Wombat Leather Blog: Blog

Wombat Wilderness Adventure

  • Our new brand ambassador, Justin Miles

    Our new brand ambassador, Justin Miles, knows just how important a hat can be in some of the toughest environments on Earth.

    Justin is what you may term a ‘professional explorer’; his adventures, challenges and expeditions have taken him all over the world through some of the toughest environments on Earth, from paddleboarding around icebergs to hacking his way through dense jungles.

    Life hasn’t always been this way. A car accident at the age of 26 resulted in brain injuries and those brain injuries left him unable to perform basic functions from walking and talking to feeding himself.

    During the early part of his recovery, Justin was quite literally a ‘prisoner inside his own body’; his mind could wander but his body couldn’t and it was then, as he spent hour after hour moving between a chair and his bed that Justin came up with the idea that when he recovered, not ‘if he recovered’, that he would turn his passion for adventure and his love of the outdoors into his profession.

    Once his objective was set he developed goals to give him progression, direction ad motivation and then set about turning his wild dream into reality.

    Initially, unable to stand, he would drag himself around the floor of his house. It wasn’t long before he developed enough strength and motor skills to be able to kneel a little and crawl short distances, Eventually, with the help of various pieces of furniture - he refused any ‘disability aids’ - he managed to stand up and once he could stand he started to ‘shuffle’ and then walk.

    Despite, or in spite of, early medical opinions forecasting a recovery of up to five years at which time Justin (Just) would be able to return to work part time to a sedentary job, nine months after the accident he ran a marathon and two years later he ran a marathon distance run every week for a year.

    Now he’s living the dream tackling expeditions and adventures all over the globe through jungle, desert, mountain, and polar regions as well as waterborne challenges and everything that he does, all of his experiences, are used to support education programmes around the world.

    With a deep-rooted interest - a passion - in education, Just uses his experiences to connect with schools around the globe, his last adventure having been viewed by in the region of 2.5 million teachers worldwide. Using various technology platforms he connects with schools before, during and after his adventures quite literally, in some cases, bringing the world to life in classrooms everywhere as well as creating resources available for teachers to use in classrooms - at no cost.

    Just is also an advocate for universal education provision, giving every child, everywhere, the opportunity to go to school and he has operated and played key roles in programmes and initiatives working to make that happen. In his own words: “Education is important. Education is the key to economic success, to the success of the human species as a whole and the way that we live in harmony with the planet that we inhabit.” As well as supporting NGO’s and facilities working ‘on the ground’, Justin has presented internationally on the subject - often to ‘world leaders’ - spotlighting the benefits of supporting education provision.

    All of Justins work in the sphere of education work carries no charge, he makes no income from it. He believes in creating a level playing field with regards to to education: an opportunity for every child to succeed regardless of external factors which may limit potential such as culture, socio-economic status or absolutely anything else.

    Growing up in the South West of England, Just had plenty of opportunity and the motivation to explore the countryside around him; the moors, rivers, lakes, coastline and woodland acted as a perfect ‘petri-dish’ for the young adventurer and he thinks that it’s important that everybody, particularly children, should be given the opportunity to enjoy ‘outdoor time’. Justin has written two children’s books encouraging children to get active outdoors (available internationally online or from any good bookstore) and gives time to various initiatives which support this ethos. “One way that we can help to connect, or reconnect people with the world around them is to encourage people to get outdoors and experience the environment for themselves and I think it’s important, in particular, to encourage younger generations to explore more, extend their limits and spend more time learning about this planet.” 

    Justin’s adventures and expeditions are funded by corporate sponsorships. In addition to achieving ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ goals through his philanthropic work in education and it’s wider reaching benefits, the companies that he partners to bring his adventurous dreams to life benefit from innovative marketing campaigns which create a dialogue with their targeted audience or creative internal commune action programmes, supporting the personnel structure and development his clients.

    As a consultant and corporate mentor Justin combines his knowledge and experience in expedition environments combined with a depth of corporate and commercial experience to help his clients to confront and overcome various business challenges, in particular regarding organisational behaviour. This summer he’s  launching a new modular programme for businesses which harnesses the power of the 'Explorers Mindset' and remodels some of the key strengths and attributes found in ‘explorers’  into business settings; 'Resilience', 'Innovation', 'Objectives and Goals', 'Communication' and ‘Risk'.

    Most people who have carved a living from exploration and adventure deliver presentations and talks about their exploits and Justin has gathered a vast amount of experience in this area. “I guess I’ve been quite lucky with being engaged for some really interesting work as a speaker. I’ve presented at all kinds of events all around the world from trade shows and expeditions to sales conferences, education conferences, a TEDx session, book festivals and even music festivals!” His next international appearance is as the keynote speaker and a global event fro the medical profession exploring ‘positive psychology’.

    When we asked Justin what his favourite expedition has been his reply was diplomatically vague “How could I possibly choose any one in particular? The whole world is an awesome place full of interest and excitement. Just explore more!”

