7 tips for choosing a great pair of hiking boots

Finding the best pair of hiking boots for you goes way past liking the colour and the price. If every pair of boots suited everyone then there would only be one pair on the market instead of hundreds. There are many things that need to be considered before you hand over that hard earned cash, so without further ado here are our top 7 tips for choosing yourself a great pair of hiking boots.

Hiking Boots

Weight

A boot needs to be light enough for you to walk long distances comfortably without making your legs muscles ache more than is expected. Don’t buy a boot just because it is light however as this may mean it has cut corners in other areas so ensure all the tips below are also in place.

Cut

In general, the higher the cut the heavier a boot will be. If you want a low boot that sits around the ankle bone make sure there is plenty of cushioning to protect against chafing and blisters.

Support

The ultimate no brainer when it comes to any kind of footwear that will be worn for long periods of time and actually vital for a pair of boots that will be worn over undulating terrain. Look for flexibility in the sole, good arch support and plenty of support around the ankle joint which is getting punished every you put your foot down. Support is essential to protect all joints from impact as hips and knees also take a battering.

Size

Don’t make the mistake of buying a bigger size because you think you need them due to wearing thick socks. The provision to allow for these has already been made so stick to your usual side. Boots that are too big can be as harmful as a pair that are too small, so be sensible. Wearing several pairs of socks to make your boots fit will cause excessive sweating which in turn can lead to very sore toes and blisters; the scourge of the hiker.
Material – using a reputable company such as Cotswold Outdoors will ensure you get the right pair of boots for you.

Cost

You can say you get what you pay for with hiking boots but by shopping around you can hit on some pretty good bargain. Older models that are going out of production can often be picked up at a reduced price and as this isn’t a fashion show who cares if they were last years, or even the year befores, model.

Material

Leather, synthetic, waterproof, not waterproof, the choice is vast and varied and is very much a matter of both personal choice and weather conditions you intend to be hiking in. Leather used to rule okay in this area but with the new breathable fabrics on the market they are no longer the obvious choice. It makes sense if hiking in the UK to choose a waterproof pair as you never know when that wet stuff is going to start descending.

Rating
Online review sites are great for giving an overview of hiking boots from those who have worn them for the purpose intended. If you are unsure as to what type of boot you are after these are worth checking out.

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Caravanning and Minibus Hire

With prices for transportation to and from our chosen holiday destination, there is no wonder people are buying caravans. The price for staying in a hotel has risen over the past years, and flights to places abroad are becoming just as bad. Although, some may be able to still pay to go somewhere warm, people are choosing to stay at home in the UK more and more.

Minibus

Many are choosing caravans over hotels and chalet holidays too. Whether you get a touring caravan, and move from place to place or choose a static caravan in the destination of your choice. There are some amazing places on the coastline you can visit each year. The beauty of having a caravan is that you don’t have to book, or choose dates. You can just decide that morning if the weather is going to be nice. A lot of people go to their caravans at the weekends to get away from the hustle and bustle of city and town life. May be it’s been a long week at work, and you just need to get out and about. Whatever, the reason for buying a caravan you can guarantee that you will have many hours of fun, year in and year out.

Static caravans can hold up to eight people, and are very roomy. The modern caravans now have a separate bathroom, unlike the olden days when you would have to run across to the toilet block no matter what the weather. These days they are definitely home from home, but in a better location. Especially if you are trying to get away from noisy neighbours.

If you have a large family you really don’t want to be paying for hotel fees. Even holiday camps that cater for families are not as cheap as they once was. So, taking the family there, is hard. The best place to take the children is in a caravan at the seaside. You really can’t go wrong. Some caravan sites in the UK even have their own clubs for evening entertainment. There is something for everyone.

Even though you have brought your caravan, you may not know how to get there. May be you don’t drive or you just don’t want to be bothered with the travelling. You may have thought about a taxi to get you there, but if you have a large family or going away with a few friends this may not be ideal. Minibuses can seat up to sixteen people, and depending on how long you are staying for, some can even fit a trailer on to the back of the vehicle for the luggage.

