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Trail Gear Guide 2022

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GEAR GUIDE<br />

FROM THE MAKERS OF THE UK’S BEST-SELLING HILLWALKING MAGAZINE<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

222<br />

TRAIL-TESTED<br />

PRODUCTS<br />

INCLUDING<br />

Hiking boots<br />

Waterproofs<br />

Camping stoves<br />

Rucksacks<br />

Trekking poles<br />

Tents & bivvies<br />

Sleeping bags<br />

Mountain tech<br />

& MUCH MORE!<br />

Your definitive<br />

100-page guide<br />

to the very<br />

best hiking kit<br />

money can buy<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

1<br />

Hottest new<br />

releases for<br />

spring and<br />

summer <strong>2022</strong><br />

Long-term<br />

tests & expert<br />

reviews you<br />

can trust<br />

+<br />

GEAR OF<br />

THE YEAR<br />

<strong>2022</strong>


HIKER BEYOND<br />

THE ORDINARY.<br />

isthenewbenchmarkforalldayhikes.Abootmadeinthe<br />

name of comfort and technologies, with IKS system on the sole that helps<br />

to reduce foot fatigue during hiking.<br />

SCARPA.CO.UK


GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong><br />

222<br />

TRAIL-TESTED<br />

PRODUCTS<br />

06 Waterproof jackets<br />

12 Waterproof trousers<br />

15 Insulated jackets<br />

18 Soft shells<br />

19 F leece s<br />

20 Base layers<br />

22 Mountain boots<br />

32 <strong>Trail</strong> shoes<br />

37 G aiter s<br />

39 S ock s<br />

41 Trousers & shorts<br />

44 Gloves<br />

46 Rucksacks<br />

55 H ydr ation<br />

58 Trekking poles<br />

60 Headtorches<br />

64 Tech<br />

66 Hiking accessories<br />

68 Tent s<br />

74 Bivvies & tarps<br />

76 Sleeping bags<br />

83 Sleeping mats<br />

85 Stoves<br />

88 Camping accessories<br />

93 <strong>Gear</strong> for dogs<br />

96 Kit for kids<br />

98 Competition<br />

TRAIL GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong><br />

EDITOR Oli Reed<br />

DEPUTY EDITOR Jenna Maryniak<br />

TRAIL GEAR TESTERS<br />

Matt Jones, James Forrest, Ben Weeks,<br />

Jenna Maryniak, Oli Reed, Sarah Ryan, Tom Bailey<br />

PHOTOGRAPHER Tom Bailey<br />

ART EDITORS Louise Parker, Caroline Glynne-Jones<br />

PRODUCTION EDITORS Shane Collins, Marie Marsh<br />

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Caroline Barrett<br />

COMMERCIAL MANAGER Anna Skuse<br />

KEY ACCOUNT MANAGER Joe Sheehan<br />

PROJECT MANAGERS Katie Kerry, Angele Karsan<br />

Look for this logo<br />

throughout the guide<br />

to see TRAIL’s pick of<br />

the very best kit for <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

WIN<br />

£1991<br />

OF OUTDOOR KIT<br />

PAGE 98<br />

GEAR OF<br />

THE YEAR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

TOM BAILEY<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

3


TESTING TEAM<br />

TRAIL<br />

AWARDS<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

IN TEST<br />

Top-scoring product<br />

in comparative<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> tests<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

Best overall<br />

package of price<br />

and performance<br />

in <strong>Trail</strong> tests<br />

Celebrating<br />

sustainable and<br />

ethical gear<br />

releases<br />

OPINIONS YOU CAN TRUST<br />

There’s a lot of very useful info about buying outdoor gear on the internet,<br />

but for every reliable article you’ll find about 1000 rubbish ones. Which is<br />

why we’re so proud to keep bashing out the <strong>Trail</strong> <strong>Gear</strong> <strong>Guide</strong> every year –<br />

100 pages crammed with advice on the very best kit for hillwalkers of all ages<br />

and ability. If you read this magazine regularly you’ll probably recognise a<br />

few of the faces on this page, and we’d like to think you’ll trust their opinions<br />

too. We’ve been publishing <strong>Trail</strong> for over 30 years and many of us have been<br />

working here for a large chunk of those three decades, walking all over the<br />

UK hills and mountains in everything the weather can throw at us. We’re<br />

all very particular and shamelessly geeky about the kit we like to use (what<br />

walker isn’t it?), which means the products we choose to showcase in our<br />

annual gear bible are often the subject of fierce debate. Some of the kit in here<br />

is brand new, some of it we’ve been using for years, and all of it is excellent.<br />

Matt Jones<br />

One of our<br />

regular gear<br />

testers and a selfconfessed<br />

outdoor<br />

kit geek,<br />

Matt is based in<br />

Snowdonia.<br />

Sarah Ryan<br />

Mountain Leader,<br />

outdoor writer and<br />

founder of The Wild<br />

Walk Home, Sarah’s<br />

turned her passion<br />

for wild places into<br />

a career.<br />

Tom Bailey<br />

<strong>Trail</strong>’s photographer<br />

of more than<br />

20 years has tested<br />

more mountain<br />

kit to destruction<br />

than he can<br />

remember.<br />

Ben Weeks<br />

Mountain Leader<br />

and <strong>Trail</strong>’s<br />

long-serving senior<br />

writer Ben is<br />

a huge fan of gnarly,<br />

rocky mountain<br />

routes.<br />

James Forrest<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> gear tester<br />

and peak-bagger<br />

who spends more<br />

time sleeping in<br />

the mountains than<br />

he does in his own<br />

house!<br />

Oli Reed<br />

<strong>Trail</strong>’s editor is a<br />

lifelong walker and<br />

scrambler, who these<br />

days is often spotted<br />

on the hills with<br />

two noisy young<br />

boys in tow.<br />

Jenna Maryniak<br />

<strong>Trail</strong>’s deputy<br />

editor is happiest<br />

when walking<br />

and camping<br />

in the Lake<br />

District with<br />

her dog.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

4


Head for<br />

the hills<br />

SHOP OUR FULL CAMPING RANGE AT REGATTA.COM<br />

AND IN STORES NATIONWIDE<br />

@regattaoutdoors


WATERPROOFS<br />

BUYING GUIDE<br />

Good old British weather means that even in the height of summer you<br />

could well get cold and wet in the mountains if you’re not prepared with<br />

a good set of waterproofs. Here’s what to look for when investing<br />

in one of the most important pieces of hillwalking kit.<br />

1<br />

WHAT WILL L YOU USE<br />

YOUR JACKET FOR?<br />

If you’ve stared at the endless<br />

options for waterproof jackets in gear<br />

shops, you’ll know there are loads of<br />

different styles depending on the<br />

kind of mountain adventure<br />

you’re planning. You get<br />

specific hillwalking<br />

options, lightweight<br />

summer shells,<br />

heavy-duty winter<br />

jackets, and high-<br />

spec designs built for<br />

high mountains and<br />

alpine terrain. The key<br />

is to find one or two that<br />

will work across all of<br />

your mountain trips.<br />

2<br />

KNOW YOUR<br />

GEAR JARGON<br />

Water-resistant or<br />

water-repellent isn’t the same<br />

thing as waterproof. The vast<br />

majority of waterproof jackets<br />

are based on the ‘hard shell’<br />

concept, using a face fabric<br />

bonded to a waterproofbreathable<br />

membrane or<br />

laminate. The most famous<br />

example is Gore-Tex, but it’s<br />

far from the only technology<br />

out there – many brands use<br />

their own membranes, which<br />

can bring the price of the jacket<br />

down quite a lot.<br />

3<br />

EASY ACCESS<br />

C S<br />

TO POCKETS<br />

When you try on a<br />

waterproof jacket in the shop you<br />

probably won’t have your rucksack with<br />

you, so grab one off the shelf and buckle<br />

it up. What you’ll often realise is that the<br />

pockets can get obstructed by rucksack<br />

FEATURED<br />

PRODUCT<br />

MONTANE SPINE<br />

£250<br />

Lightweight and breathable waterproof<br />

protection for fast and light activities,<br />

the Spine Jacket uses Gore-Tex<br />

Active shell to provide reliable<br />

weather protection, however<br />

hard you are working.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

6


WATERPROOFS<br />

MONTANE’S SELECTION<br />

straps, meaning you have to take off your<br />

whole pack to access what’s in them.<br />

Look for jackets with chest pockets or<br />

hand pockets placed higher up, as these<br />

allow you to easily get to your gloves,<br />

snacks and maps as you walk.<br />

4<br />

TWEAKING THE FIT<br />

The most common places for<br />

a waterproof jacket to leak are<br />

at the hood, hem and cuffs. You want a<br />

good range of adjustment to ensure a<br />

good weatherproof seal and stop water<br />

getting in. This is usually achieved<br />

through a variety of drawstrings,<br />

cordlocks and Velcro tabs.<br />

5<br />

STAYING DRY FROM<br />

THE INSIDE OUT<br />

It’s common for people to feel<br />

damp inside their waterproof jacket and<br />

assume it must be leaking, when often<br />

that moisture build-up is a result of you<br />

getting too hot and sweaty. Waterproof<br />

fabrics are breathable, but only to a<br />

limited extent, so its useful to be able<br />

to dump excess heat and moisture by<br />

venting the jacket. See if you can push<br />

up the sleeves and check for vents,<br />

like mesh pockets and pit zips.<br />

6<br />

FIND THE RIGHT FIT<br />

Waterproof jackets come in<br />

all shapes and sizes – long<br />

ones, short ones, loose ones, tight<br />

ones. Some like the full coverage of a<br />

longer hemline, others like the added<br />

mobility of a hip-length cut. A looser<br />

fit allows more layers underneath,<br />

while a trimmer fit eliminates excess<br />

fabric that might otherwise flap around,<br />

bunch up or billow in the wind. Try a few<br />

jackets on and go for the one that feels<br />

the most comfortable – but also check<br />

you can move your arms easily, and that<br />

your wrists and lower back are covered<br />

even when you bend over or stretch<br />

upwards, with no tightness across<br />

the chest or shoulders.<br />

7<br />

ZIP UP, HOOD UP<br />

Zips often leak, so look for<br />

water-resistant types. They’ll<br />

either be laminated with a waterproof<br />

coating, or a reverse coil design (with<br />

the teeth on the inside). The best jackets<br />

also have a storm flap placed behind the<br />

zip or over the top for extra protection.<br />

Ensure the main zip comes right up to<br />

the chin or even the nose. When it comes<br />

to hoods, ensure it adjusts for a close fit<br />

around the head and face, ideally with<br />

a stiffened brim or peak to deflect wind<br />

and rain. Check you can move your head<br />

easily and that you have a good range<br />

of visibility so you can still see where<br />

you’re going.<br />

8<br />

DON’T FORGET THE<br />

BOTTOM HALF!<br />

As well as a good waterproof<br />

jacket, for full waterproof protection<br />

you’ll also need a pair of waterproof<br />

overtrousers (see page 12). Look for a<br />

pair with long side zips, so you can put<br />

them on without taking your boots off.<br />

ADVERTISEMENT PROMOTION<br />

LITE-SPEED E E TRAIL<br />

PULL-ON (MALE ONLY) £80<br />

Using a supremely lightweight<br />

PERTEX QUANTUM ECO, which<br />

is 100% recycled, the Lite-Speed<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> Pull-On is one of the lightest<br />

wind shirts in its class.<br />

METEOR E JACKET £130<br />

Designed with PERTEX SHIELD fabric<br />

with improved breathability, and all<br />

the essential features required to<br />

make it the go-to shell for mountain<br />

walking and everyday general use.<br />

MINIMUS I M STRETCH<br />

T ULTRA WATERPROOF<br />

JACKET £175<br />

Using a super breathable<br />

20-denier PERTEX SHIELD 2.5<br />

layer waterproof fabric with taped<br />

seams, combined with a minimalist<br />

features, the Minimus Stretch Ultra<br />

Jacket is lightweight and packable<br />

with added stretch for a close fit.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

7


GEAR OF<br />

THE YEAR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

MONTANE<br />

PAC PLUS XT £250<br />

Boasting the latest Gore-Tex<br />

Paclite Plus fabric, which now<br />

has a dry-touch backer for<br />

improved comfort, this is a great<br />

technical 3-season shell for<br />

hillwalking, scrambling and<br />

full-on mountaineering use.<br />

It’s got a cracking helmet-friendly<br />

hood, pit zips for easy venting,<br />

well-placed pockets and a trimfitting<br />

yet full-coverage cut that<br />

offers excellent mobility. 100%<br />

recycled too!<br />

VERDICT A mountain-ready shell<br />

with a great fit. Still lightweight<br />

and packable yet robust and well<br />

equipped, this is a worthwhile<br />

upgrade for those in search of a<br />

technical 3-season waterproof.<br />

TOM BAILEY<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

8


WATERPROOF JACKETS<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

BERGHAUS PACLITE DYNAK £160<br />

Employing the latest generation Gore-Tex<br />

Paclite fabric in a 2-layer construction<br />

that dispenses with clingy drop liners<br />

or clammy printed backers, this shell<br />

offers not just reliable waterproofbreathable<br />

performance but also a good<br />

level of wearable, on-the-hill comfort.<br />

It’s surprisingly light and packable for<br />

such a sturdy jacket too.<br />

VERDICT A no-nonsense, reasonably<br />

priced and eminently practical hillwalking<br />

waterproof from one of the best-loved<br />

British outdoor brands. The perfect<br />

packable shell for your rucksack.<br />

HAGLOFS L.I.M. £230<br />

Ultra-light, supremely packable, protective and supercomfortable,<br />

the L.I.M (Less Is More) jacket features the<br />

Gore-Tex Paclite Plus fabric, with an impressive 28,000mm<br />

hydrostatic head and RET breathability rating of


NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

BLACK DIAMOND HIGHLINE STRETCH SHELL £270<br />

If your waterproof jacket always seems to wet out despite regular<br />

reproofing – or if you’re just not great at giving your outdoor gear<br />

regular TLC – this could be just the shell for you. It’s treated with<br />

a super long-lasting durable water repellent finish, ensuring that<br />

rain will just roll right off, from one adventure to the next.<br />

VERDICT A premium 3-layer shell with a stretchy and<br />

comfortable waterproof fabric, mega pit zips and an innovative<br />

‘super DWR’ for superior long-term breathable performance.<br />

PATAGONIA GRANITE CREST £235<br />

With a Fairtrade certified, 3-layer fabric made from discarded<br />

fishing nets that is also completely PFC-free, this jacket is<br />

commendably eco-friendly. But it’s also a good performer on<br />

the hill, with plenty of practical features allied with dependable<br />

real-world waterproofing. It’s light and packable enough to stow<br />

away when not required too, stuffing into its own pocket.<br />

VERDICT Solid wet weather performance, a good range of<br />

features and impeccable sustainability credentials make<br />

this an attractive option as a versatile 3-season shell.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR<br />

EXPOSURE 2 £300<br />

When it comes to spending £300 on a<br />

waterproof jacket, you really want one jacket that<br />

does it all, and for me this jacket really stands out.<br />

The fit from hood to tail is superb, with a flattering<br />

and protective cut, which is still roomy for layers<br />

underneath to make it useable year-round. Made<br />

from GoreTex Paclite, there are more robust<br />

options, but waterproofing is excellent in a<br />

lightweight package. Long pit zips and big<br />

mesh-lined pockets aid ventilation<br />

for warmer conditions.<br />

VERDICT Lovable, lightweight<br />

all-rounder.<br />

USED BY Jenna Maryniak,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> deputy editor<br />

USED FOR 8 months<br />

HELLY HANSEN ODIN 9<br />

WORLDS 2.0 £360<br />

This jacket has the best pockets of any<br />

shell I’ve ever used. They’ll easily swallow OS maps<br />

or bulky gloves and have two-way zips, so you can<br />

access them from the bottom or the top. Inside,<br />

stretch inserts stop essentials (like my phone or car<br />

keys) from getting lost in their depths. The rest of<br />

the jacket is just as good too, with a robust fabric,<br />

a cracking hood and top-notch build quality.<br />

VERDICT The latest version of<br />

this shell is just as robust and<br />

practical as the previous model,<br />

which did four years of sterling<br />

service before I passed<br />

it on to a mate – and as<br />

far as I know, it’s still<br />

going strong.<br />

USED BY<br />

Matt Jones,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong><br />

contributor<br />

USED FOR 4 months<br />

(but also owned the<br />

previous version<br />

for 4 years)<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

10


WATERPROOF JACKETS<br />

MONTANE ALPINE RESOLVE £360<br />

Montane’s latest flagship waterproof jacket is a rugged<br />

Gore-Tex Pro shell primarily designed for alpine adventures<br />

and winter mountaineering – but that also makes it a solid<br />

option for committed outdoorsy types who are particularly<br />

hard on their kit. In terms of fit, features and functionality,<br />

this jacket is up there with the best, including many top-end<br />

shells in the £400-£500 price range.<br />

VERDICT A premium-quality jacket that feels rugged and<br />

protective, while also managing to save a few grams over<br />

most comparable 4-season rivals.<br />

KLATTERMUSEN ASYNJA £330<br />

This classy shell from the cult Swedish climbing specialists<br />

combines distinctive looks with impressive eco-credentials.<br />

It does have a couple of eccentric details that<br />

you’ll probably either love or hate, but<br />

it is extremely well-built, whilst<br />

also being lighter and more<br />

packable than most 3-layer<br />

jackets. As a result,<br />

you get great comfort<br />

plus reliable springthru-summer<br />

rain<br />

protection.<br />

VERDICT A stylish<br />

and sustainable<br />

shell from the<br />

Swedish brand<br />

that is lightweight,<br />

packable, very<br />

comfortable and<br />

commendably<br />

eco-friendly too.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

ADIDAS TERREX<br />

TECHROCK GTX PRO £450<br />

Bold, brash and burly, this premium<br />

all-season mountain waterproof<br />

boasts plenty of technical features,<br />

plus class-leading Gore-Tex Pro<br />

fabric, suitable for adventures<br />

in the worst weather and the<br />

toughest terrain. The cut<br />

is roomy, and our tester<br />

ended up sizing down,<br />

which transformed the<br />

Techrock from a somewhat<br />

loose and baggy outer<br />

layer to a streamlined,<br />

stylish shell.<br />

VERDICT<br />

Get the fit<br />

right and this is a superb<br />

technical mountain jacket<br />

with all the features you<br />

need and nothing you<br />

don’t, which also makes it<br />

one of the lightest Gore-<br />

Tex Pro shells around.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

11<br />

JÖTTNAR HODR £535<br />

A technical tour de force, the Hodr is one of the most robust, wellbuilt<br />

and fully-featured mountain shells we’ve ever tested. From<br />

its ergonomically patterned, helmet-friendly hood to its split tether<br />

embedded hem drawcords, every component has been meticulously<br />

considered. It’s a truly impressive jacket for those who want<br />

guaranteed protection in the most formidable conditions.<br />

VERDICT A true workhorse, this ultra-rugged jacket will<br />

stand up to punishment that would shred lighter shells.<br />

If you can afford to splurge, you won’t regret it.


BERGHAUS DELUGE 2.0 PANT £60<br />

A well-priced pair of waterproofs that use Berghaus’<br />

proprietary 2-layer Hydroshell fabric. They have a<br />

comfortable elasticated waist with draw cord adjustment<br />

and ¾ length zips to help get them on and snap closures<br />

for venting. Available in three trouser lengths for men<br />

and two for women, and a range of waist sizes, you can<br />

be sure to get a pair that fit you properly.<br />

VERDICT A solid and protective pair of hard shell<br />

trousers at an affordable price.<br />

KEELA MUNRO SALOPETTES £145<br />

Created for the toughest conditions in the UK hills<br />

– and around the world – these salopettes offer<br />

two-way full-length leg zippers, reinforcement<br />

in high-wear areas, and an adjustable fit. Their<br />

solid construction and dependable stormproof<br />

weather repellence makes them a popular choice<br />

for those who make the toughest demands from<br />

their gear, including Mountain Rescue Teams and<br />

Tactical Forces.<br />

VERDICT When the going – and conditions – get<br />

tough, these are waterproofs you can rely on.<br />

ROHAN DRY FRONTIER<br />

WATERPROOF TROUSERS £130<br />

Rather than overtrousers, the Dry Frontier<br />

(and women’s Dry Roamers II £120)<br />

trousers are regular walking trousers that<br />

have Rohan’s waterproof, windproof and<br />

breathable Barricade lining and a durable<br />

water repellent coating. Their Dynamic<br />

Moisture Control means they can be worn<br />

year-round in any conditions, and their<br />

styling means they’re more flattering than<br />

the average pair of baggy waterproofs.<br />

VERDICT A do-it-all pair of trousers that<br />

offer both comfort and reliable weather<br />

protection.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

MONTANE MINIMUS PANTS £100<br />

I don’t think this is the first time<br />

I’ve written about the Minimus<br />

Pants in a <strong>Trail</strong> <strong>Gear</strong> <strong>Guide</strong>, but<br />

their light weight (around 150g for<br />

men’s medium) and tiny pack size (about the<br />

size of an apple) means they remain my first<br />

choice on trips when the weather looks warm<br />

and likely to be dry (although if it does rain<br />

the pants are reliably waterproof). My only<br />

niggle is that the short ¼ length zip makes<br />

pulling them on over boots a struggle,<br />

but other than that they’re superb.<br />

VERDICT Still my go-to summer<br />

waterproofs, and I see no reason for<br />

that to change any time soon.<br />

USED BY Ben Weeks,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> senior writer<br />

USED FOR Several (I forget<br />

exactly how many) years<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

12


WATERPROOF TROUSERS<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

PÁRAMO CASCADA II<br />

TROUSERS £155<br />

Designed to be worn in place of<br />

regular walking trousers, the<br />

Cascadas offer superb breathability,<br />

great venting, and a different take<br />

on waterproofing. Rather than using<br />

a waterproof membrane, Páramo’s<br />

proprietary Analogy fabric actively<br />

moves water away from the skin,<br />

offering a softer, more comfortable,<br />

and more easily repairable alternative<br />

to typical hardshell trousers.<br />

VERDICT Páramo’s unique<br />

waterproofing system makes these<br />

one of the most comfortable pairs of<br />

waterproof trousers available.<br />

ADIDAS TERREX TECHROCK GORE-TEX<br />

PRO TRACKSUIT BOTTOMS £350<br />

Described as “rugged with a functional and<br />

stylish fit”, these waterproof trousers feature an<br />

integrated gaiter, waterproof zippers, reinforced<br />

kicker patches at the cuffs, side zip ventilation,<br />

adjustable waist with belt, and a zippered pocket at<br />

the thigh. The fabric is the premium 3-layer Gore-<br />

Tex Pro shell.<br />

VERDICT A waterproof, windproof and fullyfeatured<br />

pair of overtrousers, with some added<br />

style (but a hefty price tag).<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

ARC’TERYX BETA PANT £270<br />

There’s a lot to love about<br />

these waterproof trousers.<br />

First, they’re made from<br />

premium Gore-Tex with<br />

Gore C-Knit backer technology<br />

(Blue Sign approved), making them<br />

light, very waterproof and<br />

breathable, with sustainability<br />

credentials. The full-length<br />

zip extends right to the top,<br />

although this does mean that<br />

you can’t unzip from the top for<br />

venting. The cut is articulated<br />

for good freedom of movement<br />

and tapered at the ankle. They come in<br />

three different lengths, which is good<br />

news, as the regular was too long for<br />

me (5ft 4in).<br />

VERDICT Built to last and keep you<br />

dependably dry – check sizing though.<br />

USED BY Jenna Maryniak,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> deputy editor<br />

USED FOR 2 months<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

RAB FIRE WALL<br />

TROUSERS £140<br />

I’ve had these<br />

overtrousers since 2017.<br />

They get chucked in my<br />

pack for everything except<br />

full-on winter stuff, when I switch to<br />

salopettes. They have extended threeway<br />

side zips for great ventilation,<br />

which also makes them easy to get<br />

on and off. They also have a grippy<br />

waistband lining, which stops them<br />

from slipping down. I just wish they<br />

came in a long leg, which would<br />

make them pretty much perfect.<br />

VERDICT Nobody likes wearing<br />

waterproof overtrousers, but if<br />

you really have to put a pair on,<br />

these have proved to be more<br />

practical and durable than<br />

most others I’ve tried.<br />

USED BY Matt Jones,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR 5 years<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

