Friday, 21 November 2008

Andy's guide to rucksacs

Probably the most important purchase before you go travelling.  Your rucksack will be your home for the time you are away so getting one that is comfortable, durable, easy to pack and the correct size is key.  If you buy wisely and look after your rucksack it should serve you well for many years.

Don't rush into buying a rucksack; first ask yourself the following questions:

1. Am I going to be doing a lot of walking with heavy loads? - If yes then look for a bag with excellent back support systems and padded shoulder and waist straps.  Try on the bag with a heavy load.  There are now bags designed specifically for women that take into account higher hips and shorter backs.
2. How large does it need to be? - If you are looking for a day bag for a few nights in the hills walking then up to 50 litres will be sufficient.  If planning to travel for 4 weeks or more you will need between 65 - 80litres.  Remember the bigger your bag the more you will take!
3. Does it have several compartments, easy openings? - Makes it easier to pack and unpack, saves having to empty and repack every time you reach your new destination.
4. Are the zips and straps durable hard wearing? - Remember this is one piece of kit you are going to be using on a daily basis.  If you plan to travel a lot then get something tough.  Generally the more you spend the better quality you will get.  Shop on-line to get discounts and always ask in camping shops for a discount if you are a volunteer, doing DofE or you’re a student.
5. Does it come with a rain cover and or flight bag? - Rain covers keep the bag dry in poor weather, and thus lighter.  They can also prevent dust if on the roof of a bus.  Dust is a zips worst enemy!
6. Does it have hidden pockets, water pouches? - Hidden pockets are excellent for keeping photocopies of important documents and spare medication.  If you have a platypus you will need a pouch to hold it and a hole for the tube.
Some excellent rucksacks to take a look at are:

Lowe Alpine TFX tundra 65+15l - £119.99
Lowe Alpine TFX ridge ladies fit 65+15l - £99.99
Berghouse C7 1series 65+10 - £99.99
Berghouse C7 1series ladies fit 65+10 - £99.99
The North Face Primero 70l - £179.99

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Tuesday, 18 November 2008

It's official - gap years make you smarter!

Recent research has shown that people who take a year out before university, on average score a first year university grade 2.3% higher than those who come straight from school. That may not sound like much, but if it's the difference between a 2.1 and a 1st (or a pass and a fail), I'm sure we would all care!

Now whether this is because we actually become cleverer as a result of our gap year, or if it's just because we've got some of the post school madness out of our systems before we've actually started our degree, it can only be a good thing.

In any case, if you have an university interview coming up and they ask you to justify your decision to defer entry, you now have a statistic to back it up!

See the full article on this study here
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Domino Record Topples

It was a true team effort as 85 people from 13 countries came together to topple the world record for not 1 but 10 previous world records. There have been attempts in the past, one ending with a sparrow being shot, later to be recognised as protected (Netherlands 2005). The bird managed to knock over 23,000 dominoes and still holds the record for a bird.

4.3 million dominoes were set and then pushed over in Netherlands this weekend.


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Monday, 17 November 2008

Ever wanted to see a whale shark poo?



If the answer is yes then you're in luck - the BBC has just released the first footage ever filmed of such a monumental event. Whalesharks are the biggest fish in the sea - growing up to 12m in length and (thankfully) only eating plankton, krill and other tiny sea dwellers.

If you want to see a whaleshark yourself, come away on our African Expedition; our dive site in Mozambique is well known for visits from these magnificent creatures and you may be lucky enough to get the chance to dive or snorkel alongside one. You may not be lucky enough to see one poo though....so check out:

BBC video

Quest Overseas has in the past been involved in photographing whalesharks for the eOcean database. The eOcean project aims to provide good quality data from earth and environmental sciences for future use in global change studies, research projects, and operational services such as portals, search engines and library catalogs.

e-ocean.org

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