Okay, so it's not Monday, but what's a couple of days and a Gore-Tex launch between friends? This week's tip is a timely answer to those winter drying problems - how to make your own domestic drying room.
It's that time of year when soaked kit is the norm, the washing machine's working overtime, ourdoors drying just isn't an option and suddenly your house looks like the vestibule of a Chinese laundry with wet clothing, packs, gloves and boots draped over everything.
Tumbler driers are one answer, but a lot of outdoors kit isn't tumbler friendly and besides, the things actually abrade the surface of your expensive clothing, plus a thermostat malfunction could literally put things into meltdown.
Simply drying stuff randomly around a heated house isn't such a great idea either - a washload of clothing could contain more than a litre of water and as the clothes dry, that enters the atmosphere causing moistness and condensation, which could encourage potentially unhealthy mould growth particularly if you hang wet clothes over radiators.
So how do get round the issue? Our solution has been to invest in a large dehumidifer, put it in a small-ish room along with drying racks laded with clothing and shut the door. The dehumidifier will create a dry atmosphere and just as importantly, because it's condensing and collecting excess moisture, it's no longer in the atmosphere encouraging mould growth.
The second stage of our two-prong solution is to add a small fan heater to the dehumidifier. Warm air absorbs more moisure more rapidly, which in turn means the dehumidifier can extract it at a faster rate. The fan heater also creates air movement currents within the room, which also seems to help.
Keep the door closed and the result is a dry, warm environment when even slow-drying fabrics like merino wool and heavy cotton are ready to use in just an hour or so. No, it's not a cheap solution, but if you already own a dehumidifier and a heater, it works really well and you balance the cost against either expensive tumble drier use or the increased overall heating requirement of ongoing and unhealthy 'passive drying'. And trust us, drying in these conditions is surprisingly rapid.
One last thought, as far as boots go, avoid placing them in direct heat and, in true retro style, remove footbeds and stuff repeatedly with good old newspaper to absorb excess moisture from the inside of the boot before letting the ultra-dry atmposphere do its stuff.