Don’t be a drip, dress for your trip
Adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes says: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” And winter in WA is the proof of it.
In the South West in July, expect an average maximum temperature of 16C. And expect a bit more than 220mm of rain for the whole month, falling on just 17 of the 31 days.
Measured against much of the world ... well, it’s barely winter, is it.
And with some decent outdoor clothing, we can carry on enjoying even the south of the State over coming months.
As we go north, of course, we can expect the best of the year — blue skies, warm days and nights that might get cold, and rock just screaming out for boots.
1 A pair of supportive yet light and comfortable boots is, in my book, an essential item in WA. There’s a lot of rock out there. But how do you measure just how good a boot is, apart from just putting it on and trying it? Well, Steel Blue boots, WA made by West Australians in Malaga, have two other interesting measures.
First, these are the only workboots endorsed by the Australian Physiotherapy Association, which recognises that the advancements of the design and materials help protect from stress-related injuries to the ankles, knees, hips and spine. Second, Steel Blue backs the comfort and quality of its boots with a 30-day, 100 per cent comfort guarantee — the first safety footwear manufacturer in the world to offer such a rock solid promise.
Steel Blue’s Trisole soling system cushions and absorbs and the foot-bed is designed to cushion, cradle and support feet from heel to toe. And they do good boots for women, like the Southern Cross, which comes in colours including blue and pink (about $189).
If you choose blue, $10 from every sale is given to the Beyond Blue mental health support organisation.
Choose pink or purple and help this good company support Breast Cancer Care WA. steelblue.com.au
2 New Zealand engineer Greig Brebner was sick of bad umbrellas. Flimsy and poorly designed, they’d become a short-lived item.
And so he not only set out to reinvent the umbrella but achieved it very well with the Blunt. It’s my go-to umbrella because they last and last. Not surprisingly. Greig pushed prototypes to their limit in wind tunnels and on the blustery hills of Auckland.
And Blunts aren’t just strong, with double struts and backed by a two-year warranty, but elegant, too. I have the Blunt Metro (about $100). bluntumbrella.com.au
3 I reckon a pair of Wellington boots can change your winter — dry feet, happy man (or woman). The Duke of Wellington, Battle of Waterloo victor and fashion icon, gave his name to my boots.
British soldiers had been wearing knee-high boots called Hessians but, in the early 1800s, Viscount Wellington asked London shoemaker George Hoby to make a boot which was easier to wear and he cut them lower.
They became known as “Wellingtons”.
The North British Rubber Company started making similar rubber boots in 1856, the name stuck, and millions of pairs were issued to World War I soldiers to prevent “trench foot”.
I have a pair of Blundstones, from their “gumboot series” (about $80).
Exactly 150 years ago, John Blundstone started making practical footwear that would stand up to life in the cobbled city of Hobart and the rugged country and farmland around it. blundstone.com.au
4 As you may have gathered, I don’t always just buy the product in front of me but also value the ethics and story of the company behind it.
Certainly that is true of the Patagonia clothing company. Patagonia pledges at least one per cent of sales or 10 per cent of pre-tax profits (whichever is more) to environmental work, looking for “the root causes of problems” not just band aids. By turning discarded fishing nets into hat and cap brims, Patagonia helps keep over 35 tonnes of waste out of the ocean this year.
I like the “P-6 Label Trad Cap” (pictured below, about $45), which uses the fish-net tech and organic cotton. patagonia.com.au
5 You can wear them round your neck, pull them up over your ears, nose and mouth on a cold day (they even act as a face mask). You can wear them sort-of like a beanie or a hood. They are good as bicycle helmet or cap liner.
They can be a headband, hairband or ponytail “scrunchy”. Versatility is the hallmark of not-so-humble Headsox — basically a tube of stretchy fabric.
There’s a big range of colours and designs, from fish scales in blue to Indigenous designs like Kimberley by Stan Brumby and Karlamilyi River by Martumili artist Minyawe Miller.
There are a lot of blood vessels in the neck, the head loses a lot of heat, and a simple Headsox will make a difference to winter. They’re about $24.95. headsox.com.au
6 For really waterproof jackets, I buy sailing gear. A personal favourite is Line 7 gear, made in New Zealand.
But for general outdoor jackets, I also wear Helly Hansen — and for a decent WA winter jacket, recommend its Loke Jacket (about $170).
Waterproof, windproof and breathable, with front storm flap to keep out the wind and rain, it also has vents to stop overheating. Look for jackets that are fully seam sealed, like this, which is also treated with Helly Hansen’s “durable water repellency treatment”. hellyhansen.com
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