Outdoors Jargon Buster

March 2022

Close up of blue Berghaus jacket

For those of us who love to explore the outdoors, we know the importance of choosing the right gear. But with so many different technologies, each with their own jargon terms flooding the market, it's often difficult to know what to look for in your next purchase. Thankfully the MandM Direct blog is here to make things a little easier for you. Read on and educate yourself on everything you need to know for your next outdoor purchase!


If you're not up to scratch on your outdoor tech, the word 'membrane' may lose you instantly, but it's not as scientific as you might imagine. The term 'waterproof membrane' simply refers to the base layer in a practice that involves bonding different types of materials together. This simply creates a texture that keeps you dryer and therefore warmer. Here are some Waterproof membranes present in products from MandM Direct…


Gore-Tex is probably the most well-known technology brand in outdoor clothing, and its patented technology can be found in several products here at MandM Direct. The base membrane with tiny holes in it is bonded to a unique Gore-Tex high performance lining which creates the "Gore-Tex laminate". This technology is applied to loads of products we sell, including from top brands including Berghaus and Timberland and many more outdoor icons.


AQ2 is Berghaus' own technology and is similar to Gore-Tex - it's waterproof, breathable and lightweight. Designed for use in the great British outdoors, the AQ technology is tried and tested to get the sweat out whilst protecting you from any rain. To make sure it's waterproofed, AQ2 uses a "hydrostatic head of 10,000mm H20 column" - which really just means you stay dry and comfortable in even the harshest weather. No more being drenched by the next storm Doris!


HyVent technology uses a polyurethane (PU) coating - this means the material is waterproofed before it's made into a jacket so that every inch will keep you dry. Similarly to Gore-Tex and AQ, Hyvent is a combination of high-performance materials that together can help you combat any weather - helping you to keep dry & regulate your temperature, so you can look AND feel cool.


This tech is fairly straightforward. As the name suggests, it refers to the process of lining the inside of your jacket with down or synthetic materials for extra warmth. Read on to find out the differences between Down and Synthetic insulation....

Coats on a rail

Down Filled Coats

There are a couple of things to know when buying a down jacket. Down is essentially the light & fluffy feathers that come from the soft underside of ducks & geese - which enable them to keep super warm in freezing temperatures. Whereas, feathers contain quills to help the animal fly. Down fibres have excellent insulation to weight ratio, making this the perfect material to add extra warmth but no extra weight to your coat or jacket. This also helps to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter!

Down Ratios

You’ll find on some jackets that there is a down to feather ratio. The higher the percentage of down in a jacket the warmer it will be, as feathers are far less insulating. So a down jacket that is 70% down and 30% feather will be warmer than one that is 50% down and 50% feather.

Duck vs Goose

The main difference you’ll notice between the two is the price. Goose down is considered to be of a higher quality and warmer as it comes from mature birds. Goose down is also rarer which increases its value even more. Duck down still provides excellent insulation but as it is more readily available it is cheaper to buy.


HydroDown is a relatively new concept and can be found in some of our Berghaus down jackets. There is a hydrophobic coating placed on the down inside the jacket. What does this mean for us? When a standard down jacket gets wet, the feathers clump together and the jacket loses its insulating properties. But with hydrodown, when your jacket gets soaked, you still stay warm.

Synthetic Filled Coats

There’s a common misconception that synthetic jackets are colder than down jackets. But that isn't the case, unless you’re trying to survive in temperatures below -30 degrees celsius. Synthetic jackets can be just as warm as down jackets.

There are several differences you’ll notice between down and synthetic - the first is the price. Synthetic fabric is cheaper to make and therefore the coats are cheaper. You will notice that synthetic jackets will be far bulkier and heavier than their down counterparts.

One massive advantage of synthetic jackets is that they are fast drying and will keep you warm even when they get wet. So you’ll still stay warm when you forget your waterproof.

Walking Boots

Karrimor boots on rocks


In the middle of the sole of the boot you’ll find the cushioning element. This is usually made from one of two different foams. Both will provide excellent cushioning but there’s one difference between them. EVA is a cheape and lighter foam, whilst PU is more expensive and slightly heavier. You’ll find that a PU foam midsole will outlast its EVA foam midsole competition.

Lug depth

Just like with car tyre tread, the deeper the groves (or in the case of boots - lugs) the more traction you’ll have on soft terrain. If you find yourself walking mostly on hard surfaces or well-trodden trails, then a shallower depth of lug will be fine. If you like to spend your time scrambling over stone, or walking scree paths, the shallower depth lug will help your boots ‘stick’ to the rocks when you need it most! However, as soon as you step off the trail and head up or downhill through mud, snow or mossy fields, you may find that having a boot with deeper lugs will help you gain more traction and spend less time slipping.


There are usually two types of uppers when it comes to buying walking boots; nubuck leather and synthetic (sometimes also just called fabric).

The two different types of uppers will be suitable for different reasons and require different amounts of aftercare.


In times gone by these shoes needed to be ‘broken in’, however, this is no longer the case with many boots having supple leather that will mould to your foot. Nice, right? Leather boots tend to be heavier in weight but with the right care, they will last for much longer than their synthetic counterparts. Caring for your leather boots is easy, after each use simply clean them up. Every now and then, depending on the frequency of use, they will need to be conditioned (think polishing your shoes kind of thing) and reproofed. Conditioning your boots will ‘rehydrate’ the leather, keeping your boots supple, comfortable and make them less prone to cracking.


Synthetic (or fabric) uppers are much lighter than nubuck leather, due to the nature of the material. This difference is minimal, but nonetheless you might find a lighter boot is what you’re looking for. They won’t last as long as the fabric will wear quicker than leather, however, they do require less care. Whilst we suggest that you clean your boots after each use, it isn’t the be-all and end-a;;. If you’ve got a waterproof pair, they will still need reproofing every now and then to keep your feet dry but they won’t need to be conditioned as synthetic materials won’t crack.

Low vs Mid

You’ll find during your browse of our collection of walking boots that we offer two types: low and mid. This means how far up the ankle they come. There is some difference between them but this will mostly be personal preference.


These boots have a trainer kind of look about them. They will be marginally lighter than mid uppers because there is less fabric. The low boots are perfect if you are looking for a new pair of boots that will support your feet. We recommend this type for outdoor enthusiasts who prefer lighter walks. If you choose a waterproof pair, bear in mind that the puddles you’ll be able to go through will be shallow, and walking through grass could result in wet socks.


These have the ‘classic walking boot’ look to them, supporting both your foot and your ankle. You might find that the extra ankle support will aid you when exploring uneven terrain. With a waterproof pair you’re guaranteed more protection from rain, groundwater, and coupled with a pair of gaiters- you’ll be dry on nearly every adventure you find yourself on!

Need some help picking the perfect walking boots. Check out our blog post all about it!

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