13


MID LAYERS<br />

BUYING GUIDE<br />

A mid layer sits between a skin-hugging base layer and a waterproof outer layer.<br />

Here’s our guide to the best options you can buy for going out on the trails.<br />

1 2<br />

F L E E C E S<br />

For versatile all-round<br />

performance, fleece is still<br />

the most popular mid layer. Warm,<br />

comfortable and breathable, polyester<br />

fleece comes in multiple variations;<br />

from lightweight, breathable gridded<br />

microfleece tops to uber-cosy, high-loft<br />

fleece hoodies. Its main drawback is<br />

environmental: polyester is a synthetic<br />

fabric made from petrochemicals, which<br />

is not great for the planet. Many fleeces<br />

are now made from recycled polyester,<br />

which partly addresses this issue. But<br />

disturbing research has also shown that<br />

fleece’s fluffy fibres can also release<br />

tiny strands and particles – called<br />

microplastics – into the environment,<br />

especially during the washing process.<br />

The outdoor industry is trying to find<br />

solutions to this serious issue.<br />

INSULATED JACKETS<br />

If you’re looking for optimum<br />

warmth for weight, a synthetic<br />

or down insulated ‘puffer’ jacket is<br />

the obvious choice. They’re often too<br />

warm for active use, though hybrid<br />

insulated mid layers, incorporating<br />

more breathable fleece panels, help<br />

to overcome this limitation. Choosing<br />

between down or synthetic fill can be<br />

tricky. Down jackets are lightweight,<br />

packable and very warm, while synthetic<br />

jackets are usually cheaper and more<br />

resistant to moisture. If you plan to use<br />

your insulated jacket as an extra throwon<br />

layer for rest stops and chilly wild<br />

camps, go for one with a hood. If you’ll<br />

primarily be using it as a mid layer,<br />

then a hood might not be so essential.<br />

3<br />

SOFT SHELLS<br />

Soft shell jackets are versatile<br />

layers that are more windproof<br />

and protective than a fleece and more<br />

comfortable and breathable than a<br />

waterproof hard shell. They can be used<br />

as mid layers or outer layers, though<br />

they aren’t a substitute for a waterproof<br />

jacket in heavy rain. Soft shells come<br />

in many different variants – some are<br />

light, stretchy and breathable, others are<br />

heavier, warmer and more protective.<br />

They’ll typically have more technical<br />

features than most fleeces or puffers,<br />

with multiple pockets, adjustable cuffs<br />

and hem, and a fully adjustable hood.<br />

4<br />

ACTIVE INSULATION<br />

The latest breed of insulated<br />

mid layers are ‘active insulation’<br />

pieces, designed to provide superior<br />

warmth to weight compared to fleece,<br />

while still being breathable enough to<br />

wear all day, unlike conventional down or<br />

synthetic puffers. These usually consist<br />

of a tightly-woven nylon or polyester<br />

face fabric combined with a fluffy, openweave<br />

insulation as an inner lining.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

14


INSULATED JACKETS<br />

RAB INFINITY<br />

MICROLIGHT £240<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

If there is such a thing as a modern<br />

classic in outdoor kit, Rab’s Microlight<br />

jackets have a good claim to the title.<br />

We reckon the new Infinity Microlight<br />

is probably the best one yet, featuring<br />

a Gore-Tex Infinium face fabric and 700<br />

fill power recycled hydrophobic down<br />

insulation. It’s a consummate all-rounder<br />

for the hills and mountains, being warm,<br />

packable and more weatherproof than<br />

most down puffers.<br />

VERDICT The newest version of a<br />

longstanding <strong>Trail</strong> favourite, this is a<br />

warm, cosy and well-cut puffer that won’t<br />

collapse into a soggy mess even if you<br />

need to stick it on in clag or light drizzle.<br />

GEAR OF<br />

THE YEAR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

TOM BAILEY<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

15


MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

JACK WOLFSKIN JWP DOWN £135<br />

If you’re looking for good warmth at a low weight and an<br />

affordable price, this jacket ticks all of the boxes. Wide baffles<br />

are filled with 110g of 700 fill power duck down, providing a<br />

plump, lofty feel to the jacket, but the overall weigh is just 266g<br />

with a super-comfy fit and minimalist design. You also get a<br />

PFC-free DWR coating and a Stormlock windproof shell.<br />

VERDICT A fluffy, cosy down jacket<br />

with a good warmth-to-weight ratio.<br />

MONTANE PRISM £130<br />

The Primaloft-insulated Montane Prism strikes a lovely<br />

balance between weight, warmth, features and performance.<br />

The adjustable, peaked hood is excellent, the dropped hem<br />

adds warmth and coverage, and the relaxed fit (neither loose<br />

nor athletic) is just right. The 30-denier, windproof Pertex<br />

Quantum shell feels tougher than many others too.<br />

VERDICT An excellent and fairly-priced synthetic jacket.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

BAM 73 ZERO INSULATED JACKET £165<br />

For me this jacket feels more ‘lifestyle-y’ than<br />

technical, but it’s still comfy, warm and well-made.<br />

Yet it is the eco story that shines through. The jacket<br />

is not only made from 100% recycled materials,<br />

but it’s also 100% recyclable – at the end of its<br />

life, simply return it for free to BAM, who<br />

(in partnership with specialist textile<br />

recycler Project Plan B) will return<br />

it into fibre grade polyester and<br />

knit it into a new garment.<br />

VERDICT An insulated jacket<br />

made from 100% recycled<br />

materials, with an innovative<br />

process for recycling it at<br />

the end of its life.<br />

USED BY James Forrest,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR 6 months<br />

FJÄLLRÄVEN KEB TOURING DOWN JACKET £415<br />

So far this jacket hasn’t failed me. In winter you need<br />

quality, and this is it. Every part of the design, from<br />

the hood adjustments, through to the<br />

press-studs behind the zip, to the<br />

two-way zip itself, mean this item is going to<br />

do its job. It’s warm, yet the down seems to<br />

squash easily when packing it away.<br />

It’s recycled and ethically<br />

sourced too. Great, but<br />

at a price.<br />

VERDICT It’s a jacket<br />

for life if you look<br />

after it.<br />

USED BY<br />

Tom Bailey,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong><br />

photographer<br />

& writer<br />

USED FOR<br />

3 years<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

16


INSULATED JACKETS<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

ALPKIT 0HIRO £160<br />

Though it might not compete with the chunkiest belay<br />

parkas or puffiest down jackets in the warmth stakes,<br />

this is still a practical and cosy synthetic layer that will<br />

outperform plenty of pricier rivals on a cold and wet<br />

mountainside. It’s also well-equipped, with numerous<br />

pockets, stretchy cuffs, a two-way main zip and a fully<br />

adjustable, helmet-friendly hood with a protective wired peak.<br />

VERDICT A solid addition to any hillwalker’s cold weather<br />

kit, this versatile synthetic jacket is weatherproof, warm<br />

and well-priced. A great extra layer to stash in your pack.<br />

RAB GENERATOR ALPINE £250<br />

If you’re looking for all-weather warmth without too much<br />

bulk, this technically advanced belay parka is where it’s at.<br />

The space-age synthetic PrimaLoft Gold with Crosscore fill<br />

delivers near-instant cosiness, and the oversized fit means<br />

you can chuck it on over all your other layers for excellent<br />

all-round protection and coverage.<br />

VERDICT A protective but impressively packable belay<br />

parka that is perfectly equipped to deal with exposed<br />

summits and windswept mountainsides.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT<br />

ALPAMAYO £330<br />

Despite carrying a hefty<br />

price tag for a synthetic<br />

jacket, it was hard not<br />

to be won over after<br />

I ended up spending most of a<br />

Snowdonia winter in the Alpamayo.<br />

It’s so warm and protective that it<br />

soon became the first thing I pulled<br />

out of my pack, time and time again.<br />

Admittedly, the Gore-Tex shell is a bit<br />

crinkly, but it’s a minor drawback for<br />

such impressive weatherproofing.<br />

VERDICT A high-performance insulating overlayer<br />

that shrugged off wind, rain and snow, the Alpamayo [or<br />

men’s Fitzroy] earned my respect after a North Wales winter.<br />

USED BY Ellie Clewlow, <strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR 4 months<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong><br />

TRAIL<br />

17<br />

BLACK DIAMOND VISION<br />

DOWN PARKA £380<br />

There are two types<br />

of insulated jacket:<br />

the lightweight,<br />

wear-all-day kind<br />

and those which are like<br />

a sleeping bag. This is the<br />

second, stuffed with 800-fill,<br />

RDS-certified, HyperDRY goose<br />

down and silky soft inside with<br />

massive pockets for storing<br />

headtorch, phone, map and all<br />

sorts. You’ll never want to take it off.<br />

VERDICT One of the warmest, softest<br />

things I’ve ever worn, it will come with me<br />

on every single wild camping expedition.<br />

USED BY Sarah Ryan, <strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR 1 month


SOFT SHELLS<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

MONTANE DYNO LT £120<br />

One of the stretchiest and most comfortable soft shells we tested last<br />

year, this jacket is great for ridge and gully scrambles, or high-tempo hill<br />

days in changeable weather, when you still need a windproof layer to take<br />

the chill off, or if there’s a good chance of drizzle. It’ll happily shrug off<br />

either, allowing you to leave the waterproof in your pack – or even at<br />

home on mostly dry days.<br />

VERDICT A fully featured soft shell that offers superb all-day comfort.<br />

Its only real drawback is that it is a little heavier than comparable<br />

midweight rivals, despite not boasting the toughest fabric.<br />

ARC’TERYX GAMMA<br />

SL HOODY £140<br />

At 290g, this soft shell<br />

is ultralight and packs<br />

down compactly to the<br />

size of a Coke can. The<br />

Fortius 1.0 double weave<br />

materials ensure excellent<br />

breathability and block<br />

wind impressively, while<br />

the DWR-coating sheds<br />

water effectively in light<br />

showers. It feels more like<br />

a lightweight waterproof<br />

jacket than a traditional<br />

soft shell, albeit with<br />

more stretch for bendy<br />

activities.<br />

VERDICT An ultralight,<br />

breathable, windproof<br />

and stretchy jacket for<br />

fast adventures – but<br />

it’s not that warm.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT FRONTIER £140<br />

Soft shells are all about comfort and versatility, and thanks to a<br />

great cut and a weatherproof four-way stretch fabric, the Frontier<br />

delivers on both counts. But while<br />

the inner lining feels soft even<br />

against bare skin, the outer face is<br />

pretty tough. The double-weave<br />

nylon fends off breezes and<br />

light precipitation, but<br />

wicks well too, so you<br />

rarely get too clammy.<br />

VERDICT Pretty<br />

much the ideal allround<br />

mountain<br />

soft shell, this<br />

midweight jacket<br />

is well-cut and<br />

comfortable<br />

yet protective,<br />

durable and<br />

fully equipped<br />

for long hill<br />

days.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

RAB VAPOUR-RISE<br />

ALPINE LIGHT £145<br />

The Alpine Light is a super<br />

lightweight soft shell (just 312g<br />

in a men’s medium) which has<br />

good airflow and breathability to<br />

keep you cool, dry and comfortable<br />

across a broad temperature<br />

range, but also staves off<br />

windchill effectively with<br />

its wind and waterresistant<br />

Pertex outer<br />

combined with a fastwicking<br />

liner. The fit<br />

is relatively roomy,<br />

and there are two<br />

mesh-lined chest<br />

pockets, but no<br />

handwarmer pockets.<br />

VERDICT A proven<br />

‘put it on, leave it<br />

on’ layer that fends<br />

off the wind and<br />

provides a little<br />

insulation.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

18


CRAGHOPPERS WHITLAW £70<br />

FLEECES<br />

Less a technical mountain layer and more a lifestyle-y fashion<br />

statement, this well-priced fleece from Craghoppers features<br />

bold colour-block styling, vintage vibes and a touch of style<br />

flair. It has good eco credentials (24 recycled plastic bottles<br />

are used in each fleece) and provides a good warmth boost,<br />

courtesy of the cosy micro-fleece panels.<br />

VERDICT A good-looking fleece with<br />

retro styling and eye-catching colours.<br />

PÁRAMO BENTU PLUS<br />

£125<br />

The Bentu Plus has been designed with<br />

careful tailoring, a contoured fit and a<br />

light stretch for ease of movement.<br />

You get plenty of easy-to-access<br />

pockets, including a map-sized<br />

chest pocket, while the curved hem<br />

at the back of the fleece keeps the<br />

lower back protected. The fleece is<br />

water-repellent, warm, breathable<br />

and pairs with a Páramo Duology<br />

Windproof to create a<br />

fully waterproof system.<br />

VERDICT A well-designed, warm<br />

fleece designed to be used as part<br />

of a Páramo layering system.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

DYNAFIT FREE ALPHA DIRECT<br />

£190<br />

Featuring Polartec’s Alpha Direct<br />

Active fabric, a complex mesh of<br />

zig-zagging fibres and fluffy tufts of<br />

synthetic insulation, this fleece jacket<br />

is super-comfy and lightly insulating<br />

with superb breathability. The fit is<br />

athletic, the weight is ultralight at<br />

just 308g (men’s small), and you also<br />

get three pockets and a good hood.<br />

VERDICT A new type of fleece<br />

which is ideal for dynamic,<br />

high-intensity activities.<br />

BERGHAUS<br />

CARNOT HOODED JACKET<br />

£120<br />

Billed as a “high performance<br />

and versatile mid layer”, the<br />

Carnot Hooded Jacket is made<br />

of Polartec Power Stretch –<br />

a fabric with four-way stretch<br />

for “outstanding freedom<br />

of movement”, as well as<br />

providing effective insulation<br />

and good wicking. The Carnot<br />

also includes a snug hood with<br />

chinguard, an adjustable waist<br />

and three pockets.<br />

VERDICT A warm fleece<br />

for colder days, with a<br />

comfy fit and excellent<br />

four-way stretch.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

19<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong>


NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

BERGHAUS 24/7 LS ZIP & LS CREW £25-£35<br />

A longstanding classic from Berghaus, the 24/7 tee now<br />

comes in long-sleeve versions with and without a zip<br />

collar. It’s still made from its Argentium fabric, which is<br />

breathable, odour resistant and wicks away sweat with<br />

four-way stretch for freedom of movement on the most<br />

gymnastic scrambles. The longer sleeves now make it<br />

warmer with a zip for easy venting.<br />

VERDICT A classic base layer tee now with longer<br />

sleeves giving it year-round capability.<br />

SAXX HOT SHOT TECH TEE £40<br />

Men’s underwear brand Saxx was founded with the intention to<br />

reduce sweat and clamminess down south, and now it is moving<br />

that expertise north, to a base layer tee. Made from its proprietary<br />

DropTemp quick-drying fabric the tee is designed for hot weather<br />

activity with exceptional wicking and evaporative cooling,<br />

and mesh inserts at the sides to vent heat fast.<br />

VERDICT This tee is designed to keep you cool on hot days – there’s<br />

no women’s specific version so the fit may not work for everyone.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

ZEROFIT HEATRUB ULTIMATE £60<br />

A disclaimer: wear this for normal hiking<br />

and you’ll bake. But when the mercury<br />

plummets, the Heatrub Ultimate has a<br />

trick up its thermal sleeves. The ‘doubleloop’<br />

barrel fabric provides both heat insulation<br />

and ‘friction heating’. Extra-long bristles ensure<br />

a layer of warm air is retained around the<br />

body, while even a little movement of these<br />

bristles causes friction which generates<br />

heat and warms the wearer. I’ve worn the<br />

Heatrub Ultimate for winter camping, winter<br />

mountaineering and skiing, and in those<br />

coldest of conditions it takes some beating.<br />

VERDICT If the temperature is low enough<br />

to warrant it, the Heatrub Ultimate is the<br />

warmest base layer you can get.<br />

USED BY Ben Weeks, <strong>Trail</strong> senior writer<br />

USED FOR 3 years<br />

CROSSFLY MEN’S BOXERS PRO 7” £25<br />

These technical boxers are comfy, supportive,<br />

sporty and fast-wicking – everything you need<br />

from your underwear when exercising. Made<br />

from 85% polyester and 15% spandex, you<br />

get a lot of stretch, meaning they “work with your every<br />

movement”, while the Coccoon<br />

holds men’s anatomy neatly in<br />

place for less chafing. The clever<br />

X-Fly tab also enables quick and<br />

easy access if you get caught<br />

short along the trail.<br />

VERDICT With a sporty fit<br />

and excellent features, these<br />

boxers are well-suited to<br />

outdoors adventures.<br />

USED BY James Forrest,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR 3 months<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

20


BASE LAYERS<br />

WOOLPOWER 200 CREW £80<br />

This is the lightest layer from Swedish brand Woolpower,<br />

made with its longstanding Ullfrotté 200 merino blend<br />

fabric which features terry loops on the inside and a<br />

circular knit eliminating seams at the torso. This, plus<br />

a bit of stretch, makes it uniquely soft and comfortable<br />

while still being naturally breathable, wicking and<br />

temperature regulating.<br />

VERDICT This unique design has remained all but<br />

unchanged for years and for good reason: it’s supremely<br />

soft and comfortable, simple and functional.<br />

ICEBREAKER MERINO TECH LITE II TEE £65<br />

Knitted from 100% pure merino wool, this base layer has several<br />

benefits. It’s naturally temperature regulating for all conditions,<br />

while being comfortable, stretchy and breathable for summer. The<br />

wool is naturally antimicrobial, and because it’s the bacteria on<br />

your skin that causes sweat to smell this keeps you fresh for days.<br />

VERDICT Made from naturally temperature regulating<br />

and anti-stink merino wool, this is a base layer you<br />

can wear for days – perfect for multi-day treks.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

THRUDARK SIEGE HOODED BASE LAYER £125<br />

Warm yet cool, this garment looks great and feels<br />

even better. I started using it at the tail end of last<br />

summer and through into this winter. The long zip at<br />

the front makes temperature regulation easy, thumb<br />

loops make the sleeves snug and that hood is slim enough to<br />

go under that of a shell. It has gone bobbly quite quickly, which<br />

isn’t great. Other than that, I’ll<br />

be using it for a long time.<br />

VERDICT Start<br />

saving now if you<br />

want to buy one…<br />

USED BY Tom Bailey,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> photographer<br />

and writer<br />

USED FOR<br />

8 months<br />

FINDRA IONA<br />

MERINO-LITE ZIP<br />

NECK £84<br />

With 150g<br />

lightweight<br />

technical<br />

merino, this is<br />

a top that can be worn in<br />

the mountains in all but the<br />

warmest weather, either alone<br />

or as a base layer. The material is<br />

lovely, with no itch, and it washes well.<br />

The wrists are stretchy enough to be rolled up<br />

and a concealed pocket is great for valuables.<br />

Best of all, you can wear it day after day with no smell!<br />

VERDICT<br />

So versatile and lightweight,it’s one for on and off the hill.<br />

USED BY<br />

Jenna Maryniak, <strong>Trail</strong> deputy editor<br />

USED FOR<br />

10 months<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

21


MOUNTAIN BOOTS<br />

BUYING GUIDE<br />

Buying the right walking boot is all about finding one that suits your<br />

feet and choice of activities best. Here’s our guide to finding your ideal<br />

match for many years of happy hillwalking adventures together.<br />

1<br />

WHEN ARE YOU<br />

WALKING?<br />

The prime hillwalking seasons<br />

run from spring through to autumn, hence<br />

the popularity of so-called ‘3-season’<br />

boots. These boots are generally ideal for<br />

variable conditions and mixed terrain with<br />

the exception of full-on winter hillwalking<br />

and mountaineering in snow and ice. For<br />

such frozen adventures you’ll need a<br />

4-season boot which will be warmer, more<br />

robust and stiffer underfoot, enabling use<br />

with a pair of crampons.<br />

2<br />

WHERE ARE YOU<br />

WALKING?<br />

Well-trodden mountain tracks<br />

require different footwear from pathless<br />

heather moorland or rocky scree chutes,<br />

gullies and ridge scrambles. Different<br />

boots are built for different terrain. Some<br />

prioritise lightweight flexibility, while<br />

others focus on stability and protection. The<br />

level of ankle support, traction provided<br />

underfoot, and upper construction vary<br />

wildly depending on the intended use.<br />

3<br />

LEATHER OR<br />

SYNTHETIC?<br />

Traditional leather hillwalking<br />

boots are still very popular, since they<br />

generally offer superior durability and<br />

protection for the foot. On the other hand,<br />

they tend to be heavier and less forgiving,<br />

requiring more time to break in. Those<br />

seeking instant out-of-the-box comfort,<br />

trainer-like flexibility and low weight might<br />

prefer synthetic boots.<br />

4<br />

FIND I N D THE RIGHT FIT<br />

Everybody’s feet are different,<br />

which is why it’s vital to try on<br />

walking boots or shoes before<br />

you buy a pair. If you can,<br />

visit a good outdoor<br />

shop for advice, a<br />

proper fitting and the<br />

chance to try multiple<br />

pairs from different<br />

brands. Take a<br />

pair of<br />

FEATURED<br />

PRODUCT<br />

MEINDL BHUTAN MFS<br />

£250<br />

3-season trekking boot, made with<br />

Nubuck hydrophobic leather combined<br />

with a Gore-Tex lining, and a full<br />

protective rubber rand. Meindl’s<br />

Memory Foam System offers<br />

supreme fit and comfort.<br />

Sizes 6-12 (inc half sizes)<br />

plus 13 & 14.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

22


BOOTS<br />

BHUTAN LADY MFS<br />

£250<br />

The women’s fit comes<br />

in sizes 3.5-9 (inc half sizes).<br />

MEINDL SELECTION<br />

walking socks with you too. If you have to<br />

buy online, wear your new boots indoors<br />

for a week or so to check the sizing and fit<br />

before you head for the hills.<br />

5<br />

ONE SIZE DOESN’T<br />

FIT ALL<br />

Don’t necessarily assume that<br />

your size in walking boots will match<br />

your street shoe size. Sizes vary between<br />

brands, which is why it’s worth getting<br />

properly measured and trying on multiple<br />

pairs. Don’t forget that your feet will swell<br />

over the course of a long hill day, especially<br />

in warmer conditions. Many walkers opt<br />

to go a half size or even a full size up from<br />

their street shoe size.<br />

6<br />

HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?<br />

If you’re looking for maximum<br />

protection and support, a high<br />

boot with an extended ankle cuff is likely<br />

to be the best option. If you want optimum<br />

freedom of movement, try a low-cut trail<br />

shoe. Mid boots are somewhere between<br />

the two, offering a good compromise. In all<br />

cases, ensure the ankle cuff feels padded<br />

and comfortable, with no rubbing around<br />

the ankle bone or Achilles tendon.<br />

7<br />

STAYING COOL VS<br />

STAYING DRY<br />

If you’re walking in the UK, it<br />

might seem obvious to go for a boot with a<br />

waterproof-breathable membrane such as<br />

Gore-Tex. This will certainly enable you to<br />

splash through puddles, but remember that<br />

lined boots will never keep your feet as cool<br />

as a non-waterproof fabric boot. Consider<br />

your intended use – will you be crossing<br />

boggy ground or sticking to dry trails?<br />

8<br />

WIDTH AND VOLUME<br />

Walkers with wide feet or high<br />

arches need more space inside<br />

their boots than those with narrow or low<br />

volume feet. Too little room will cause<br />

pinching, although too much allows the<br />

boot to roll around your foot on uneven<br />

ground. Remember that volume can be<br />

reduced by adding a thicker insole. Many<br />

boot brands now offer specific models in<br />

both standard and wide fits too. Some even<br />

offer multiple widths for narrower feet<br />

as well as broad feet, while others do a<br />

specialist bunion fit.<br />

9<br />

GET A GRIP<br />

The outsole provides traction<br />

via a tread pattern made up<br />

of rubber lugs. Some bootmakers use<br />

branded outsoles such as Vibram, others<br />

use their own patterns. Different rubber<br />

compounds are employed too. Softer<br />

compounds offer better grip, but harder<br />

compounds tend to wear better. In general,<br />

deep and widely spaced lugs offer greater<br />

traction and are less likely to clog. Also<br />

look for a pronounced heel breast or heel<br />

brake – the cutaway section between the<br />

heel and midfoot – which will offer more<br />

control on descents.<br />

10<br />

LACE ’EM PROPERLY<br />

Lacing your boots or shoes<br />

correctly will obviously make a<br />

huge difference to the fit. The best boots<br />

feature locking lace hooks that allow you<br />

to adjust the tension across different parts<br />

of the foot.<br />

ADVERTISEMENT PROMOTION<br />

WWW.MEINDL.CO.UK<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

23<br />

RESPOND MID II GTX<br />

£167.50<br />

A suede and mesh upper is complemented<br />

by a recycled rubber sole, with excellent<br />

grip and stability.<br />

JOURNEY MID GTX £197.50<br />

Made with nubuck and Air Stream mesh<br />

and a Gore-Tex lining. Available in both<br />

men’s and women’s fit.<br />

PERU GTX £200<br />

A leather boot with Anatomic design with<br />

Air Active ventilation and a Gore-Tex liner.<br />

Available in both men’s and women’s fit.


