ensure the highest standards, and this really does reflect in the build and functionality of their products (also the lack of faulty returns!) Their consistent performance and innovation in the technical outdoor clothing range has naturally brought into view their new backpack collection which ranges from the long distance Grand Tour 55 right down to the trail running inspired Ultra Tour 22. These packs feature tough but lightweight Raptor fabrics with comfortable and helpful features so you’re well covered on the trail, hill and mountain.

Take a look at the Montane Backpack collection here for some comfortable, technical load bearing packs.

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British Brands for British Weather

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The Brits love to moan about the weather and most mornings at work are met with a sarcastic ‘lovely weather today’. It’s true, the weather is horrible most of the time and it feels like it’s getting worse as each year passes. Constant storms, floods and a persistent lack of sunshine isn’t all bad news though as the philosophy ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad choice of clothing’ and as our boss here says ‘No such thing as a problem, only solution opportunity’ come into play.

The solution to solving inclement weather is to approach it with outdoor clothing and equipment which is designed by none other than the weather hating British. Who better to design and manufacture weather bashing gear?

So, what we have is a group of brands which have grown from our own waterlogged soil and who have listened to the perpetual moaning about the weather and who have decided to stop moaning and start the making solutions, lots of them.

The first of which is Rab. This fantastic British brand, inspired by the British climber and explorer Rab Carrington,  is growing from strength to strength with cracking ranges of waterproof jackets, down items fit for expedition, legwear, sleeping bags, wind shells, gloves, gaiters and more. Founded in the early 80’s Rab have focused on the fast and light side of the market spilling out some of the finest lightweight outdoor clothing on the market. One of the recent triumphs, and a personal favourite of mine, would have to be the Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket. This Rab jacket delivers fabulous warmth, versatility and super-light performance at a competitive price which is hard to beat in the battle of the micro baffles.

The second Brit in the pile is Mountain Equipment. These guys have been running since the 60’s and have some epic accolades desired by all brands in the outdoor market. Kitting expeditions out for the first ascent of many 8000m peaks and delivering season after season of top quality outdoor clothing.  Mountain Equipment today have an enviable range of clothing, equipment and accessories which are accessible by everyone no matter if you’re a weekend rambler or you’re planning to scale the north face of the Eiger. One of the most interesting and notable introductions of late is the Firefox Jacket. This Gore-Tex jacket is lightweight, waterproof, highly breathable and it’s slightly stretchy making it a great all round piece for walkers and climbers wanting something a little more than a waterproof. It’s use of Gore-Tex Active Shell is highly breathable and lightweight making it perfect for high output activities.

Third but by no means last is Montane. This brand is dedicated to designing and manufacturing lightweight, functional and breathable outdoor equipment and clothing. They’ve produced items such as the legendary Mohawk Jacket, Spektr Smock and the Air Jacket so they know their business for sure. Montane are a technical brand and were one of the first to recognise the benefits of eVent fabrics which now is widely used across waterproof clothing and equipment. Montane are one of the brands which you go to if you’re after some gear to help you in areas such as mountain marathons, ultra trail running and fast and light trips over British and Alpine terrain. Smart, technical and British engineering aiding people achieve their goals through innovation and design.

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Lead up to the ‘Grizzly’

It’s been a while since anyone has posted on the Togblog and the reason is pure laziness…. No, that’s a lie. We’ve had an incredibly busy few months over the Summer and unfortunately it’s the blog and social media which has taken a bit of a battering. For this we are sorry.

I’m Charlie and have written a couple of posts before, mainly about mountain biking and the like. If you’re not familiar then I’ll try to summarise what I’m like and the recent changes in my life which have lead me to participate in a few unusual events. Unusual for me anyway.

I quit smoking 2 years ago in March, not that I’m counting the days ( the 1st at 5pm)….. and this, along with working for Webtogs, kicked me in the right direction to entering a few races over the summer including a couple of triathlons, road races and the Wiggle Mountain Mayhem, a 24hr MTB race. I now own a garage full of bikes and bike bits but this is not where this post is headed.

Now that the nights are drawing  in and road cycling is becoming slightly dangerous I have been persuaded into trail running by Warehouse Mike our resident athlete and before you could say knife I’d entered a race called the ‘Grizzly‘. Now for those of you who are unaware of this race it’s a 21 miler from Seaton in Devon and it’s a multi terrain, extremely undulating race designed to knock you sideways with cliff paths, a million steps*, shingle beaches and styles to navigate – oh dear Charlie. I have no idea why this race sold out in 3 hours and I still have no idea why I entered. I maintain that my excuse is as it was when I was at school and in trouble “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, sir”.

So, Mike and I are entered into this Grizzly race and training has commenced with a bang. I went out around the woods and Stour Head gardens last night straight after work, on my own, and was happily running away on a 10k course we’d mapped out previously when a couple of things dawned on me. Firstly, the light was fading pretty quick so I needed to buy a decent head torch, and secondly if anything was to happen to me it would take at least 12hrs before anyone noticed me missing.

