Army combat uniform.
Aircraft Aluminum Poles
Ultra light and strong aluminum originally created for use in aircraft. Also used for poles in expedition quality tents. These poles are light, strong and flexible.
A device used to measure altitude.
A baffle is a fabric wall. A sleeping bag or jacket made using baffled construction has its insulation contained in cube or tunnel shaped compartments so that the insulation does not shift. The baffles are the internal walls of the cube/tunnel. The external walls of the baffled chamber are formed by the outer shell fabric of the item. Because the compartments line up touching one another and are uniform in shape, the insulation lofts equally in all areas and there are no cold spots.
Abbreviation that stands for “Battle Dress Uniform”. These are the pants and shirts that are currently issued to most U.S. soldiers. BDU’s are available in many colors and patterns.
Micro acrylic pile with a curled surface. Used in similar applications to PolarFleece, such as in outerwear, casual wear and ski wear.
A cross between a sleeping bag cover and a tent. A bivy is used to provide the camper the lightest possible protection from the elements. A sleeping bag fits inside the bivy, which may have a miniature frame to provide some head-room.
The front of a canoe, kayak or boat.
Bishpenol A, an additive to plastics that is considered hazardous by many scientists. Look for BPA-free products.
Non-woven nylon fiber with a high absorption rate and high breathability for use as a liner material in footwear.
A lightweight narrow boat propelled by paddling and ideal for travel on rivers and lakes. Canoeing is a traditional method of travel used by North American Indians.
Waterproof/breathable coating that adds ceramic particles to polyurethane to increase durability and waterproofness, while adding breathability.
The long side curves formed by the shape of the bottom of a canoe.
A fragrant grass that yields an oil used in perfume and insect repellant.
Closed Cell Foam
Foam with a cellular makeup that does not allow it to absorb more than an extremely small percentage of its weight in moisture. Used in sleeping pads. Ideal for winter camping.
A hydrophobic copolymer, four-channel fiber. Lightweight, with superior moisture management characteristics for use in warm weather. Used in t-shirts and as liner material in activewear.
Nylon with high tenacity yarns, which creates a lightweight, durable, abrasion resistant fabric. Used in footwear, outerwear, active apparel and gear.
The chest zipper used on technical outerwear to provide ventilation to the upper body.
A common water borne protozoa which causes sickness in humans.
The angle formed between a magnetic needle and the meridian. On a good compass, it is adjusted to compensate for the difference between true north and magnetic north, so that the user will be able to accurately use a map. Information of how much to adjust declination is available regionally at Geological Survey offices.
The abbreviation for diethyltoluamide. The active, colorless, oily liquid used in insect repellant. The exact toxicity of DEET is under dispute, but it works very effectively as insect repellant.
Measurement of fiber weight used to describe the thickness of a thread or yarn. The higher the denier, the larger the fibers and stronger the material. One denier = 1 gram per 9000 meter length of the fiber (5 miles of the fiber weighs one gram). In clothing, a 70 denier fabric is considered strong. In backpacks 400 denier material is strong.
The belly feather of a goose or duck. Down is unsurpassed in thermal insulation relative to its weight. It conforms well to body shape and creates an efficient thermal barrier. Down is the most durable insulation available and should last longer, with proper care, than any other insulation. The labeling of products that contain down is very confusing due to government labeling regulations and the nature of down processing. It is impossible to process down without breaking some down plumes and including other feathers in the mixture. When a product is labeled “down”, it must contain a minimum of 70% complete down plumes and a maximum of 10% broken down fibers, 17% other feathers and 3% residual material. If down filled products are labeled with a percentage description such as “80/20 down”, the 80/20 means that 80% of the content meets the guidelines for “down” listed above and 20% of the insulation is entirely comprised of feathers, broken fibers and residual material. As a result, 80/20 down is actually only 56% down (plumes). Why? Because 80% of the fill has 70% down plumes and the remaining 20% has no down plumes at all. This confusing labeling complicates consumer understanding of their purchases. A better method for comparing products requires knowing the “fill power” of the insulation. Fill power is the space measured in cubic inches, that one-ounce of down occupies when lofted to its greatest potential. 550-fill power is considered “good”. The higher the fill power of the down, the better it is. Many fine products are available with fill power ratings of 650 or more. The higher the rating the more expensive the item. The higher the rating the lighter and more compressible the item will be. (See: Fill Power)
An insulated compartment, sewn in a sleeping bag or jacket, to provide insulation behind a zipper. This eliminates a cold spot.
Abbreviation for “Durable Water Repellant.” DWR is a finish, applied to outer shell fabrics on garments, that protects the outer shell from absorbing moisture. DWR provides resistance to moisture penetration but is not waterproof. The effectiveness of this treatment decreases with exposure to light and with washings.