    When he’s not working or away on an expedition Just loves nothing more than mooching around in the countryside with his dogs walking, fishing, watching nature, foraging, photographing or doing anything else that gives him an excuse to be outdoors. 

    Right now Just is using two hats from the Wombat leather range. “Hats are always an important part of my packing list. A hat can protect your skin from the burning sun, provide shelter from rain. - there’s nothing worse than water dropping down your collar  -, keep your head warm when the temperatures drop and even conceal a bad hair day!”

    Wombat Distressed Soft Leather Hat

    Just will shortly be using a new Wombat shoulder bag for his foraging, fishing and ‘Wombling’** trips around the UK with his dogs Eider the Labrador, Vespa the cocker and Whiskey the husky.

    ‘Wombling’ is a term that Just uses to describe the hours that he spends in wild spaces picking up litter and ‘other stuff’ to bring home and dispose of or repurpose. 

    Justin Miles

    Social Media @ExplorerJust

    I support Outdoor Classroom Day Find out more here

    'The Guardian': Five navigation tools every young explorer needs

    www.justforthechallenge.com  www.letsteachtheworld.org

    Click here to see the video introducing my  adventure with Polar Bears and Paddleboards 

    Exploring Dartmoor with Karrimor SF



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  • Why Choose Wombat Leather Hats to Protect You in the Sun

    Why Choose Wombat Leather Hats to Protect You in the Sun

    The importance of choosing a good hat to protect you in the sun and why you should consider Wombat Leather hats. Foldable, washable and made from high-end leather.

    We may already be halfway through July, but summer is finally here, and boy is it shaping up to be a hot one! Anyone who felt the preceding months were a little on the cold and wet side, will surely be satisfied with current temperatures we’re experiencing. High 25 and even 29/30-degrees may prove to be a bit too much for some. But we really shouldn’t complain in the UK, given how dreadful the weather can be normally, even during the summer months.

    However, along with the sheer unadulterated joy of the hot weather, comes the need to protect yourself from the inherent dangers of the sun when it’s beaming down on us.

    When you think of protection, you likely think of sunscreen and SPF numbers. However, while this is great for your skin, there is more you need to think about beyond sunblock. In the following post, we'll not just look at ways you can protect yourself from the sun, but why you should have protection in the first place.

    Why Protection is Important

    It can often feel that we spend all year long, particularly in the UK, for the sun to provide us with the heat we crave, only for experts to tell us to cover-up. One of the most obvious reasons for protection is sunburn. Although it often feels as if you need to suffer from some burning in the pursuit of that perfectly balanced and healthy-looking glow, you don’t need to - nor should you have to suffer from it.

    Aside from sunburn though, there’s also the matter of heatstroke, which is not particularly pleasant. Then there’s the not-so-small or insignificant matter of skin cancer. It is by far the most common type of cancer affecting people in the United Kingdom, with at least 1000,000 new cases being reported every year. Even though we are repeatedly told the dangers and risks of skin cancer and the part the sun plays in it all, around 2,500 and more people die each year after being given a melanoma diagnosis.

    How to Protect Against the Sun

    First and foremost, even if you are concerned with achieving that attractive glow, you should be wearing sunscreen. It is best to avoid cutting corners when it comes to buying sunscreen and buy a high-quality product with a high SPF to get the maximum protection you can.

    However, there is more you can do to protect yourself from the sun’s rays, like wearing a hat such as bush hats and cowboys hats inspired by Australian designs for men and women at Wombat Leather.

    How Hats Protect You

    While sunscreen more directly protects you against the sun’s rays, hats help you to remain safe by shielding your eyes, face and other parts of your head. This helps to reduce the risk of the sunburn and heatstroke.

    It's important if the sun is especially hot or it’s the middle of the day, to choose a hat with a wide brim. However, there are various men’s leather hats available from Wombat Leather, so you shouldn't find it too hard selecting one that suits your unique style one that protects you from the sun.

    How to Find the Perfect Hat

    Above all else, we would recommend that wearing one is ultimately more important than the kind you choose to wear. However, there are some things you should think about when it comes to choosing a suitable hat for the sunny days and evenings ahead. This includes selecting one that fits you properly and appreciating the importance of the brim.

    Importance of the Fit

    When looking at the fit of a hat, it makes sense to try it on before you buy, if possible. You want a hat that does not feel too tight or restrictive, as hats do not tend to have a lot of give in them, so are likely to remain similarly sized throughout their lifetime. 

    Choosing a hat that’s too tight could mean you suffer from discomfort and headaches. On the other side of things, you need to avoid investing in hats that are simply too big for you because they are more likely to fall off when the wind is up or you are involved in activities, even those less strenuous ones like walking.

    Importance of the Brim

    When it comes to the different parts of your hat, the brim is generally regarded as the most important. This is especially true when you are looking for protection from the sun, as a brim is what will provide most of the shading for your shoulders, neck and face. Therefore, if you are looking for the most protection from a hat possible, one with a particularly wide and large brim will be more effective than one that has a relatively slimline brim.