You will get to your caravan in comfort and style with a minibus and driver. Start your holiday from the moment you step out of your house. Travelling in a minibus with help you to relax and unwind without the added stress of driving there yourself. This will give you time to just sit back and watch a DVD or listen to some music if you fancy a little entertainment. So, book your minibus today, and look forward to a great, relaxing holiday.

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Which Motorhome To Choose

Which Motorhome To Choose For Your Next RVing Adventure!

Some of us like camping, some of us like the luxury of a hotel and some of us love the freedom of the open road with the added comfort of both.

Yes, hiring an RV! This is becoming today’s alternative to traditional travel.

Winnebago

Picture this. Instead of planning your next package holiday through a tour operator, you grab a map and plan where in the world you want to travel.

With an American RV, you can just that. Set your starting point at the pick-up location, and then plan your journey, stop-offs and campsites along the way. Whether you choose to visit Northern Europe or Southern Europe, or beyond, in an American Motorhome the world is at your feet!

I speak from experience of course, having just returned from a month long visiting various campsites throughout France.

Our Plans

Our starting location was Northamptonshire in the UK before setting a steady cruising speed across Kent, then onto Dover to Calais.

Five hours later, having followed the broad, empty French auto routes to our final destination we ended up in a beautiful setting and place to relax, much welcomed after such a long drive from our starting point.

Of course, we had some mandatory thing to do. We had to refill our water tank, level the RV on the jacks, and hook up the electricity. Only then could we relax with an ice-cold beer!

The RV was to be our house on wheels and sole means of transport as the four of us – two adults, two children aged eight and three – travelled around France over the next four weeks. The motorhome’s maker, Fleetwood provided everything we would need, from a fully fitted living, to en-suite bedrooms. It was like a hotel on wheels, and we could not have asked for anything more.

The following weeks saw us visit over 10 other campsites, each one having their own unique look and feel. It certainly was an experience and one which we will be living again at the same time next year although we will be choosing another RV to experience what other brands have to offer.

If you are considering holidaying in an RV then I would certainly recommend Winnebago Hire & Rental as the company to use. They have a network of suppliers to find the very best deals for your money, they are quick, helpful, and there is no pressure to hire. Give them a call or drop them an email, you won’t regret it!

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Expedition Essentials for a Great Adventure

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If you’re the sort of person who loves just getting up on your bike and touring around, then the idea of wild camping can be a very alluring one.

Camping out is great if you wish to travel on a budget and is particularly suitable in warmer countries or those with vast areas of open space. Camping may seem expensive when you’re purchasing the equipment, but to be honest it’s a lot cheaper than a few nights in a hotel.

For those of us who have never wild camped before then the idea may seem a little foreign, however camping outside of formal accommodation is actually quite easy. Even though you may worry about police or wild animals, if you’re savvy then these shouldn’t be an issue. So, even if those fears tend to freak you out a little they will be alleviated with the experience and a couple of wild camping trips.

Wild Camping

Experienced wild campers will tell you that you’ll be unlikely to be bothered by anyone once you respect the basic guidelines. In fact, the worst you’ll ever experience is a local person curiously seeing what you’re doing and in most cases they’ll offer you a cup of tea. In short, once you’re responsible you should have no problems and be comfortably sleeping in your sleeping bag.

So, let’s take a look at some basic guidelines for your next great adventure that will ensure you are unlikely to find issue.