Towards the 8k mark where the route navigates through a few fields and in front of the beautiful Stour Head House, where there are usually friendly cows, the farmer had obviously swapped these ones for ‘Grizzly’ ones. As I was thinking ‘are you going to move’ the cows were obviously thinking ‘whose this pipsqueak on our turf’. Well to say I’ve never spun and run as fast as that is an understatement. I’ve never experienced that life flashing experience until last night and it freaked me out somewhat – needless to say it added minutes onto my training time as I had to find my composure along with my pride and my heart which had leapt into the nearest tree.

Two things learned last night. I need to buy a decent head torch, which luckily the Silva rep arrived today and we’ve added some seriously epic head lamps to our range. The second lesson was to give cows a wide birth, no matter how rare you like them.

Thanks for reading and hope to post again soon with more adventures.

Charlie.

* I’m not sure how many steps there will be but there are likely to be a lot!

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Our New Blog Home

For those of you who have never read us before, howdy! For those of you who have followed us previously welcome to our new home at http://tog-blog.co.uk We’ve been busy shoving the old site in to the theoretical moving van and here we are.

If you really want to know why we’ve moved, we’re making changes to the main site and want to ensure that it runs faster than a speeding bullet.  Moving the blog to a new domain helps us do this. We’ve also realised that this blog has been going for nearly 5 years now (phew) and there is a shed load of good stuff here. It deserves it’s own place, so pull up a pew, hit the subscribe link on the right or add our RSS feed to whatever programme tickles your fancy and we’ll pour the tea.

As for what you will see now you are here, well we are going to include the following;

  • There will be pictures of kittens from time to time
  • We won’t take ourselves too seriously
  • We won’t just turn this in to a blog where we go blah blah blah product blah blah blah product, buy buy buy all the time.
  • We’ll post useful stuff you want to know about the outdoors.
  • We’ll post routes of stuff we have done and let you download them and use them however you want.
  • We’ll try to sort out World peace in the next 18 months and post random words and numbers like 92Z5CYCA9FKD to confuse you.

One of those is a fib. Guess away as to which one. If you want to see something specific apart from rude pictures, post up below and we’ll see what we can do.

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Journey Down the Missisipi – November

We are lucky enough to have sponsored with Rab’s help Michael Barrett who is walking the entire length of the Missisipi in aid of Ahsma, a charity that supports education in Columbia. His blog can be found at Journey Down the Missisipi, but he is also going to be posting for us as well. In his latest extract, he gives the low down on November.

November

Super camp spot on the banks of the riverWell it has been a long walkabout so far to say the least. Last time I wrote I was a few days walk out of the city of Mineapolis. I caught good weather all the way to Minneapolis and covered good ground quickly, averaging around 33 kms each day. I was lucky enough to have s friend who lives in St Paul which is the twin city of Minneapolis and was treated to a shower, a bed and a good feed on arriving, gotta tell ya, it was a place I found hard to leave!

Trekking on.The next week saw me heading south east towards the city of La Crosse in Wisconsin. The walk has been attracting a lot of media attention and none more so than around this area. After doing a few interviews on the local TV and being in a few newspapers in that area, it became common for these two or so weeks for people to invite me into their homes for dinner or lunch and even people yelling encouragement out of their shop windows in the smaller towns, it was small things, but it is those small things that gave me a boost at times when I was really stuffed and struggling to keep going.

The middle area of the Mississippi river was very beautiful and I was lucky enough to be able to follow the river almost on the edge for 100s of kms. It has been the best part of the trek to date, wandering along the rivers edge through small little villages on the river – exactly how I had pictured the adventure from the beginning.

Sunset over the MissisipiThe people I have met and that have helped me out have been amazing. If had not met these people in my path I have no doubt that I would stil be 100 kms further north struggling with the cold weather. They really have been the best part of the whole experience so far, it’s amazing how many people you meet with a good heart.

I am now in a motel about a weeks walk from Memphis. I am in a motel as with today arrived the first day I have seen snow here since begining the trek. I am huddled up in my warm room tonight trying to enjoy it as much as possible as tomorrow I will be heading out into the snow and wind accompanied by the temperature of around -4c. Wish me luck…

 

 

 

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Who knew Mountain Biking in Dorset could be such fun.

Thanks to Webtogs, and the team bonding mountain biking trip to Afan, I have had the MTB bug and so this is where the story starts.

