Summer is here and holidays are beckoning. This year many of you will be headed to Mediterranean beaches, some may be heading off to European culture-capitals whilst others answer the call of Britain’s beautiful places.
It’s a huge world out there though. Here at Blacks we want to celebrate and support adventurers with big dreams and wide horizons. From the icy pinnacles of the Himalayas to the South American wilds, we have the gear to help fill your travel bucket-list till it’s overflowing with experiences. Below is a short list of some top-quality gear and the epic places it can take you.
Trek to Everest Basecamp
Easily one of the most epic treks in the world, the journey to Everest Base Camp will take you from an already high 2,860m to the frankly ridiculous 5,380m. And that’s the bottom of the mountain. The trek usually takes from 12-14 days, starting and ending in Kathmandu. Along the way you’ll travel through lush forested valley, remote Sherpa villages and barren lunar rock-fields.
The key seasons are February to May and September to December. Temperatures plummet early and late in the year so it’s essential that you take a reliably warm insulating jacket. The Men’s Berghaus Extrem Nunat Reflect Jacket will keep you warm in seriously cold conditions. It's filled with water-repellent goose down that has been treated with hydrophobic Nikwax® to keep the insulation working even when it’s damp. For women, we’d recommend The North Face Supercino Down Jacket. It offers arctic-ready levels of warmth and insulation throughout. Both jackets are super-light and compressible, which is important as you’ll be carrying them all way from Kathmandu.
Explore the jungles of Borneo
If your idea of exploration is treading jungle paths, hacking at vines (watch out, that one’s a snake!) surrounded by the hooting and growls of animals, then Borneo’s rainforests is your dream come true. It’s a fantasy land of primeval forest, crashing waterfalls and some of the world’s biggest caves. Ascending Mt Kinabalu transports you from lush jungle into the misty enigma of the cloud forests, whilst orchids and wildflowers explode with colour around you.
Even more than the flora, adventurers are drawn to Borneo for the wildlife. The ecosystem is one of the most diverse on the planet. Wild orangutans traverse the canopy, whilst birds, insects and reptiles (gulp!) colonise every layer of the jungle.
With this, of course, comes the curse of biting insects. To fight this annoyance Craghoppers’ Nosilife range features an insect-repelling treatment built into the fabric. We’d recommend the entire range but the Men’s Nosilife Long Sleeve Shirt and Adventure Gilet are ideal for the tropics. The Women’s Nosidefence Adventure Trousers will keep biting insects away from your ankles so that you can focus on the bigger, less annoying wildlife. Including that saltwater croc around the next bend.
Camp Wild in Patagonia
The wild expanse of Patagonia, spanning Chile and Argentina at the tip of South America, is a traveller’s paradise. It’s a land of contrasts. From the Andean peaks spearing up into the sky to the wide, silent steppes, Patagonia has a landscape for everyone. For a truly unique experience, visit the Perito Moreno Glacier. This vast wall of blue ice is one of the only glaciers in the world that is still advancing and a surreal must-see. You can swim with sea lions and chuckle at the antics of penguins. Board the Old Patagonia Express, a revived steam train offering a gloriously old-school way to cross the plains or saddle up for the real cowboy experience with the Argentinian gauchos.
To really experience the wide-open spaces of Patagonia we recommend ditching the hotel room for a tent. Wake up at the foot of the Andes and go to sleep with the wind whistling past your tent on its way from one ocean to another.
Robens' adventure-quality tents are appropriately robust. The Goldcrest 1 and 2-person tents will fit you and a travel partner comfortably and weigh a ludicrously light 1.3kg. The internal pole structure performs brilliantly in adverse weather and it has two doors for convenient entry. The Vango Scafell range is a cheaper option, though still reliably weather-proof and light enough to carry on your travels.
Hike the Canadian Rockies
The Rockies offer limitless opportunities for the outdoor adventurer. Canada’s national parks are crisscrossed with some of the world’s greatest hiking trails, offering the chance to get up close to elk, moose and bears. The parks fit together like a jigsaw, meaning you can cover most of them in a week or two. Jasper and Banff are the famous but don’t overlook Yoho, Revelstoke or Kootenay as they each have their own secrets to discover.
Some of the sights are too beautiful to believe. Hike to Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park, or follow the Sulphur Skyline Ridge, finishing off with a soak in the Miette Hot Springs. Yoho Park’s Wapta Falls is a thunderous end to a gentle hike whilst Banff is literally overflowing with places to drop your jaw, not least the unmissable Lake Moraine.
All of this is accessible by foot if you are up for the challenge. You’ll need a good pack though. Osprey are a great choice for fast, light trekking. The Men’s Exos Rucksack comes in different sizes, each with the same effective ventilation for coolness and comfort. The Tempest is a female-specific daysack, sleekly designed for fast day-hiking. If you are looking to push on for a multi-day hike then the Levity and the Women’s Ariel Anti-Gravity offer more room with the same level of technological support.
Go have your breath taken away.
What’s on your bucket-list? Have you travelled somewhere incredible and come back with advice you want to share? We’d love you to leave your own comments below.