  • Get away from houses, and roads and you’ll be out of sight of passers-by and have little to worry about when it comes to interaction. Look at maps for areas that are marked as woodland and that offer good camping space. Small hills are a good place to camp behind too as they hide you from a lot of the issues.
  • Try not to trespass and look for areas that you can camp in without having to climb fences or jump on land that’s marked as private. If the owner has placed a sign up then you’re not going to be welcome
  • Dry riverbeds or beaches – Be aware of these areas as they can often become wet overnight and this will result in you becoming flooded. Even rain can cause such problems if it falls miles away. So, don’t camp near the ends of streams, rivers or anywhere that water could end up causing problems. High ground is generally dry ground.
  • If you’re cooking in an area with wild animals then it’s especially wise to cook around 200m away from your living area. This will prevent bears, wolves or any other animal visiting you during the night.
  • A good quality sleeping bag is essential for any adventure Rab sleeping bags offer the latest in comfort, offering comfort and also breathability. These sleeping bags aren’t even that much more expensive than traditional bags, though Rab bags are notably more comfortable and perfect for camping wild. Webtogs provide a great selection of these bags.
  • Avoid starting fires or anything else that may attract attention at night as this can cause curiosity in animals and mean they visit you.
  • Always tidy up after yourself. As they say leave only memories.

These tips will help you enjoy your wild camping and will ensure that you are comfortable, happy and have nothing but a great time.

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A Guide to Better Driving with a Trailer or Caravan

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Whether you’re towing a caravan or a horse box you need to ensure that your trailer is correctly attached to your vehicle. All sorts of accidents and issues can occur if the trailer is not attached correctly. So, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to ensure your trailer is properly attached to the back of your vehicle.

motorhome towing trailer

Check

Before you even take off it’s important to check that the trailer is attached to the car safely and that the brake lights are working correctly.

Check the hitch and ensure that the tongue is over the ball if it’s a ball hitch. Also ensure that the locking mechanism is stuck in place and locked with the pin. If this isn’t secure the trailer could become loose. Trailers should also have two chains, running across from one side to the other in an X-shape to keep the vehicle and trailer tied together in the worst case scenario.

Pull the trailer to check the connection and see if it comes off the hitch. If this happens then you will need to reattach it. In addition check the wheel or stand for the trailer is in the drive position.

Now, check the brake lights and signals are working and get a friend to help you see this is the case when you press the brakes. If there’s no one to help then check the brakes in front of a reflective surface. It’s very important that these work as otherwise no one can tell when you’re braking and this can cause problems.

When Driving

Always be used to your trailer and car before you set off on a long journey. If it’s a new combo then do some practice maneuverers. This will help you get used to the car and help when you need to back up.

Remember that if you’re taking turns in a vehicle like this you will need to overshoot them quite often. Taking wide turns is essential as otherwise you may hit poles, street furniture or other obstacles. No matter what happens, always try to stay calm and take your time.

Remember that the larger the load the longer it will take to stop a horse trailer or a caravan. So, always test your stopping power before doing so. In addition, always ensure that your towing capacity is suited for the car’s engine and braking mechanism. Always be cautious.

Insurance

If pulling a trailer then it’s a good idea to invest in insurance for a caravan or a horse trailer. Some car, equine or holiday insurance will inadvertently cover pulling a trailer – others won’t so check the small print.

Of course, prevention is better than cure and being able to avoid issues when pulling your trailer is the best form of insurance. The best way to avoid problems is to take your time, be careful when backing up and always checking before setting off that your hitch is set up correctly. Follow these tips and you will have no problems when driving your vehicle with trailer.

 

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How to Care for your Motorhome Battery

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Did you know that a large number of the batteries used for RVs tend to die before they should and the reason for this – under or over charging.

Undercharging is the result of people using batteries until almost dead and then not charging them fully. This results in a sulphate becoming attached to the plates and this causes crystals which cause problems for the battery. Ironically, if a battery is charged for too long this also happens.

Motorhome-Battery

Overcharging of batteries results in severe water loss and this causes corrosion to the battery. This happens most especially to motorhome or RV batteries. People make the common mistake of leaving the battery charging when the RV isn’t being used. It’s thought that this will keep the batteries at a tip top level, however the problem is that though most batteries are 12v, they charge at a 13.5v rate and this means that they overcharge batteries. This will cause an early death to batteries. So, we’ve compiled a number of tips to keep your motorhome’s battery in top shape for longer.