AIRZONE ACTIVE<br />

Feel the breeze<br />

www.rab.equipment<br />

Looking for cool mountain comfort on fast, agile day<br />

hikes? With capacities from 18 to 22 litres, the new<br />

AirZone Active range is our lightest ever collection of fully<br />

ventilated backpacks.


MOUNTAIN BOOTS<br />

GEAR OF<br />

THE YEAR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

LA SPORTIVA TRANGO TECH LEATHER GTX £255<br />

This boot is one of the best we’ve tested in many years. The Trango Tech is protective<br />

and supportive, yet surprisingly comfortable. It features a single-piece nubuck<br />

leather upper with minimal stitching, high-ankled cut, soft tongue, and rubber<br />

protection at the heel and toe. Waterproofing is via a Gore-Tex lining and a rubber<br />

Vibram outsole provides slip-free traction with a front climbing zone for edging.<br />

VERDICT A fully-featured, durable, leather boot that’s ideal for big mountain days.<br />

As far as an all-round hiking boot goes, you’ll struggle to find anything better.<br />

TOM BAILEY<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

25


ZAMBERLAN 996 VIOZ GTX £220<br />

With their traditional looks and Gore-Tex lined, full-grain leather uppers, these boots<br />

are built for the long haul, just like all boots used to be. They’re reliably waterproof,<br />

extremely durable and reassuringly stable, inspiring confidence over the rockiest<br />

terrain. Downsides? They take a little while to break in and aren’t the lightest.<br />

VERDICT So-called ‘fast and light’ hikers might find these boots too<br />

heavy and stiff, but others will appreciate their superb build quality –<br />

which also means they’ll undoubtedly outlast flimsier rivals.<br />

ALTBERG DALESWAY VEGAN BOOT £195<br />

The ethical and environmental benefits of a plant-based<br />

lifestyle have meant that veganism has gained huge traction<br />

in recent years – but the outdoor industry seems to be lagging<br />

behind. There is Altberg’s Dalesway though: a vegan-friendly<br />

hillwalking boot with uppers made from lorica, a man-made<br />

microporous alternative to leather. Sturdy and waterproof,<br />

they’re also available in five widths.<br />

VERDICT Choices are fairly limited if you’re looking<br />

for high-quality, vegan-friendly hillwalking boots, but<br />

Altberg’s Dalesway is one of the most well-made and<br />

robust options out there.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

ADIDAS TERREX<br />

EASTRAIL MID GTX £100<br />

Budget boots usually come<br />

with a few compromises, but<br />

I can honestly say that these<br />

lightweight hikers aren’t<br />

just great value: these are great boots,<br />

full-stop. You get reliable Gore-Tex<br />

waterproofing, running shoe cushioning<br />

and solid build quality. I’ve worn them<br />

regularly over the past 6 months, yomping<br />

all over Snowdonia. They’ve performed<br />

brilliantly and still look like new.<br />

VERDICT A stylish, comfortable,<br />

lightweight and waterproof mid-cut hiker<br />

at a great price. Why pay more?<br />

USED BY Matt Jones, <strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR 6 months<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

DANNER MOUNTAIN 600 £200<br />

The Mountain 600’s hybrid style, combining a traditional full-grain leather upper with a<br />

cushioned trainer-like midsole, looks striking. The springy-feeling midsole is the pièce de<br />

résistance, delivering top-notch rebound, cushioning and support in a really responsive,<br />

agile unit. You also get a leather upper, Danner Dry membrane and a Vibram Fuga outsole.<br />

VERDICT A full-grain leather boot with a plush, springy midsole.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

26


MOUNTAIN BOOTS<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

ALTBERG TETHERA<br />

£245<br />

Built from one piece of 2.6mm thick<br />

Anfibio leather with minimal stitching,<br />

the Altberg Tethera is extremely<br />

durable and weather-resistant.<br />

You get a Sympatex waterproof lining,<br />

360˚ rubber rand, deeply-lugged<br />

Vibram outsole and lots of stiffness.<br />

The bellows tongue is excellent, with<br />

a very high flood level, and the ankle<br />

cuff provides good cushioning.<br />

VERDICT Our pick for dry feet.<br />

A top quality leather boot that’s<br />

extremely durable and waterproof<br />

– but it’s very heavy and stiff.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

HANWAG BLUERIDGE £170<br />

The Blueridge’s upper is a mix of Perwanger leather<br />

and polyamide fabric, the Terragrip outsole features<br />

15% recycled rubber and a 4mm-deep tread, and<br />

waterproofing is via Hanwag’s PFC-free Eco-shell.<br />

But the real star of the show is the humongous,<br />

stretchy, padded tongue, which hugs the<br />

shape of the foot wonderfully for a<br />

close-knit, bespoke fit to<br />

your shape.<br />

VERDICT<br />

A lightweight<br />

and flexible, yet<br />

protective, boot<br />

with a comfy fit.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

KEEN NXIS EVO MID £145<br />

KEEN boots have a great reputation for comfort, but<br />

they’re perhaps not the nimblest of footwear. The NXIS<br />

Evo is different though. New for <strong>2022</strong>, this lightweight<br />

hiker offers stability and cushioning with added<br />

flexibility. Visually, the most striking feature is a<br />

split toe design that provides enhanced splay and<br />

flex without sacrificing the brand’s signature<br />

protective toe bumper.<br />

VERDICT Though it shares many of<br />

the distinctive traits of a KEEN boot,<br />

this is something of a new departure<br />

for the brand that will undoubtedly<br />

appeal to ‘fast and light’ hikers.<br />

INOV8 ROCFLY G390 £175<br />

For hiking on trails and long distances, I’m a big fan of<br />

comfort. The G390s are super lightweight, have trainerlevel<br />

comfort and bounce, paired with a low ankle, and are<br />

perfect for summer adventures on non-technical<br />

terrain. They aren’t waterproof, which some<br />

may prefer for breathability in summer.<br />

The sole is grippy, with graphene<br />

technology to avoid the age-old<br />

issue of a compromise in<br />

durability for comfort.<br />

VERDICT Trainer-level comfort<br />

built for the hills.<br />

USED BY Jenna Maryniak,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> deputy editor<br />

USED FOR 3 months<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

27


MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

SALEWA RAPACE GTX £240<br />

This all-rounder is stiff enough to take a C2 crampon yet on-foot<br />

doesn’t feel a million miles away from a standard 3-season<br />

boot, with good cushioning (courtesy of a Bilight TPU midsole),<br />

flexible ankle cuff and comfy fit. You also get a waterproofbreathable<br />

Gore-Tex Performance Comfort lining, a full<br />

rubber rand for protection against rock and scree,<br />

and a hard-wearing nubuck and fabric upper.<br />

VERDICT A lightweight B2-rated boot with a technical design,<br />

lightweight construction and comfy design. Some key features<br />

are weighted towards winter, but it can be worn all year.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

AKU TENGU LITE GTX £215<br />

This is a boot that imbues you with confidence over scrambly<br />

ground thanks to just enough lateral and heel-to-toe stiffness,<br />

but still feels comfy and cushioned enough for big mileage days.<br />

It’s a great balance. You also get a Gore-Tex liner, practical<br />

Vibram Curcuma outsole, and an upper made from suede<br />

and AKU’s air8000 fabric.<br />

VERDICT A well-made, technical, waterproof<br />

hiking boot with a comfy sock-like ankle cuff.<br />

BERGHAUS SUPALITE II GTX £155<br />

A one-piece leather construction with minimal stitching and<br />

a Gore-Tex liner ensure the Supalite II is very waterproof, but<br />

without the rigidity of a heavy leather boot. Instead it’s light and<br />

comfortable, thanks to the soft, supple leather and the ankle<br />

cuff’s memory foam padding. Underfoot you get a Vibram<br />

sole unit with deep, well-spaced lugs for excellent grip.<br />

VERDICT A lightweight full-leather boot that hits<br />

the sweet spot between weight and reliability –<br />

and all at a competitive price.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

28


MOUNTAIN N BOOTS<br />

O MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

LA SPORTIVA ULTRA RAPTOR II MID GTX £155<br />

Based on the legendary Ultra Raptor mountain running shoe,<br />

this is a lightweight but structured and supportive mid-cut boot,<br />

perfect for moving fast on technical terrain. The soft, tacky<br />

outsole also provides outstanding grip on wet and greasy rock.<br />

Just bear in mind that the precision fit might not suit those who<br />

are broader of hoof (but do try the wide version for size).<br />

VERDICT A lightweight boot that still provides enough<br />

protection and support to be reassuringly stable on<br />

technical terrain. As ever, try before you buy, since<br />

the fit won’t suit everyone.<br />

BERGHAUS HILLWALKER II GTX £130<br />

While other leather boots are stiff and clunky, requiring<br />

significant breaking-in, this pair is comfy from the get-go.<br />

These boots are lighter, softer and more forgiving, with comfy<br />

memory foam at the heel and tongue and a cushioned EVA<br />

midsole underfoot. You also get an Opti-Stud outsole and a<br />

Gore-Tex liner, all at an affordable price.<br />

VERDICT A well-priced, lightweight leather<br />

boot that delivers excellent comfort.<br />

MEINDL TONALE LADY GTX £225<br />

These boots feel sturdy and robust, with technical features<br />

and confidence-giving all-round support, yet light and comfy<br />

enough for regular use without pinch-points or rubbing – it’s<br />

the best of both worlds. You get a full wraparound rubber rand,<br />

Gore-Tex membrane, gusseted tongue, EVA foam midsole,<br />

Vibram outsole, and uppers made from<br />

suede leather and mesh.<br />

VERDICT Best buy<br />

for big mountain days.<br />

A fully-featured boot that<br />

strikes a good balance<br />

between weight and<br />

sturdiness.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

SALEWA ALP TRAINER 2 MID GTX £190<br />

This isn’t the first pair of Salewa scrambling boots I’ve<br />

owned and once again I’ve made an excellent choice.<br />

They’re flexible enough to be very comfortable when<br />

scrambling or walking (although ‘Trainer’ might be<br />

pushing it) and both reassuringly grippy and precise due to the<br />

Vibram Alpine Hiking outsole which is unique to Salewa. In an<br />

ideal world I’d like a full rand, but these feel pretty tough as it is.<br />

VERDICT Superb<br />

scrambling<br />

boots for<br />

everything bar<br />

the absolute<br />

toughest,<br />

most technical<br />

mountain<br />

routes.<br />

USED BY Ben<br />

Weeks, <strong>Trail</strong><br />

senior writer<br />

USED FOR 1 year<br />

SCARPA<br />

R-EVO GTX<br />

£210<br />

For 3-<br />

season<br />

use in<br />

gnarly<br />

weather or on technical<br />

rocky terrain, the Scarpa<br />

R-Evo GTX is a dependable choice.<br />

It has a reassuringly solid and sturdy feel,<br />

with a strong toe cap, rigid heel counter,<br />

moderately stiff midsole and rugged Vibram<br />

Biometric Trek outsole featuring deep, mud-<br />

shedding lugs and an undercut heel for great grip.<br />

VERDICT<br />

Reassuringly sturdy yet delightfully<br />

comfortable, the R-Evo strikes a great balance.<br />

USED BY<br />

James Forrest, <strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR<br />

1 year<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

29


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ADVERTISING FEATURE<br />

50 YEARS<br />

of innovation<br />

Therm-a-Rest have been the leaders in outdoor sleep comfort since their founders<br />

created the world’s first self-inflating sleeping pad in 1972. To celebrate a very special<br />

50 th anniversary, they’re looking back over half a century of iconic releases and<br />

endless innovation that changed the way people approach overnight adventure.<br />

One of the earliest slogans used on<br />

Therm-a-Rest print adverts was<br />

“for the rest of your life.” And<br />

while the slogan primarily called out the<br />

superior sleep one could achieve with a<br />

newly invented self-inflating mat, there are<br />

adventurers out there who have spent their<br />

entire outdoor-pursuing lives sleeping on<br />

Therm-a-Rest products.<br />

A lot has happened in the past 50 years,<br />

but Therm-a-Rest’s core mission has<br />

remained the same: to help customers get<br />

a better sleep outdoors. “We got started<br />

because I wanted a better mattress,”<br />

says John Burroughs,<br />

co-founder of<br />

Therm-a-Rest. As<br />

an experienced<br />

mountaineer, John knew the thin<br />

foam mats of the early ’70s left a giant<br />

opportunity for greater sleep comfort.<br />

And when friend and fellow Boeing<br />

employee Jim Lea discovered a way<br />

of enhancing them with air-tight<br />

fabric and a regulated airway, the<br />

self-inflating mattress was born.<br />

In 1972, the friends filed for a patent for<br />

the ‘Therm-a-Rest’, and a year later the<br />

very first mattress was produced in Seattle.<br />

From the outset, John and the small team<br />

in Seattle knew their invention would<br />

revolutionise the way people enjoyed<br />

the outdoors. And as manufacturing<br />

capabilities grew in the ’70s and ’80s, so<br />

did their ability to expand the mattress<br />

range, which included favourites such as<br />

the UltraLite® and RidgeRest®.<br />

The latter would reach near-iconic<br />

status and has been a staple for novices<br />

and experts in the outdoors ever since.<br />

In 1985, due to increasing demand<br />

in Europe, a second factory was opened<br />

in County Cork, Ireland. To this day it<br />

delivers 95% of Therm-a-Rest mattresses<br />

for European customers, and is the hub<br />

of Cascade Designs in Europe.<br />

Looking back over 50 years of<br />

innovations, the brand continues<br />

its unwavering commitment to<br />

customers. And with more people<br />

enjoying the outdoors than ever before,<br />

the Therm-a-Rest team across the<br />

world look forward to the next 50!<br />

■ www.thermarest.com<br />

One of the biggest Therm-a-Rest launches<br />

was NeoAir® – a range of air-filled and<br />

super-compact mattresses which raised<br />

the bar yet again. It continues to set the<br />

standard for innovative, lightweight design,<br />

as seen in today’s NeoAir UberLite (right).<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

31


HIKING SHOES<br />

BUYING GUIDE<br />

One of the most important bits of kit to get right, your shoes can make or break<br />

a day in the hills. Here’s what to consider when you make your choice.<br />

1<br />

THINK ABOUT END USE<br />

Do you want a technical<br />

scrambling shoe that is precise,<br />

stiff and grippy for small footholds, or is allday<br />

comfort more important to you? There<br />

is a shoe designed for every type of activity!<br />

2<br />

PRIORITISE<br />

PROTECTION<br />

For rough ground or scrambling<br />

routes, a rubber toe or heel cap (or<br />

‘rand’) will be extremely valuable for both<br />

protection and durability.<br />

3<br />

CHOOSE YOUR<br />

MATERIAL CAREFULLY<br />

Shoes made from suede and<br />

mesh materials will often be light, flexible<br />

and breathable; whereas leather tends<br />

to be more durable and protective. The<br />

choice is yours!<br />

FEATURED<br />

PRODUCT<br />

SCARPA RUSH<br />

TRAIL GTX<br />

£165<br />

The Rush <strong>Trail</strong> GTX is a walking shoe<br />

made in the name of comfort,<br />

designed to reduce foot<br />

fatigue, providing agility<br />

and protection.<br />

4<br />

DO YOU NEED THEM TO<br />

BE WATERPROOF?<br />

Many trail shoes come with their<br />

own waterproof linings, although water<br />

can still come over the top of a shoe more<br />

easily than with a boot. Shoes without<br />

a waterproof lining are generally more<br />

breathable.<br />

5<br />

GET SOME GRIP<br />

As a general rule the more<br />

aggressive and deeper the<br />

tread (or ‘lugs’), the better the resulting<br />

grip will be. And while grippy rubber<br />

soles can have superb traction, they may<br />

be less durable for heavy use.<br />

6<br />

ALWAYS CHECK THE<br />

W E I G H T<br />

Just because a trail shoe looks<br />

lighter than a walking boot, that doesn’t<br />

mean it will be. Always do your research<br />

– and try them on before you buy.<br />

ADVERTISEMENT PROMOTION<br />

SCARPA SELECTION<br />

RUSH GTX<br />

£150<br />

MOJITO<br />

O<br />

TRAIL GTX<br />

£165<br />

MESCALITO<br />

£170<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

32


SHOP THE NEW SEASON COLLECTION<br />

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HIKING SHOES<br />

GEAR OF<br />

THE YEAR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

DANNER TRAIL<br />

2650 CAMPO GTX £190<br />

We loved the sock-like fit of these trail<br />

shoes, which makes for good comfort<br />

while also reducing the chance of<br />

grit and debris finding its way in. You<br />

have the choice of the new waterproof<br />

Gore-Tex lined version (pictured), or<br />

the original (£160), which is cooler and<br />

more breathable for summer than the<br />

GTX version and most of its rivals. The<br />

lightweight uppers help you pick up<br />

the pace, while a grippy Vibram sole<br />

delivers solid performance underfoot.<br />

VERDICT Extremely light and<br />

breathable trail hiking shoes with<br />

stylish looks, superb comfort and<br />

good traction underfoot.<br />

TOM BAILEY<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

34


HIKING I SHOES<br />

S<br />

MERRELL MOAB SPEED GTX £125<br />

For a decade Merrell’s Moab range has<br />

been the boot of choice for 20 million walkers<br />

– and the US firm has now created a<br />

modern reincarnation of its iconic boot.<br />

The Moab Speed is a lighter, lower-cut,<br />

trainer-style version, with a mesh and<br />

TPU upper, FloatPro Foam midsole for a<br />

“lightweight ride”, Gore-Tex membrane<br />

and Vibram Ecodura rubber outsole.<br />

VERDICT A lightweight, trainer-like<br />

shoe with out-of-the-box comfort.<br />

SALEWA WILDFIRE 2 £140<br />

One of the most innovative approach shoes<br />

we’ve tested in recent years, the Wildfire<br />

has a Switchfit adjustable lacing system that<br />

enables you to get a close, precision fit for<br />

trickier scrambling sections, or a more relaxed<br />

fit for added comfort on gentler terrain. A stiffer<br />

‘edging plate’ under the toes, a grippy outsole<br />

and lacing that extends all the way to the toes<br />

further boost technical performance.<br />

VERDICT A close and precise-feeling approach<br />

shoe with an adaptable fit that provides good<br />

walking comfort on mountain tracks, as well as<br />

the capability to perform on graded scrambles.<br />

MAMMUT DUCAN LOW GTX £150<br />

This low-cut hiker from Mammut has striking<br />

looks, with an unusual mono tongue and offset<br />

lacing. It gets more than just style points though,<br />

since this design makes for a close fit with little<br />

slippage and nowhere for debris to find its way in.<br />

The broad forefoot is very comfortable and the<br />

toe box is slightly asymmetric for more precise<br />

footwork, with a grippy Vibram outsole.<br />

VERDICT A comfortable low-cut hiker with some<br />

clever features that make it pretty capable over<br />

varied terrain. A good choice for long day hikes or<br />

summit-bagging missions with a light pack.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

INOV-8 ROCLITE G 315 GTX £145<br />

Each shoe is ultralight (315g, men’s size 8) yet features<br />

a protective toe cap, sturdy heel counter and meta-plate<br />

shank for surprisingly good support, as well as a Gore-Tex<br />

waterproof membrane. But the star of the show has to be<br />

the hard-as-nails outsole with 6mm claw-shaped cleats.<br />

It’s infused with graphene – the world’s<br />

strongest material apparently – thus<br />

delivering super-grippy traction.<br />

VERDICT A technical hiking or<br />

trail running shoe with graphene<br />

grip and a Gore-Tex membrane.<br />

USED BY<br />

James Forrest, <strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR 2 years<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

35


NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

SCARPA RUSH TRAIL GTX £165<br />

The Rush <strong>Trail</strong> GTX is a shoe version of<br />

the Rush TRK lightweight boot introduced<br />

last year. The upper features scratchresistant<br />

leather for waterproofing,<br />

breathability and durability, and is<br />

matched with a PFC Free Gore-Tex lining.<br />

The Presa Supergum sole – created by<br />

Scarpa’s in-house development team –<br />

has trekking-oriented lugs with different<br />

thicknesses to aid downhill braking<br />

and provide grip on slopes.<br />

VERDICT Like its boot big brother, the<br />

Rush <strong>Trail</strong> offers durability, stability<br />

and grip for maximum comfort over<br />

long distances and varied terrain.<br />

DYNAFIT TRANSALPER GTX £170<br />

Alpine brand Dynafit are best known for their ski<br />

touring boots and trail running shoes, but the new<br />

Transalper GTX is a step in a different direction.<br />

It’s a fast-and-light approach shoe equipped<br />

with a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane,<br />

a precision lacing system and a Vibram<br />

Megagrip outsole, which incorporates<br />

a smooth ‘climbing zone’ at the toe<br />

for edging on steeper ground.<br />

VERDICT Unlike many approach shoes that<br />

feel heavy and unforgiving underfoot, this<br />

is a lightweight and streamlined mountain<br />

shoe that combines agility with durability.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

