Hiking Boots – Parts And Construction

When shopping for a pair of hiking boots, it is important to know how they are made. No, you do not need to know how to make your own, but you have to understand what goes into them and how it affects the comfort and durability – the overall quality – of the hiking boots. In this article I will describe the parts of a hiking boot, what they are made of, and how they come together to form the ideal hiking boot for you.

Like any shoe, a hiking boot consists of an upper and a sole joined together by a welt and with an inlet at the front covered by a tongue, and the whole is lined with various pads and cushions. I will discuss each of those parts in detail, in terms of what they are made of and what to look for in various types of hiking boots.

Sole and Welt

Let's start at the bottom. The soul of the hiking boot is the sole.

Soles are usually made of synthetic rubber in varying degrees of hardness. A harder sole will last longer, but generally will have poorer Traction on hard surfaces (such as bare rock) and will provide less cushioning. A softer sole gives you the cushioning you need for long hikes and the transaction you need on rough ground, but it will wear out faster.

Manufacturers have made their trade-offs in choosing the materials to make their boots out of. The final choice is up to you when you choose which boot to buy. If you expect to do most of your hiking on soft surfaces, such as desert sand or bare soil, you might lean more towards harder soles. But most of us hike on fairly rugged trails with a good deal of bare rock, and we need the traction of a softer sole.

Inside the sole is a shank. It is a stiffening structure, either fiberglass or steel, that prevails the sole of the boot from twisting and that provides arch support. Shanks may be only three-quarter or half-length. Hiking shoes generally have no shank at all, deriving all their stiffness from the molded rubber sole. Good day-hiking boots may have a full-length fiberglass shank. High-quality backpacking boots will give you the choice of fiberglass or steel. It will depend on how strong you need your hiking boots to be, and how heavy.

Look for deep, knobby tread. Deep cuts in the sole allow water and mud to flow out so you can get traction. "Fake" hiking boots, designed to look like hiking boots but not to perform like them, may have thinner soles and shallow tread. Working boots also may have shallow tread, and they generally have harder soles than hiking boots have.

The welt is the connection between the sole and the upper. Virtually all hiking boots these days are glued together rather than sewn. If you are buying a very expensive pair of backpacking boots, give preference to a sewn welt. Boots with a sewn welt will be easier to resole when the original sole wears out. For hiking shoes or day-hiking boots, when the sole wears out, the upper is not worth salvaging, either, so a glued welt is just fine.

Upper

The upper of the hiking boot brings warmth, protects the sides of your feet from rocks and brush, and repels water. It must also allow your feet to "breathe," so that moisture from perspiration will not build up inside the boots and cause blisters.

Uppers of hiking boots are usually at least partially made of leather. High-quality backpacking boots are often made of full-grain leather (leather that has not been split). Lighter boots may be made of split-grain leather (leather that has been split or sued on one side), or a combination of split-grain leather with various fabrics.

Fabrics that are combined with leather are usually some type of nylon. Heavy nylon wears almost as well as leather, and it is much lighter and cheaper than leather.

In any hiking boot, especially those made of combinations of leather and fabric, there will be seams. Seams are bad. Seams are points of failure. Seams are points of wear, as one panel of the boot rubs against another. Seams are penetrations that are difficult to waterproof.

The uppers of backpacking boots are sometimes made of a single piece of full-grain leather with only one seam at the back. This is good, for all the reasons that seams are bad, but it is expensive.

You're going to have to deal with seams. But as you shop for hiking boots, look for customer reviews that mention failure or undue wearing of the seams, and avoid those brands.

Inlet and Tongue

There are two things to look for in the inlet and the tongue:

1. How the laces are attached and adjusted

2. How the tongue is attached to the sides of the inlet

The inlet may be provided with eyelets, D-rings, hooks, and webbing, alone or in combination. They each have these advantages and disadvantages:

* Eyelets: Simplest and most durable way to lace a boot. Not so easily adjusted.

* D-rings: Easier to adjust than eyelets, more durable than hooks. More failure-prone than eyelets. (They can break, and they can tear out of the leather.)

* Hooks: Easiest to adjust of all lace attachments. Subject to getting hooked on brush, or bent or broken in impacts with boulders, main cause of breakage of laces.

* Webbing: Cause less chafing of laces, slightly easier to adjust than eyelets, slightly more durable than D-rings. More failure-prone than eyelets.

The most common lace attachment of any hiking boot is eyelets below ankle-level and hooks above. You may see eyelets all the way up, as in classic military-style combat boots, or a combination of either D-rings or webbing with hooks.

The attachment of the tongue is a critical factor in how waterproof the hiking boots are. Provided the leather and / or fabric and seams of the upper are waterproof, water will not get into the boots until it gets higher than the attachment point of the tongue.

Most hiking shoes and day-hiking boots have the tongue attached all the way to the top. If the tongue is not fully attached, consider carefully wherever you will need that extra inch or two of waterproofing.