Find the Level

From the above information, we realise that it’s best to keep batteries almost charged by just not at the top of their game. The best way to do this and prevent sulfutation is to use a 12.4v charger and a maintainer and conditioner. This keeps the battery almost charged at all times, within safe paradigms.

Depth

It’s better to ensure the discharge from a battery is lower than higher. For example if a battery loses 50% of its power each day before being charged to full, it’s a lot better than if it loses 80% of its power before being charged back up to the top of its range. AlphaBatteries would also advise you to take note and never let a battery fall below 10.5v charge.
Motorhomes

The motorhome itself will discharge the battery if it’s left with it over time. This can be caused by a number of different variables including TV antenna, clocks, stereos and a number of appliances. If you’re not intending on using an RV for a period it’s best to disconnect the switch and turn it to the off position. Do be aware that it’s far from unusual for a battery to discharge around 10% a month.

Temperatures

As well as overcharging, warm temperatures will also cause a battery life to diminish and you should always try to keep a battery in cool and dry areas. This will help keep the charge up.

Proper Charging

It’s possible to charge a battery to 90% in a short space of time, however to get the last 10% of charge you will need to place the battery on an absorption charge and then on a float charge to keep it topped up. This will get the battery back to full power without causing problems.
Motorhome batteries can take a battering and people often overlook them as they are used intermittently. However, with these tips you can be sure your battery is at the top level and that there are no problems.

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Manufacturer branded vs non-branded car parts

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If you’re wondering whether to plump for manufacturer branded over non branded car parts, or vice versa, then this guide will talk you through the pros and cons of each.

Non branded parts

PROS
They’re cheaper: Non branded car parts are pretty much always cheaper than branded ones; however you can always save a little more by shopping around, bear in mind however that if it seems too cheap, then it probably is too good to be true!
Quality can sometimes be just as good as manufacturer brand parts: This point needs to be approached with care; we know at http://www.cpacarparts.co.uk/ that a lot of non-branded car parts can be just as good as their branded counterparts.
CONS
Quality can vary greatly: The quality of non manufacturer branded parts may vary in quality, even when different parts are from the same range.
There can be an overwhelming selection: For those that are unfamiliar with unbranded parts, the sheer number of parts can be nothing short of overwhelming. Not only that, but you also need to be sure as to the model your part will fit, as returning non branded parts, particularly via the internet, can be extremely inconvenient.
Non branded parts may not have a warranty: Many non branded parts do not offer a warranty, so check before your purchase.

Branded parts

PROS
More variety: Branded car parts will always have a larger variety than non branded parts, and they’re less likely to suffer from certain issues that are related to how well the part fits. Even the smallest of defects
More availability: Branded parts are always going to be more widely available across all ranges; non branded parts may have inordinate wait times, which mean you may have to purchases a branded part out of necessity.
Easier to select your part: Non branded parts come straight from the manufacturers themselves, and you can purchase them from most main stream shops. This ensures that you get the best advice possible as to what part it is you need, and you’ll only have the one to choose from!
Better quality: Your new part will work just as your old one did. This way you know what you’re getting each and every time.
• Your part will come with a warranty: The majority of manufacturer parts come with warranties as standard, so you can be safe in the knowledge that, should something go wrong, your part will be replaced for free.
CONS
More expensive: There’s no two ways about it… branded car parts are more expensive, but that’s the only real draw back of branded parts.

Purchasing a manufacturer branded part is preferable to non branded parts for many reasons; however the non branded are cheaper and there may be many instances where manufacturer branded parts simply aren’t affordable at that point in time. In such instances you should not only shop around, but you should also do your homework as to the quality of the budget brand you’re looking at.

