Below is a list of various terms, phrases and jargon used across this website. As more products are added, this glossary will expand to suit. There are some words or phrases that it doesn't contain, which are specific to certain brands or products. If there is something that you think should be on here, or that is defined insufficiently, feel free to contact us.
154CM Stainless Steel – A high carbon, high alloy, and corrosion resistant stainless steel that holds its edge three times as long as 420 stainless steel. Mainly differentiated from 420HC by the addition of molybdenum.
18/8 Stainless Steel - A grade of stainless steel with 18% chromium and 8% nickel. Chiefly used for cutlery, it is corrosion resistant, and less attracted by magnets.
420HC Stainless Steel – An improved, high-carbon (HC) form of 420 stainless steel that works well with high production tooling.
7075-T6 Aluminium – An alloy of aluminium that is particularly strong and uses zinc. T6 temper 7075 has an ultimate tensile strength of 74,000–78,000 psi (510–572 MPa) and yield strength of at least 63,000–69,000 psi (434–503 MPa). It has a failure elongation of 5–11%.
Abrasion – The process of scraping or wearing something away.
ABS – Strong thermoplastic polymer whose strength holds even at a range of temperatures; the same material used for Lego. Stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene.
Acetal – Acetal actually refers to a group of materials; however, this most likely refers to POM (PolyOxyMethylane), which is commonly referred to in this manner. It is a thermoplastic and synthetic polymer known for high stiffness and strength even in low temperatures, low friction, and excellent dimensional stability.
Ampere Hours – Often abbreviated to Ah, or occasionally amp hour, this is the amount of charge in a battery that will allow one amp of current to flow for an hour.
Anodised – A process that increases the oxide layer on particular metals, most commonly aluminium, increasing resistance to corrosion and wear.
Ballistic nylon – A thick, tough, synthetic nylon fabric originally designed for use in flak jackets, but now used for many other applications.
Black oxide – Black oxide is a powder-based metal coating. Ideal for situations where giving away a position would be costly, it is widely used by the military for its effectiveness in reducing glare and reflection.
BPA – Stands for Bisphenol A, a chemical that is used in some food and drink packaging to prevent contamination and extend shelf life; some of this can transfer into the food or drink, but is only dangerous at very high levels (greater than would ever be reasonably consumed in a day).
BPS - Stands for Bisphenol S, a chemical that is increasingly used as a substitute for BPA. However, some studies suggest that it has similar dangers to BPA.
Breathability – How good a material is at transferring moisture from the body into the atmosphere. Measured in grams per meter squared (g/m2). The larger the rating, the more breathable the material. The number represents how many grams of vapour are transferred through a one meter square of material over 24 hours.
Butane – A highly flammable, colourless gas, commonly used as a fuel in lighters and camp stoves. Butane is a poisonous gas, and can cause many negative and potentially lethal effects if used incorrectly.
Capacity – The amount of space inside an object; often how much liquid a container can hold, but also air space. Typically measured in litres (L)
CE – A European certification specific to different product types, that says the product complies with the relevant EU legislation pertaining to that product. Stands for Conformité Européene, meaning European Conformity.
Celsius – A measurement of temperature where water boils at 100°C and freezes at 0°C.
Copolyester – These form when modifications are made to polyesters; they are often stronger, more versatile, and quite flexible, even when exposed to various materials.
Cordura® – A durable, synthetic fabric.
CPAI-84 – A standard for flammability of recreational tents. Set by the Industrial Fabrics Association International. CPAI stands for Canvas Products Association International, their old name.
DAC – Company that makes tent poles of a good quality, among other products.
Decibels (dB) – A logarithmic unit; the numbers are multiplied as they go up. Commonly used to measure sound pressure level – which roughly equates to noise level or volume. Every 10dB is twice as loud as the previous.
Denier (D) – a measurement of linear mass density; as an example, human hair is 20D – mass in grams per 9000m.