HOKA ANACAPA ACAPA LOW GTX £135<br />

For comfort levels and<br />

bounce, it’s hard to beat<br />

this range. The deep sole<br />

seems to divide opinion,<br />

but for me it moulds around uneven<br />

ground providing superb traction and<br />

cushioning. The latest addition is the<br />

Anacapa with a Vibram Megagrip<br />

sole of 5mm lugs, a Gore-Tex liner<br />

and a combination of leather<br />

and recycled polyester.<br />

VERDICT Supreme cushioning<br />

and comfort, it’s the<br />

armchair of trail shoes.<br />

USED BY Jenna<br />

Maryniak, <strong>Trail</strong><br />

deputy editor<br />

USED FOR<br />

2 months<br />

AKU ROCK DFS GTX £165<br />

The Aku Rock’s DFS (Dual Fit System) lacing offers<br />

both the easy-going fit of a walking shoe and the snug<br />

foot-hugging ability of more climbing focused<br />

footwear. How? Well, traditional laces<br />

provide a standard fit for general walking,<br />

while a second fast lacing system can be<br />

used to pull the shoe in snug around the<br />

sides and top of the foot to “increase<br />

sensitivity and security” for climbing<br />

or scrambling. The system works<br />

well. It’s simple and effective.<br />

VERDICT Although the mixture<br />

of lacing makes the upper<br />

a little busy, the DFS<br />

system works a treat.<br />

USED BY<br />

Ben Weeks,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong><br />

senior writer<br />

USED FOR<br />

1 year<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

36


GAITERS<br />

When walking on wet or boggy terrain, this simple but very effective<br />

bit of hillwalking kit will help keep your feet and lower legs dry.<br />

TREKMATES CAIRNGORM<br />

GTX GAITER £35<br />

If you’re looking for a reliably waterproof<br />

and breathable pair of gaiters at a decent<br />

price, the Trekmates Cairngorms are<br />

a good choice. The Gore-Tex fabric<br />

keeps feet dry without getting too<br />

hot and sweaty, and though they<br />

perhaps aren’t quite as tough<br />

as premium rivals, they’ll still<br />

fend off any of the debris<br />

you’re likely to encounter<br />

on mountain tracks and<br />

upland terrain.<br />

VERDICT Lightweight<br />

and reasonably priced<br />

Gore-Tex gaiters that are<br />

great for day hikes<br />

and longer treks.<br />

OUTDOOR RESEARCH CROCODILE GTX £65<br />

Gaiters were the first product that US brand Outdoor Research ever<br />

made, and it is still turning out tough, top-quality models today.<br />

The Crocodiles are a case in point – another candidate for the<br />

‘ultimate gaiter’ award, these offer robust, heavy-duty<br />

protection in mud, snow and almost anything else.<br />

VERDICT Reliably rugged, well-built gaiters made from<br />

heavy-duty Gore-Tex fabric. Available in a wide range<br />

of colours and sizes to ensure a great fit and style.<br />

RAB MUZTAG GORE-TEX PRO<br />

GAITER £60<br />

Described as Rab’s “most technical<br />

protective gaiter”, the Muztag is<br />

made from 40-denier Gore-Tex Pro<br />

for maximum waterproofing. It also<br />

features super-tough 300-denier nylon<br />

ankle reinforcements, an elasticated<br />

ankle, zipless hook-and-loop front<br />

closure, rubberised underfoot strap,<br />

and single-handed drawcord upper<br />

hem adjustment. Or, in other words,<br />

it’s an all-singing, all-dancing,<br />

protective gaiter.<br />

VERDICT A hard-as-nails<br />

waterproof gaiter with<br />

premium features.<br />

BERGHAUS<br />

YETI ATTAK £95<br />

The Yetis first established their<br />

reputation during the 1982 Falklands<br />

War, when they were used by Royal<br />

Marines yomping across the islands’<br />

rugged terrain. Although it requires<br />

a fair bit of muscle to actually fit<br />

them to footwear, once they’re on,<br />

they stay on, offering uber-tough<br />

protection for the boggiest walks<br />

and fully encasing your lower<br />

legs almost up to the knee.<br />

VERDICT A tried and tested,<br />

old school Gore-Tex gaiter best<br />

used with traditional stiff-soled<br />

leather boots, but ideal for<br />

keeping feet dry in the deepest<br />

bogs and stickiest mud.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

37


“The best socks I have ever<br />

hiked in. Bridgedales are<br />

totally awesome.”<br />

Mark Shore<br />

LITTLE THINGS MATTER<br />

Design, knit and quality control in UK<br />

Nylon structure gives durability<br />

Tested around the world<br />

LYCRA® structure allows stretch and recovery<br />

Recommended Sock for The Duke of<br />

Edinburgh’s Expedition<br />

Perfect fit everytime<br />

www.lycra.com<br />

LYCRA® DRY TECHNOLOGY<br />

www.bridgedale.com


WALKING SOCKS<br />

BUYING GUIDE<br />

Not items that usually warrant much attention – unless they’re the cause of sore<br />

feet – but there are some key considerations when choosing walking socks.<br />

1<br />

WHICH WEIGHT?<br />

Socks are normally classed<br />

as lightweight, midweight or<br />

heavyweight, offering different levels<br />

of warmth and cushioning for different<br />

seasons, conditions and activities. Wear<br />

lightweight socks for summer walks,<br />

midweight socks for outings from spring<br />

through to autumn, and heavyweight<br />

socks for winter – though if you suffer<br />

from cold feet, wear thicker socks.<br />

2<br />

PAIR YOUR SOCKS<br />

WITH YOUR BOOTS<br />

Your footwear and socks<br />

should work together to deliver walking<br />

comfort. Heavy-duty mountain boots are<br />

usually built to accommodate walking<br />

socks, whereas lightweight trail shoes<br />

may not be. It’s good practice to try<br />

on your socks with your mountain<br />

footwear before you buy them.<br />

3<br />

CHOOSE THE<br />

RIGHT LENGTH<br />

The most popular style of<br />

hillwalking sock is mid-length, which<br />

usually sits just below the calf. This is<br />

sometimes called a crew length sock.<br />

Mountaineering socks often extend<br />

up to knee-length for extra warmth,<br />

while ankle socks are ideal for walking<br />

in hotter conditions.<br />

4<br />

MATERIALS MATTER<br />

Most hiking socks are made<br />

from a fabric blend, harnessing<br />

the qualities of different fibres. Polyester<br />

is soft, comfortable and provides wicking<br />

performance; nylon or polypropylene<br />

ensures good durability; and wool –<br />

especially merino wool – is temperatureregulating,<br />

moisture-wicking and<br />

very good at managing odour. You’ll<br />

also typically find some elastane (also<br />

called Lycra or spandex) in the blend to<br />

ensure a foot-hugging fit and keep your<br />

socks securely in place, which helps to<br />

prevent blisters.<br />

5<br />

STITCHING & SEAMS<br />

The best hiking socks have<br />

a seamless construction or<br />

low-profile seams, especially at the heel<br />

and toe, to minimise hot spots, irritation<br />

and rubbing – the first signs of blisters.<br />

Turn the sock inside out and inspect the<br />

stitching. Loose threads, untidy finishing<br />

or bulky seams are a warning sign.<br />

6<br />

WATERPROOF?<br />

Though most socks aren’t<br />

waterproof, they do exist if<br />

that’s what you’re looking for. These<br />

typically have a waterproof membrane<br />

sandwiched between a hard-wearing<br />

outer and a soft, warm liner.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

39


SOCKS<br />

BRIDGEDALE MIDWEIGHT<br />

MERINO PERFORMANCE BOOT<br />

£19.50<br />

Once dubbed the iconic ‘Trekker’,<br />

this classic walking sock is made<br />

with a blend of wool for comfort<br />

and odour-resistance, nylon for<br />

durability and Endurofil yarn which<br />

– with low thermal conductivity –<br />

helps keep the warmth in your feet.<br />

Meanwhile, zonal padding and flat<br />

toe seams reduce the chance of<br />

chafing and blisters. A classic,<br />

go-anywhere, mountain sock.<br />

VERDICT One to note for those<br />

with cold toes: this classic,<br />

year-round walking sock wicks<br />

moisture but retains warmth.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

1000 MILE APPROACH<br />

CREW SOCK £14<br />

Fresh to the market in April<br />

<strong>2022</strong>, this sock is part of<br />

1000 Mile’s recycled range,<br />

featuring 71% recycled<br />

content. Described as “the<br />

perfect warmer weather<br />

outdoor activity sock to<br />

wear with lightweight<br />

boots or trail shoes”,<br />

this crew-length<br />

sock features<br />

an inner layer<br />

for effective<br />

moisture<br />

wicking<br />

and an<br />

outer<br />

layer for<br />

reducing<br />

friction<br />

and preventing<br />

blisters.<br />

VERDICT A technical<br />

walking sock featuring<br />

71% recycled fabrics.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

DARN TOUGH RANGER<br />

MICRO CREW £26<br />

Darn Tough got its mileage in<br />

designing socks for thru-hikes in<br />

the US, many of which are over<br />

3000km. The new midweight<br />

walking sock uses a blend of<br />

merino for softness and odourresistance,<br />

nylon for durability,<br />

and a bit of stretch for comfort,<br />

with terry loop cushioning<br />

underfoot to give a soft landing.<br />

Perfect for big weekends.<br />

VERDICT Soft, comfortable,<br />

durable and naturally odourresistant,<br />

perfectly suited for<br />

your next big multi-day trip.<br />

LORPEN T3 WOMEN’S LIGHT HIKER £19<br />

With a medium-to-light thickness and cushioning<br />

on the sole, the Light Hiker is designed for<br />

thermoregulation in the warmer months.<br />

T3 technology uses three layers that combine<br />

hydrophobic wicking properties next to the skin<br />

and a fast-drying middle layer for moisture<br />

management without overheating the foot,<br />

while the nylon outer is friction resistant.<br />

VERDICT A sock that uses unique technology<br />

to keep your feet cool in the heat of the summer.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

40


TROUSERS<br />

BUYING GUIDE<br />

If your only requirement for mountain trousers is that they cover your legs, you’ll be<br />

amazed at the difference finding the right pair could make to your comfort levels.<br />

1<br />

FINDING THE<br />

RIGHT FABRIC<br />

Unlike denim jeans or cotton<br />

joggers, hillwalking trousers are made<br />

from quick-drying performance fabrics to<br />

provide durability, breathability, weatherresistance<br />

and comfort. Most are made<br />

from tightly-woven nylon or polyester soft<br />

shell, often with elastane for stretch. They<br />

usually have a durable water repellent<br />

(DWR) treatment for added waterresistance.<br />

Other outdoor trousers are<br />

made from polycotton, which can often be<br />

waxed for additional weather protection.<br />

2<br />

CUT, COMFORT<br />

& FIT<br />

You’ll spend a lot of<br />

time and cover a lot of miles in<br />

your trousers, so comfort is key.<br />

You need a pair that feel good when<br />

you first put them on, and also<br />

while you’re moving around on<br />

steep and rocky terrain. Cut is down<br />

to personal preference, but your<br />

trousers should offer good freedom of<br />

movement. Features such as knee darts<br />

and a gusseted crotch improve overall<br />

mobility and articulation. A closer fit is<br />

generally preferable to anything that<br />

is too baggy or flappy.<br />

3<br />

STAYING COOL & DRY<br />

Most walking trousers are<br />

water-resistant but not fully<br />

waterproof, which ensures they remain<br />

cool and breathable. However, this does<br />

mean pulling on waterproof overtrousers<br />

when it rains (see page 12).<br />

Fortunately, the DWR finish applied<br />

to the fabric of most walking<br />

trousers means they can generally<br />

withstand light showers and<br />

contact with wet grass or rock.<br />

4<br />

TOUGH ENOUGH FOR<br />

THE ROUGH STUFF<br />

Walking trousers are vulnerable<br />

to wear and tear. Look for thicker fabrics<br />

or reinforced panels in high-stress areas<br />

like the knees, seat and instep. Double<br />

or even triple stitched main seams also<br />

add durability.<br />

5<br />

DON’T SWEAT IT<br />

Many walking trousers are<br />

equipped with thigh vents, which<br />

can help to dump heat and can also be<br />

unzipped for better temperature regulation<br />

if you’re forced to put on overtrousers.<br />

6<br />

THE PERFECT POCKETS<br />

As with a lot of outdoor clothing,<br />

the type, size and placement<br />

of pockets on walking trousers is very<br />

important. Zipped pockets keep items safe.<br />

Large pockets that will accommodate a<br />

map are particularly practical, but make<br />

sure they are sensibly placed so as not to<br />

affect leg movement.<br />

7<br />

F E AT U R E S &<br />

FUNCTIONALITY<br />

There are lots of smaller<br />

features to look for in trousers,<br />

including belt loops, ankle<br />

adjustment, zip-off legs to<br />

convert them into shorts,<br />

lace or boot hooks and more.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

41


MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

ALPKIT ARDENT £95<br />

The Ardent trousers deliver great practical performance at a pleasantly affordable<br />

price. Made from a double-weave soft shell material (92% nylon, 8% spandex) with<br />

a water-repellent coating, they are protective and tough, with a tight weave that<br />

withstands wind and a light shower very well. Reinforcements at the knee,<br />

instep and rear add further sturdiness.<br />

VERDICT Warm, weatherproof and comfortable soft shell trousers<br />

at a superb price, but they may be too toasty for spring and summer.<br />

SALOMON WAYFARER TROUSERS £80<br />

Comfortable, stretchy, nicely cut and quick<br />

drying too, these practical outdoor trousers<br />

are ideal for 3-season hiking and hillwalking,<br />

whether you’re a recent mountain convert or a<br />

seasoned summit-bagger. The nylon-elastane<br />

soft shell fabric offers decent durability, while<br />

the durable water-repellent finish will fend off<br />

light drizzle.<br />

VERDICT With practical features and<br />

a technical fabric but understated looks,<br />

these are versatile walking trousers that<br />

don’t scream ‘hardcore mountaineer’ –<br />

ideal for use from peak to pub.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

MAIER SPORTS KLUANE<br />

3/4 PANTS £80<br />

It turns out German<br />

brand Maier Sports is<br />

rather good at making<br />

walking trousers. In<br />

fact it’s Maier's speciality. I have<br />

to say that I don't own better<br />

fitting leg-wear than these<br />

Kluane shorts. It’s not just the<br />

fit that’s great either – they're<br />

lightweight and quick-drying,<br />

plus they're super flexible and<br />

comfy with their four-way stretch<br />

material. There are two main<br />

zipped pockets, although these<br />

could be a little larger, and<br />

a small zipped inner pocket.<br />

VERDICT So comfy, I’ve been<br />

living in these, on and off the hill!<br />

USED BY Jenna Maryniak,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> deputy editor<br />

MONTANE<br />

NE<br />

TERR A<br />

STRETCH<br />

TCH<br />

PANTS £100<br />

I’ve<br />

used<br />

these<br />

every<br />

week for 4 years,<br />

all year round, and<br />

they’re still going<br />

strong. Leg vents mean<br />

they're nice and cool in the<br />

summer. The stretchy material<br />

makes them super flexible when<br />

you're scrambling. I find them a<br />

slightly strange cut at the top of the legs,<br />

but other than that they’re money well spent.<br />

VERDICT Even comfy enough to sleep in.<br />

USED BY Tom Bailey, <strong>Trail</strong> photographer & writer<br />

USED FOR 4 years<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong><br />

TRAIL<br />

42


TROUSERS & SHORTS<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

BERGHAUS SENKE STRETCH SHORT £50<br />

Described by Berghaus as “go anywhere, do anything shorts”,<br />

the Senke Stretch are lightweight, comfortable, fast-drying and<br />

feature a DWR water-resistant coating. As the name suggests,<br />

you get plenty of stretch for good freedom of movement, while<br />

features include two handwarmer pockets, a rear zippered pocket<br />

and an elasticated waist with drawcord adjustment.<br />

VERDICT A lightweight, comfortable and fast-wicking pair of<br />

shorts for summer hiking adventures.<br />

SALEWA PUEZ HEMP<br />

CARGO PANT £125<br />

Hemp isn’t really a fabric<br />

that has been embraced<br />

by the outdoor industry<br />

until now, but it has many<br />

advantages. As well as<br />

being one of the most<br />

sustainable natural fibres,<br />

it’s also lightweight,<br />

durable and breathable.<br />

These practical cargo<br />

trousers use a hempcotton<br />

blend with stretch<br />

panels to deliver flexibility<br />

and comfort while keeping<br />

you cool – ideal for warm<br />

weather hikes.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

VERDICT It’s good to<br />

see more brands moving<br />

away from petrochemical-<br />

based synthetics to natural<br />

fibres, especially when<br />

the end results are as<br />

functional and comfortable<br />

as these lightweight pants.<br />

FJÄLLRÄVEN KEB TROUSERS CURVED W £205<br />

Undeniably Scandinavian in their toughness, materials and styling,<br />

these technical trekking pants employ a hybrid construction of<br />

weatherproof G-1000 Eco and four-way stretch fabric panels.<br />

This offers good durability yet top-notch freedom. Features<br />

include large thigh and ankle vents, belt loops, distinctive<br />

front leg pockets, lace hooks, and ankle cuff adjustment.<br />

A lighter 3-season version – the Keb Agile – is new for <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

VERDICT Fully-featured and superbly-engineered,<br />

these rugged Scandinavian trousers are good for<br />

year-round use including winter.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

FJÄLLRÄVEN ABISKO<br />

TREKKING TIGHTS £155<br />

Like everything Fjällräven<br />

does, the updated Abisko<br />

tights look great and<br />

are made to last. The<br />

update includes a new doubleknitted,<br />

moisture-wicking stretch<br />

fabric with recycled polyester,<br />

which feels durable and supportive.<br />

Reinforcements on the knees are<br />

a stretchy Cordura material that<br />

offers extra protection from<br />

moisture and rough terrain. You<br />

get two phone-sized thigh pockets<br />

too. Also available in a cheaper<br />

(£100) non-reinforced version.<br />

VERDICT Comfy, practical<br />

and ready for adventure.<br />

USED BY Jenna Maryniak,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> deputy editor<br />

USED FOR 2 months<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

43


MOUNTAIN GLOVES<br />

In all but the warmest weather it’s sensible to have a good pair of gloves in<br />

your pack to be prepared for whatever the mountain weather throws at you!<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

MONTANE<br />

SUPERCELL<br />

TOUGH WP £65<br />

These warm, tough<br />

and waterproof<br />

mountaineering<br />

gloves have a<br />

nylon outer shell<br />

with goatskin<br />

reinforcements<br />

on palms, fingers<br />

and thumbs. Inside,<br />

a thick pile lining wicks<br />

superbly, keeping hands<br />

dry and comfortable.<br />

Extended cuffs with a<br />

drawcord closure ensure<br />

a good seal, while wrist<br />

leashes help to prevent<br />

losing one in the hills.<br />

VERDICT Warm,<br />

well-built gloves that<br />

are cracking value too.<br />

More than worthy of a<br />

place in your hillwalking<br />

or mountaineering kit.<br />

HESTRA CZONE CONTACT GAUNTLET £60<br />

These gloves are made of stretch nylon soft shell fabric,<br />

with a tacky patterned grip and conductive tips on the index<br />

fingers and thumbs so you can use them<br />

with touchscreen devices. The fit is<br />

close and precise, offering excellent<br />

dexterity. Lightweight, waterproof and<br />

breathable, they’re a versatile option.<br />

VERDICT<br />

Lightweight<br />

and close-<br />

fitting gloves<br />

with useful<br />

touchscreen<br />

compatibility<br />

and excellent<br />

grip. Combine<br />

them with a<br />

liner glove for<br />

extra warmth.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

INOV-8 TRAIN ELITE GLOVE £15<br />

You don’t always need thick<br />

gloves. Sometimes you just need<br />

something to take the edge off.<br />

For this purpose, the superthin<br />

Inov-8 Train Elite gloves hit the mark<br />

perfectly – they are ultra-light (34g), comfy,<br />

stretchy, retain finger dexterity and keep<br />

your hands warm. Everything I want from a<br />

lightweight glove.<br />

VERDICT Very thin gloves for when you<br />

need just a touch of warmth – and all at a<br />

good price.<br />

USED BY James Forrest,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR 2 years<br />

EXTREMITIES TORRES PEAK £70<br />

Slide your hands into the Extremities<br />

Torres Peak gloves and the<br />

warmth is instantaneous.<br />

This comes from a<br />

luxuriously high-loft<br />

fleece lining and an<br />

opulently generous<br />

helping of Primaloft<br />

insulation. A long<br />

cuff extends this<br />

cosiness over<br />

the wrist, while<br />

Extremities’ in-house<br />

X Dry technology ensures<br />

the gloves are waterproof,<br />

windproof and breathable.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

VERDICT A warm, cosy and thickly-<br />

padded glove at a decent price.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

44


GLOVES<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

BLACK DIAMOND PURSUIT £100<br />

The cosy, fleece-lined interior is suitable down to -12˚C,<br />

while the outer shell is a light, stretchy and abrasion<br />

resistant Pertex Shield material with a waterproof and<br />

breathable BD.dry insert. The palm is made from strong,<br />

premium-feeling goat leather that also stretches over the<br />

roll-top fingers. You also get wrist and hem cinching straps,<br />

thumb nose wipe and excellent wrist coverage.<br />

VERDICT A warm, weatherproof and sturdily-built<br />

mountain glove with good features.<br />

MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT COULOIR £100<br />

This is a waterproof and breathable glove with a Gore-Tex insert<br />

that offers reasonable dexterity, toasty warmth and impressive<br />

toughness. The palms, thumbs, knuckles and all the fingers are<br />

made from goatskin, which gives great protection and excellent<br />

grip, ideal for technical mountaineering. The pre-curved shape<br />

and rollover fingertips further enhance overall<br />

durability and tactility.<br />

VERDICT Our current favourite glove for technical<br />

mountaineering, offering outstanding toughness and good<br />

warmth without sacrificing too much dexterity.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

PATAGONIA BETTER SWEATER GLOVES £40<br />

I get about 70% success with gloves that claim to<br />

work with touchscreens, frequently having to take<br />

them off to use my phone. Fingerless gloves solve<br />

that problem and allow you to do fiddly tasks without<br />

removing (and possibly losing) the glove. These aren’t<br />

waterproof but, made from 100% recycled polyester<br />

fleece, they stay warm when wet so I don’t mind.<br />

VERDICT Warm,<br />

practical and much<br />

less likely to get<br />

lost, this fingerless<br />

glove/mitten<br />

combo suits me<br />

for anything other<br />

than truly gnarly<br />

conditions.<br />

USED BY<br />

Sarah Ryan,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR<br />

1 month<br />

SEALSKINZ<br />

ALL WEATHER<br />

MULTI-ACTIVITY GLOVE<br />

WITH FUSION CONTROL<br />

£65<br />

Forget the lengthy<br />

and overly<br />

complex title – this<br />

is the key thing: you<br />

know that really annoying thing<br />

that gloves do when you have<br />

slightly damp hands, when the lining<br />

begins to turn inside-out so that<br />

when you go to put the gloves back on<br />

it’s a real battle and your pinky finger gets<br />

stuck? Thanks to the liner being fused to the<br />

outer, these don’t do that. They’re also waterproof,<br />

windproof, warm, and highly dexterous.<br />

VERDICT The best-behaved gloves I’ve ever owned and my current<br />

favourites.<br />

USED BY Ben Weeks, <strong>Trail</strong> senior writer USED FOR 1 year<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

45


RUCKSACKS<br />

BUYING GUIDE<br />

There’s more to buying hillwalking packs then picking the right size and weight,<br />

so here’s all the key considerations to make sure you spend your money wisely.<br />