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Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Motorhome in Northern Ireland

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If you don’t already own a motorhome, hiring is an ideal way to get to know the motorhome lifestyle. You can tour the picturesque Northern Ireland countryside in total comfort and at your own pace. You can stop at breathtaking panoramic vantage points for a relaxing picnic or to take a stroll and some photographs. You can  discover and explore places of natural beauty in Northern Ireland, the republic of Ireland or further afield at your leisure. You can park up for the night overlooking the coast or nestled in the hills and mountains. When travelling you can stop for a tea/coffee or even a toilet break at your own convenience. You can enjoy the freedom of camping without all the hassles that come with it!

Here are some more reasons why motorhome rental is the way to go:

1. Freedom
Get up and go when and where you want. Use your motorhome rental to see some of the more remote areas of Ireland or stop over at any of the recommended or approved sites around the country. Park up with a fantastic view of the mountains and enjoy a few days of peace and quiet… Utopia!

2. Convenience
A motorhome can be parked up and lived in almost anywhere. You can drive your luxury holiday home to a fantastic beach or to the top of a mountain range and then park up and enjoy the beautiful scenery. You don’t have to find and book hotels before you go. You don’t have to come up with a schedule for when you need to arrive and depart a particular stopover. You are free to leave if you change your mind whenever you want.

3. Comfort
Motorhomes are spacious and have all the facilities that a family needs so there is no need to worry about how your children are going to cope with a long flight, or whether you can fit four or five people into one hotel room. These modern day recreational vehicles usually come equipped with a kitchen, a bathroom, sofas, an LCD Television, a double bed and much more. Some motorhomes have storage for bicycles, jet skis and surf boards. Motorhomes usually cater for 2 – 6 people and provide you with the warmth and comfort of home. After enjoying the countryside on a long walk or cycle, there is nothing better than returning to your motorhome for a hot shower and then a mug of hot tea/coffee and a movie.

4. Specific Events
Why not take your motorhome rental to music festivals, concerts, car races and sporting events? There are usually lots of motorhomes at these events as they are much more convenient than the local accommodation. Hotels and B&Bs may be located many miles from the actual event and often have inflated prices especially for the occasion. Worse still, they may be booked to capacity due to the unusually large numbers of visitors in the area. Why not have the luxury of home and park your motorhome rental “on site” at the event. There is no need to queue for the toilets at a music festival when you have your motorhome with you.

5. Visiting distant family and relatives
If you want to visit family or friends who live a little further away, why not travel in style and stay close by or even on your distant family’s driveway. If they don’t have a spare bedroom or if you don’t want to invade their personal space too much then a motorhome rental is the perfect solution. You can even take them out on a relaxing day trip.

6. An Extra Bedroom
If you don’t have a spare or guest bedroom in your home but still would like friends and family to come and stay over occasionally, then a motorhome is the perfect solution. Motorhome rental costs much less in the low season which means you can provide self-contained accommodation with one or more extra bedrooms at little cost.

7. Choice of Home Cooking or Eating Out
With a motorhome you can decide when and where you want to eat each meal. Use the on-board fully equipped kitchen with oven and hob to prepare a meal for your family. If there is a requirement for a special diet, cooking in the motorhome makes it easy. Alternatively, you can enjoy a take-away in front of the TV or visit a top hotel for special treat.

8. Cost
Motorhomes are expensive to buy and even if you can afford to own one, it is difficult to justify the cost of ownership unless you get good use of it throughout the year. Many Motorhome owners find that they do not have as much time to spend in their motorhome as they would like to. Motorhome rental allows you to “Pay As You Go” without having to worry about annual storage, maintenance, higher purchase, tax and insurance bills. Why spend thousands of pounds on a motorhome or caravan only to have it sit on your driveway except for the occasional weekend away? Hire a motorhome for as long as you need it without all the hassle.

9. Try before you buy
If you are thinking of buying a motorhome but have never tried the experience, motorhome rental can give you the peace of mind to know that you are making the correct decision.

10. A New Experience
If you have never tried it before, you should rent a motorhome so you can see what you are missing and start living. Take your family on a different holiday and enjoy what Northern Ireland and the republic of Ireland has to offer in abundance… beautiful scenery.

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