Category Archives: General

Helly Hansen Lifa Active Light T-Shirt Review

As an passionate coffee drinker, and I mean espresso machine, cafetiere, moka pot etc – not insta.. (sorry can’t bring myself to type the word), I was intrigued to hear that Helly Hansen were adding coffee to their garments!

Personally I’ve used coffee grounds, from the spent puck of the portafilter, on my garden as a mulch. And I have heard, you can use coffee grounds to neutralise orders. But clothing? Consequently I spoke to Helly Hansen; and they kindly enlightend me about the use of used coffee grounds in clothing, and gave me a garment to try, so I shall enlighten you.

The technical stuff! This garment uses S.Cafe yarn; and this is where the used coffee grounds come into play. A process enables the used coffee grounds to be embedded in the yarn; giving the yarn the following characteristics:

  • Odour Control. We knew that; and because the grounds are embedded in the yarn they do not wash out.
  • UV Protection. Didn’t know that! The numerous microscopic pores help reflect UV rays; giving UV protection.
  • Moister wicking. The garment moves moisture away from the skin to the outer surface of the fabric for faster drying process.

Helly Hansen Lifa Active Light T-Shirt

So what’s it like to wear? I was fortunate to be given a HH Lifa Active Light t-shirt to try; which is made from Helly Hansen’s legendary Lifa hydrophobic fibre and S.Cafe yarn. It’s categoriesed under ‘base-layer’ however I was going to wear it as a t-shirt. Consequently, it was an athletic, slim, snug, or some may say tight fit; because base-layers work best when they are touching the skin they are trying to wick moisture away from. I’m normally a size large, and the large was a comfortable ‘athletic’ fit – you may want to go up a size for a relax/baggy fit. I think the flat-lock seams and stretch, of the fabric, made the ‘athletic fit’ comfortable to wear; the crew neck was good and it was long in the body. It was a good fit for me! However, the first thing I noticed, putting the t-shirt on, was it felt cool! I don’t know if this was psychological, because Helly Hansen had said it would feel cool, but I did genuinely feel a little cooler when I first put the t-shirt on.

trad climbing derbyshire
The t-shirt performed well; even on the crux of the climbs I felt cool and the garment nonrestrictive – I was very impressed.

The recent hot weather presented idea testing conditions; so off I went climbing in the Derbyshire Peak District. The t-shirt performed well; even on the crux of the climbs I felt cool and the garment nonrestrictive – I was very impressed. The day’s climbing was in and out of the sun, so difficult to evaluate the UV protection, but I didn’t burn. However, I do know of some who have burnt their shoulders, because the garment they were wearing didn’t provide any UV protection, so it’s worth considering.

By the end of the day I had a good few routes in the bag, including a higher grade lead for me, so I was pleased with myself. But what did I smell like, after an arduous day at the crags? Not too good, I’m afraid to report. Now, how much you stink is subjective (“one man’s toxic waste is another man’s potpourri”, said the Grinch). So I didn’t smell fresh; but had I not been wearing this t-shirt I could have smelt worse, or perhaps I just need a ‘stronger roast’ coffee in my S.Cafe yarn!

belaying climber derbyshire
So I didn’t smell fresh; but had I not been wearing this t-shirt I could have smelt worse, or perhaps I just need a ‘stronger roast’ in my S.Cafe yarn!

Overall as an active t-shirt I was suitably impressed, and at £29.99 good value for money because it can be used as a summer t-shirt and a winter base-layer. This S.Cafe t-shirt, and other garments, will be available from Helly Hansen summer 2019.

Tallington Lakes Pro Shop has a large selection of men’s and women’s clothing from Helly Hansen!

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O’Neill Women’s Re-Issue Black White Swimwear Review

Recently I purchased the O’Neill Re-Issue black and white bikini set; and I’m absolutely in love!  Inspired by 90’s swimwear, the high waist and high fit leg made for an awesome design, and the chunky stripes are fun and funky!

