Ruby Balloon Floating over Norfolk
  

Toys For Boys

Quiet Tether As with all sports you can get essential equipment and nice to have bits and pieces. You can choose which category the items on this page appear.

Gloves

Safety dictates that everyone round a balloon should be wearing gloves. Most people wear gardening gloves or more robust leather gloves. These might be able to protect your hands from a rope burn but if you believe that you might need to turn off a gas tap on a cylinder that is on fire at a couple of thousand feet, it might be an idea to invest in a pair of heat\fire resistant gloves.

Fire Master gloves, as worn by the majority of firemen in the UK, are produced by Southcombe Brothers in Somerset at £43 a pair (2009 prices).

GPS Devices

For those of you who may get temporarily spatially disorientated a GPS (Global Positioning System) might be just the job.

A balloonist, Phil Claridge, sells these nifty little items. Just tell him you are a balloon aficionado for a great deal.

When you are buying a GPS, check the manual for the limitations on the number of Routes and waypoints you can store. You might also be interested in whether it can store proximity data, this is so you can store a grid with a circle around it.

A new sport seems to be kicking off called Geocaching. People have hidden up boxes out in the wild and the coordinates are published on the web. You then have to go and find them. There is one at the Bee Hive just off the A30 at Windlesham. It is a bit like orienteering with a GPS, but without the running. So on those windy days you can go for a walk in the country and try to find these geocaching sites.

Mapping Software to use with a GPS

GPSS

For those of you who like computers then there is a rather nice piece of software called GPSS that might be just for you. Get yourself an old portable and connect it to the GPS. Then you can take it up in a balloon with you. With data imported to the software you can see the SAs on the screen or get a message over the speaker such as "Ostriches 2 miles at your 1 o'clock".

Memory-Map Navigator

This software from Memory-Map Inc does not have the voice warnings but it does have the ability to download SAs to a PDA. This means you can have a moving map in your top pocket. So if you have a PDA with either a GPS sleeve or a connection to a normal GPS then this could be one to try.

Anemometer

For those of you who don't trust the forecasters, then this will help you work out the wind speed. Once again Phil Claridge, sells them.