A waterproof/breathable laminate fabric with extremely high breathability, wind resistance and durability.
External Frame Pack
A backpack which attaches to a separate and external frame. These frames are usually made of aluminum or plastics and are often adjustable to fit a wide range of body sizes and shapes. They are designed to distribute the weight of the pack onto the hips. These packs are best suited for hiking on maintained trails and paths.
Glass in a fibrous form used to make canoes, tent poles and other items. In canoes, fiberglass is lighter than polyethylene and heavier than Kevlar®. Boats made of fiberglass can be made to be extremely fast. They are somewhat fragile but can be repaired. In tent poles, fiberglass is strong and flexible. Fiberglass tent poles are used mostly on entry level and three season tents.
Fill power is the space, measured in cubic inches, that one-ounce of down occupies when lofted to its greatest potential. 550-fill power is considered “good”. The higher the fill power of the down, the better it is. The higher the fill power rating of the fill, the more expensive the item. Many fine products are available with fill power ratings of 650 or more. The higher the rating the lighter and more compressible the item will be compared to a identical item using a lower fill power down.
Four Season Tent
A tent that is designed to withstand snow and other winter weather conditions. The four-season tent usually has two doors and a frame that will withstand the weight of snow. Other common features on a four-season tent include ground flaps to cover with snow for stability in snowy conditions, cook vents and holes and sufficient ventilation to minimize condensation formed by the moist breath of the occupants and a vestibule.
Free Standing Tent
A tent which, as a result of its construction, will remain standing without being staked to the ground.
An outerwear item that fits over the ankle to protect the foot and leg from moisture, snow, mud, snakes and other obstacles. The gaiter fits from the laces of the person’s shoe or boot up to the calf or knee depending on the style. When worn over a rain pant, the gaiter prevents moisture from getting to the sock or foot. Most often used for snowshoeing, mountaineering and foul weather hiking. Also great for walks in wet grass or brush.
A common disease found in water supplies, which is caused by flagellate Protozoan. It is often characterized by extreme diarrhea and stomach problems. It is avoidable if water is filtered or purified prior to consumption. Recent reports show that Giardia is present in almost all domestic and foreign water found in lakes, streams, creeks and rivers.
Sunglasses worn during high altitude and snowy conditions. These sunglasses have nose and side of the eye protection against intense sun reflection and lenses that filter ultra-violet rays. Crucial for any extreme high altitude trip.
W. L. Gore windproof, highly breathable and highly water resistant laminate which protects insulation in sleeping bags and outerwear.
The lightest and most compressible Gore-Tex® available. This is a Gore-Tex laminate lined with tiny dots, which is laminated to an extremely lightweight nylon substrate. Great for extreme wet conditions but weighing just over 3 oz. per yard.
Polyester fleece laminated to a Gore membrane for windproof, breathable and water resistant fleece outerwear and sweaters.
A waterproof/breathable laminate developed by W.L. Gore. Gore-Tex is the original standard by which all other waterproof/breathable fabrics are measured. This laminate is Teflon®-based and has millions of small pores which are smaller than a water molecule but larger than a water vapor molecule. It is the most durable of all of the waterproof/breathable fabrics in the market place. W.L. Gore oversees, through demanding production standards and inspections, the applications of Gore-Tex and guarantees that Gore-Tex products will be waterproof in addition to and beyond the manufacturer’s warranty. For the specific details of this guarantee please read the W. L. Gore hang tags on Gore-Tex products.
XCR stands for "extended comfort range" and is the latest Gore-Tex membrane, which is 25% to 50% more breathable than original Gore-Tex depending on the fabric to which it is laminated. The durable waterproofness remains the same as in the original Gore-Tex. It is used in state of the art outerwear.
A backpack or fanny pack which has a 1-3 liter water bladder with a flexible sipping hose that allows the user to drink continuously during activities.
A fiber that loves water and absorbs and wicks rapidly.
A fiber that hates water and as a result will not absorb moisture.
Internal Frame Backpack
Backpack that uses “stays” in it’s internal construction to transfer weight to the hips. Internal frame packs carry close to the back for comfort and flexibility while hiking or climbing. Great for cross country travel, on or off trails. Fit is crucial in choosing this style pack.
Kevlar is a fiber used in aerospace and military applications such as bulletproof vests. It is amazingly light and strong. When used as a canoe hull it produces an extremely light yet durable boat. The fastest canoes and kayaks are designed out of Kevlar.
A boat made in the style of an Eskimo canoe. Propelled by paddling. Usually has a cockpit for one or two paddlers. Kayaks are very maneuverable in white water and extremely stable for paddling in large bodies of water such as large lakes or coastal ocean areas.