This bikini top and pants (sold separately) features O’Neill’s Hyperdry, a  DWR (Durable Water Repellency) coating to the fabric which speeds up dry time – hence ‘hyper-dry’, and a polyamide and elastane mix makes the fabric extra soft. The top has a snug fit which meant it was quite supportive; although the straps are quite thick – which isn’t usually the style I’d go for.  I loved the snug fit of the pants.

Both the supportive top and snug fit pants made me think they would be good for wakeboarding, so I tried them out. And, yes, the top was very supportive, and comfortable, underneath my impact vest.  The snug fit of the pants were great, too, because it meant that I wasn’t worried if I fell over. The neon logo at the back matched perfectly with my Glidesoul impact vest, too, sooo happy!

So if this retro swimwear ‘tickles ones fancy’ why not pop to the Pro Shop and check out this and other swimwear we have to offer!

Charlotte (Ski and Climbing Instructor)

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Protest Women’s Surf Legging Review

With the long withstanding heat wave that has hit the UK in May, and hasn’t left since, the idea of wearing a wetsuit for an after work wakeboarding sessions sounds like my idea of torture, to me!

Wearing just bikini bottoms is just a little bit too risqué for my liking, and I always find it hard to find shorts that fit me right, that’s when the ‘surf leggings’ seemed like the ideal solution.

Protest Surf Leggings

The first thing that caught my eye with these Protest surf leggings was the unmistakably loud pattern. Normally I would shy away from such a bold pattern on my lower half, as I have been cursed with stumpy legs, however because of the block of black on the thighs – it offers a flattering look.

The leggings are extremely comfortable; and thanks to the Elastane nonrestrictive.

protest surf leggings
The block of black on the thighs of these Protest Surf Leggings offers a flattering look.

Another added bonus, for all the fair skinned gals out there, is these leggings come with SPF 50+ protection; which is comforting to know that you will be protected from the sun’s UV rays all day on the water. It also means you won’t have to reapply/use sunscreen, which not only is annoying, but can often be harmful to the environment –  especially if you are swimming in waters with coral reefs.

These leggings would be perfect for wakeboarding, SUPing, kayaking (saves getting a soggy bum!), snorkelling and any other water based activity! Plus the fast drying fabric means you can hop in and out of the water all summer long.

Thanks Emma Pro Shop Customer Service Team

 

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Circle Of Life

This isn’t a review of the classic Walt Disney film The Lion King; which by-the-way is excellent. No this is the nostalgic ramblings of someone who forty years ago, at the age of fifteen, travel to the Alps with the intent of climbing the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc!

Allegedly, at the time, my peers and I were potentially the youngest people to try this. But just as noteworthy; is that we all came from the outskirts of London, which is not renowned for its hills, let alone mountains!

group of mountaineers
The numbers dwindled; until a core group of young people were offered the chance to go the Alps and attempt the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. Romford Havering Observer Newspaper August 1978

How it all began

So how does a group of kids, more accustomed to playing in the streets, get to attempt such a feat! Well it’s all thanks to Rick Grice, and the London Borough of Havering (Havering)!

Rick was a keen outdoor pursuit participant, with a contagious love of the great outdoors. If hash-tags were about, back then, the Ordnance Survey’s #getoutside would have been running through his veins! He was infectious; he was also the ‘Advisor of Outdoor Pursuits’ for Havering.

Consequently, two bus trips away from my house, was a disused gravel pit called Stubbards. Not the vast complex that is now Stubbards Adventure Centre; but a few lakes where you could learn to kayak and sail. Havering also ran a minibus to Harrisons Rocks, East Sussex to learn climbing. Unknown to me at the time, but these were the same rocks that were so influential to the legendary mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington!

Throughout the summer, for a small fee, I would spend many days at Stubbards and Harrison Rocks. Soon a merry band of climbers formed, and at the end of summer Rick asked if anyone was interested in doing more climbing. At this point I am not sure if Rick had the alpine expedition planned, but he was keen to provide an opportunity for those interested in more climbing. We travelled to other parts of the UK – Derbyshire, North Wales, Lake District, Cornwall and ultimately Scotland – in the familiar Havering minibus. The numbers dwindled; until a core group of young people were offered the chance to go to the Alps and attempt the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc.