    A hat, even if it's from our cool selection of Australian hats, it's not a replacement for sun cream, sunglasses and even trying to make sure you spend some time in shaded areas when you are out and about during the middle of the day.

    Which Style Is Your Style?

    You’ll notice when it comes to buying hats online that there are numerous different styles available and as well as your taste, you should factor in the practicality of a style for any activities you will be taking part in. Take the bush hats from Wombat Leather for instance. These are great all-rounders that provide adequate protection against UV rays from the sun, while also ensuring you are suitably shaded - and of course, look great too!

    We’re always trying to make sure the products we offer at Wombat Leather are made with the user in mind and as well as making them easy to pack away when you are going on trips or don't want to wear it for a short amount of time, but need it with you. They are also incredibly easy to maintain and wash.

    Alongside the simple bush hats, we also design and produce a wide array of outback Australian hats, many of which are foldable with rugged durability. As well as protection against the sun, our hats have also been designed and handmade to offer a degree of protection against inclement weather. Something that's never too far away in the UK, even when we are experiencing a heatwave.

    Which Hat Will You Choose?

    It is entirely up to you which hat you opt for. Our wide and varied range available at Wombat Leather has something for everyone. Some of our most popular and best-selling hats include:

    The Outback hat - made from a stylish and attractive soft brown leather. As well as offering the UK protection, it also features a generously wide brim. A chin strap is included if necessary and it features a removable band made from leather that fits to the top of the brim via handy poppers. This band not only looks good but helps to keep the hat's shape intact.

    wombat outback leather hat

    The Wilds foldable leather hat – This is a very lightweight hat that has a suitably wide brim and a distressed look that gives it the appearance of an older and shabbier hat without the wear and tear associated with that authentic look. The great thing about this hat is that it’s foldable, so you can store it away easily and pull it out within seconds.

    DCIM100GOPROG0126729.JPG

    Soft foldable lightweight hat in sand colour

    The soft foldable and washable hat is a simple, but an elegant hat that features the wide brim many of Wombat Leather's hats are known for. It includes a neck strap and is easy to keep clean – just by washing it by hand in some lukewarm water.

    Final Thoughts

    Given the sheer variety of different leather hats available from Wombat Leather, it really won’t matter which you choose as you can always be guaranteed of one thing – our commitment to high-quality, durable accessories and products.

    Wombat Leather go to great lengths to faithfully follow the design, look and feel of the kind of hats that are commonplace Down Under, while bringing them to you for a reasonable price and design qualities that make them more than just a fashion item.

    The leather hats from Wombat Leather are an essential piece of protection against the harmful effects of the sun’s rays whether its against sunburn, heatstroke or in the most serious cases, skin cancer. They are also a great investment.

    Whichever you choose, you can be confident they will look great, last a long time and keep you safe while you enjoy yourself in the sun, whether it’s over here in the UK or while on holiday overseas somewhere much warmer.

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  • Stylish and Robust Cowboy Hats and Leather Bags

    Looking to head to the States this summer? Look cool, while staying cool and keeping your belongings safe with our great cowboy hats and a stunning leather bag from our collection. Read in full
  • Travelling this Winter? Take a Look at Some Great Hats and Bags

    As winter fast approaches, most men should be looking to their wardrobe and checking that they have appropriate accessories for the coldest months of the year. Even if you have the majority of your wardrobe sorted for November through to February, you may still be on the lookout for those important extras, such as a good quality bag and hat. Read in full
  • Ideas for How to Get the Best Out of Your Trip to The Grand Canyon

    Looking to go to the Grand Canyon sometime soon and want ideas of what to do there beyond staring into the abyss with inspired amazement? We look at several ideas for a great trip. Read in full
  • Packing Essentials for That Trip to Bali and Bawah

    If you are planning or have already booked a trip to Indonesia, and are visiting the islands of Bawah and Bali, you may be unsure what you need to pack. This blog post aims to take the mystery out of that. Read in full
  • Travel Bags and Accessories for The Perfect Hiking Holiday

    There are few more beautiful places in the world than the mountain ranges in Italy, with places such as Giao Pass, Lago di Braies, Seceda and Tre Cime di Laveredo simply taking the breath away. These are idyllic places to visit during the summer season and welcome thousands of hikers every year. Read in full
  • Wombat: Top Travel Essentials for Your Next Trip

    Going on holiday can be a hugely exciting experience and it is something that many of us look forward to each year. It is great to explore new places and cultures, see sighs from around the world, and enjoy a complete change of scenery. Of course, we all want to ensure that when we go on holiday everything runs as smoothly as possible and a little forward planning can help you to achieve this goal. Read in full
  • Wombat New Leather Hat Arrivals

    You don’t have to look like you’ve walked straight of the set of Westworld to wear a leather bush hat. They are one of the most versatile leather accessories you can own, not only adding a touch of cool to your style but also doing an amazing job of keeping the sun off your head.  Not only that but they keep the glare out of your eye and ensure you stay dry should the heavens decide to open up above. Read in full