Dear Friends,

The next must have item is the Puffer Jacket.  This jacket provides essential life saving  protection to mountaineers and adventurers who venture into dangerous environments in search of thrills.  Interestingly this is where it’s roots can be traced back to.

The Puffer Jacket history goes that in 1936 Eddie Bauer invented a quilted down for his Skyliner Jacket – who would have though that almost 80 years later it has become a symbol of disruption in the fashion industry. Legend has it that a team of adventurous mountaineers, a team of seven Americans and one British climber were ambitiously attempting the first ascent of K2. K2 being the second highest peak in the world after Everest.  Bauer produced the Kara Koram Park, aptly named after the mountain range which borders Pakistan and China which has K2 amongst its peaks.

In a letter to Bauer’s partner, William F. Niemi, dated January 18, 1953, expedition leader Charles Snead Houston called it,

 “the finest article of cold weather, high altitude equipment I have ever seen.”

Mountaineering has many tales and non more famous that that of the Pete Schoening and what would become known simply as “the Belay”.

An extract from the Adventure Journal states:

The eight-man American team had established Camp VIII 25,200 feet on K2’s Abruzzi Ridge, in position to set up one more camp to put two climbers in position to summit, when Art Gilkey developed thrombophlebitis. Gilkey had blood clots in his calf muscle and if they moved to his lungs, they would kill him.

The team knew a rescue of Gilkey was next to impossible, considering the terrain, the altitude, and the weather — a storm had moved in. They decided to attempt to lower him down the mountain anyway, wrapped in a sleeping bag and tent. Everyone in the group knew the rescue would endanger their own lives.

Suddenly George Bell (who was tethered Tony Streather) lost his footing and started free falling.  This pulled Streather right off his feet and both men hurtling towards an abyss of a few thousand feet.  Streather’s rope hit between Bob Babes and Charlie Houston sending them hurtling at speed towards the same abyss.  In the motion the rope also started dragging Molenaar and Gilkey.  All five climbers were hurtling toward certain death when Schoening put all his weight on to his ice axe and this slowed the five climbers fall and they stopped – saved from falling thousands of feet to certain death.  This became known as “The Belay”.

The reputation, enthusiasm as well as he heroic efforts saved them from catastrophe.  This sealed Bauer’s reputation as an expedition outfitter extraordinaire.  Bauer’s gear being used on many historic expeditions such as first ascent of Gasherbrum I in 1958, Masherbrum in 1960, Antartica’s Vinson Massif in 1966 and the first American ascent of Mount Everest in 1963.

From its incredible creation during the golden age of Mountaineering the puffer coat has gained international acclaim amongst many fans.  Today many famous faces stylishly don this protective clothing.  It is evident that the puffer jacket is not simply for mountaineering, skiing or adventure sports.

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Here’s some puffer jackets worth investing in for your Puffer Jacket:

Designed to boast a sharp silhouette, this stripe puffer coat by Dawei is structured with an asymmetric front flap to boast a modern impression.

 This ultra modern creme puffer jacket gilet from Ms Min is quilted and padded with duck down for streamlined wintry warmth.  It is purposely cropped to temper its puffed silhouette for leg-lengthening appeal.

ADEAM fuses feminine elements with wintry functionality in this puffer jacket. Neatly quilted to temper its padded and flared proportions, this outer piece features a extended collar that can be unzipped and layered over the shoulder as a lambskin shearling cape.

 

When the weather turns chilly and you need to wrap yourself up in a warmth embrace there is nothing quite as comforting as a puffer jacket. Personally I enjoy a sleeveless version otherwise known as a gilet but, this is because we don’t experience sub zero temperatures where I live. In fact we haven’t enjoyed cooler temperatures for quite some time, nor any rain for that matter – must be global warming. Another favorite brand is North Face with its instantly recognizable logo.