1<br />

CHOOSE O BY ACTIVITY<br />

I T Walking rucksack categories are<br />

often split into trekking, backpacking<br />

and mountaineering. Trekking daypacks<br />

vary in size from around 15-45 litres and are<br />

designed for everything from summer hikes to<br />

scrambling routes and winter mountain days.<br />

Backpacking and expedition bags have a large<br />

capacity, plus lots of features to help you<br />

carry and access everything you need<br />

for multi-day trips. Mountaineering<br />

packs tend to be more stripped<br />

back in terms of features to<br />

keep them light and simple.<br />

2<br />

M E A S U R E<br />

YOURSELF<br />

As well as different<br />

capacity sizes, some packs also<br />

come in different fit sizes or back<br />

lengths. We’re all different, and<br />

although many packs come with<br />

adjustable back lengths, start by<br />

measuring yourself and make sure you try<br />

it on when you buy.<br />

3<br />

BACK SYSTEMS<br />

S S<br />

You’ve got a few options with back<br />

systems. Either go for a padded<br />

foam-type design that fits snugly against<br />

your back, a channelled back system<br />

that ventilates hot air away from your<br />

back, or a suspended mesh system that<br />

lifts the whole bag clean away from your<br />

back. This is purely personal choice, so<br />

try a few and see what works best for you.<br />

FEATURED<br />

PRODUCT<br />

DEUTER GUIDE 34+<br />

£145<br />

The <strong>Guide</strong> is a mountaineering<br />

pack which is slim and lightweight.<br />

Its Alpine back system provides a<br />

snug fit, giving you maximum<br />

control at all times. Made<br />

using 100% PFC<br />

materials.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

46


RUCKSACKS<br />

PICK THE RIGHT SIZE<br />

DEUTER SELECTION<br />

What capacity do you really need?<br />

Buy too big and you’ll fill it with<br />

unnecessary junk. Go too small and<br />

you’ll end up leaving stuff behind.<br />

Here’s a rough guide to the size you<br />

need for specific types of walk…<br />

15-25 LITRES<br />

Fast or superlight hillwalk.<br />

25-35 LITRES<br />

Shorter hikes in spring,<br />

summer or autumn.<br />

35-45 5 LITRES<br />

Longer mountain walks,<br />

scrambling and mountaineering.<br />

45-55 5 5 LITRES<br />

Winter mountains, lightweight<br />

wild camps, hut-to-hut trips.<br />

55-75 5 5 LITRES<br />

Camping expeditions,<br />

long-distance trails.<br />

75+ LITRES<br />

Epic expeditions!<br />

4<br />

GET ORGANISED<br />

The choices are almost endless<br />

when it comes to different types<br />

of pack openings, compartments and<br />

pockets. If you just want to chuck all<br />

your gear inside and forget about it while<br />

you walk, go for a single compartment<br />

with a drawstring and buckled closure.<br />

But if you like dividing your kit up and<br />

accessing it on the go, look for a pack<br />

with multiple compartments, pockets<br />

and zipped entry points. You can get<br />

them on the front or side of the pack,<br />

and sometimes even at the rear.<br />

5<br />

WEATHERPROOFING<br />

Very few hiking rucksacks are<br />

fully waterproof, which means<br />

they’ll withstand a bit of rain but<br />

when it’s really chucking down the<br />

water will get through. Some packs<br />

come with a detachable raincover<br />

(often stashed in a small pocket<br />

at the base of the pack), but to<br />

keep kit completely dry, use good<br />

waterproof dry-bags inside.<br />

6<br />

S T O W I N G &<br />

STASHING<br />

Big side pockets,<br />

compression straps, trekking<br />

pole loops and ice axe attachments<br />

are great if you like stowing gear<br />

on the outside of your pack to<br />

access in transit. Hipbelt pockets<br />

are also useful for stashing things<br />

so you can grab them without taking<br />

the rucksack off, but check you can<br />

actually reach them.<br />

7<br />

COMFORT IS KEY<br />

You’ll be carrying your pack<br />

a long way and filling it with<br />

a lot of weight, so it needs to be comfy.<br />

Look for padded shoulder straps that<br />

fit snugly, and a hipbelt that sits on<br />

your hips (not waist) to take most of<br />

the weight. Before you buy, load it up<br />

with weight in the shop and walk around<br />

with it to make sure you’re happy.<br />

ADVERTISEMENT PROMOTION<br />

FUTURA PRO 34 SL £145<br />

TRAIL PRO 36 £135<br />

SPEEDLITE 24 SL £100<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

47


DEUTER<br />

IS FOR<br />

LEADING LIGHTS<br />

#deuterforever<br />

FUTURA 25 SL<br />

deutergb.co.uk


RUCKSACKS<br />

GEAR OF<br />

THE YEAR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

RAB AEON 35 £120<br />

The Aeon 35 is our top all-round<br />

large daypack. Roomy and capable,<br />

it’s versatile enough to cope with<br />

all sorts of outdoor adventures,<br />

from long hillwalking days to<br />

more technical scrambling routes.<br />

It’s even big enough to pack for<br />

a cheeky overnighter in a hut or<br />

bothy. Formerly branded as Lowe<br />

Alpine, it’s now part of sister<br />

company Rab’s range for <strong>2022</strong> –<br />

so it’ll match your jacket too.<br />

VERDICT Whether it says Lowe<br />

Alpine or Rab on the lid, this large<br />

daypack delivers impressive<br />

versatility and practicality,<br />

along with a tough build and<br />

a comfortable carry.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

TOM BAILEY<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

49


DEUTER<br />

SPEED LITE 24 £85<br />

This is an unashamed<br />

summer pack, even offering a<br />

dedicated sunglasses holder<br />

on the left shoulder strap! Its<br />

V-shaped athletic design with<br />

a mesh back panel sits close<br />

to the body while allowing air<br />

circulation. Two stretchy side<br />

pockets, a zipped pocket on<br />

each hip fin, an expandable<br />

stretch pouch and webbing<br />

loops and bungee cords offer<br />

further exterior kit carrying<br />

options, along with a zipped<br />

pocket for valuables and an<br />

internal hydration pouch.<br />

VERDICT A great pack<br />

for summer scrambles<br />

and lightweight walking,<br />

offering a good balance<br />

between capacity, weight<br />

and toughness.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

DECATHLON MH100 20L £25<br />

This 20-litre backpack is ridiculously good<br />

value for money. The padded back system<br />

isn’t the most technically advanced, but you<br />

do get amazing bang for your buck with the<br />

MH100. It features a padded hipbelt, stretchy<br />

wand pockets for your water bottles, comfy<br />

shoulder straps, zippered lid, webbing loops,<br />

and several clips and compartments.<br />

VERDICT A basic but superbly-priced<br />

daypack with good features.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

BERGHAUS<br />

REMOTE HIKE 35 £95<br />

This large daypack has a<br />

roomy main compartment<br />

with an unusual lid that<br />

unbuckles from the rear,<br />

plus a side zip for quick<br />

access if required. Other<br />

trail-friendly features<br />

include a vented back panel,<br />

front stretch pocket and two<br />

zipped hipbelt pockets. You<br />

should get a great fit too,<br />

since it comes in men’s and<br />

women’s versions, both with<br />

adjustable harnesses to fit<br />

different torso lengths.<br />

VERDICT New for <strong>2022</strong>, this<br />

roomy daypack looks ideal<br />

for the biggest hill days, with<br />

a gender-specific fit and a<br />

range of features to ensure a<br />

comfortable carry and ample<br />

storage space for all your kit.<br />

GOSSAMER GEAR KUMO 36 $180 (+ SHIPPING & CUSTOMS CHARGES)<br />

Ultralight gurus Gossamer <strong>Gear</strong> make world-class frameless backpacks<br />

at the lowest weight possible. The Kumo 36 is no exception, offering a 36-litre<br />

capacity at just 580g (medium). It features huge mesh pockets, padded shoulder<br />

straps, durable robic nylon fabrics, water bottle pockets, lashing loops and<br />

everything else you could need. It’s a great carry and a gram-saving revelation.<br />

VERDICT An ultralight frameless backpack for long-distance<br />

walkers looking to reduce their pack weight.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

50


OSPREY SPORTLITE 30 £100<br />

New for <strong>2022</strong>, the Sportlite comes in four sizes from 15 (£60)<br />

to 30 litres, with recycled and Bluesign approved fabrics.<br />

The 30-litre option is great balance between a light weight,<br />

stripped back design, and all the features a hillwalker could<br />

want. A neat, slimline design allows full range of movement,<br />

and there is a good range of spacious pockets, but no raincover.<br />

VERDICT Lightweight affordable pack well suited to<br />

mountainous summer adventures.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

DAYPACKS<br />

SALEWA<br />

ORTLES GUIDE 35 £160<br />

A good mountain pack<br />

should be close-fitting<br />

and stable, even when<br />

fully loaded. This<br />

usually requires a<br />

back-hugging design<br />

that can be a little<br />

sweaty. But Salewa’s<br />

nifty Contact Flow<br />

back system and split<br />

shoulder straps manage<br />

to keep everything<br />

dialled in while giving<br />

good airflow. The<br />

rest of the pack is<br />

as considered, with<br />

innovative features,<br />

tough fabrics and a<br />

strippable design to<br />

keep weight down.<br />

VERDICT<br />

An innovative<br />

pack that is light,<br />

tough and stable,<br />

yet fully featured<br />

and well ventilated too.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

BLACK DIAMOND<br />

SPEED 40 £140<br />

Technical, versatile<br />

and high-performing,<br />

this pack is a<br />

superb all-rounder.<br />

It has a classic<br />

mountaineering pack<br />

shape – tall, thin and<br />

streamlined – and<br />

a no-nonsense<br />

yet elegant design.<br />

Winter-ready<br />

attributes include<br />

crampon straps,<br />

ice axe attachments,<br />

and a tuck-away rope<br />

strap, but this pack<br />

works excellently for<br />

hillwalking as well as<br />

gnarly alpine exploits.<br />

VERDICT A versatile,<br />

technical and premium<br />

quality all-rounder<br />

at an excellent price,<br />

possibly best suited<br />

to winter adventures.<br />

OSPREY TALON 22 £130<br />

There’s pretty much everything a walker could want on this pack. It’s<br />

available in two adjustable sizes, so you’re guaranteed the perfect fit.<br />

There’s a stretch panel with a buckle closure, two stretch side pockets,<br />

internal and external zipped pockets, two waistbelt pockets and a pocket<br />

on one shoulder strap for sunglasses or a compass. There’s a typical loop<br />

and bungee pole attachment, plus Osprey’s Stow on the Go system which<br />

allows you to tuck your poles away without having to take the pack off.<br />

VERDICT A well featured pack that offers the perfect<br />

fit and almost every function a walker could want.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

51


LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

EXPED CORE 25 £95<br />

For summer in<br />

the mountains on<br />

the days I’m not<br />

carrying camera<br />

kit, this is my perfect bag.<br />

Hard-wearing and stripped<br />

down to the basics (a bit like<br />

its owner!). For light loads,<br />

I detach the waistbelt. You<br />

couldn’t begin to imagine<br />

how much I love the large<br />

haul loop. Even the zip<br />

on the top compartment<br />

seems to be holding up.<br />

VERDICT Bag perfection.<br />

USED BY Tom Bailey, <strong>Trail</strong><br />

photographer & writer<br />

USED FOR 3 years<br />

ZPACKS NERO 38L $249 (+ SHIPPING & CUSTOMS CHARGES)<br />

I used this frameless backpack from niche US brand<br />

Zpacks for a 500-mile walk between Ben Nevis and<br />

Snowdon last summer. The cons? It was sweaty on my<br />

back and required careful packing. But the pros were<br />

incredible... It weighs an insane 375g (including hipbelt), meaning<br />

I was as light and fast as possible on the trail, while the pack itself<br />

proved durable, weatherproof, comfy, spacious and fully-featured.<br />

VERDICT Amazing pack for super light walking.<br />

USED BY James Forrest, <strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR 1 year<br />

FJÄLLRÄVEN ÄV KAIPAK K 28 £140<br />

Let’s cut straight to the important bit –<br />

this is a great looking pack. Made from<br />

Fjällräven’s tough G1000 fabric (the<br />

modern incarnation uses HeavyDuty<br />

Eco material), this is a simple but very impressive<br />

bag with a roomy main chamber, plus a big zipped<br />

pocket right down the front that’s<br />

handy for stashing waterproofs<br />

and maps. The shoulder<br />

straps are nicely padded but<br />

the hipbelt isn’t much more<br />

than a removable thin strap,<br />

so consider how much you<br />

value good hip support<br />

from your packs.<br />

VERDICT Superb<br />

option for day<br />

hikes with a<br />

light load, and<br />

looks as good<br />

off the hill as<br />

it does on it.<br />

USED BY<br />

Oli Reed,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> editor<br />

USED FOR<br />

4 years<br />

GREGORY SALVO 24 £90<br />

Despite its relatively small 24-litre capacity, the Salvo still feels<br />

roomy with easy access thanks to the large entry zip around the top.<br />

It isn’t particularly light, but makes up for that with an excellently<br />

designed VaporSpan ventilated back system that lifts the pack well<br />

clear of your body. It also has a nice lower-back cushion, making this<br />

one of the most comfortable daypacks I’ve tested. The Salvo has been<br />

updated to the Citro 24 (£115) in the Gregory range for <strong>2022</strong>, with the<br />

addition of a big stretchy mesh pocket on the front for stashing things<br />

like waterproofs.<br />

VERDICT Superb back panel and very comfy, with all<br />

the features and pockets you’d want in a hiking pack.<br />

And the new Citro version looks even better.<br />

USED BY Oli Reed, <strong>Trail</strong> editor<br />

USED FOR 3 years<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

52


BACKPACKING PACKS<br />

LOWE ALPINE<br />

CHOLATSE ND50:55 £155<br />

This women’s-specific trekking pack is<br />

extremely comfortable to carry, balancing<br />

good back ventilation with excellent load<br />

stability. It doesn’t skimp on storage, yet it<br />

is tough and weatherproof too, with burly<br />

fabrics and a stowaway raincover. In fact,<br />

you get an impressive amount of pack for<br />

your money here, making it cracking value.<br />

VERDICT A versatile beast at a competitive<br />

price, this is the ideal all-purpose women’s<br />

pack for mixed multi-day backpacking<br />

adventures. The men’s Cholatse 52:57 is<br />

just as good too.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

SIERRA DESIGNS FLEX<br />

CAPACITOR 60-75 £185<br />

Extendable packs usually gain<br />

space vertically, but this isn’t ideal.<br />

Not only can the pack become<br />

unwieldingly tall, but any gear<br />

stowed at the base is then even<br />

more difficult to access. The Flex<br />

Capacitor rucksack solves both<br />

these problems. Rather than<br />

extending upwards, it uses a double<br />

fold of material on the front and a<br />

series of cinch cords to expand or<br />

contract the circumference of the<br />

pack, making it possible to increase<br />

the volume without the height.<br />

VERDICT With its light weight,<br />

multiple pockets and a clever<br />

design that solves an old problem,<br />

this is a great load hauler.<br />

GREGORY KATMAI 55 £215<br />

This capacious pack handles<br />

heavy loads with ease, offering<br />

plenty of support and stability<br />

with plush padding to eliminate<br />

pressure points. The trampolinestyle<br />

back panel feels airy and<br />

well-ventilated too. It’s also more<br />

eco-friendly than most packs,<br />

since it uses a PFC-free DWR and<br />

recycled fabrics. If your<br />

top priorities are plenty of<br />

storage and optimum carrying<br />

comfort, you’ll love it.<br />

VERDICT A great choice for<br />

extended trekking trips, this<br />

deluxe gear-hauler is welladapted<br />

to warm climates,<br />

big days and heavy loads.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

IN TEST<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

OSPREY STRATOS 44 £185<br />

Although only released this<br />

Spring, I’ve had the Stratos<br />

44 on test for 6 months, and I<br />

like what I’m finding. The size<br />

is perfect for summer wild camping trips<br />

(although it works well as a winter daypack<br />

too) which require more volume than a<br />

daypack but less than a full backpacking<br />

rucksack. The back system manages to keep<br />

the Stratos reasonably close to my body for<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

53<br />

stability on trickier ground, but also provides<br />

a good amount of ventilation. And there are so<br />

many storage options that my biggest problem<br />

is remembering which pocket I’ve put what in!<br />

VERDICT A great summer wild<br />

camping pack that perfectly balances<br />

performance, comfort and capacity.<br />

USED BY Ben Weeks, <strong>Trail</strong> senior writer<br />

USED FOR 6 months


OSPREY ATMOS AG 65 £220<br />

The definition of the deluxe gearhauler,<br />

the Atmos – or women’s<br />

Aura – employs Osprey’s suspended<br />

mesh AG (‘anti-gravity’) back system<br />

to deliver an extremely comfortable<br />

carry with superior ventilation.<br />

The wraparound hipbelt transfers<br />

load extremely well, yet doesn’t<br />

chafe or feel too sticky even<br />

after long miles on the trail.<br />

VERDICT A top choice for any<br />

long-distance route that entails<br />

carrying a lot of kit, this proven<br />

pack is an exceptional load-lugger,<br />

engineered with airflow and<br />

carrying comfort in mind.<br />

ATOM PACKS MO EP50 £265<br />

The Mo is an ultralight, built-to-order pack made in the Lake District<br />

that allows you to select your preferred back length, hipbelt size,<br />

materials, pocket configuration and even colours. It’s rugged and roomy,<br />

with a handy stretch shoulder pocket and a top Y-strap for stowing a<br />

sleeping mat or tent. The simple but effective harness and back panel<br />

balance low weight with comfort and load stability.<br />

VERDICT Pound-for-pound, this has to be the toughest pack around.<br />

A great choice for fast and light backpackers, offering far more than<br />

most ultralight rivals in terms of practicality and durability.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

FJÄLLRÄVEN ABISKO 75 £260<br />

You would not believe how<br />

much stuff this sack can<br />

take. The solid base<br />

gives great protection<br />

considering how much weight<br />

it can carry, while the big, comfy<br />

shoulder straps and waistbelt<br />

cope well with big loads. The<br />

front zip pocket is very useful<br />

for wet waterproofs. Big and<br />

brilliant. The Abisko 75 has<br />

now been discontinued, but the<br />

Keb 72 (£300) is very similar,<br />

with great eco credentials.<br />

VERDICT A big bag<br />

for big adventures!<br />

USED BY Tom Bailey, <strong>Trail</strong><br />

photographer & writer<br />

USED FOR 7 years<br />

GREGORY 55L MAVEN BACKPACK £190<br />

Gregory isn’t a brand I’d heard of until recently, although<br />

is well established in the States. The Maven takes 55 litres<br />

of gear, and very unusually for my 5ft 4in frame there is<br />

no restriction in the<br />

movement of my head. It comes<br />

in two adjustable back lengths, in<br />

three sizes – 45, 55 and 65 litres.<br />

It has a moulded hipbelt, a sturdy<br />

construction made for carrying<br />

heavy weight and a full-length<br />

side zip for easy access. A fullyfeatured<br />

pack that’s made to last.<br />

VERDICT<br />

A quality backpacking<br />

rucksack with full-length side<br />

access, that doesn’t restrict<br />

head movement.<br />

USED BY<br />

Jenna Maryniak,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong><br />

deputy editor<br />

USED FOR<br />

5 months<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong><br />

TRAIL<br />

54


HYDRATION<br />

BUYING GUIDE<br />

Whether you want to pack a flask, carry<br />

a hydration system, or filter your water<br />

on-the-go, there are thirst-quenching<br />

options available for all tastes.<br />

1<br />

HOW TO BUY<br />

Needless to say, staying<br />

adequately hydrated in the<br />

mountains is very important and you’ll<br />

want to carry at least a litre or two of<br />

water at all times, depending on the<br />

length of your hike. Your bottle or bottles<br />

should be strong and durable (to cope<br />

with rocky terrain), fit securely in your<br />

backpack’s pockets, and have a good<br />

capacity. A 1L Nalgene bottle with a wide<br />

mouth is a good choice, for example.<br />

2 RESERVOIRS<br />

If you don’t want to carry around<br />

multiple bottles, a reservoir<br />

– also commonly known as a hydration<br />

pack or bladder – is an excellent<br />

alternative. This flexible water container<br />

will commonly hold 2L or 3L of water,<br />

and is housed inside your backpack while<br />

a hose enables you to drink from the<br />

reservoir on-the-go. Some backpacks<br />

are hydration-compatible, with a special<br />

sleeve to house the reservoir and a hole<br />

for threading the hose through. Better<br />

quality reservoirs will have clip closure<br />

or a magnetic system for securing the<br />

hose to your backpack’s shoulder straps.<br />

3 FILTERS<br />

To avoid carrying too much<br />

heavy water, you can filter water<br />

as you go. There are a myriad of water<br />

filter products available on the market.<br />

Perhaps the most popular are water<br />

bottles with in-built filters. They are the<br />

simplest to use: fill up in a stream and<br />

start drinking, that’s it. The only flaw<br />

is that the flow-rate from the bottle<br />

can be quite slow, meaning you can’t<br />

guzzle water properly and it takes ages<br />

to drink even just 500ml. Other more<br />

complicated and heavy filters – often<br />

featuring hoses and a handheld pump<br />

– enable you to pre-filter as much<br />

water as you want. This clean<br />

water can then be stored<br />

in your reservoir or<br />

bottles, and consumed<br />

at your leisure.<br />

4 FLASKS<br />

A high-quality flask will have<br />

good hot and cold performance,<br />

with the ability to keep your drink nicely<br />

chilled or adequately hot, depending on<br />

whether you’ve packed lemonade or hot<br />

chocolate. The other critical feature is a<br />

secure cap, so that even if your flask gets<br />

knocked around or accidentally<br />

up-ended in a rucksack<br />

it won’t leak.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

55


LIFESAVER WAYFARER £90<br />

New for <strong>2022</strong>, hydration expert LifeSaver<br />

is releasing a new water filter – the<br />

Wayfarer. It is operated using a handheld<br />

pump, which draws ‘dirty’ water from<br />

a scavenger in-hose (placed in a water<br />

source), runs it through a replaceable<br />

filtration cartridge, and then transforms<br />

it into clean water outputted through the<br />

out-hose. This enables you to filter water<br />

quickly and safely, cutting out 99.99%<br />

of viruses, bacteria and cysts.<br />

VERDICT A handheld pump filtration<br />

system with good features.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

LIFESTRAW GO £50<br />

With a water bottle and filter in one, keeping a<br />

steady supply of clean, fresh water is rarely more<br />

straightforward. The filter removes 99.999999%<br />

of bacteria, 99.999% of parasites, and 99.999% of<br />

microplastics and sediment. Just fill the bottle and<br />

away you go. Plus, for every bottle you buy, Lifestraw<br />

provides filters to developing nations.<br />

VERDICT One of the simplest filters out there and<br />

perfect for day walks – potentially negating the<br />

need to carry anything more.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

SIGG HERITAGE BOTTLE 1LTR £18<br />

I’ve used Sigg bottles for 25+ years, as I’ve found they<br />

last for ages. The stoppers tend to need replacing fairly<br />

regularly (once every 5 years for me), as the plastic<br />

thread wears out on the metal thread of the bottle, but<br />

these are available to buy separately, and you can tie the lid to the<br />

bottle so you don’t lose it. I think Sigg has stopped making this exact<br />

model, so buy it while you can. I love them.<br />

VERDICT A classic bottle that’s almost as old<br />

as hillwalking itself.<br />

USED BY Tom Bailey, <strong>Trail</strong><br />

photographer<br />

& writer<br />

USED FOR 5<br />

years+<br />

VAPUR<br />

ANTI-<br />

BOTTLE TLE £14<br />

I used<br />

this<br />

bottle on<br />

several long-<br />

distance walks in 2021, including<br />

the Pembrokeshire Coast Path,<br />

Wainwright’s Coast to Coast, Hadrian’s Wall Path and Dales High<br />

Way, and it never let me down. I chose it because of its ultra-light<br />

and minimalist design (only 41g per 1L bottle) and for the useful<br />

carabiner clip – handy to ensure you never accidentally dropped<br />

it on the trail.<br />

VERDICT<br />

A lightweight, foldable bottle<br />

for minimalist backpackers.<br />

USED BY<br />

James Forrest, <strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR<br />

1 year<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

56


HYDRATION<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

HYDRAPAK ULTRAFLASK<br />

SPEED 500ML BOTTLE £26<br />

The thing about water bottles is they take<br />

up a fair amount of space. Not so the<br />

Ultraflask, which is made from a soft,<br />

flexible material and can simply be rolled<br />

away when empty. It’s also incredibly<br />

light, weighing just 41g. You can even<br />

freeze it, so on really hot days you’ve<br />

got a supply of slowly thawing icy water.<br />

VERDICT Designed for trail runners,<br />

excellent for hillwalkers, this ultralight,<br />

flexible bottle saves space and weight.<br />

SAWYER MINI WATER<br />

FILTRATION SYSTEM £35<br />

The Sawyer Mini water filter is versatile,<br />

weighs just 65g and is guaranteed to filter 100,000<br />

litres of water. Screw it to the top of the 16oz (455ml)<br />

pouch included or onto any standard water bottle to drink<br />

directly, use the removable straw to drink straight from the<br />

source, or connect it to your hydration bladder.<br />

VERDICT Small, light and incredibly versatile, this stalwart<br />

removes 99.99999% of all bacteria, 99.9999% of all protozoa and<br />

100% of microplastics.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

PLATYPUS QUICKDRAW £35<br />

Water sanitation comes in all<br />

shapes and sizes these days,<br />

but I love the simplicity and<br />

portability of this superlightweight<br />

filter. It weighs just 95g and<br />

the reservoir just wraps around the<br />

filter, taking no space in your rucksack.<br />

It works quickly and effortlessly, to<br />

decant clean water, free from particles,<br />

bacteria and protozoa into whatever<br />

container you want (including straight<br />

into your mouth).<br />

VERDICT Great value bit of kit<br />

for back country explorations.<br />

USED BY Jenna Maryniak,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> deputy editor<br />