I went out a few months ago and bought a full suspension Specialized Epic which I absolutely love; I actually bought just the frame because it would have been too easy to just buy the whole thing. It was a whimsical purchase, I have to say, but my goodness there is so much fun to be had ploughing through puddles, bog, nettles and thick, dirty mud once I had put the whole bike together. In my mind there isn’t anything more uplifting than going out after work and hammering the trails for a few hours. I think it’s partly to do with our culture and how everyone should always be clean and tidy, so it’s nice to give society a big raspberry, go out, get muddy and then ride back through town to the disgust of all the old biddies. You can just tell they are thinking ‘eugh look at that ruffian. In my day you would have been slung out of the community for being seen in public like that’. The other reason why it’s fantastic to get out after work is to blow any proverbial cobwebs away. Riding gives you a sense of freedom that a sofa and television just can’t give you. There’s no sense of time and the trails don’t end after half an hour, there are no adverts – just like the BBC.

Believe it or not I’m trying not to blow too much hot air about how amazing mountain biking is but it is great fun and EVERYONE should try it at least once.

When I bought the bike just a few months ago I didn’t realise that where I live, Gillingham, Dorset, there are miles and miles of trails, which was a great surprise to me. Mike, our warehouse chappy, has lived here nearly his whole life and so knows all the trails around a monument called King Alfreds Tower. This is on the Stourhead Estate where, believe it or not Stourhead House is situated. A large proportion of the Stourhead estate is forestry land which means there are plenty of fire trails all connecting at various different points making for some spectacular views, steep climbs and rapid descents.

Specialized Epic Comp
Specialized Epic Comp & Me

Mike is a pretty active guy and trains for triathlons most of the week so when we go on a ride it’s not a slow one. We are both fairly competitive but through much deliberation he has now decided that I’m faster than him on a mountain bike, partly because he’s about a foot shorter than me but mostly because of our age difference. He’ll kill me for that comment.

A while ago my Auntie came over from Las Vegas and she brought over a GoPro HD video camera which I then bought a chest mount (aka booby cam) for so I could video some of my adventures on the trails. It’s a brilliant camera and I’d recommend one to anyone who’s thinking of buying a robust video camera. The chest mount is an awesome addition and I hope you’ll like some of the footage that Gareth has kindly edited. There are only a few minutes of some of the faster downhill sections, but there will more.

You know when you take a camera out and nothing really spectacular happens? Then you say, ‘well if I didn’t bring it something would have happened.’ That happened in it’s truest sense on one ride.

First, Mike and I started our ride near a place called Rock Arch. Last time we rode we threatened to do a bit of downhill which is about a kilometre into the ride and just off the usual trail. This downhill section doesn’t look that steep but it’s pretty butt clenchingly steep.We nailed that, which would have been good viewing with a few wobbly moments and screams – mainly coming from Mike. We did jump off the bikes at one point because there’s a large jump over a fallen tree into what looked more like the entrance to the River Styx. We both arrived back on the trail with a few nettle stings, jelly legs and big smiles. Anyone walking by would have thought there were two feral children roaming the forest on stolen bikes squawking and giggling.
The next bit of footage which was sadly missed came a little after the downhill section where there’s a bomb hole in the side of a hill, it looks like someone has taken a giant egg from the side of the hill, if you can imagine that. After our downhill section we were both buzzing and thought we could try a little more to get our confidence up. In retrospect I think I need to learn to crawl before walking. We scrabbled up to the top of the bomb hole where we moved a few fallen branches out of harms way to then peer over the side and to be honest we were both a little dubious about riding over the edge.

Where we were stood, if you rode to the right you’d almost always fall off, if you were even a tiny bit unsure. So we decided to ride to the left hand side which looked better*. My plan was to ride off the left hand drop, to then shoot across to the other side where there’s a lip to try and grab a bit of air time.

*Better – this definition of better is slightly skewed as the drop was still about a 75 degree angle.

So, we’re at the top and Mike decides to preserve his body so he can’t injure himself before his triathlons. I go first and as I’m relatively new to SPD pedals, the ones you clip into, I clip my left foot in and start to move off and before I know it I’m looking down to my right foot to try and clip that in which of course makes me turn the handlebars right which directs me towards the near sheer drop. Yes, off I go and for a moment it feels like I’m going to conquer it but oh no, panic strikes and I jam both my brakes on which catapults me over the handlebars dragging the bike on top of me. The next thing I know I open my eyes to see Mike peering over the edge at me not knowing whether to laugh or cry. I was so annoyed I missed that on camera – it would have been priceless.

I climbed back on the horse straight away and did the drop off that was in the original plan because if I hadn’t I don’t think downhill would have been on my list again. The damage caused from that incident was minor; a few scratches and lots of bruises plus the next day I couldn’t really walk that well, much to everyone’s pleasure in the office. Sadistic lot they are.

The rest of the ride was rapid. We absolutely flew around the trails because the light was fading quickly. As I didn’t really know where we were going any of the time, it was quite an adventure but at the end of this one we rode in front of Stourhead House which was a pleasant surprise. It was lucky we weren’t arriving back from a ride on a sunny Sunday afternoon because I’m sure at least one person would have turned their nose up at a couple of filthy mountain bikers. And we were filthy.

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