Winter in Iceland

Justin Minns is a professional landscape photographer and unsurprisingly, spends a lot of his time outdoors. He specialises in dramatic, atmospheric images and as the best conditions often occur when the weather is ‘bad’, capturing them involves being out in all weathers. Days can be long, often starting in the early hours of the morning, chasing the light late into the evening or even working in the middle of the night (as you are about to discover) and it’s important for him to be comfortable so he can stay focused whatever the weather.

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Nick Baker’s Tips – Transitioning to Autumn.

Nick Baker is a well known naturalist and author and has graced the television screens and radio since the mid-1990’s. Due to the nature (quite literally) of his work, he requires the very best in outdoor clothing and has been a long-time wearer and advocate for Páramo Clothing. Here he shares his advice on how to tackle unpredictable, transitional weather as we are edging further into Autumn...

With the Summer months more or less behind us, we are heading into the season of transition. Autumn is a time of challenges; the weather can be warm, sticky and humid, and it can seem to reel forward a couple of months and hit us with a preview of the winter to come. Living as I now do in the spectacularly mountainous Cairngorm National Park, the weather can be truculent at the best of times, but about now more than ever it reserves the right to ambush the unweary. To enjoy the outdoors it is always about being prepared.

For me, kit – and that means clothing and footwear – needs to be simple and functional, it mustn’t add to the complications of life, if it does you’re doing it wrong and/or using the wrong kit. So, when I was asked to share my tips on preparations for the changeable autumn season, I had to think quite hard. Most of what I’m doing now I do as a matter of course throughout the year, as you never know in the mountains when things might change.

Autumn for me is about migrating birds, fungi, the salmon run and the deer rut. Just saying those words and I can feel the cool dampness permeating my thoughts. So my preparations are simple, I need to make sure it’s just my thoughts that are being permeated!

First up, it’s making sure I’m water- and windproof. This is the outer layer – your jacket, trousers, boots, and gaiters, if you use them. Watch a red deer on the rutting stand, or a goosander on the river, their first line of protection is their waterproof layer, the rain or snow just bounces off them – they work by exactly the same principles, it’s just they have feathers and fur. The top layer, whether a wild animal or a human wanting to watch the wild animals, has to keep the water away from the easily wettable and warm air trapping layers below.

My Páramo jacket and gaiters should be cleaned and reproofed regularly throughout the year, I know that. But of course, I always seem to let that fact slip me by until, that is, I get caught out in heavy rain and I feel that unfamiliar seepage.

I know, I know I should know better, but this is the whole point of me writing this. It’s a reminder. Every year about now, this happens and I quickly load the washing machine, and the appropriate amount of Nikwax Tech Wash® and set the machine cycle in progress before then repeating the re-proofing stage with TX. Direct®.

For the directional waterproofing and breathability to work, your garment needs to be kept clean – it is not about aesthetics, it’s about functionality. It’s our analogy to that duck preening or the mammal scratching. We’re keeping our protective outer layer functioning.

The same goes for boots and shoes. Out comes the cleaning products first, then the conditioner and then I reproof them. It’s a rather therapeutic and pleasurable job to do of an evening, there is nothing quite as nostalgic and hands on as dipping your fingers into a tin of Nikwax and using the warmth of your hands to massage it into the leathers of my boots – it’s a ritual I’ve been doing for the best part of 38 years since I got my first pair of hiking boots along with a tin of Nikwax! (I believe it now comes in tubes!).

As part of my preparation, it is also traditional that I start to round up other items that I’ve used less during the summer months but become essential additions to the autumn and winter kit list. They all need close cleaning and refreshing with the appropriate products if they are to function to the best of their ability. Gloves, hats and buffs – I’ve a lot, but they tend to find their way into different drawers, bags and pockets over the year and it’s been a while since I’ve needed or even seen them. It’s also time to locate my fleeces, down jackets and merino base layers and give them the appropriate spruce up. These are the insulating air trapping fluff and fibres that we can layer up with beneath our outer shell layer. They are lightweight and I can squirrel away all I need in a small backpack, and therefore I can adjust the thickness and insulating qualities as I go, according to whether I’m moving hard up a hill or sitting, hunkered down waiting for a ptarmigan.

Oh, and with the shorter days come the chances of me getting caught out after darkness has fallen, so I find my compass and put fresh batteries in my head torch.