Down – A layer of fine feathers that birds have under their exterior feathers. Young birds have only down. Down is a very good thermal insulator, and used in some bedding and clothing products.
DR80 Canvas – Waterproof canvas that is very durable and highly resistant to bacteria growth and UV damage.
Durability – The ability to withstand wear, pressure, or damage.
Dyneema® – A super-strong fibre made from Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMwPE). It floats on water, is stronger than steel (on a weight-for-weight basis), and is resistant to UV, moisture and chemicals.
Ergonomical – Designed so as to minimise human fatigue and discomfort.
Ester – A chemical compound obtained from an acid; occurs frequently in nature as many fats. Responsible for the smell of many fruits.
Expanded polystyrene – A rigid and tough closed-cell foam. Same as what is frequently used for packing material.
EVA – Stands for Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate, a material that is similar to rubber in softness and flexibility. It is often used in hot glue sticks, and is also expanded rubber or foam rubber as a shock absorber (called EVA foam).
Ferromagnetic – A substance that has a high susceptibility to magnetisation, particularly that of iron.
Fly – The outer layer of a tent, usually specifically designed for water- or weather-proofing. In some cases, it may be set up independently of the tent.
FP – Stands for Fill Power, identical to loft.
gsm – Grams per square metre.
HDPE – Stands for High-Density PolyEthylene.
HMS – Stands for HeMi Spherical. Think D-shaped, rather than circular; curved to one side. Also considered to be short for HalbMastwurfSicherung, the German name for the Munter Hitch!
HT Nylon – Short for high tenacity.
Hydrolysis – A step towards the product degrading.
Hydrophobic – When a material has this property, it repels water and does not become wet or allow moisture inside.
Hydrostatic Head – A method to measure water resistance or waterproofing. A tube of 1 inch diameter is placed over the material, which is clamped to the end of the tube. The tube is then gradually filled with water. The height that the water gets up to before the material leaks, in millimetres, is the waterproof rating. A material cannot be deemed as waterproof if it does not reach 1500mm. Less than this is only water-resistant. Occasionally referred to as water column.
Infinity Clear – Lightweight, recyclable, BPA-free, clear, odour-resistant, temperature-resistant, remains buoyant when full, stain-resistant material that lasts.
Inner (tents) – The main material part of the tent which people sleep in.
Insulation – Typically referring either to thermal insulation, or the material used to provide this. Thermal insulation protects an object or person from temperatures that are very different (e.g. very cold or very hot, most often the former). It does this by reducing the amount of energy (that is, heat) that flows from the high-temperature area to the low-temperature area.
In-Mold helmet – Thin outer shell made of lightweight polycarbonate, attached to a shock-absorbing foam core inside.
IP protection class – International Protection Marking or Ingress Protection Marking. Relates to how well it protects against intrusion from solids and liquids; first number is solids, second is liquid. An X means that it doesn’t have that one, or it’s not applicable.
Isobutane – One of the two forms of butane, considered safer than the other form (n-butane); used as a refrigerant, propellant, and fuel.
Last – A foot shaped model used in production of quality footwear, or in their repair and maintenance.
Leave No Trace - Also known as Zero Impact, a standard that is kept to in outdoor activities to minimise environmental impact.
Loft – Loft is related to the amount of air an amount (typically ounce) of the down can trap; generally measured in in3/oz (inches cubed per ounce).
Lugs - Lug soles are a type of outer sole found on heavy-duty and utility shoes such as hiking boots or work boots. They are thick and designed with deep indentations to improve stability and traction.
Lumbar – Typically referring to the lower section of the back or spine.
Lumens – Same as Luminous Flux. Energy per unit time that is radiated from a source over visible wavelengths.
Lux – Light intensity, measuring the amount of light output in a given area. One lux is equal to one lumen per square meter.
mAh – Stands for milliampere hour; 1/1000th of an ampere hour (Ah).
Major axis – The longer axis or diameter of an ellipse (oval).