Intense training pursued. We travelled to the Highlands of Scotland in winter, and we improved our fitness by running up and down the stairs at the London Borough of Havering offices, before on the 21st July 1978 the expedition set off for the Alps – in two Havering minibuses!

The Alps

We camped in the Chamonix valley; and our first objective was to acclimatise to the altitude and become familiar with ice. We had practiced ice-work in the Highlands of Scotland; but here we had massive glaciers. I understand these glaciers have now receded an astounding amount, since we were on them in the 70s, a result of ‘climate change’! We climbed the Aiguilles (needles), that overlooked the valley, and notch up many classic routes. All in preparation for the instantly recognisable Matterhorn (4,478), our first objective!

We slept on a small ledge, part way up the Hörnli ridge, ready for a sunrise attempt on the summit – in fact we would start in darkness. In summer the snow and ice will melt, on the mountain, which can instigate rock falls. Consequently time is your enemy! 400m from the summit a small team, including me, had run out of time. Rick knew we couldn’t make the summit, in time safely, so we had to turn back. Disappointed at being so close, we made our way back down. Later that same day we heard the news that a ‘handful’ of climbers had died, in a rock fall, on the Matterhorn!

After some rest, and a few more peaks, we focused on Mont Blanc (4,810m); the highest mountain in Europe. We spent the night in the Gouter Hut, ready for another early morning ascent. The hut was not as big, back then, but still extremely popular; as I remember sleeping curled up next to the u-bend under the kitchen sink. The following morning we climbed the Bosses ridge to the summit. Unfortunately no spectacular summit views, because we were in white-out conditions, but triumphant in our success!

Rick Grice

Since that trip to the Alps, I have taken part in many outdoor pursuit activities with Rick, and fallen ‘in love’ with the great outdoors! Time spent in the mountains, rivers, lakes and sea; is time well spent. My family and I love the great outdoors!

plaque
Rick Grice Memorial Climbing Tower. This wall was dedicated to the memory of Rick Grice, late physical education advisor for the Borough of Havering.

Rick died the summer of 1986, I understand attempting to reach two other friends and colleagues who had fallen on a climb in the Alps. There is a memorial climbing wall at Stubbards Activity Centre dedicated to him. I do believe many people have, and will continue to be introduced to outdoor pursuits, thanks to Rick.

Circle of Life

So why ‘Circle of Life’? Presently I am the manager of Tallington Lakes Activities Ltd; a disused gravel pit in Lincolnshire where we introduce people to kayaking, sailing and climbing. We also offer other activities such as stand-up paddle boarding, open water swimming, skiing and snowboarding. And coincidently there are no notable mountains, or hills around us.

I am most-definitely not as competent as Rick, in climbing, mountaineering, kayaking etc; and although passionate about the great outdoors, nowhere near as infectious. But I do manage a team of young people who can show you a new activity; a new activity which, like me, may inspire you to #getoutside!

Matterhorn photograph Wikipedia

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Brixton All-Terrain Transport 20 Cargo Shorts Review

Tallington Lakes is pleased to announce the arrival of Brixton clothing to the Pro Shop. A collaboration of three friends; Brixton clothing has a ‘clean, classic design’ with a ‘modern yet timeless feel’. What attracted us was their All-Terrain Collection: clothing built for adventure on land and on water!

All-Terrain Transport 20 Cargo Shorts

One such ‘All-Terrain’ item is the Brixton Transport 20 Cargo Shorts. The shorts are made from 4.5 oz ripstop nylon (98%) and elastane (2%); and have a water-repellent coating. The cut is an athletic fit with a straight leg of 20”, and adjustable waistband. There are some nice features, and additions, which make these shorts stand out. A good number of pockets, which are zipped, is very practical; and they have even included a small ‘pocket size’ dry-bag to keep your wallet dry – however I’d be tempted just to have few notes and coins rather than a bulky wallet. Another nice addition is the ‘knot book’ (a handy, roped together,  collection of cards). This simple practical guide takes you back to your scouting days; and makes you hunt out a piece of rope and practice figure-of-eights, clove hitches and more!

knot book cards
Brixton Knot Book. This simple practical guide takes you back to your scouting days; and makes you hunt out a piece of rope and practice figure-of-eights, clove hitches and more!