High-rise backpacking boots have the tongue attached only partway up, but that still reaches higher than most day-hiking boots. It's difficult to get the boot on and off if the tongue is attached very high.

Linings and Pads

There are many pieces that go into the lining and padding of a hiking boot, but two in particular you need to pay attention to:

1. The sole lining

2. The scree collar

The sole lining must be appropriately cushioned. You want a firm, durable surface in immediate contact with your socks, but enough cushioning below that to absorb impact.

The scree collar is a cushion around the top of most hiking boots. It enables you to pull the boots tight enough to keep out loose rocks ("scree") but without chafing against your ankle and Achilles tendon. This is the thickest and softest cushion in the whole hiking boot. It must be soft enough to conform to your ankle and Achilles tendon as they move, and still keep close enough contact with your leg to keep the rocks out.

Very high hiking boots, such as military-style combat boots, may have no scree collar at all. The height of the boot is what keeps the rocks out.

Throughout, the lining and padding of the hiking boots must be thick enough to provide warm, durable enough to last, and smooth enough that it will not cause chafing and blisters.

Conclusion

So, these are the things you need to pay attention to when going a pair of hiking boots. Be prepared to compromise, and pay attention to which features are really important to the style of hiking you intend to do.

No Credit? Here Are Easy Ways You Can Build Credit

Are you someone who has not established credit yet? Are you denied the same access to credit cards, loans and other credit ways simply because your credit score is too low from not having enough credit or no credit at all. Do not fret, because help is on the way!

If you are planning on getting a personal loan, owning a car, having a home of your own, working in a bank or finally acquiring the furniture you've been longing for a long time then establishing a credit is the answer.

Here are a few ways you can start building up your credit report and get on the road to good credit!

– Start to apply for a guaranteed approval credit card that reports to the credit bureaus. Take your time and always read the fine print in order for you to find the best deal for yourself. These cards are similar to debit cards but they have the Visa or Mastercard logo on them and they report to the credit bureaus.

– Another option might be to check if the lending institution of your choice has a secured credit card being offered. The interest may be higher but you may be able to upgrade to an unsecured card within 12 months if you maintain your payments on time.

– Another type of credit card with easy approval requirements is the merchandise credit cards and department store credit cards. These are an excellent source to start to establish a line of credit. Make sure it's a store where you can purchase a lot of your shopping needs. This way, you do not need to apply for a multiple cards at once which can be seen as a negative on your credit report. One word of caution. Department store credit cards tend to have high interest rates, many of their interest rates start at 15%. So keep an eye on your balance and try to pay as much as you can each month. NEVER make just the minimum payment, especially on a department store credit card.

– Do not forget to fill up any application for a loan or credit card completely. If something does not apply put N / A on that line. Including your checking and savings accounts and any accounts you pay for on a monthly basis even if they do not appear on your credit report. If they do not appear on your credit report, please make sure you include a way for your prospective lender to contact them for a trade reference.

If you are thinking about applying for a car loan, it's good to do research on the dealership or car lot where you want to make the purchase. Most dealers will provide a source of financing. Some may carry their own loan and payment plans. Be on the lookout though and read contract carefully if you do not want to get stuck with an interest rate that is through the roof. This venture is where a good cosigner may come into play.

Use these tips to help jumpstart your credit history and get approved for the credit that you deserve!

Copyright (c) 2006 Liz Roberts

4 Motorcycle Accessories to Add Your BMW GS Motorbike

The BMW GS series of motorbikes is seen as one of the most popular range of motorbikes in its class – the dual sport / adventure bikes. They are even extremely popular outside of their class, possibly losing out only to Japanese racing bikes and Harleys. If you own a BMW GS bike and have not yet taken it on overnight (or longer) trips, it's high time you do so because this is what they were built for. This article suggests five common accessories you can add to your bike, which you'll certainly appreciate regardless of whether or not you are already a seasoned adventure motorcyclist.

Motorbike Luggage carriers / panniers

Motorcycle luggage carriers are probably the first type of BMW GS accessories you should be looking at. Not much point in taking overnight trips if you can not carry any substantial amount of luggage with you, right? There are several options available:

Tankbags are placed just in front of you, between your seat and the handlebars. These are usually quite small bags, very convenient for storing items you need to get to quickly like your wallet or camera. Topcases are another option which are mounted on the back of the bike. You may or may not need to install a rack or adapter plate to hold the case, especially if you're installing a non BMW topcase.

BMW GS panniers or "side bags" as they are commonly called hang off the sides of the bike, at the back. Soft panners offer less protection to its contents, hold smaller volumes but are less bulky. Hard panniers are manufactured from metal (usually aluminum) can be costly and are definitely heavier and bulkier but usually offer excellent protection from crashes, water and dirt. They can sometimes hold up to 40L each, which ads the same capacity as a very large backpack right on the rear of your bike – get 'em if you can afford' em. If you can not fit all your stuff in a pair of these panners, a rollbag and tank bag then you seriously need to reconsider the amount of stuff you are taking.