USED FOR 7 months<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

MSR TRAILSHOT<br />

MICRO FILTER<br />

£60<br />

I’ve used this<br />

for multiple wild<br />

camping and hiking<br />

trips, and although the<br />

effort of hand pumping the numerous<br />

litres of water over the years has given me<br />

a forearm like Popeye, it’s proved to be a reliable trail<br />

friend. It removes bacteria and protozoa from wild water (to be<br />

sure its virus free you need to treat it with sterilising tablets or<br />

boil it), enabling all but the most untrustworthy water to be drunk<br />

directly from source or used to top up a bottle.<br />

VERDICT A great little device that’s easy and convenient<br />

to use, offering handy hydration and a lighter pack.<br />

USED BY<br />

Ben Weeks, <strong>Trail</strong> senior writer<br />

USED FOR<br />

3 years<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

57


TREKKING POLES<br />

BUYING GUIDE<br />

Poles will power you through the hills, taking the strain off tired limbs and<br />

providing security on steep and uneven ground. Here’s how to find the perfect pair.<br />

1<br />

WHY USE<br />

POLES?<br />

Poles are<br />

useful when carrying<br />

loads or on steep slopes,<br />

reducing wear and fatigue<br />

on your knees and hips. Stand<br />

on some scales and watch<br />

the dial when you rest a pair<br />

either side, and you’ll see how<br />

drastic this effect can be! They can<br />

also offer stability in bad weather, on<br />

unstable ground or when crossing water.<br />

2 HANDLE<br />

The handle should fit<br />

snug in your hand and feel<br />

comfortable. On higher-priced poles<br />

these are well-padded and may have a<br />

forward angle for a more natural grip.<br />

3<br />

WRIST LOOP<br />

When used properly, the wrist<br />

loop takes most of the load,<br />

so you don’t have to grip the handle as<br />

tightly. It’s also useful to ensure you don’t<br />

drop the pole down the mountainside.<br />

Higher-priced poles offer adjustable<br />

straps for a perfect fit.<br />

4<br />

GET THE<br />

LENGTH RIGHT<br />

Buying the correct pole length is<br />

important, because it ensures you’re able<br />

to use the right technique, avoid falls,<br />

FEATURED<br />

PRODUCT<br />

LEKI MAKALU A CARBON<br />

FX £190<br />

Lightweight trekking poles with<br />

LEKI’s Aergon Air grip for ergonomic<br />

comfort and control, and Speed<br />

Lock 2 Plus for quick<br />

adjustment and setting.<br />

and provides optimal power transfer.<br />

Your elbow should be bent at 90°, with the<br />

forearm parallel to the ground. You may<br />

want to adjust the pole’s height slightly –<br />

making it shorter or longer – depending<br />

on the length of your stride.<br />

5 PACKABILITY<br />

When not in use, you will<br />

need to collapse your poles<br />

to strap them to your rucksack. If the<br />

packed size is too long it will project<br />

from your rucksack and can get caught<br />

on branches or rocks, or poke your mate<br />

in the eye!<br />

6 SHAFTS<br />

S<br />

Walking poles are usually<br />

made from alloy tubing. To<br />

save weight, some tubing is thinner but<br />

this may make them bendier and less<br />

secure on uneven ground. Some poles<br />

are made with carbon or carbon<br />

composite to make them lighter.<br />

Care is needed with these though,<br />

as if over-stressed they can<br />

shatter rather than bend.<br />

7<br />

T I P S &<br />

BASKETS<br />

Poles have a<br />

metal tip to provide grip. If you<br />

need to use the poles on hard surfaces<br />

you can buy rubber tips to stop clicking<br />

noises, while a basket stops the tip<br />

sinking too deeply into soft terrain.<br />

8<br />

LOCKING SYSTEM<br />

Length is usually adjusted by<br />

an external lever that operates<br />

a clamping mechanism, or by a twistlock<br />

system. The latter doesn’t catch on<br />

rocks/undergrowth. Both need drying<br />

after use to prevent corrosion. The lever<br />

mechanism is quick and easy to use,<br />

but it can snag on undergrowth.<br />

ADVERTISEMENT PROMOTION<br />

LEKI SELECTION<br />

CROSS S TRAIL<br />

FX.ONE SUPERLITE<br />

E<br />

£180<br />

CRESSIDA £110<br />

KHUMBU LITE £80<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

58


TREKKING POLES<br />

TREKOLOGY TREK-Z 2.0 CORK £33<br />

These aluminium poles from ‘challenger’<br />

brand Trekology are remarkably wellpriced,<br />

but the materials and construction are<br />

also high-quality, while the design is perfectly<br />

functional. Like most other compact Z-folding<br />

poles on the market, they use a four-piece<br />

construction with a top lever lock that<br />

enables a good range of adjustment. They’re<br />

comfortable to hold and sturdy to use.<br />

VERDICT Compact, robust and functional,<br />

these are excellent all-round trekking poles<br />

for the price. Their only real drawback is<br />

a little extra weight and complexity.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

CIMALP DISTANCE CARBON £140<br />

These Z-folding carbon fibre trekking poles<br />

from French brand CimAlp tick all the boxes<br />

for trail use: they’re stiff, lightweight and<br />

easy to assemble or collapse, with a compact<br />

folded length. They also have a wide range<br />

of adjustment (from 110 to 130cm) thanks to<br />

a robust lever lock, which sits just below an<br />

extended and very comfortable foam grip.<br />

VERDICT If you’re planning a long-distance walk<br />

this summer, it’s worth thinking about taking a pair<br />

of poles – your knees will thank you for it – and these<br />

light and compact carbon poles are a great option.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

LEKI CROSS TRAIL<br />

LITE CARBON £160<br />

Designed for speed hiking, these<br />

high-end, carbon poles are tailormade<br />

for big summit rounds,<br />

whether you’re aiming to bag<br />

multiple Munros, Wainwrights<br />

or other peaks. Equipped with a<br />

unique Cross Shark grip system,<br />

they offer security and comfort<br />

during fast-paced mountain<br />

hikes. Leki’s latest Speed Lock 2<br />

Plus levers also offer rapid, onthe-fly<br />

pole adjustment.<br />

VERDICT Premium, ultralight<br />

carbon fibre trekking poles<br />

that are ideal for tackling<br />

long-distance challenge<br />

walks and demanding<br />

summit-bagging missions.<br />

KOMPERDELL CARBON FXP.4<br />

APPROACH VARIO COMPACT £137<br />

These four-piece carbon fibre folding<br />

poles weigh only 251g per pole and have<br />

a folded length of just 38cm. They also<br />

have a rapid self-deployment system<br />

that is effective and easy to use. It’s<br />

an exceptionally well-engineered and<br />

durable design, with an ergonomic,<br />

extended handle and a large, flexible<br />

basket to stop the pole from plugging in<br />

soft ground.<br />

VERDICT Superbly engineered carbon fibre<br />

trekking poles, with a compact folded length,<br />

extended ergonomic grips, practical baskets<br />

and a brilliant self-deployment system.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

59


HEADTORCHES<br />

BUYING GUIDE<br />

Even on summer hikes, it’s much better to carry a headtorch and not need it<br />

than suffer the consequences if you get caught out. Here’s what to look for.<br />

FEATURED<br />

PRODUCT<br />

BIOLITE<br />

HEADLAMP 750<br />

£100<br />

Utilising SlimFit construction and weighing<br />

only 150g, with a 750-lumen Burst Mode<br />

this hands-free headtorch packs<br />

serious lumens into a compact<br />

profile with a no-bounce fit,<br />

with rechargeable<br />

power.<br />

1 BATTERIES<br />

Most modern headtorches<br />

use rechargeable lithium-ion<br />

batteries, while others use AA or AAA<br />

batteries. Consider how easy it will be to<br />

change the batteries, possibly in the dark<br />

with cold/wet hands and away from an<br />

electrical supply to recharge them.<br />

2<br />

TILT FUNCTION<br />

This will allow you to direct the<br />

beam of light – for example to<br />

the ground ahead of you, a map, or to the<br />

tent guy line you’re adjusting. This needs<br />

to be easily adjustable, but not so loose<br />

and floppy that it fails to stay in place.<br />

3<br />

LIGHT OUTPUT<br />

Light output is measured in<br />

lumens – up to 200 lumens is<br />

ideal for camping and general walking,<br />

200+ lumens for navigating open hillsides.<br />

Higher powers are useful for terrain<br />

with few features, and activities such<br />

as mountain biking, running or skiing.<br />

4<br />

BURN TIME<br />

The light output will dim<br />

over time as the batteries<br />

run down. The burn times provided by<br />

manufacturers are not always based<br />

on the same criteria, and they will vary<br />

with temperature and function settings,<br />

so can’t always be trusted. Packing a<br />

spare headtorch or batteries is always<br />

wise, and longer burn times are often<br />

a worthwhile benefit.<br />

5 OPERATION<br />

Buttons or dials are used to<br />

operate light output. The two<br />

important points to consider are: can<br />

the torch be operated with cold, wet and<br />

gloved hands in the dark; and could it turn<br />

on by itself in a rucksack pocket, leading<br />

to flat batteries?<br />

6<br />

COLOUR OF LIGHT<br />

Most headtorches have<br />

standard white LEDs, which<br />

are adequate for most purposes.<br />

However red LEDs are handy when you<br />

want to preserve your own night vision.<br />

7 HEADSTRAPS<br />

The headtorch is attached to<br />

a headband that needs to be<br />

adjustable for a secure, comfortable fit.<br />

ADVERTISEMENT PROMOTION<br />

BIOLITE SELECTION<br />

HEADLAMP 200 £50 HEADTORCH 330 £60<br />

ALPENGLOW L 250 £60<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

60


HEADTORCHES<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

PETZL SWIFT RL £97<br />

The Petzl Swift RL is one<br />

headtorch for all your needs.<br />

It’s light (102g), compact, comfy,<br />

splash-proof, rechargeable, and<br />

powerful (550 lumens for 2 hours).<br />

But the real star is the reactive<br />

lighting technology, a sensor which<br />

analyses the ambient light and<br />

automatically adjusts brightness to<br />

your needs. This preserves battery<br />

life and provides an excellent<br />

experience out on the hill.<br />

VERDICT A superb, premiumstandard,<br />

all-rounder headtorch<br />

that ticks all the boxes. Not the<br />

cheapest, but money well spent.<br />

GEAR OF<br />

THE YEAR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

TOM BAILEY<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

61


MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

PRINCETON TEC<br />

SNAP SOLO LED £30<br />

This no-nonsense headtorch keeps<br />

things simple, delivering an intuitive user<br />

experience at an affordable price. You<br />

get a maximum output of 300 lumens,<br />

a whopping 155-hour burn time at 10<br />

lumens and a 50m beam distance. Three<br />

AAA batteries provide the power, a single<br />

button toggles between modes, and the<br />

magnetic head unit can be detached from<br />

its base to use as a handheld flashlight.<br />

VERDICT A simple, no-nonsense<br />

headtorch at a great price –<br />

but it’s also a bit basic.<br />

BLACK DIAMOND ONSIGHT 375 £84 (INCLUDING BATTERY)<br />

The design is simple yet robust, with a rear battery pack linked to a front<br />

headlamp via a partly-coiled cable. Power is ‘dual fuel’ via either the BD1800<br />

rechargeable lithium-ion battery or three AAAs. The lithium-ion gives the best<br />

output: 400 lumens for 5 hours in max, 200 lumens for 13 hours in medium,<br />

and 8 lumens for 110 hours in low. You also get a fully waterproof IP67 rating.<br />

VERDICT A well-designed, waterproof headtorch<br />

with some nifty features – but it’s a tad over-priced.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

SILVA 4RC £60<br />

It was the three colours that caught my eye, because as well as your<br />

standard bright white light the 4RC offers red to preserve night vision<br />

and orange for clear map reading. But there are other things I love<br />

too: its chunky button, comfort on my head, and the fact that I can<br />

also attach it to my bike helmet with the included clip.<br />

VERDICT This is a comfortable, easy-to-use headtorch with useful bulb<br />

colours and mounting options that seems far more pricey than it is.<br />

USED BY Sarah Ryan, <strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR 1 month<br />

BIOLITE<br />

HEADLAMP A 750<br />

£100<br />

Lots of headtorches do ‘bright’ but few do<br />

it with this level of comfort. Put simply, this<br />

is the most comfortable headtorch I’ve ever<br />

used. It weighs just 150g, and the 3D SlimFit<br />

construction integrates the lamp and cable into the<br />

headband for a low profile. It provides a maximum light<br />

output of 750 lumens and run time can be conveniently<br />

boosted by connecting an external power source.<br />

VERDICT Bright, long-running, and impressively<br />

comfortable. Plus it offers eight different modes<br />

– most illuminating.<br />

USED BY Ben Weeks, <strong>Trail</strong> senior writer<br />

USED FOR 1 year<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

62


HEADTORCHES<br />

ALPKIT GAMMA III £26<br />

It’s far from the best designed or most<br />

powerful, but for this price you can’t<br />

complain. You get a maximum output<br />

of 150 lumens for 7 hours, 70 lumens<br />

for 18 hours in low, and then up to 45<br />

hours of burn time in the white LED (10<br />

lumens), green LED (7 lumens) and red<br />

LED (5 lumens) modes. The rear battery<br />

pack takes three AAAs and features a<br />

red LED so you can be seen from behind.<br />

VERDICT A decent headtorch for basic<br />

tasks, at a very affordable price-point –<br />

but it’s not very powerful.<br />

PETZL IKO CORE £75<br />

With its space age frame that looks a bit like<br />

a crown or tiara, this is an unusual looking<br />

headtorch. But the design means there’s<br />

no bulky light unit at the front, no overhead<br />

strap and no tight elastic headband. The<br />

result is an ergonomic and comfortable<br />

lamp that packs a capable 500-lumen light<br />

output when powered with one of Petzl’s<br />

rechargeable Core battery packs.<br />

VERDICT Lightweight, compact, bright and<br />

extremely comfortable to wear, this is an<br />

innovative bit of kit that works well for night<br />

hikes, alpine starts and wild camping trips.<br />

LEDLENSER MH8 £90<br />

This muscular headlamp delivers powerful illumination, up to 600 lumens and<br />

200m in the boost mode. A single rubberised button toggles between the main<br />

power levels (20, 170 and 400 lumens), and the quoted burn times range from<br />

7 to 60 hours, while the beam distance varies from 40m to 180m. Power is via<br />

a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, or two AA alkaline batteries.<br />

VERDICT A powerful, fully-featured headtorch<br />

at a decent price – but it’s quite bulky and heavy.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

63


MOUNTAIN TECH<br />

While it’s best not to be totally reliant on electronics in the mountains,<br />

they can be a very useful addition to your hillwalking kit. Here’s our<br />

selection of the new, the handy and a few old favourites.<br />

OS MAPS APP £29 PER YEAR<br />

For less than the price of three paper maps,<br />

the OS maps app gives you full and unlimited<br />

GB coverage at 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 scale. You<br />

can plot and record your own routes or access a<br />

massive selection (including <strong>Trail</strong>’s monthly guides)<br />

and download areas to your phone to use offline.<br />

VERDICT Augmented reality which identifies key<br />

features in the landscape makes this more than<br />

just great mapping software – but it is that too.<br />

OS LOCATE £FREE<br />

The OS Locate app converts your phone’s location readings to grid<br />

references and lat/long, to provide pinpoint location information,<br />

including bearing and altitude. Open the app and you’ll see a digital<br />

compass with clear data readings or use it in combination with OS<br />

maps to see your precise location on the map – no signal required.<br />

VERDICT A great free app that (when used with OS maps) turns your<br />

phone to a fully-mapped GPS device – but be warned, it’s power hungry.<br />

GOAL ZERO GUIDE 12 + NOMAD 5 KIT £90<br />

Propping up on an integrated kickstand, the<br />

Nomad 5 solar panel is about the size<br />

of a large notebook but weighs<br />

only 360g. It connects to the<br />

<strong>Guide</strong> 12 battery pack via a<br />

USB-A to C cable, providing<br />

one full smartphone recharge<br />

or 2.5 headtorch recharges.<br />

It also comes with four<br />

rechargeable AA batteries,<br />

very handy for some headtorches.<br />

VERDICT Portable power with<br />

a combination of both powerbank<br />

and battery sources to keep you<br />

going for several days off grid.<br />

GARMIN INREACH MINI 2 £350<br />

The new iteration of Garmin’s long-standing<br />

emergency satellite communicator provides masses<br />

more functionality. As well as requesting emergency<br />

assistance at the press of a button, it allows you to<br />

exchange messages, post to social media, share your<br />

location via map or coordinates, receive weather<br />

updates and loads more. It’s also waterproof,<br />

rugged, and tiny, weighing just 100g.<br />

VERDICT Not just an emergency locator,<br />

this satellite communication device is ideal<br />

for remote treks and long-distance solo routes.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

BIOLITE CHARGE 20 PD £35<br />

At about the same size as a small smartphone<br />

and weighing only 165g, the Charge 20 PD is a<br />

truly portable, handy little powerbank. It’ll give<br />

your phone approximately 1.5 charges and<br />

a headlamp about five. If that’s not enough,<br />

it also comes in 40 and 80 sizes, with the<br />

latter giving you enough to power a 13in laptop.<br />

VERDICT A portable, durable powerbank that will<br />

ensure you never run out of charge on the hill.<br />

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TECHNOLOGY<br />

G-SHOCK<br />

MUDMASTER GG-B100 £325<br />

More than a watch, this G-Shock is a<br />

genuinely rugged and robust outdoor<br />

tool. Equipped with an altimeter,<br />

barometer, compass, thermometer,<br />

timer, stopwatch, alarm, step<br />

counter and more, it’s almost as<br />

smart as a true smartwatch – but<br />

with much longer battery life, thanks<br />

to an ana-digi quartz movement<br />

that doesn’t need recharging.<br />

VERDICT An uber-tough<br />

outdoor watch with lots of<br />

useful on-the-hill functionality<br />

and a shock-proof, mud- and<br />

water- resistant design that<br />

will take plenty of use and abuse.<br />

GARMIN FĒNIX 7<br />

SOLAR EDITION £780<br />

New to the best-selling fēnix family of GPS<br />

smartwatches, the 7 series gives users the choice<br />

between touchscreen and buttons, and delivers<br />

up to 263 hours of life in max battery mode and up<br />

to 41 days in smartwatch mode (with solar). The<br />

premium watch also features all of the navigation,<br />

mapping and sports functionality you’d expect<br />

from a first-rate Garmin product.<br />

VERDICT A premium sports and GPS smartwatch<br />

with all the functionality you could possibly need.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

GARMIN<br />

INSTINCT 2 £300<br />

The second iteration of Garmin’s long-standing lower cost<br />

(still not cheap) GPS watch is jammed with features. For nav,<br />

you get Tracbac routing, altimeter, barometer, electronic<br />

compass and GPS, GLONASS and Galileo location seeking.<br />

But you also get tools like heart rate, step counter, oxygen<br />

levels and preloaded activity profiles. The battery lasts weeks.<br />

VERDICT With more apps and functions than we can list here,<br />

the updated Instinct 2 is feature-packed and durable.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

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HIKING<br />

ACCESSORIES<br />

Don’t forget the little things that make trips to the<br />

mountains much easier and more enjoyable.<br />

SHAVEN RASPBERRY REFERENCE CARDS £1.99<br />

Calculating precise route times isn’t always easy when you’re<br />

out on the hills with the wind howling in your ears. Using a<br />

reference card, though, can make the job quicker, easier<br />

and more precise. Shaven Raspberry do several including<br />

a Navigators’ Timing card with distances, timings and<br />

adjustments for slope, pack weight and time of day.<br />

VERDICT A simple, handy tool which saves time<br />

and helps ensure precise route timings.<br />

SMIDGE HEADNET £5.50<br />

Midges can make even the most spectacular view<br />

impossible to enjoy when they’re out in force – unless you<br />

have a midge net. This one from Smidge is small enough to<br />

keep crammed in your pocket, weighs about as much as a midge<br />

and is pale green, so doesn’t obstruct the view as much as darker ones.<br />

VERDICT Between June and September, a midge net is all but<br />

essential for most hill areas. This one doesn’t ruin the view!<br />

SMIDGE<br />

QUICK UNTICK HOOKS £5.50<br />

Slide this hook under the tick right<br />

above your skin, twist, pull and you’ve<br />

safely extracted an otherwise very<br />

embedded little beastie. There are a<br />

few ways to get rid of ticks – tweezers<br />

and tick cards being some – and this<br />

is one of the safest and most reliable.<br />

A recommended addition to your first<br />

aid kit in the summer months.<br />

VERDICT It’s essential to remove<br />

Lyme-disease carrying ticks as soon<br />

as you find them, without killing<br />

them – these little hooks make<br />

that blessedly straightforward.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

ROBENS ZIGZAG SEAT £5<br />

I’d always mocked the users of sit-mats, regarding such things<br />

as unnecessary and the reserve of soft-bummed wimps. But<br />

after numerous occasions where my posterior had to suffer<br />

jagged edged rocks or damp hummocks while my hiking<br />

buddies’ remained comfortable and dry on their mats, I added this to<br />

my pack. It’s light, folds pretty small, and has the power to transform an<br />

on-the-hill lunch stop from something to be endured into a pleasurable al<br />

fresco dining experience.<br />

VERDICT Why shirk<br />

comfort for the sake of it?<br />

Grab yourself one of<br />

these – your backside<br />

will thank you for it.<br />

USED BY Ben Weeks,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> senior writer<br />

USED FOR 4 years<br />

BUFF POLAR £27<br />

I had the<br />

reversible<br />

version of<br />

this buff<br />

for years before this<br />

one, and even though it’s<br />

become irretrievably worn<br />

out I still have it. This one is<br />

similar, with a microfibre tube<br />

sewn to a soft fleece tube.<br />

This keeps your neck warm but is<br />

easier to breathe through and more<br />

comfortable when pulled up over the face.<br />

VERDICT Might be called polar but our mountain tops can<br />

be baltic at any time of year, making this an essential.<br />

USED BY Sarah Ryan, <strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR 1 year<br />

TOM BAILEY<br />

TOM BAILEY<br />

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ACCESSORIES<br />

NIKWAX TX.DIRECT/TECH<br />

WASH DUO £12.25<br />

The best waterproof jacket in the world<br />

will eventually clog with sweat and<br />

dirt, lose its DWR coating and start<br />

to wet-out. That doesn’t mean it’s<br />

knackered – it means it needs a wash.<br />

This twinpack safely and effectively<br />

sorts that out. Tech Wash cleans and<br />

refreshes waterproof fabrics while<br />

TX.Direct adds and renews water<br />

repellency and revives breathability.<br />

VERDICT The essential kit care<br />

duo to keep your waterproof<br />

clothing going for years.<br />

ORTLIEB MAP-CASE £19.50<br />

As well as keeping your map dry, this<br />

waterproof case also keeps it secure, tying to your<br />

pack or jacket via a long lanyard. Made of soft, UV<br />

resistant plastic, it also allows you to roll or fold<br />

your map so you can make it small enough to stuff<br />

in your pocket.<br />

VERDICT It’s the soft light plastic that marks this<br />

map case out as being not only waterproof and<br />

secure but also potentially pocket-sized.<br />

OUTDOOR RESEARCH RADAR<br />

POCKET CAP £23<br />

Useful for keeping both sun and<br />

rain out of your eyes, a cap is<br />

a summer essential. This one<br />

has UPF 50+ protection and<br />

is breathable and moisture<br />

wicking to reduce sweatinduced<br />

discomfort; waterresistant<br />

and quickdrying<br />

for wearing in<br />

the wet. It also has<br />

a foldable brim so<br />

it packs easily away<br />

in your pocket.<br />

VERDICT Breathable, packable, quick-drying and designed for outdoor living.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