So it seemed appropriate to review the Transporter shorts whilst rock climbing; to see how ‘all-terrain’ they are!

First impressions, when you put them on, are ‘very comfortable’; partly thanks to the elastane but also the cut. The reinforced seat reiterates you are going to be active; so once the climbing harness, helmet and other equipment was on, I was ready to ascend the gritstone crag. Still comfortable under the harness; the shorts allowed unrestricted movement. The lightweight material keeps you cool, even when things get tricky on the tense crux of the climb. What goes up must come down; and the shorts were equally comfortable during the abseil!

abseilling
What goes up must come down; and the shorts were equally comfortable during the abseil!

Comfortable and unrestrictive the Transporter 20 shorts performed well on the gritty rock face; and I believe they will perform just as well behind the wheel of a speeding wakeboard boat, or leisurely paddling a stand-up-paddleboard. So are they All-Terrain, yes they are, both on land and on water!

Check out the Brixton clothing range at Tallington Lakes Pro Shop here.

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Protest Women’s Lole Softshell Snow Pants Review

As soon as I saw the Protest Lole softshell ski pants I fell in love. I admit it took a while to convince myself to buy them but I’m so glad I did! A week in Alpe D’Huez showed that not only are these trousers incredibly stylish but also warm and comfortable.

The petunia colour and slim fit make these a favourite for my winter wardrobe, and the stretch material made them extremely flexible while still being snug. Not only are they breathable but also waterproof which made for a perfect piece of ski gear.

protest lole softshell snow pants
The petunia colour and slim fit make these a favourite for my winter wardrobe, and the stretch material made them extremely flexible while still being snug.

There are multiple pockets which I could use for my sun cream and lift pass, with a Velcro adjustable waistband which came in handy after a big lunch on the mountainside! The knees and heels are made with reinforced material which made sure they were durable and the material, although unusual, I really liked as opposed to the usual waterproof material.

Skiing around for a week made me fall in love with these trousers and I would definitely recommend them to anyone who loves to look stylish while being sporty!

Thanks Charlotte (Ski Instructor)

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Drysure Boot Dryers Review

Coming into my first extended period of skiing (a season’s vacation in Vail CO); checking all my gear was up-to-scratch was a massive part of my so called ‘pre flight checks’: new powder skis, new outer shells, base layers, mid layers, helmet and all the other usual bits a week at a time skier needs. It wasn’t until my mother made the point about my boots smelling rancid after a week’s skiing, that I thought “I could be in for a smelly few months”! With the plan to get as many days on the mountains both alpine skiing and touring; it was a problem I was keen to solve.

 Having worked at Tallington Lakes as a boot fitter, I am not keen on using the normal boot dryers. Heating the boot even very lightly without my foot being in the boot to hold the foam in place seems a bit counter productive to the extensive moulding processes that is offered at the Pro Shop; in my opinion. So when I was introduced to the Drysure Boot Dryers, I was intrigued. The appeal of not adding heat to dry the boots perked my interest; and secondly the versatility of them, being able to throw them in a bag on hut trips and have dry boots in the morning after the previous days hiking is a nice concept. After using them for almost 50 days on the mountains I can’t believe how well they have worked at drying my boots over night, at room temperature, and most importantly the odour reduction of my boots. My boots smell fresher after 50 days skiing with Drysure than a week’s skiing with conventional drying.

Drysure works by absorbing the sweat and moisture into the Desiccant Silica Gel inside the boot dryers. This helps to, firstly, dry the boots but also, because the sweat is absorbed, bacteria doesn’t have chance to grow which is the cause of the rancid smell. The rancid smell does not come from the sweat itself, it actually comes from the bacteria breaking down the proteins in sweat. No bacterium also means cleaner and healthy boots, and feet because foot fungi are eliminated.

drysure boot dryer
Drysure works by absorbing the sweat and moisture; therefore cleaner and healthy boots, and feet!