Motorcycle Lights

Motorcycle lights are a useful addition which adds an element of safety to your riding experience. You can see better, and you're also seen better. Xenon headlights are available and these make your bike stand out more when you appear in other driver's mirrors – the extra visibility could save your life one day. Several companies manufacture additional light sets that are mounted on the front of bike, to be used in foggy or other low visibility conditions. These are ultra bright lights which allow you to see the road in front of you and any possible obstacles better.

Perhaps they should not be used only in low-vis conditions: I've heard car driver sympathetic to us motorcyclists say that (while being as attentive as they can) "I just do not notice bikes on the road. notice ONE light at all ". Anyone who drives a car through cities should be able to confirm this – a single light just does not stand out. A set of extra lights on the side of your bike results in a "triangle" of lights shining out of your bike: one main light with two extra lights below and to the side of it. If you've ever seen a big GS bike kitted out with this kind of setup you'll know what I mean. Although a little extravagant, these extra lights DO make you more visible in the rear view mirrors of car drivers. Hopefully they will realize a motorbike is approaching before the swerve out of their lane and nail you.

Finally, aftermarket brake lights are available that shine brighter and can be configured to blink or flash quickly when you brake. I'm not sure if they are legal, and they may be annoying to car drivers but they allow motorists driving behind you to notice you quick – very useful in case traffic slows down abruptly and you're worried about getting rear ended by inattentive drivers .

Aftermarket exhausts

Motorcycle exhausts are toys for the boys. They rarely offer practical improvements, other than a great rumbling sound for that extra satisfaction when you're revving the engine at a red light. It has to be said that aftermarket exhausts are usually also lighter than the OE ones and may save a couple of pounds in weight – who does not want a lighter bike? These exhausts usually also give you a little bump in horsepower – not as much as with aftermarket car exhausts, but maybe noticeable nonetheless. One thing to look out for is that exhaust does not get in the way of any panniers or pannier racks you have hanging off the side of the bike. Exhausts are not cheap but will only widen your grin and give your bike more of an individual character.

Fairing & windscreens

Motorcycle fairing is the "shell" that's placed over the frame at the front of the bike and is designed to reduce air drag. It improves the aerodynamics of the bike and protects you from wind blast and debris flying your way. Assuming you have not mounted a fridge sized box on the back of your BMW GS, its aerodynamics are probably good enough for overnight trips. However, the protection from wind and debris offers a substantial improvement. Modifying the fairing on BMW GS bikes is usually done by the real pros and in rally conditions, but casual travelers can seriously benefit from an extended windscreen which can save strain on your body and neck when driving at moderate to high speeds during highway cruising.

For the real fanatics, Touratech is able to convert your GS motorbike in to a fully fledged Paris – Dakar clone. Their "desertio" range of bikes renders the original GS bikes almost unrecognizable. Conversions like this come at a price, but if the environment is appropriate you'll appreciate these full on make-overs.

It's clear that adding BMW GS accessories to your bike are a great way to make your bike safer, unique, better looking and more travel-worthy.

Happy trials and ride safe!

A List of Clothing Fashion Don’ts

There are plenty fashion rules that have circulated for centuries, and these days, the old rules will not cut it. Today, you need to forget about the old rules of not wearing white after labor day and saving all of your shimmer for the evening. If you want to learn how to dress your body well and look better everyday, try to avoid the following brand new fashion don'ts.

Do not think function over fashion. If your excuse for not wearing your body better is simply that you are dressing for the weather or you just want to be "comfortable," it is probably time for a change. Do not just by oversized clothing that is frumpy and totally not figure flattering because you want to be "comfortable." If you take your time and try things on you will find that well fitted clothing that is appropriate for your body type actually is quite comfortable. If you get the proper size and the proper style, you can look good, be shielded from the weather, and feel comfortable.

Do not use size numbers alone to determine whether or not your clothes will fit you. Every boutique, department store, and clothing shop is going to have sizes on their outfits. Your size will not be the same in all stores, so get over it. Sometimes, even though you might feel bad about it, the appropriate size for your body will mean looking for a higher number in some stores than in others. It is much better to buy a larger size and look good than to wear something that does not really fit you, and will make you look bigger. If your outfits are busting at the seams, you will look larger than you are.

The final do not is this: do not think that your appearance does not matter. You might say that you do not care what other people think. The reality is, however, that if you have certain career goals in mind and you do not look the part, you will not get the part. Everyone, even if they try to deny it, wants the respect of others, especially at work. Dress to look the best that you can look in appropriate clothing for your profession. Do not make excuses or sell yourself short of the opportunity to look put together to potential clients and potential employers.

The clothing that you put on your body says a lot about who you are. Let it match who you are inside. Let the world know that you respect yourself enough to dress well.