Shatterproof, lightweight and nearly unbreakable plastic that does not absorb what it comes into contact with and withstands heat and cold. Used as shovel blades, water bottles, utensils and food containers.
Spandex that stretches 5 times its length with full recovery to enhance performance in knit or woven fabrics. Often found in socks, underwear and other activewear.
Wool from the Merino sheep usually found in Australia and New Zealand. The fibers of this wool are longer than conventional wool fibers. This length creates a knitted yarn that is itch-free and silky soft to the touch. Merino wool is known for its ability to cushion so that in socks it always feels soft and bouncy and reduces blisters.
Extremely fine, tightly woven fiber that combines natural breathability with resistance to water and wind.
A unit of measure that equals one millionth of a meter. Used to measure the smallest unit of size that will not pass through a filter in water filters and purifiers.
Stands for “Meals, Ready to Eat.” The military ration currently being issued to soldiers in the field. MRE’s contain complete multi course meals. They come in cases of 12 meals but are also sold in individual meal units.
The shape of a sleeping bag when it includes a hood, tubular shaped foot and leg and a zipper down one side of the bag. Mummy bags are popular because they keep the insulation closer to the body. As a result, mummy bags are lighter and more compressible than rectangular versions with the same temperature rating.
Bottles and containers made by the Thermo Fisher Scientific company that are durable and leakproof. Excellent as water bottles, medicine and food containers. Lexan versions of these bottles will hold boiling liquids and do not absorb their contents.
Nordic walking, which originated in Europe and is gaining in popularity across the U.S., is a physical activity consisting of walking with specially designed poles, similar to ski poles. Nordic walking combines walking with simultaneous core and upper body conditioning, similar to Nordic skiing. The result is a full-body walking workout that can burn significantly more calories without a change in perceived exertion or having to walk faster.
Offset Quilted Construction
A method of contructing a sleeping bag or outerwear that involves using more that one layer of insulation. Each layer is sewn through but the seams of each layer line up over unsewn areas of the other layer. This eliminates cold spots.
Open Cell Foam
Foam that has an open cellular structure which allows air or moisture to enter between the cells. Used as the fill material in self-inflating air mattresses.
Micro-encapsulated phase-changing material integrated into fibers, coatings and fabrics. Outlast changes from a liquid to a solid depending on the temperature to which it is exposed. This change is not visible but it alters the way the material insulates. As a result, Outlast provides temperature – regulating performance in a wide assortment of insulating products. Used in hats, gloves, outerwear, footwear and active wear, Outlast makes it possible for a user to be comfortable in the same product, in extreme cold and in much warmer conditions.
The underarm zipper in a jacket that is designed to provide ventilation to the torso.
Continuous filament polyester insulation. Used in sleeping bags and outerwear.
Durable and high lofting, Polarguard 3D is a premium synthetic insulation made from fine denier, continuous filament fibers. Each fiber is made with an exclusive high-void triangular cross section that prevents the fiber from collapsing thus enabling Polarguard 3D to retain its loft and warmth after years of use. The continuous filament keeps the insulation from separating, clumping and matting. It can be compressed for packing and retains its loft in use. Polarguard 3D can be washed and dried and it will return to its original loft.
Continuous filament polyester insulation with a high-void triangular cross section. Provides 25% more loft than original Polarguard.
Polarguard Delta is the latest development in synthetic insulation. Constructed of hollow core continuous filaments, this insulation is lighter, more durable and more thermally efficient than any Polarguard product ever produced. These advances are achieved by a higher diameter fiber with more hollow space inside to create a stronger, higher lofting insulation.
Malden Mills’ polyester fleece. Offers lightweight warmth in a quick drying, durable, non-pilling material. Used in outerwear, activewear, sweaters and accessories such as hats, gloves and scarves. Available in different weights, finishes and laminations.
A polymer fiber (also known as olefin) used in technical clothing. It is hydrophobic (water hating) so that moisture evaporates through it at a rapid rate. Polypropylene is produced in both short and long staple fibers. Garments using the short fiber are less expensive but they are very sensitive to heat and retain odors. Garments using the long staple fiber take exposure to heat and resist odor retention.
Priming (a Stove)
The pre-warming of a gasoline camp stove by burning a small quantity of fuel under the stove’s burner, until gas vapor is drawn into the stoves burner tube or generator, creating the pressure needed for the stove to burn properly.
DuPont’s premium 4-channel hollow polyester insulation with a 7-hole cross section. Designed as a high performance alternative to down. It maintains its loft and insulating values when damp. Used in sleeping bags and outerwear.
The separate layer used above the body of a tent to provide rain and sun protection. When used in conjunction with the breathable roof of a tent it reduces or eliminates condensation in the tent.