That is pretty much it. I’m set. Told you it was simple and now I can get out there and enjoy being part of the great outdoors rather than worrying about it making me cold and wet.

To see more about Nick Baker you can visit his website HERE.

Páramo is the supporting wind beneath conservation project’s wings

As Ambassador for the UN Convention on Migratory Species, Sacha Dench campaigns to raise awareness of the problems facing many species and habitats around the world. Her latest expedition, Flight of the Osprey, is an innovative conservation project undertaken in collaboration with UN agencies, scientists, media and governments – and Páramo is honoured to have been chosen as its official clothing sponsor.

FOTO Team

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Writer and wildlife guide David Chandler reviews our Páramo Poncho

We were delighted to bump into writer and wildlife guide, David Chandler, at this year’s Global BirdFair event in Rutland, which brings together wildlife conservationists, representatives of nature travel, birders and natural history enthusiasts from all over the world.

David is skilled in introducing non-expert audiences to the natural world and worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and BirdLife International for over 16 years before going freelance. He has a life-long interest in wildlife and communicates the natural world with huge enthusiasm.

David recently reviewed our famous Páramo Poncho for the Gear Finder pages of Bird Watching magazine and we’re very excited to share his findings with you…

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Páramo, Elliot Brown Watches and Mountain Rescue

Those who have ever pushed themselves that little bit too far, or have experienced misadventure whilst out on the hill, remain indebted to the Search & Rescue community for their invaluable outdoor expertise. Rescue teams grew from a tradition of self-help amongst the mountain and walking fraternities and a willingness of local communities to assist in the event of mountain accidents. Needless to say, Páramo and Elliot Brown Watches are extremely proud of the Mountain Rescue partnerships they have forged over the years.

UK and Ireland Mountain Rescue teams choose Páramo

© Mike Keating, Mayo Mountain Rescue Team

For over 25 years, Páramo has been the leading supplier of weather protection for UK Mountain Rescue teams. They may not be high, but British mountains are well known for their potentially treacherous weather conditions – cloud and rain can engulf mountaintops in minutes, making navigation extremely difficult and dangerous.

Páramo waterproofs are revolutionary, using unique Nikwax® Analogy® Directional Textiles that mimic mammals’ methods of temperature control and waterproofing to keep Mountain Rescue volunteers safe, warm and dry in the worst weather conditions.

I was introduced to Páramo several decades ago by others in Mountain Rescue. Their outer garments have provided good service despite the extremes of weather in Snowdonia. The garments are well designed, a good fit, functional and well made. Chris Lloyd, Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue

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The Urban Birder in the Falklands


© David Lindo | On the Falkland Islands wearing a Páramo Halcon Jacket

I regularly traverse the four corners of the globe ostensibly on the search for urban birds which often leads me to the least likely of urban spots. When I got an invitation from the Falkland Islands Tourism Board to visit the islands I just could not resist. Every now and again you have to leave the ‘urban’ behind!

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From Big Cats to Silver Voles in Mongolia

I’ve been wearing Páramo gear for several years now and it has seen me through lots of different situations. Working as a wildlife camera operator, you’re exposed to all the elements, so the flexibility and choice in the Páramo range has been really helpful. I’m often working at either end of the day, starting out before sunrise and finishing after sunset. Even in warmer countries these times of day can be pretty brutal, so I’m a big fan of layering! The Páramo gear easily allows this.

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Ski to the Edge sets off: a 600 Mile Yukon Wilderness Expedition

Yukon Government Archives photo shows Alex Van Bibber, Curly Desrosiers and Harry Cooper in the Firth River area in 1948. (Alex Van Bibber collection, 92/28 #15, Yukon Archives)

The late Alex Van Bibber was a child of the Gold Rush era in the Yukon Territories, born in 1916. In 1943, he led the Canoil expedition to find a new oil pipeline route as a result of concerns over the Japanese landing on the nearby Aleutian Islands. We were hugely privileged to hear Alex’s stories first hand as he gave us his last interview in 2014, at the age of 98. He shared tales of rafting to school from their home in Fort Selkirk to Dawson City with him, as the oldest child aged 13, in charge. He later starred in films about the Yukon, ‘Challenge to be free’ and ‘The Last Trapper’, he took the Chicago mob hunting and even took the Kennedy family up Mount Kennedy. His life was full of rich adventures as a guide, instructor and rescuer – the modern day title of ‘legend’ was well deserved.

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