This down Jacket is filled with 550 fill down with stretch for improved mobility and comfort. The lightweight shell will provide increased flexibility when wearing it for a array of adventures such as hiking, skiing or your preferred thrill seeking adventure. The adjustable hoodie is attached. The other important thing for me is (as is evident from previous posts) is a brand’s commitment to customers care and services and North Face doesn’t disappoint. In fact there products come with a Lifetime Guarantee. The warranty is against defects in materials and workmanship (Exclusions do apply).

The coldest temperature I have ever experienced was in 2000 when we went skiing in Val Thorens, France. The scariest thing about the entire holiday was not the prospect of accidentally finding myself on a black slope as an amateur skier on their first holiday…No it was the insane bus ride from the Moutiers train station to the resort about 37 km’s away. Sounds simple enough.

Alas that is not to be – Val Thorens is the highest resort in the French Alps and in fact in Europe at an altitude of 2,300m. The bus climb was severe, sharp and scary (the language we used was of Irish origins). The bus driver navigated the tiny snow capped roads at what felt like suicidal speed and if you braved looking out the window your view was  nothing but a sheer drop.  The driver quickly navigated the perilous road and we survived the trip and were in dire need of a drink to calm our jittered travel nerves. Important to note that the base elevation is at 1,850m and the top at 3,220m.

After checking into our lodging’s which were – much to our delight – wooden paneled alpine ski lodge look and feel.  The warm brown hues of the wood felt warming and comforting against the harsh cold outside…This may seem odd to most but, I am lucky enough to live in Cape Town and we don’t get to experience 360 degree snow here on the tip of Africa.  So to be surrounded by snow was a completely foreign and virgin experience for some of us.

We then needed to collect our ski gear and much to my chagrin, my friend’s boyfriend (who had been skiing before) did the gentlemanly thing and carried her gear.  My husband (although we were not married at the time) told me that I was on my own.  Needless to say it was a long haul back to the Apartment as I did not have my ‘snow feet’ nor was I very confident on this slippery, icy surface and was doing my utmost to avoid the embarrassment of landing flat on my face or causing serious bodily harm.  Clearly I need to take a pair of snow shoes with me – kind of like these from North Face which you can get from Amazon.

As Murphy would have it, my Husband was told within a few moments of our first ski lesson that he didn’t need to attend.  He was right chuffed and went off on his merry way leaving us at the mercy of our ski instructor, Albertus.  Once we eventually worked our way out of the baby slope and were on the mountain!  It astounded us how the little kids made skiing look so incredibly easy and we were struggling to keep our bodies in the vertical position.

Albertus must have thought that my friend Lindsay and I were cooked – we cursed incessantly, giggled a lot, told a lot of personal jokes and would stop at every spot we could to have a shot of schnapps.  He was so good that he would go ahead of us and then turn and take photo’s (and this was before the modern day I-phone) so we thought that was a very nifty trick.

One of the best things of going skiing is that you are all doing the same thing it’s not like a beach holiday where there may be a debate on whether you are spending the day on the beach or sight seeing.  No…when you go skiing that is what everyone is doing, unless of course you are chilling on a lounger viewing the white mountains that surround you.  Still smile at the thought of sitting in a lounger in snow as opposed to the sun – which is the normality for me.

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All the physical exertion on the slopes makes a person hungry and the meal I will always remember from our trip is the Fondue.  The cheese was so strong that the moment the goo hit my mouth and my taste buds absorbs the strength my palate started itching like crazy.  I could barely handle it but I was hungry having spent the day on the slope.  In fact I may have fallen asleep with my finger in my mouth in an attempt to soothe the itch.  This may have put me off stinky cheese for life and even now, a few years later I can remember pain this inflicted upon my palate.

It was one of the best trips I have ever been on – we cried with laughter, we cursed a lot, we drank schnapps at 10H00 in the morning (don’t judge us – we needed it).