The dryers are easy to maintain. After 10 or so used you can easily remove the silica pouches from the hard shell and place them on a radiator, or in front of the fire, to dry the Silica Gel pellets inside and recharge the effectiveness of the dryers.

For a relatively inexpensive item, that will easily fit in your boots whilst travelling, I will never fly anywhere without my Drysure Boot Dryers again. The versatility of being able to take them on hut or camp trips, and the effectiveness of the technology,  means that wet, smelly boots are pretty much a thing of the past; much to the appreciation of my mother!

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Salomon Drifter Mid-Layer Jacket Review

I work outdoors at a Watersports Centre, and I am an avid hill walker in my spare time, so I was interested to see if the Salomon Drifter mid-layer jacket would be a welcome addition to my assortment of gear.

The  Drifter mid-layer is really light weight, weighing in at just 500g, and packs down really small, thanks to the Primaloft 60g insulation, consequently you can carry it anywhere.

The mid layer has a pretty cool reversible function which allows you to wear it inside out. This particular colour reverses from an Acid Green to a Purple. The two sides have very different uses: one is more windproof, whilst the other is more breathable, so you can regulate your temperature to the conditions. Or treat it as two jackets!

salomon drifter mid-layer jacket
This particular colour reverses from an Acid Green to a Purple. The two sides have very different uses: one is more windproof, whilst the other is more breathable, so you can regulate your temperature to the conditions.

This mid layer jacket is also snow/water proof with Salomon’s AdvancedSkin Shield technology, and Pertex water repellent finish, which means you can wear it as an outer layer. I have found the jacket does not fare well to harsh rain conditions as the water does eventually seep through, but in light drizzle there are no problems.

The jacket was ideal for hill walking, and nipping down some caverns, in the peaks; because it is light and thanks to its breathability I did not overheat! It fits well and is consistent with all other Salomon clothing sizes.

Although I have other jackets for outdoor use the Salomon Drifter mid layer jacket has become my preference every time; especially at work, on those windy cold days at the centre, where the  AdvancedSkin Warm and Primaloft has helped keep me comfortably warm.  There is a ladies specific version too!

Thanks Craig (Watersports Centre Manager)

 

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Volcom Draft Shoes Review

We all have that one embarrassing memory of walking on a wet surface, only to end up awkwardly flailing in sheer panic, desperately trying to grab onto anything in arms reach. Sadly though, the final result often leaves us sprawled painfully on the floor, greeted by the laughter of friends, family or anyone lucky enough to have witnessed our misfortune.

Depressingly, I was cursed with being accident prone from birth, so this memory is a reoccurring nightmare for me on a weekly basis due to working as a boat driver and wakeboarding instructor.   

“Should have worn better shoes” a phrase that is frequently repeated to me every time a colleague or kind stranger picks me up from my slip of doom.

Volcom Draft Shoes

I feel the guys at Tallington Lakes Pro Shop were taking pity on me when they offered me the chance to try out these ‘Volcom Draft Shoes’, assuring me that I would never fall again. This is essentially like telling a child they are about to move to Disneyland.

It was love at first sight when I opened the box to these pristine conditioned Volcom’s staring up at me. I have never really been a fan of wearing shoes without socks (be they water shoes or not), but when I discovered these Volcoms are lycra lined for ultimate comfort, I decided to test the theory. If feet could talk, they would be singing with joy. Putting on these shoes is like slipping into pure bliss. I was a little hesitant because the width of my feet are on par with bigfoot, but the lycra lining easily adjusts to the shape of your feet.

According to Volcom’s website:

“The Draft shoe was created for incredible breathability and control… design features laser perforations for steady air flow. Sweat and moisture are quickly dispersed, allowing for rapid drying.”

Thankfully, working on a lake provides me with just about enough water to test Volcom’s “rapid drying” statement. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how rapid the drying truly was.  After fully submerging both feet, the shoes did not become uncomfortable to wear or walk around in – if only they could walk on water, it would make them the perfect shoe.

vplcom draft shoes
It was love at first sight when I opened the box to these pristine conditioned Volcom’s staring up at me.