Minor axis – The shorter axis or diameter of an ellipse (oval).
MOLLE – Stands for MOdular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment. Commonly used by the British and American army for backpacks and other load-bearing equipment.
Moisture Vapour Transmission Rate – Can be shortened to MVTR, the measure of the passage of water vapour through a substance.
MPa – Stands for MegaPascal. It is equal to one million Pascals, one Pascal being the standard unit of measurement for pressure and tensile strength and equal to one Newton per square metre.
N-butane – The other, more common form of butane, and generally more dangerous to people and the environment.
Newton – The standard measure of force; one newton is the force needed to accelerate one kilogram of mass at the rate of one metre per second in the direction of the force applied.
Nylon 6-6 – Greater strength, slower permeability, and a higher melting point than normal Nylon 6.
Open-cell foam – Type of foam that is soft rather than hard; lower R-value to closed-cell, but less dense and less expensive.
Oxidising – The process of combining a material or element with oxygen.
Permeability – The ability for another material (typically air or water, though sometimes dust) to permeate the material in question.
PFOA – Stands for PerFluoroOctanoic Acid. Often used in the production of PTFE. Persists indefinitely in the environment. Can be used as a water or oil repellent, or an insulator.
Phthalate - A salt or ester of phthalic acid.
Piezo – Comes from a Greek word meaning to squeeze or press. Often means that a button is used in a mechanism.
Polycarbonate – A group of materials containing carbonates; often strong and tough, easily worked, moulded, and thermoformed. High impact resistance, but low scratch resistance. Often used in construction or as an electrical insulator.
Polypropylene – A material used in packaging, labelling, textiles, and other places. Often tough and flexible, and also resistant to many chemicals.
Polyspan – A waterproof, polyester tissue; stronger than silkspan.
Polyurethane – Used in the production of synthetic fibres, high performance adhesives, durable wheels, and in foams for packing.
Pre-soaking – The technique of soaking ropes in water and then allowing them to dry, so as to somewhat stabilise the length of the rope and minimise shrinkage.
Propane – A gas often used for fuel in barbecues and portable stoves. Also used as one of the main ingredients in LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas). While propane is not particularly toxic, it can cause asphyxiation or frostbite.
psi – Stands for pounds per square inch.
PTFE – Stands for Polytetrafluoroethylene. A synthetic fluoropolymer of Tetrafluoroethylene. Hydrophobic, and often used as a non-stick coating. Very non-reactive. Reduces friction, wear and energy consumption of machinery when used as a lubricant.
PU – PU stands for polyurethane.
PVC – Stands for PolyVinyl Chloride; third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer. Often used in construction and packaging. Can be rigid or flexible.
R-Value – Thermal resistance of a material. Expresses the ability of a particular thickness of the material to resist heat flow. The higher the number, the more thermal resistance the material has.
Rand – The rand is the rubber that wraps around the toe box and heel of your shoes and folds underneath to give the actual sole something to attach to.
Rib knit – A ribbed pattern in the knitting achieved by changing between knit and purl stitches at specific points in each row of the knit.
Ripstop – Material resistant to ripping and tearing.
Rope Elasticity – The strength required to stretch a rope.
Rope Elongation – The amount a rope (or similar material) will stretch under load, or under sudden pull. Similar to Rope Elasticity.
Rope Shrinkage – The tendency of natural fibres in ropes to shrink in length and get fatter when they are wet, shortening the length of rope overall. The amount of shrinkage tends to decrease after the first exposure to water; see Pre-soaking.
Rosso seam – Faster, but not as high-quality as ‘linking’, ‘handlink’, or ‘seamless’.
S30V – Usually called CPM S30V. A hardened and powder-made, corrosion-resistant stainless steel; a premium grade, very expensive knife steel. The V stands for Vanadium, which the chemistry of the steel promotes the formation and distribution of. Vanadium increases the knife’s sharpness and toughness.