It is such a privilege to be able to travel to exotic lands and immerse yourself in a different culture.  I think it opens up your view of the world and this has a profound influence on your own environment.  It makes you see things through a different less lens which we often miss in our hectic daily routines.  The sights and smells are like rocket fuel for our well-being and it lifts your spirits.  In strange lands everything – even the mundane like coffee – takes on a unique edge that you don’t get at home.  We tend to throw away our issues –  such as the fear and loathing of pubic toilets – because it is all part of the adventure.  One of the best travel tales I ever heard was friend’s parents who were in Paris and to save money they decided to keep the door slightly ajar when using the public toilets which needed a coin to open the door and then use the facility. So once the first person was finished, simple enough the next could go and money will be saved.  They weren’t quite prepared for what transpired next….As the husband stepped into the toilet – the Sanisette began doing its self cleaning thing.  Much to their horror he was covered in blue/green toilet detergent.  So they saved some money but they couldn’t save themselves from the public humiliation, the stares and the many who laughed at their expense.  Luckily since 2006 the French Authorities made all the Sanisette’s free so this is unlikely to happen to you when you next need to use the facilities in Paris.

All this writing of foreign lands has got me thinking of where I would next venture too and here is my list of three cities:

1. BIG BAD TEXAS:

This may be strange one to most but its a personal holiday that is a priority for us as a family.  My brother and his family relocated to Texas a few years ago and with us starting a family it just hasn’t happened yet.  My hubby says that we – after taking our 2 year old to Mauritius earlier this year – that there will not be any flights (let alone long haul on the cards) until 2020.  By then Adam will be five and (we hope) a lot more inclined to take cognizance of our request for him to sit down and stop treating the aisle as  tunnel or tapping the person in the row in fronts head.  When we do get to Texas I have it on good authority from my sister in law that the shopping is great.  The highlight for me will be seeing the cousins meet each other for the first time and I guess we wouldn’t mind attending our first ever rodeo.

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2.  THE BIG APPLE – NEW YORK

Hubby and I have always wanted to visit and it has featured prominently on our travel to list.  The city has through it’s prominence in media, culture and art been deeply ingrained in our minds as a place we must visit.  Think of all the incredible movies and television series that have been shot on the indistinguishable streets of New York.  From the likes of When Harry met Sally (if you don’t recall this movie – do yourself a favor and watch it) to the one of the finest television shows of late namely Suits.

 The list of things to do are endless but on my list is a trip to Staten Island to see the Statue of Liberty, a Broadway musical, a stroll and meander through Central Park, a visit to Fifth Avenue.  My husband will want to visit the bull on Wall Street (ssshhh…don’t tell him but I also want to see it).  Definitely a helicopter ride over the City and a trip to the Hampton’s.

3.  Moscow

I have a weird obsession with visiting Russia and one of its most famous cities.  A visit to the red square and the Kremlin is atop my bucket list.  My mother recently went to Russia and she found the place intriguing (and she travels the globe frequently).  For me it is the land of contradictions – the super rich and the super poor.  The post communist effects on it’s population and it’s kleptocracy.  Much like my country the politically connected have amassed incredible wealth through both legal and illegal means whilst the majority have not benefited much at all.  The fact that the language will be foreign adds to the adventure and thrill.  All that I have read and heard about the City tells me that it is a place of contraditions – Rich vs. Poor, Beauty vs. Ugly and Powerful vs. Weak.  Thoughts of the city always conjures up images of secret agents, underground clubs, secrets and oligarchs.

There are many cities that are also on my list but these are my immediate three.  When Adam is older I can’t wait to take him to London and to see England (a place we called home for a while).  He will love the sights and sounds just as much as we will enjoy seeing the city through his eyes.  Paris is a city on the bucket list and we will spend more time in Italy a country that Andre and I fell in love with on more than one occasion.  Rome is remarkable and the history is humbling and so much to still be written about that alluring City.

One thing is certain, a puffer jacket will be a must have item when visiting these Cities especially during the winter months.

Which City is calling you?

I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have putting it together. xxx

 

 

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