“Ortholite anti-microbial footbed prevents odors and bacteria from spreading”

Now not only do I have abnormally shaped feet, whenever they get sweaty or wet, the smell that is produced is enough to knock out all forms of life in a 10-metre radius. Therefore, I was pessimistic about Volcoms anti-microbial claim. Once again, I was surprised to find that the shoes were holding the toxic smell at bay. People were willingly approaching me without pinching their nose whilst the squirrels and birds didn’t fall from the trees. 

“Custom rubber trading provides enhanced traction and stability for wet and dry surfaces. Lightweight compression moulded EVA midsole offers lasting comfort for years of non-stop wear.”

Here comes the most important aspect for me. When the decking on the dock becomes wet, it turns into a minefield of banana skins. It’s safe to say at first, I was treading gingerly on egg shells when conducting this test, however as time went by and my confidence in the shoe support grew, I could comfortably walk up and down the decking with ease. I’ve safely arrived at Disneyland folks.

To top it off the shoe comes with an EVA midsole which stands for ‘Ethyl Vinyl Acetate’ which basically means your foot is resting in the VIP section of shoe world.

If you’re after a pair of water shoes/ trainers to use near the water then you would be ‘draft’ not to purchase a pair of these!

Thanks Adam (Boat Driver and Wakeboarding Instructor)

 

 

 

 

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Smith Optics Outlier Sunglasses Review

When it comes to sunglasses, I am fussier than a fashion model with OCD:

  • Do I like the colour? Do they fit correctly on my abnormally shaped ears?
  • Are the lenses dark enough to hide my eyes, while also not impairing my vision in the shade?  
  • Will they make my nose appear the same size as Pinocchio’s?
  • Will my street cred rise a considerable amount, finally bringing me to the definition of looking “cool”?

Smith Outlier XL Polarised Chromapop Sunglasses

Therefore I was more than a little sceptical when Tallington Lakes Pro Shop asked me to review these “Smith Outlier XL Polarised ChromaPop” sunglasses. Now, as a boat driver and wakeboard instructor, having polarised sunglasses is an absolute must for me.  If the lenses fail to block the sunlight glare from the water, then I’m basically driving blind and nobody wants that…especially the poor beginner clinging to the handle for dear life behind the boat.

If you, like me, had no idea what the word “ChromaPop” meant and simply thought it was added in order to enhance the “coolness” effect of the sunglasses, then it turns out we were very wrong. Back in 2013 Smith declared:

“ChromaPop Lenses are the most advanced polarised lenses in the world… By blocking colour wave intersections as they pass through the lens, ChromaPop is able to eliminate colour confusion… ChromaPop optimises colour and increases clarity, enabling you to see the outside world with an unparalleled level of vibrancy.”

In other words, they cut through sunlight glare like a hot knife through butter whilst simultaneously spreading the jam on the bread all in one swoop…sweet.

smith optics outlier xl sunglasses
ChromaPop optimises colour and increases clarity, enabling you to see the outside world with an unparalleled level of vibrancy.

Little did I realise how truly magical that jam sandwich would be. I decided to test them around sunset when the glare from the water is at its finest, often resulting in severe wrinkles from squinting so hard, you age by at least ten years.

I was honestly blown away at how the glare from the water turned almost non-existent. I felt I was watching my life behind a new HD TV monitor and Johnny Nash ‘I can see clearly now’ began playing in my ears. 

Not only did the world now look bright and cheerful, when I glanced in my rear view mirror at myself – I wasn’t bombarded with negative thoughts regarding fitting size, shape or colour. I was pleasantly surprised with the way these glasses looked whilst sitting comfortably on the bridge of my nose. I reluctantly removed them, allowing others to test the glasses, and it was clear to see they had the same immediate reaction I did.  Noting the fact our head and faces were all different sizes, yet the glasses always fit perfectly just like Cinderella’s slipper.

If you’re a snow skier/boarder, fishing enthusiast, avid mountaineer or a fussy boat driver like me – these ‘Outliers’ are certainly high contenders in the sunglasses market and will not disappoint.

…Oh and yes, these glasses will definitely raise your street cred!  

Thanks Adam (Boat Driver)

Check out our selection of Smith Optics sunglasses; in store or online!

 

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