BECAUSE I am a compulsive shopper, I can never resist the opportunity to explore new territory. Just such an opportunity arose a few weeks ago.
It is a pleasant discovery when you happen to be in a different area with an hour or two to spare and find something worthwhile. This new store at Kotara caught my eye with its well set-out footpath displays.
To my delight, a new franchise of Aussie Disposals had opened in Newcastle. To most of us a disposal store used to mean army surplus, as in used clothing and survival gear, but that is only a small part of this supply store.
Aussie Disposals is one of the largest outdoor adventure suppliers in the Southern Hemisphere, offering a full range of Summer and Winter products including work/hiking boots, camping, fishing, 4WD hardware, swags, tents, thermal and wet-weather gear – the list goes on.
As with most camping suppliers, the staff know their products from experience and not the textbook. Scott and Karen Wakefield are the new owners and with their regular staff of Andrew and Stacey, they have many years of experience with camping, scouting and orienteering. On weekends there is also additional staff when Army cadets and Scouts from the local troops come in for work experience.
The range of camping and hiking clothing is exceptional. They also supply a large range of their own brand clothing, designed and made in Australia for Australian conditions.
The company brand name Wild River basically describes just how rugged the clothing is. The shirts have an extra turn-up on the collar, to protect your neck from the sun. Some of the clothing also has a solar protection rating.
The Wild River range comes in styles for men and women and is made from easy-care poly-cotton fabrics which rinse out and are dry in no time. The shirts and trousers are also designed for outback travel.
Each article has a concealed pocket, which allows the whole item to be stuffed into it for packing, and we all know that clothing takes up less space when rolled up tightly rather than folded neatly. Once unraveled, a quick shake and your clothes are ready to wear.
The men’s and women’s Capri pants feature zip-off leg bottoms, making two pieces of clothing from one. Winter temperatures tend to go from one extreme to another and long trousers may be the go first thing in the morning, but later in the day shorts are often more comfortable.
When fishing in the shallows it’s nice to be able to remove the bottoms of your trousers and have them dry in your pocket ready to re-zip them on later when you get out of the water.
Any time of the year is a great time to go camping and Winter is no exception. You will need to be a bit more prepared for the elements, but generally you will need the same basic equipment that you used in Summer.
Clothing will need to be a lot warmer. The new style Hurricane jackets are 100% waterproof and windproof but because of the newer fabrics, they are also breathable, which means that you stay dry but you do not overheat.
Polar fleece is a fabric for rugged outdoor clothing and jackets made with this are a lot less weighty than the old style padded jackets we wore in times gone by.
Gone are the days of Grandfather’s long-johns. The latest in thermal underwear comes in a variety of styles and colours, with the grooviest being the multi-striped, rainbow-coloured long-johns and crew tops.
Designed for men and women, these great-looking undergarments will be the talk at many campsites this Winter.
Winter is a great time for hiking as well as for camping and fishing and the range of boots is ever-increasing. I never cease to be amazed at the huge range of boots on the market.
I suppose the days of one shoe style for work and another for play are long gone as there are boots for rugged ranges, gentle slopes, sandy bays or just for walking. I guess the choices just keep going on and on.
However, I think at this stage my faithful old joggers will just have to keep taking me where I wish to tread.
• Aussie Disposals are at 4/14 Northcott Drive, Kotara, phone 02 4965 5500Reads: 545