Nylon fabric with double size thread at regular intervals to achieve small shapes, usually squares, that prevent tears from spreading. Also found in polyester and cotton fabrics.
A product used to coat the seams on waterproof fabrics such as tents. The sewing of these fabrics creates holes that are partially filled by the thread used to stitch them. The seam sealer, which is applied to a clean seam with a brush or sponge applicator, clogs the stitches and makes them waterproof.
Self-Inflating Air Mattress
A sleeping pad used mostly for camping, with an open cell foam core surrounded by an air tight cover. A valve in the cover allows air to enter and exit the foam core. The open cell foam has memory and when the valve is open it wants to return to its regular shape and draws air into the cavity. When the pad is being rolled, the open valve allows the air to escape and the foam to compress.
Sewn Through Construction
A method of containing insulation into fixed spaces that involves seams that run from the inside to the outside of the product. It is used to construct sleeping bags and outerwear and leaves areas of little or no insulation at regular intervals.
The method of constructing a sleeping bag in which the insulation is placed in overlapping layers that resemble the way shingles are applied to the roof of a building.
The back of a canoe or kayak.
Seams on a tent or rainwear that have been covered by a waterproof tape to insure the total waterproofness of the fabric.
Nylon or other fabrics that are woven with a plain weave for a fine smooth appearance.
Sleeping Bags usually come with temperature ratings. These ratings are not a guarantee of comfort! Every individual will have a different experience in a bag at any given temperature and on any given night. The ratings are a great method of comparing the comfort range of different sleeping bags but must not be considered a guarantee of comfort for a particular individual. The ratings are based on a military standard for survival, not comfort. The ratings also assume the use of a good self-inflating sleeping pad. Our recommendation is to purchase a bag with a rating 15-20 degrees below the coldest temperature a user is likely to experience.
Original 3-M micro-denier olefin/polyester fiber for warmth without thickness or weight. Offers breathability, moisture resistance, warmth when wet and 1.5 times the warmth of down when measured by loft.
Thinsulate Lite Loft®
3-M fine denier olefin/polyester insulation with highest loft to weight ratio. Used primarily in outerwear.
The cross supports that connect the two sides of a canoe or boat hull.
An internal frame backpack specifically designed to work as a suitcase for air travel. These backpacks have fabric covers to hide backpack straps and hipbelts. They often have removable day packs which zip on or off for convenience when traveling.
The extension of a tent’s rain fly which forms an enclosed porch off either end of the tent. The vestibule is a protected storage area that allows gear to be kept outside of the main compartment of the tent.
A brand of sole used on high quality footwear, especially hiking boots. Vibram soles were among the first branded lug soles. These soles now come in dozens of different tread patterns depending on the intended use. The rubber content also changes depending on the manufaturer's desire to increase wear or traction. As a rule the higher the rubber content the stickier the sole and the shorter the soles wear life. Companies that use genuine Vibram soles usually use other high quality components, too.
A device used to process water, so that when the water passes through the device Giardia will be removed. The Microfilter version of a water filter will also remove Bacteria and most microorganisms. Water filters remove particles down to the 1 to 4 micron range. Microfilters remove particles down to the .2 to 1 micron range.
Term used to describe garments that block out water completely. Waterproof garments must meet minimum government standards and must have taped seams and waterproof protection for the zippers. Some of the latest, high tech outerwear have waterproof zippers.
A micro-porous polyurethane coating that prevents the smallest raindrops from penetrating yet allows perspiration vapor to escape. This is a basic performance level of waterproof/breathable technology and is good for general use in wet weather. It is appropriate for activities including skiing, hiking and walking.
The waterproof/breathable technology that unites a non-porous, breathable film with another fabric. The laminate is waterproof because the tiny pores in the laminate are too small to permit penetration by a water molecule. The laminate is breathable because water vapor molecules are smaller than water molecules and can escape through the laminate’s pores. In some laminates amino acids in the film layer absorb and dissipate perspiration thereby maximizing breathability. This technology is more durable than coatings and is ideal for highly active applications. Gore-Tex and eVent are two examples of waterproof/breathable laminate.
A device used to process water so that when the water passes through the device all microorganisms, Giardia, Bacteria and viruses will be eliminated. Water purifiers remove particles down to the .004 micron range.
Term used to describe garments which initially repel water but which eventually allow water to penetrate.
Gasoline that is purified and has no additives. Used as a fuel in camping appliances. Often called Coleman fuel, which is one brand of white gas.
The capillary action that draws moisture away from the skin, via a fiber, to be evaporated.
Silver fiber from Nobel Fiber-Technologies that provides natural anti-microbial performance. X-Static is available in microfiber, staple fiber, filament fiber and fabric.