Safety Ytrion Cell – Can be charged many more times than a typical NiMH or Lithium battery, retains original capacity for far longer, and charges more quickly.
Santoku – Knife of Japanese origin that is a general-purpose kitchen knife. Generally between 13-20cm long, with a flat edge and curve approaching 60 degrees at the point.
Silkspan – A heavy-duty tissue with random fibres impregnated to give extra strength.
Synthetic – Man-made, artificially constructed or fabricated.
T-shank - A blade type, typically a jigsaw, which uses a quick-changing blade without need of a tool.
Tactel – A synthetic fibre that dries eight times faster than cotton, and is three times as resilient as similar natural fibres.
Taffeta – Crisp, smooth, woven plain fabric.
Teflon® Radiance - Optimised for induction cooking, it uses integrated ferromagnetic stainless steel particles; also really good at being non-stick and abrasion resistant.
Tensile strength – The capacity of a material to withstand loads trying to pull or stretch the material.
Terry Loop – Fabric with loops to absorb large amounts of water; usually used in towels.
TH72M – An alloy designed for strength, lightness, and to avoid stress corrosion cracking in smaller tubes. It also doesn’t use acid for the surface treatment process.
Thermoplastic Elastomer – A class of plastic/rubbers with qualities of both thermoplastics and elastomers; higher elasticity than similar products (thermoset).
Thermoplastic Polyurethane – A class of plastics that are abrasion resistant, good at low temperatures, have rubber-like elasticity, oil and grease resistance, transparency, and shear strength. Polyether is particularly strong on low temps, hydrolysis resistance, and microbial resistance.
Thread count (T) – The number of warp and fill threads per square inch.
Titanal.HF - Titanal is a high strength, age-hardenable aluminium-wrought-alloy, with other ingredients being zinc, magnesium, copper, and zirconium.
Titanium - A lightweight, lustrous and corrosion resistant transition metal; titanium has similar properties to steel but only 60% of its density, making tools lighter for everyday carrying.
TPE – Stands for Thermoplastic Elastomer.
TPU – Stands for Thermoplastic Polyurethane.
Tricot – Zigzag method of warp knitting, making it resistant to runs/tearing.
Tritan – BPA-free, dishwasher-safe, tough and chemically resistant copolyester.
Type II Anodised Aluminium – Type 2 anodised aluminium is an aluminium with a porous coating that provides wear and corrosion resistance.<br>
Ultralight – Extremely lightweight, typically seen in reference to items worn on the body or carried. Some hikers aim to only use ‘Ultralight’ items. However, these may compromise on durability and other qualities.
Ventilation – The intentional introduction of outside air into a space, often used to increase air quality or for decreasing humidity.
Vestibule – The area between the inner and fly of the tent, often used for storing excess gear, but also helpful for waterproofing.
Via Ferrata – A mountain route equipped with fixed ladders, cables, and bridges in order to be accessible to climbers and walkers.
Volume – The amount of space inside an object; often how much liquid a container can hold, but also air space. Typically measured in either litres (L) or cubic centimetres (cm3). Can also be referred to as Capacity, but then only with a liquid measure.
UIAA – Stands for the Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme, or International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation. Their Safety Commission develops and maintains specific safety standards for climbing equipment.
Water resistance – The ability of a material to prevent water from seeping through. One common way to measure this is by Hydrostatic Head.
Watt Hours (Wh) – Can be shortened to Wh, this is the measure of electrical energy equivalent to a power consumption of one watt for one hour.
Wicking – The flow and movement of moisture and liquid from the inside of a material to its surface.
Y Gore – Designed to fit better than the single gore. Gore is a vertical garment section.
Yield strength – The point at which stress on a material means that some of the deformation of the material is permanent and non-reversible.
YKK – Leading zip manufacturer from Japan; produces half of the world’s zips.
Zero impact - Also known as Leave No Trace, a standard that is kept to in outdoor activities to minimise environmental impact.