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Millets Wiki - Outdoors Jargon Made Simple

There are a lot of 'outdoor' jargon out there and we are guilty of using a lot of it on our site (it's kind of unavoidable when pointing out features to outdoor gear). We understand that it can be daunting to a beginner who doesn't understand what all these 'fancy' words mean. Let's face, to a newbie, how on earth can a peice of clothing be interactive?

So, here's our glossary!

We've put together a list of technical words with simple explanations to help you out. We will add to this list as we go so if you have any suggestions or terms you don't understand yourself, please leave them in the comments below and we will do our best to explain them for you.


Outdoor Glossary


  • AQ™2 - a waterproof fabric designed by Berghaus. For more information on waterproof technologies check out our buying guide.
  • Breathable – both clothing, footwear and camping equipment, such as tents, can be breathable. This means they allow air to move freely (without letting warm air escape to defect insulation) to help prevent you from feeling sweaty.
  • Chute - basically a strange name for a scarf, also known as a choob, but this scarf has no end and is more versatile. It can be turned into a wrist warmer, a balaclava, or a head scarf - you can wear it however you want.
  • Convertible – simply means you can convert one product into another. For example, a convertible pair of trousers can have the bottom half of the leg zipped off to convert the garment into a pair of shorts – perfect for those who like to get outdoors all year round.
  • Down insulation – a jacket filled with feathers, either duck or goose, to produce high quality insulation – works better than synthetic but can be tricky to wash. For more information check out the down aftercare post.
  • DryVent® - a waterproof fabric designed by The North Face to replace HyVent®. For more information on waterproof technologies check out our buying guide.
  • Fill power - refers to the amount of 'fluffines' in a down product. The higher the fill the more insulated you will be. 
  • Fire retardant – this does not mean it is fireproof. A tent that is fire retardant can still catch a flame, it simply means it will take longer to burn to give you more time to save yourself, or to even put the fire out.
  • Footprint – this is a sheet of material that is fully waterproof and durable to lay underneath your tent. Its general job is to protect your tent from the wet, muddy ground and is far easier to clean than the tent making life much easier at the end of your camping trip.
  • GORE-TEX® - a high quality waterproof fabric. For more information on waterproof technologies check out our buying guide.
  • Hydrostatic Head – measured in millimetres to convey how waterproof a product is. If a product is waterproof it starts off with a Hydrostatic Head of 1500mm and goes up, the higher the number, the more waterproof it is. For more information on waterproof technologies check out our buying guide.
  • HyVent® -  a waterproof fabric designed by The North Face replaced by DryVent® in 2016. For more information on waterproof technologies check out our buying guide.
  • InterActive (IA) – an IA zip means you can interact two products together, or in other words you can simply zip them together. For example, a 3 in 1 jacket has an IA zip because it has a fleece or softshell jacket zipped inside the outer layer that can also be removed.
  • Proofing – to proof a jacket or other garment, is to ‘top up’ the water resistant coating. A jacket will always be waterproof, it is the water resistant coating that can fail you after a few washes which can be noticed when water stops rolling off the jacket and starts to soak in making the jacket feel heavy. This is when you need to wash the garment in a proofing formula to keep your jacket protecting you from the weather the best it can.
  • Reservoir - no we don't mean those beautiful artificial lakes. In the outdoors industry, this is a hydration pack that you can store in your pack backs to keep you hydrated on your walks. Also known as a bladder.
  • Sewn-in groundsheet - an extra layer on the base of the tent that is sewn-in to the floor to prevent any leaks or bugs from creeping in.
  • Shock cord – is an elastic rope used mainly to hold/secure items together. They can be used in poles, for extra external storage on rucksacks, to replace drawcords in jackets and much more.
  • Synthetic insulation – your jacket will be filled with a synthetic filling, such as polyester fibres, to keep you warm – not quite as warm as down but does work even when it's wet.
  • Waterproof/water resistant difference – some people can confuse water resistance with waterproof – they are not the same thing. If your jacket is just water resistant it means it will protect you from a bit of water, such as short light showers, but will not protect you in long lasting or heavy rain like a fully waterproof jacket will. 
  • Wicking – fabric with this feature means that it can absorb moisture or perspiration from your skin and transfer it away from your body. Usually found in baselayers to keep you dry during activities and prevent you from feeling clammy when you sweat.


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