HYDRO FLASK<br />

20OZ INSULATED FOOD JAR £40<br />

What’s better than a limp, soggy sandwich at lunch?<br />

Almost anything but certainly something hot. The Hydro Flask<br />

food jar has double-wall vacuum insulation to keep food hot<br />

or cold for hours with a wide mouth and leakproof, rubberised<br />

lid that’s easy to open even with cold fingers.<br />

Just don’t forget your spork.<br />

VERDICT A bombproof, leakproof<br />

little food jar for hot meals on a hilltop.<br />

SILVA EXPEDITION 4 COMPASS £36<br />

This traditional baseplate compass is the industry standard for<br />

mountaineering in this country. With a chunky, easy-to-use dial;<br />

sticky rubber feet; 1:25,000, 1:40,000 and 1:50,000 romer scales;<br />

luminous markings; magnifying glass and a clinometer for measuring<br />

slope angle, it has all the tools you need for precise navigation.<br />

VERDICT A professional level compass with all the tools<br />

you need for accurate location finding and map reading.<br />

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Marmot Tungsten UL 2P tent.<br />

TENTS<br />

BUYING GUIDE<br />

You need your tent to be up to the task of providing expert, reassuring<br />

shelter on the UK’s hills and mountains. Here’s what to look out for.<br />

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TENTS<br />

1<br />

WHAT KIND OF<br />

CAMPER ARE YOU?<br />

If you go out in all seasons and<br />

all weathers, choose an all-season tent.<br />

If you only go out when you don’t expect<br />

snow, a 3-season tent will be fine. Make<br />

sure the tent will handle all conditions,<br />

has enough space for you and your gear,<br />

and offers the comfort you want.<br />

2<br />

MATERIALS MATTER<br />

Tents with 100% silicone-coated<br />

outer fabrics are typically<br />

stronger than those with polyurethanecoated<br />

ones. Check for the tear strength<br />

of the fabrics: the higher the better.<br />

For poles, most backpacking tents use<br />

aluminium, which offers an excellent<br />

balance of high strength and durability,<br />

plus low weight. Cheaper tents might<br />

use fibreglass poles, while some ultralight<br />

tents employ carbon fibre poles,<br />

both of which can be more delicate<br />

than aluminium.<br />

3<br />

KNOW YOUR<br />

TENT SHAPES<br />

Different tent designs have<br />

different advantages, so you need to<br />

understand their differences to pick<br />

the one that’s right for you.<br />

■ TUNNEL – Offers the best space-toweight<br />

ratio, and often has the maximum<br />

useable space. Great for backpacking.<br />

FEATURED<br />

PRODUCT<br />

MARMOT SUPERALLOY 2P<br />

£550<br />

The Superalloy 2P (left) is a superlight,<br />

comfortable 2-person tent weighing just<br />

1070g. With a small pack size, it’s ideal<br />

for wilderness camping when every<br />

gram counts. Whether you are racing,<br />

training or just keeping the weight<br />

down, you will barely notice<br />

this tent in your pack.<br />

■ DOME/GEODESIC – True domes have all<br />

poles crossing at the centre peak, while<br />

geodesic poles have multiple crossing<br />

points. Both are good all-rounders with<br />

excellent strength. They’re good choices<br />

for mountains, but they can be heavier<br />

and less spacious than tunnel models.<br />

■ RIDGE – The classic pointed tent<br />

design. Those pitching with trekking<br />

poles are very light and a fine choice<br />

for backpackers who prefer a more<br />

minimalist, closer-to-nature feel.<br />

4<br />

DOUBLE OR SINGLE<br />

WALL CONSTRUCTION?<br />

Double wall tent constructions<br />

give you an inner canopy to sleep inside,<br />

plus a waterproof outer layer to keep the<br />

weather out. They’re drier and generally<br />

provide better ventilation. Single skin<br />

designs have a single layer of waterproof<br />

fabric, so can be very light, but can also<br />

suffer more from condensation.<br />

5<br />

HOW MANY PEOPLE?<br />

Tents range from one-person<br />

designs to huge base camp tents<br />

with multiple bedrooms. We’ve focused<br />

on one- or two-person options, as they’re<br />

best for mountain use. Note, smaller<br />

two-person tents are also good for<br />

single use as they offer more comfort<br />

and more space for your gear.<br />

6<br />

MAKE SURE OF THE FIT<br />

Check the floor space is at least<br />

as long as your body, but don’t<br />

forget you need to sit up too. Measure your<br />

height when sitting, then compare this to<br />

the maximum internal height of the tent.<br />

Also, if you’re going to be carrying your<br />

tent on your back, check that it packs down<br />

small enough to fit in your rucksack.<br />

7<br />

PERSONAL<br />

PREFERENCE<br />

Comfort is an essential part<br />

of choosing the right tent. Do you want<br />

a space of your own, or do you prefer to<br />

share your shelter? Do you want a porch<br />

for storing gear or would you rather have<br />

everything inside? Do you prefer one or<br />

two doors (a big advantage of two doors<br />

is that one is always out of the wind)?<br />

ADVERTISEMENT PROMOTION<br />

WWW.MARMOT.COM<br />

MARMOT SELECTION<br />

MARMOT TUNGSTEN UL 2P<br />

£500<br />

The Tungsten UL 2P is great for escaping to<br />

the wilderness without additional weight,<br />

weighing 1340 grams. Great for you and<br />

a friend to camp out in the wilderness<br />

in comfort.<br />

MARMOT ALVAR UL 2P<br />

£450<br />

With external poles this tent is great<br />

for a quick and easy pitch in bad weather.<br />

Perfect for regular campers who need<br />

a little more durability than some<br />

of the Ultralight options.<br />

MARMOT VAPOR 2P<br />

£350<br />

A long-standing Marmot tent, designed for<br />

durability. With all the features you would<br />

expect and available in a choice of 2 colours.<br />

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TENTS<br />

GEAR OF<br />

THE YEAR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

SEA TO SUMMIT ALTO TR1 PLUS £425<br />

With wild camping and backpacking going mainstream, cutting<br />

through the noise to pick out the best tents is getting trickier.<br />

But the Alto TR1 Plus (1228g) is amazingly roomy – with what must<br />

be best-in-class headroom, liveability and all-round spaciousness.<br />

This is achieved via a rather ingenious skeletal, all-in-one pole<br />

structure featuring the ‘Tension Ridge’ – a cross pole that widens<br />

the peak and creates near-perpendicular walls, angling upwards<br />

like a wingspan to maximise head and shoulder room.<br />

VERDICT A tent notable for its roomy interior and amazing<br />

headroom, making it our pick of the bunch for <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

LACHLAN GARDINER<br />

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NEMO DAGGER 2P £450<br />

With its generous headroom and floor space,<br />

plus twin doors and two spacious porches,<br />

the Dagger is great for weight-conscious<br />

campers who appreciate plenty of room to<br />

spread out. It pitches inner-first but is super<br />

quick to set up. You also get great airflow that<br />

minimises condensation, though this is a slight<br />

disadvantage in colder and breezier conditions.<br />

VERDICT Not quite the perfect tent, but<br />

one that offers exceptional space-to-weight,<br />

making it roomier and more liveable than most<br />

rivals, while still weighing well under 2kg.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

EXPED LYRA II £290<br />

Well-made and easy to pitch with a straightforward design and<br />

a hubbed pole set that maximises interior space, the Lyra II<br />

is a no-nonsense 3-season backpacking tent. You also get<br />

excellent headroom and ample ventilation throughout.<br />

Two doors and twin porches offer plenty of gear<br />

storage and easy entry/exit, without you having<br />

to clamber over your partner to get out.<br />

VERDICT The quality materials, practical<br />

design and airy, spacious interior of this<br />

two-person backpacking tent promise easy<br />

and breezy camping for you and a partner.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

GOSSAMER GEAR THE ONE £275<br />

For just 505g, this single-skin trekking pole tent is really<br />

spacious. The two-pole structure creates a high peak and<br />

near vertical walls, while the sewn-in mesh keeps the<br />

midges at bay. It is draughty and prone to condensation, but<br />

all-round liveability is<br />

amazing considering<br />

the low weight.<br />

I absolutely love it.<br />

VERDICT An<br />

incredibly<br />

lightweight, singleskin<br />

tent erected with<br />

trekking poles.<br />

USED BY<br />

James Forrest,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR 1 year<br />

NORDISK<br />

OPPERMAN<br />

3 SI £595<br />

The space you<br />

get in this 3-man<br />

tent for just 3.6kg is<br />

quite incredible. With a<br />

footprint of 430x210cm, you get a huge<br />

porch for all your kit or sheltering from the rain,<br />

and a spacious sleeping area which was ideal for three people<br />

– or two people and a spaniel that likes to stretch out. We loved<br />

it for multi-day backpacking when space and comfort becomes<br />

more important. A LW version is also available (1446g / £880),<br />

but when carried between two or three we’re not complaining.<br />

VERDICT<br />

Comfy camping in this spacious<br />

tent for three with a huge porch.<br />

USED BY<br />

Jenna Maryniak, <strong>Trail</strong> deputy editor<br />

USED FOR<br />

7 months<br />

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72


TENTS<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

MSR HUBBA NX SOLO £435<br />

A cleverly-designed skeletal pole creates<br />

near-vertical walls and maximum head room<br />

in this palatial tent for one (1.29kg). A goodsized<br />

side porch and a non-tapered floor<br />

add to the sense of spaciousness. The inner,<br />

which is pitched first, is freestanding with a<br />

bathtub-style floor and mesh upper for good<br />

ventilation, while the Durashield-coated<br />

flysheet provides 3-season rated protection.<br />

VERDICT A superb 3-season tent with<br />

great features and excellent liveability.<br />

ROBENS PIONEER 2EX £245<br />

A 2-person tunnel tent with a generous and well-protected<br />

porch area, the Pioneer 2EX is a very practical<br />

campsite shelter. Big enough to sit, cook or relax<br />

in, it’s a welcoming home from home to return<br />

to after a day in the hills – especially if it’s<br />

raining. Front and rear vents also create<br />

good airflow, so it suffers less from<br />

condensation compared to most<br />

tunnel designs.<br />

VERDICT If you’re going<br />

camping in Snowdonia,<br />

the Lake District or Scotland this summer<br />

but don’t want to take a monster family tent, this<br />

roomy 2-person shelter fits the bill perfectly.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

TENTBOX LITE £995<br />

Just when you think you’ve seen it all in outdoor gear<br />

design, along comes a big box that secures to the top of your<br />

car, then folds open to reveal a quite lovely 2-person tent<br />

complete with a memory foam mattress. This is the Tentbox<br />

Lite, which has been designed to effectively turn your car<br />

into a campervan. It attaches to any vehicle with roof bars,<br />

comes with a telescopic ladder for quick access, and folds<br />

out so easily that once you’ve found your camping spot<br />

you’ll be set up in less than 5 minutes. There are also<br />

doors at both ends, windows on both sides for ventilation,<br />

and even a skylight on the roof for stargazing.<br />

VERDICT It certainly isn’t cheap so you<br />

really need to buy into the roof tent concept,<br />

but if you do this is a very cool bit of kit.<br />

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TENTS, BIVVIES & TARPS<br />

WILD COUNTRY ZEPHYROS COMPACT 1 V3 £200<br />

For this very affordable price, you get a 4000mm-rated flysheet<br />

and 5000mm groundsheet, simple all-in-one pitching, a goodsized<br />

inner, compact pack-away and a low-profile for ‘shedding’<br />

wind. The inner’s door has a huge 180˚ opening for ease<br />

of entry and exit, and its mesh upper section improves<br />

ventilation alongside two further vents at each end.<br />

The weight is 1570g.<br />

VERDICT A great all-round tent at a great<br />

price – but it’s heavier than ideal.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

OUTDOOR RESEARCH<br />

HELIUM BIVVY £225<br />

Updated for <strong>2022</strong> with even lighter and Bluesign<br />

approved material, the Helium is a great option<br />

for lightweight backpacking. With a hooped<br />

head, incorporating a fly mesh, or a fully<br />

waterproof opening, it weighs less than 500g.<br />

The groundsheet is made of more waterproof<br />

material and a sleepmat fits inside, with room<br />

still for kit inside if you’re not too tall.<br />

VERDICT A great bivvy bag with<br />

the comfort of headroom.<br />

MSR FREELITE 2 £475<br />

New for <strong>2022</strong>, MSR has updated the FreeLite series of tents<br />

to make them even lighter. At just 1.06kg, the 2-person<br />

FreeLite is now 270g lighter than the previous model,<br />

and includes added features for ease-of-use and<br />

durability, including no-curve door zippers,<br />

extra storage pockets and reinforced tension<br />

points (for when the weather inevitably<br />

turns). The 1-person version weighs just 890g.<br />

VERDICT An ultralight, spacious tent for two with a<br />

truly rectangular floor and near-vertical walls.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

TARPTENT SCARP 2 £395<br />

This US-made tent has become my go-to for wild<br />

camps and backpacking trips in all seasons. It<br />

pitches all-in-one, is super roomy inside and<br />

has excellent headroom (essential when you’re<br />

6ft+). It can be purchased with an upgraded fabric inner<br />

and additional crossing poles to turn it into a true 4-season<br />

mountain tent too – both of which are well worth adding for<br />

UK use.<br />

VERDICT I’ve pitched this tent all over the place, in sun,<br />

rain and snow, and it’s<br />

never let me down.<br />

Roomy for two, sturdy and<br />

lightweight, it ticks all the<br />

boxes as a dependable<br />

adventure tent.<br />

USED BY Matt Jones,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR 3 years<br />

RAB RIDGE RAIDER<br />

BIVI I £350<br />

I’ve always loved the<br />

Ridge Raider, if only<br />

for the name alone.<br />

But this updated<br />

version from Rab takes what<br />

was already a great compromise<br />

between a body-bag style bivvy and<br />

an actual tent and makes it better.<br />

The Pertex Shield Air (replacing eVent<br />

in the old Raider) waterproof fabric offers<br />

impressive condensation control, while the addition of a pole at<br />

the foot end provides more space. And because it’s still just 890g<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

it’s now an even better alternative to a tent for go-light backpackers.<br />

VERDICT A great update that makes one of the best poled bivvies even better.<br />

USED BY Ben Weeks, <strong>Trail</strong> senior writer<br />

USED FOR 6 months<br />

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SLEEPING BAGS<br />

BUYING GUIDE<br />

Finding the right sleeping bag depends on lots of different factors, so<br />

here’s our guide to help you make the best purchase for a restful night.<br />

1<br />

WHAT TIME OF YEAR<br />

ARE YOU CAMPING?<br />

Sleeping bags tend to be broken into<br />

three categories: summer, 3-season and winter.<br />

All three types are pretty self-explanatory,<br />

with summer bags lighter and less insulated;<br />

3-season bags slightly thicker to keep you warm<br />

through spring, summer and autumn; and winter<br />

bags bigger and bulkier to cope with serious<br />

sub-zero mountain conditions.<br />

2<br />

TEMPERATURE RATINGS<br />

EXPLAINED<br />

Sleeping bags are commonly<br />

graded by the EN/ISO standard, stating<br />

temperature ratings as ‘comfort’ (warm<br />

enough for the average female), ‘comfort<br />

limit’ (warm enough for the average male),<br />

and ‘extreme’ (you won’t die, but it’ll be very<br />

uncomfortable). To confuse matters, some<br />

brands publish their own in-house temperature<br />

ratings (eg the ‘Rab Sleep Limit’).<br />

3<br />

WHAT<br />

TYPE OF<br />

INSULATION DO<br />

YOU WANT?<br />

This really comes down to a simple choice<br />

between down or synthetic. Here are the<br />

pros and cons of both...<br />

■ DOWN INSULATION<br />

Made from goose or duck plumage – the lofty,<br />

fluffy stuff underneath the feathers – down<br />

is the lightest and most efficient form of<br />

insulation, and also the most compressible<br />

(so is great for stuffing into your backpack).<br />

The drawbacks are that down is more expensive<br />

and loses its insulating qualities when wet.<br />

■ SYNTHETIC INSULATION<br />

Synthetic bags are typically bulkier and heavier,<br />

but they’re also usually cheaper and don’t<br />

absorb water, which makes them a good choice<br />

for the wet conditions usually found in Britain.<br />

4<br />

DOWN FILL POWER<br />

& FILL WEIGHT<br />

Fill power is a rating system for<br />

down that measures compressibility and loft<br />

(fluffiness) – and gives an indication of its insulating<br />

properties. A higher fill power indicates better<br />

quality down and a greater warmth-to-weight ratio.<br />

Fill weight is the amount of down in a bag, measured<br />

in grams. The higher the fill weight, the warmer a<br />

bag will be. This means that it’s important to check<br />

both the fill weight and fill power. A sleeping bag<br />

with only 650 fill power down can still be as warm as<br />

a bag with 900 fill power down, for example, if it has<br />

a higher fill weight (ie more down) inside the bag.<br />

5<br />

CONSTRUCTION IS KEY<br />

The better the construction<br />

method of your sleeping bag,<br />

the less opportunity there will be for<br />

the insulation to migrate and leave cold<br />

spots. Down bags use internal fabric<br />

baffles (dividing walls between the<br />

insulation) of various shapes and<br />

sizes to trap the down where it<br />

is needed most. Larger baffles<br />

give more space for insulation<br />

to loft, smaller baffles help<br />

stop the fill from spreading<br />

out. Synthetic bags are<br />

usually made from one<br />

or two layers of insulation<br />

attached to the inner and<br />

outer materials.<br />

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SLEEPING E BAGS<br />

THERM-A-REST EST SELECTION<br />

S A R O S<br />

20F/-6C<br />

£180<br />

FEATURED<br />

PRODUCT<br />

T H E R M - A - R E S T<br />

HYPERION 20F/-6C<br />

£415<br />

Built to provide featherlight pack weight<br />

and high-performance warmth, the<br />

Hyperion 20F/-6C sleeping bag is<br />

among the lightest in its class.<br />

ADVERTISEMENT PROMOTION<br />

6<br />

KEY FEATURES<br />

TO CONSIDER<br />

■ ZIPS<br />

A full-length zip allows you to<br />

vent heat and makes getting<br />

in and out easier, though a<br />

shorter zip saves weight.<br />

■ FABRIC<br />

Shells and linings are usually<br />

made from nylon, though<br />

cheaper bags use polyester.<br />

■ CUT<br />

Most sleeping bags are available<br />

in different lengths or widths,<br />

as well as women’s specific fit.<br />

■ SHOULDER BAFFLE<br />

An extra neck or shoulder baffle<br />

helps to lock heat inside the bag.<br />

■ HOOD<br />

An insulated and close-fitting hood<br />

makes a big difference in cold<br />

conditions. Look for a sleeping<br />

bag with hood drawcords<br />

so you can adjust the fit.<br />

VESPER<br />

E 3 2 F / 0 C<br />

£315<br />

P A R S E C<br />

20F/-6C<br />

£380<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

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SLEEPING BAGS<br />

GEAR OF<br />

THE YEAR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

THERM-A-REST<br />

HYPERION 20˚F/-6˚C £415<br />

If you’re serious about wild camping and<br />

backpacking, you can’t beat this sleeping<br />

bag. High quality, 900 fill power goose down<br />

delivers an EN/ISO comfort rating of 0˚C,<br />

despite weighing just 580g –so the overall<br />

warmth-to-weight ratio is top-notch. This<br />

is aided by the zoned design, with 70% of<br />

insulation placed on the top and sides (where<br />

you need it most) and 30% on the underside,<br />

while the box baffled construction further<br />

boosts loft and minimises cold spots.<br />

VERDICT An excellent mummy-style sleeping<br />

bag and delivered at a superb weight.<br />

TOM BAILEY<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

78


ROBENS MORAINE III £115<br />

This well-priced bag looks ideal for wild<br />

camps and backpacking trips from late<br />

spring through to early autumn. With a<br />

comfort rating of 3°C and a lower limit<br />

of -2°C, you should stay warm even if<br />

temperatures drop to single digits. It’s<br />

comfortable and versatile too, since<br />

an L-shaped zip means it opens out<br />

flat for use as a duvet. It also has an<br />

impressively small pack size for a<br />

synthetic bag.<br />

VERDICT A well-made and great<br />

value sleeping bag with hard-wearing<br />

synthetic fill, a small pack size and<br />

plenty of practical features.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

ROBENS ICEFALL PRO 900 £187<br />

Rated 0˚C for comfort, the MicroThermo Ball synthetic<br />

insulation in this bag mimics the performance of<br />

down superbly, puffing out into a plump and supercosy<br />

haven. The interior is luxurious, courtesy of a<br />

whopping 900g fill of polyester clusters, and all-round<br />

warmth is further enhanced by a good hood, wellpadded<br />

neck baffle, two thick tube-like zipper baffles,<br />

and the box-wall construction.<br />

VERDICT A super-fluffy, cosily-insulated synthetic<br />

sleeping bag at a great price.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

SELK’BAG LITE 6G £100<br />

Somewhere between a synthetic sleeping bag<br />

and a high-altitude suit, the summer-focused<br />

Selk’bag Lite offers a near-perfect combination of cosy comfort<br />

and mobility. The feet are reinforced but can be zipped off to wear<br />

the Selk’bag with regular shoes, and the sleeves have<br />

built-in mitts to fully enclose your hands. Add in<br />

the drawstring hood and I felt as snug as a bug<br />

in a rug. People will stare. They may laugh.<br />

But on the inside, they’re seething with<br />

jealousy.<br />

VERDICT It might look daft, but it’s<br />

comfortable, convenient, and warm<br />

enough for summer camps (thicker<br />

Selk’bags are available for other<br />

seasons).<br />

USED BY Ben Weeks,<br />

<strong>Trail</strong> senior writer<br />

USED FOR 1 year<br />

ALPKIT PIPEDREAM 400 £200<br />

The Pipedream pops up in almost every <strong>Trail</strong><br />

sleeping bag test for good reason. Price, low<br />

weight and decent packed size, mean it’s my<br />

bag of choice for summer sleep-outs. The 750<br />

fill power goose down offers good warmth for its 865g.<br />

It’s also hydrophobic and housed in a moisture-resistant<br />

shell, improving damp-weather performance.<br />

VERDICT Superbly priced down bag<br />

for lightweight 3-season backpacking.<br />

USED BY Jenna Maryniak, <strong>Trail</strong> deputy editor<br />

USED FOR 3 years<br />

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SLEEPING E BAGS<br />

BIG AGNES<br />

SIDEWINDER SL35<br />

£250<br />

If you’re a side sleeper<br />

or tend to toss and turn<br />

in your tent, you’ll love<br />

this clever 650FP down<br />

bag. The design moves<br />

with you as you roll over,<br />

with a specially shaped<br />

footbox and hood, plus<br />

zoned fill with synthetic<br />

inserts to alleviate<br />

pressure points at the hips.<br />

Warm enough to take you<br />

down to single digit temps<br />

and with a competitive weight<br />

and pack size,<br />

it’s a great option for<br />

2-season use.<br />

VERDICT One of the most<br />

innovative sleeping bags<br />

we’ve tested in recent<br />

years, this down bag<br />

is the perfect camp<br />

companion for side<br />

sleepers who are sick<br />

of getting twisted and<br />

tangled up at night.<br />

RAB ASCENT<br />

700 £270<br />

The down’s fill<br />

power is only 650,<br />

but there’s a lot<br />

of it – 700g to be<br />

precise, which<br />

ensures a solid<br />

comfort rating<br />

of -2˚C. The<br />

adjustable hood is<br />

well-shaped with<br />

good coverage,<br />

there’s a thick and<br />

close-fitting neck<br />

baffle for sealing<br />

out the cold, and<br />

the Pertex Quantum<br />

outer fabric is more<br />

durable and tougher<br />

than the shells of<br />

many other bags. The<br />

overall weight<br />

is 1290g.<br />

VERDICT A mid-<br />

range, affordable<br />

down sleeping bag<br />

that’s reliably warm.<br />

EXPED COMFORT -5° £285<br />

This light and compact 3-season down sleeping bag has a comfort range<br />

from 2°C to -4°C. It boasts an ergonomic mummy hood and trapezoidal<br />

footbox, plus a side arm zipper so you can poke both arms out (ideal for<br />

sipping morning coffee). It unzips fully into a duvet and has extra strong<br />

double tuck-stitch seams that also prevent down loss and limit moisture<br />

ingress in damp conditions.<br />

VERDICT With its small packsize, competitive weight and lofty 700FP<br />

down, this is a well-designed sleeping bag with plenty of practical features<br />

that add both functionality and durability for tent life.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

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SIERRA DESIGNS CLOUD 800 20° £335<br />

This sleeping bag is a maverick. There’s no zip, but<br />

it still opens wide thanks to a curved, wraparound<br />

‘comforter’ – a duvet-like flap that pulls over your<br />

upper body. This delivers a sensation far more<br />

akin to your beloved bed at home than any other<br />

sleeping bag. With 419g of 800 fill power down<br />

and a -3˚C comfort rating, warmth is pretty<br />

impressive for the price too.<br />

VERDICT A versatile, warm and extremely<br />

comfy sleeping bag with an innovative design –<br />

but the quilt-like approach won’t suit everyone.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT FIRELITE £500<br />

Securing an EN/ISO comfort rating of -2˚C but weighing<br />

in at just 770g, the Firelite is warmer than many bags<br />

over 1kg. This is achieved through a healthy 469g portion<br />

of 800 fill power goose down, which feels reassuringly<br />

thick and should perform to the quoted temperature<br />

ratings. You also get an ultralight Plasma 10-denier<br />

shell, a full-length zipper, and an adjustable hood.<br />

VERDICT A reliable sleeping bag with premium<br />

features and insulation – but it’s rather pricey.<br />

THERM-A-REST PARSEC<br />

20F/-6C £360<br />

With premium 800FP moistureresistant<br />

down, durable fabrics and<br />

some innovative features, this is a<br />

warm and well-built bag designed to<br />

keep you warm down to 0°C. Unusual<br />

design elements include zoned fill,<br />

an unusual ‘foot warmer’ flap in the<br />

toe-box, a thermal lining designed to<br />

trap radiant body heat and nifty straps<br />

that attach the bag securely to your<br />

sleeping mat.<br />

VERDICT A luxurious 3-season<br />

sleeping bag made from robust<br />

fabrics, with high-end down fill plus<br />

a few unique and innovative features<br />

that set it apart from most rivals.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

RAB NEUTRINO 600 £440<br />

A bag that’ll cope with most<br />

British winters, plus very cold<br />

spring and autumn wild camps. I<br />

used it recently on a windy (-17°C<br />

wind chill) summit camp in a tent that wasn’t<br />

really up to it. This bag was though. With 800<br />

fill power goose down, it’s rated to -12°C.<br />

From warm feet to a snug head, this bag<br />

does its job over your whole body, without<br />

being too restrictive if you’re a lively<br />

sleeper (which I am!). One I’m<br />

going to cherish.<br />

VERDICT Packable warmth for the<br />

colder months and shoulder season<br />

summits if you feel the cold.<br />

USED BY Tom Bailey, <strong>Trail</strong><br />

photographer & writer<br />

USED FOR 3 months<br />

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SLEEPING MATS<br />

BUYING GUIDE<br />

Essential for a good night’s rest, sleep mats come in three varieties.<br />

Here’s <strong>Trail</strong>’s guide to finding the best one for you.<br />

1<br />

WHICH DESIGN?<br />

Sleeping mats come in three<br />

primary designs. The lowestpriced<br />

type is the closed-cell foam<br />

mat, which is durable and surprisingly<br />

lightweight, but quite bulky to carry and the<br />

least comfortable option. Next up the price<br />

scale is the self-inflating mat, which has<br />

a layer of foam sandwiched between two<br />

layers of material; which provide air pockets<br />

for more comfort. They’re more compact<br />

than closed-cell foam mats, but heavier.<br />

Finally, the air mat, which has baffles inside<br />

to trap air once inflated. These are very<br />

lightweight and compact but tend to be a<br />

little bouncy and not generally very warm,<br />

unless they have additional insulation inside,<br />

which some do (but they cost more).<br />

2<br />

WATCH<br />

YOUR WEIGHT<br />

The lighter the mat, the lighter<br />

your rucksack when backpacking.<br />

If you’re camping near the car this weight is<br />

likely to be of little concern. But the focus<br />

for <strong>Trail</strong> readers is often low weight with<br />

comfort – so we’ve focused on mats that<br />

are good for wild camping when the mat<br />

has to be carried for a few hours at least.<br />

3<br />

SIZE MATTERS<br />

Most mats we test are around<br />

180cm long and 50cm wide, which<br />

is the standard size; but you can get shorter<br />

and longer options either to save weight or<br />

to fit your body size better. The thickness of<br />

mats varies greatly, and this is important<br />

to note as it will affect comfort, as well<br />

as price, weight and packed size.<br />

4<br />

MATERIAL DURABILITY<br />

Closed-cell foam mats can<br />

be punctured with no loss of<br />

performance, but this is not the case with<br />

an air mat or a self-inflating mat. Some<br />

lighter mats may need more care in use<br />

than heavier mats that use harder-wearing<br />

and more puncture-resistant materials.<br />

Some mats come with a puncture repair kit.<br />

5<br />

HEAT RETENTION<br />

A mat will insulate you from<br />

the ground below. Its ability to<br />

prevent heat loss is important, so some<br />

manufacturers provide an R value, which is<br />

a measure of the heat resistance. A rating<br />

of 2 is good for summer and 6 for winter.<br />

Thicker pads generally offer higher R values.<br />

6<br />

PACK IT DOWN<br />

When backpacking you’ll need<br />

to carry the mat in or on your<br />

rucksack. The smaller it is when deflated<br />

and rolled, the easier it is to carry. Closedcell<br />

foam mats often need strapping to<br />

the outside of a rucksack. Compact selfinflating<br />

and air mats will fit in a pack.<br />

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SLEEPING MATS<br />

ROBENS TRAILGUARD 50 £85<br />

One of the most comfortable self-inflating<br />

sleeping mats we’ve tested, the hybrid design<br />

of the <strong>Trail</strong>Guard combines a foam core<br />

with inflatable edge tubes. With 5cm of<br />

insulated cushioning and an insulation<br />

R-value of 5.3 it provides enough<br />

warmth for winter use too, yet<br />

thanks to the lightweight but<br />

durable fabrics used it weighs<br />

just 925g.<br />

VERDICT The unique<br />

combination of foam and<br />

air mat construction<br />

provides an impressive<br />

insulation at<br />

a relatively low<br />

weight.<br />

THERM-A-REST<br />

NEOAIR UBERLITE<br />

£190<br />

Weighing a featherlight<br />

250g, this is one of the<br />

lightest insulated air mats<br />

on the market. It also<br />

packs down to just 15x9cm,<br />

meaning it occupies minimal<br />

space in your pack. Pair it<br />

with an ultralight down<br />

bag/quilt and you’ll have an<br />

efficient sleep system for long<br />

distance hikes or minimalist<br />

mountain missions.<br />

VERDICT With its light weight<br />

and small pack size this is the<br />

ideal mat for fast and light<br />

adventures.<br />

EXPED ULTRA 3R £150-165<br />

Exped’s new lightweight, compact sleeping<br />

mat range gives you three choices of insulation:<br />

air, synthetic or down depending on the ‘R’ rating,<br />

from R1 (10˚C min) to R8 (-40˚C min). All come in<br />

mummy or rectangle shapes and 1-4 also have a double<br />

option. That’s a lot of choices but we reckon the -5˚C rated<br />

3R is best for hillwalking.<br />

VERDICT With so many options it’s practically customisable, this<br />

light, compact sleeping mat also utilises the Schnozzel Pumpbag so<br />

you don’t need to blow it up.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

ROBENS POLARSHIELD 80 £177<br />

More mattress than mat, the Polarshield<br />

is 200cm (6ft 6in) long and puffs up to a<br />

chunky 8cm thick. Weighing 1.6kg it’s not<br />

the lightest but this is still a self-inflating<br />

backpacking mat, not a car camper,<br />

and it packs down to a very reasonable<br />

34x20cm. A good night’s sleep may be<br />

worth those extra grams.<br />

VERDICT Thick, long and temperature<br />

rated to -12°C, this is a sleeping mat<br />

for people who like their comfort.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

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STOVES<br />

BUYING GUIDE<br />

Whether it’s a warming brew at the start of the day or a hearty meal at the end,<br />

you’ll need a compact and practical backpacking stove to serve you well.<br />

1<br />

WHAT TYPE OF STOVE<br />

DO YOU NEED?<br />

■ INTEGRATED, all-in-one,<br />

tower-style cooking systems are simple<br />

to use, compact, lightweight, fast, and<br />

perfect for solo walkers and short trips.<br />

The burner screws directly on top of the<br />

gas canister, and the whole things packs<br />

into its own pot. Many<br />

feature a corrugated<br />

heat exchanger<br />

and a wind<br />

shield, both of<br />

which help<br />

to increase<br />

speed and<br />

efficiency.<br />

■ INDIVIDUAL CANISTER-TOP BURNERS<br />

are the simplest and smallest iteration of<br />

a camp stove, screwing directly on top of<br />

a gas canister. You’ll need to buy your own<br />

cookware, though, so the overall weight<br />

depends on the choice you make here.<br />

Some stoves also connect to the canister<br />

remotely via an insulated hose.<br />

2<br />

FUEL CHOICES<br />

Most camping/hiking stoves<br />

run on canister gas, usually a<br />

mix of isopropane and butane. Integrated<br />

cooking systems and canister stoves are<br />

designed to house a gas canister when<br />

packed. Upsides to this include light<br />

weight, low maintenance and simplicity<br />

of transport. Liquid fuel stoves tend to<br />

burn more readily at higher altitudes and<br />

lower temperatures, but often require<br />

priming and some maintenance.<br />

3<br />

BURNER AND<br />

IGNITION<br />

Standalone stoves tend to<br />

be more powerful, but susceptible to<br />

wind. Integrated burners tend to be<br />

less powerful but have better wind<br />

resistance. Piezo igniters are common<br />

but can be fault-prone, so always bring<br />

another source of ignition with you,<br />

such as matches.<br />

4<br />

DOES IT COME WITH<br />

A REGULATOR?<br />

This compensates for the loss<br />

of pressure in a gas canister caused at<br />

altitude or as it empties. Stoves with<br />

this feature give you a steadily similar<br />

boil time throughout the lifetime of the<br />

canister while the performance of those<br />

without tends to drop as the canister<br />

empties, or in high or cold conditions.<br />

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HORNET BRS-3000T £18<br />

Available on Amazon for £18, the Hornet BRS-3000T weighs<br />

just 26g – a stone cold bargain and weight-saving revelation.<br />

Performance isn’t exceptionally powerful or speedy, but who<br />

cares at this price? Ultimately this toy-sized stove works<br />

perfectly fine, screwing easily atop a canister and holding your<br />

pot in place via serrated support arms.<br />

VERDICT An incredibly light canister-top stove at<br />

a bargain basement price – but it’s very basic.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST<br />

VALUE<br />

MSR LOWDOWN REMOTE STOVE ADAPTER £45<br />

Although not a stove in its own right, added to any one of MSR’s<br />

canister-top mounted burners (including the PocketRocket<br />

series, Reactor series, or the WindBurner Personal) the<br />

LowDown makes these stoves even more useable and effective.<br />

By taking the burner mount away from the gas canister and<br />

giving it its own platform, the LowDown makes these stoves<br />

lower and more balanced, as well as distancing the simmer<br />

control from the flame.<br />

VERDICT An essential add-on to any of MSR’s fantastic but<br />

top-heavy canister mounted stoves.<br />

SOTO WINDMASTER £55<br />

A <strong>Trail</strong> ‘Best in Test’ winner for two years running, this small<br />

but mighty Japanese-designed stove is just about the best lightweight<br />

backpacking stove out there. Its impressively low weight, tiny pack<br />

size and impressive performance, especially in gusty conditions, all<br />

elevate it above the competition. Unlike inferior ultralight models, it<br />

also packs in a built-in igniter and a micro regulator.<br />

VERDICT For fast and light wild camping weekends or multi-day<br />

backpacking trips when you want maximum performance and<br />

minimum weight, this brilliant stove is our number one pick.<br />

MAGAZINE<br />

BEST IN<br />

TEST<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

JETBOIL STASH £140<br />

I took this integrated cooking system on a 5-day winter hike of<br />

the Dales High Way. I loved the pot, which has excellent features<br />

(fold-out insulated handle and plastic lid with pouring hole)<br />

and works well as a bowl or mug. The boil times were decent<br />

(but not spectacular), yet the all-round cohesive design, low-ish weight<br />

(239g) and stable, squat shape were impressive.<br />

VERDICT An excellent integrated cooking system<br />

with clever features – but it’s a tad expensive.<br />

USED BY James Forrest, <strong>Trail</strong> contributor<br />

USED FOR 3 months<br />

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86


MSR POCKETROCKET DELUXE £80<br />

Lightweight and compact with a rapid boil time, there’s little to<br />

dislike about the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe canister-top stove<br />

(3200W, 98g). It is feature-rich, with an in-built lighter, three<br />

fold-away support prongs, valve controller, wide burner head,<br />

excellent simmer control, and concave design with protective<br />

lip, which significantly improves performance in wind.<br />

VERDICT<br />

A high-performing, lightweight<br />

and fast-boiling canister-top stove.<br />

STOVES<br />

TOM BAILEY<br />

PRIMUS LITE+ XL £135<br />

The Lite+ stove is a tower-style,<br />

all-in-one cooking system, including<br />

aluminium pot with integrated heat<br />

exchanger, stove with piezo ignition,<br />

fuel stabiliser, and bio-plastic lid.<br />

New for <strong>2022</strong>, the Lite+ XL is a larger<br />

version of the original Lite+, featuring a<br />

1L pot and a more powerful 1700W output<br />

– ideal for bigger meals or cooking for two.<br />

The use of recycled plastics and cork also<br />

enhance this stove’s eco credentials.<br />

VERDICT A stylish and well-made all-inone<br />

stove system with a big capacity.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

OPTIMUS GEMINI DOUBLE STOVE £165<br />

The multi award-winning Gemini weighs just<br />

788g, making it a proper backpacking stove, but<br />

with twin burners allows you to cook two things<br />

at once using just one gas canister. An absolute<br />

game changer. At 30cm<br />

long, 7cm wide and<br />

10cm high, it’s also fairly<br />

compact and, sitting low<br />

to the ground, very<br />

stable.<br />

VERDICT<br />

A unique stove that allows<br />

you to cook for two people<br />

at once or prepare<br />

two things at once.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

MSR REACTOR 1 LITRE £250<br />

These don’t hang around long in outdoor shops. Hardly surprising<br />

– the Reactor is one of the fastest and most fuel-efficient stoves<br />

ever made, its statistics beating most other stoves on paper<br />

and on the hill. While not suited to cooking food, it’s capable<br />

of boiling a full litre of water in just 3 minutes using only 10g of gas, making<br />

it perfect for use with dehydrated or boil-in-the-bag meals,<br />

as well as melting snow and brewing tea or coffee.<br />

VERDICT The best stove I’ve ever owned. Increasingly<br />

hard to find these days, and you’re not having mine.<br />

USED BY Ben Weeks, <strong>Trail</strong> senior writer<br />

USED FOR 2 years<br />

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CAMPING KIT<br />

BUYING GUIDE<br />

You’ve got the tent and sleeping bag sorted, but you’ll need far more than that to<br />

really enjoy your wild camp. Here’s what to pack for that perfect overnight trip.<br />

1<br />

TAKE SOMETHING<br />

TO SIT ON<br />

British mountains aren’t<br />

famed for being dry and comfortable,<br />

so unless you want to get your backside<br />

soaked you’ll need something to sit on<br />

outside your tent. Your rucksack can do a<br />

half-decent job as a makeshift seat, but a<br />

dedicated sit-mat or lightweight air chair<br />

would be perfect if you can squeeze it in.<br />

2<br />

WHAT ARE YOU<br />

PLANNING TO EAT?<br />

Cold sandwiches and chocolate<br />

bars are great, but hot meals are even<br />

better once you’ve pitched your tent and<br />

finally kicked off those boots at the end<br />

of a long day in the hills. From portable<br />

stoves and cookware, to thermal mugs<br />

and even collapsible kettles and pans,<br />

there are options out there for every<br />

type of meal, from boil-in-the-bag<br />

curry to al fresco fine dining.<br />

3<br />

WATERPROOF THE<br />

GEAR IN YOUR PACK<br />

Just because your camping gear<br />

is packed safely inside your rucksack,<br />

that doesn’t mean it’ll be safe from<br />

the elements. Most hillwalking packs<br />

aren’t waterproof and not all of them<br />

come with a dedicated raincover, so it’s<br />

good practice to buy a set of dry-bags<br />

of varying sizes to protect everything<br />

stashed inside. There are loads of<br />

options out there, from super-lightweight<br />

bags you’ll hardly notice you’re carrying,<br />

to more heavy-duty, submersible,<br />

abrasion-resistant materials.<br />

4<br />

DON’T FORGET<br />

YOUR TOOLS<br />

Multi-tools, pen-knives,<br />

repair kits, safety pins... it’s always<br />

best to go fully prepared with a small<br />

toolkit on an overnight camp. Whether<br />

you snap a tent pole, break a rucksack<br />

strap or tear a hole in your favourite<br />

jacket, you’ve got nothing to worry<br />

about if you have the right gadget.<br />

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weather-proofing for the items<br />

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the elements.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

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CAMPING KIT<br />

SEATOSUMMIT<br />

SELECTION<br />

X SET 11 £50<br />

5<br />

6<br />

7<br />

LET THERE BE LIGHT<br />

It gets pretty dark on top<br />

of a mountain when the sun<br />

goes down. You should already have a<br />

headtorch in your pack, but that doesn’t<br />

need to be the limit of your lighting. From<br />

solar-powered fairy lights to rechargeable<br />

lanterns, there are loads of great options<br />

to illuminate your wild camp.<br />

PACK SOME<br />

CREATURE COMFORTS<br />

Despite what the hardcore<br />

fanatics tell you, camping doesn’t always<br />

have to be a complete suffer-fest. We’re<br />

not talking about taking a dressing gown<br />

and slippers with you; but there’s nothing<br />

wrong with sticking a few more luxurious<br />

items like a packable travel towel, wash<br />

kit, hipflask or even a portable cafetière<br />

in your pack before setting off.<br />

BE WARY OF<br />

WILD WATER<br />

Even fast-moving mountain water<br />

can carry harmful pollutants, so it’s best<br />

not to just scoop it up and start drinking<br />

if you can avoid it. That leaves you with<br />

the options of carrying water with you<br />

in a large bottle or flask, zapping it with<br />

something like a Steripen, filtering out<br />

small debris using a portable filtration<br />

system, treating it with chlorine- and<br />

iodine-based products, or boiling it on<br />

a stove. Choose the system that works<br />

for you, then grab a product to make it<br />

happen.<br />

8<br />

DON’T JUST PACK<br />

A SLEEPING BAG<br />

Your sleeping bag will (hopefully)<br />

be what keeps you warm through the<br />

night, but you’ll need more than that to<br />

make a comfy makeshift bed. First of all<br />

you’ll need a good sleeping mat, which<br />

not only provides a cushioned surface<br />

beneath you but also insulates you from<br />

the cold ground. If you’re camping<br />

in cold weather, consider a thin<br />

sleeping bag liner to add a layer<br />

of extra warmth. And don’t<br />

forget, there are some great<br />

options out there for packable<br />

camping pillows!<br />

FIRST AID DRY SACK £10<br />

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AIR SEAT INSULATED £26<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

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IDAHOAN INSTANT MASH £1 PER 109G<br />

If you don’t already know this,<br />

instant mash can be a gamechanger<br />

on backpacking trips. It’s<br />

cheap, light to carry, easy to make<br />

(even on a tiny stove) and is pretty<br />

filling. Until recently we always<br />

bought SMASH, probably because of<br />

the famous slogan from the old TV<br />

adverts. But actually, this stuff is so<br />

much tastier, and it even comes in<br />

buttery, cheddar cheese or cheese<br />

and bacon flavours.<br />

VERDICT If you’re backpacking on<br />

a budget, this stuff is far cheaper<br />

than dehydrated or freeze-dried<br />

meals and makes a half-decent<br />

supper when mixed with a bit of<br />

chorizo or smoked sausage.<br />

LAKELAND<br />

LONG-LIFE<br />

MILK 24<br />

SACHETS £3.55<br />

If you like a cuppa in<br />

the morning, then<br />

your backpacking<br />

trips will be no<br />

different. In fact,<br />

there’s nothing<br />

better than a hot beverage when sleeping wild. We<br />

discovered these bulk-buy UHT milk sachets on<br />

Amazon and they work perfectly. The Best Before<br />

dates usually run into months, and there’s no need<br />

to keep them refrigerated. They fit into your pack<br />

easily – just remember to protect them from getting<br />

squished so they don’t burst!<br />

VERDICT Fancy a cuppa to start the day?<br />

No problem.<br />

THETENTLAB THE DEUCE #2 UL TROWEL £21<br />

A latrine trowel for digging holes to do your business in isn’t exactly a<br />

glamorous item of kit. But somehow The TentLab has brought some real<br />

design flair and creativity to this superb product. At just 17g,<br />

it’s incredibly light and slim (ideal for weight-conscious<br />

backpackers), and the aerospace-grade aluminium delivers<br />

superb digging power. Other options include The Deuce #1<br />

UUL (12g) and #3 HD (27g).<br />

VERDICT Probably the best latrine trowel money<br />

can buy – amazingly light and slim, yet strong.<br />

SEA TO SUMMIT AEROS PREMIUM PILLOW £32<br />

A rival to the NEMO Fillo Elite camp pillow, the Sea to Summit<br />

Aeros Premium has a similar weight and pack size, but is slightly<br />

better for side sleepers, as it adds a curved design to help<br />

cradle your head and nestle snugly in the crook of your shoulder.<br />

If you’ve got a Sea to Summit sleeping mat, it can also be attached<br />

via Velcro pads to stop it from sliding off in the night.<br />

VERDICT Up there with the NEMO Fillo Elite as the most<br />

practical wild camping or backpacking pillow we’ve tested<br />

when it comes to balancing comfort, weight and packed size.<br />

SEA TO SUMMIT<br />

LIGHTWEIGHT DRY SACK SET £35<br />

Versatile, light and durable, these little bags offer high quality<br />

construction and performance at a great price. This set includes three<br />

bags: a yellow 4L bag, green 8L one and a 13L blue dry-sack. Made from<br />

a 70-denier nylon with fully taped seams, a 10,000mm hydrostatic head<br />

waterproof rating, and Hypalon roll-top closure, these bags will keep all<br />

of your kit and equipment dry, no matter how rainy it gets.<br />

VERDICT Tough and waterproof dry-bags at an appropriate price.


CAMPING ACCESSORIES<br />

NEMO FILLO ELITE PILLOW £45<br />

Okay, a pillow is a wild camping luxury, not a necessity.<br />

But what’s wrong with a little luxury? And when the luxury in<br />

question weighs just 87g and packs down to the size of a lemon,<br />

it’s not difficult to justify sticking it in your pack. NEMO’s Fillo<br />

Elite is way more comfortable than a bundle of clothes, inflates<br />

in seconds and has an impossible-to-lose integrated stuffsack.<br />

VERDICT Lightweight and super packable, in our opinion<br />

this little luxury is well worth investing in for your next<br />

wild camping or backpacking adventure.<br />

ROBENS MEADOW AL CHAIR £76<br />

What’s better at the end of a long day on the hill than leaning back<br />

in your chair, beer in hand, to watch the sunset? Not much. This<br />

camping chair is brilliant for that with wide feet so it doesn’t sink into<br />

the ground, light but durable aluminium frame, bottle holder and<br />

handy carry bag.<br />

VERDICT Robust,<br />

light and easy<br />

to carry, this<br />

comfortable<br />

camp chair is<br />

ideal for keeping<br />

in the back of<br />

your car.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

YETI CAMINO CARRYALL 35 £150<br />

HELINOX CHAIR ZERO<br />

HIGH BACK £160<br />

The Helinox Chair Zero has been an<br />

iconic ultralight camping chair for<br />

several years, but what if you<br />

need more shoulder support?<br />

Cue front stage the High Back<br />

model. New for <strong>2022</strong>, this version<br />

weighs only 690g and has a load<br />

capacity of 120kg. Combining DAC<br />

aluminium with a tough and lightweight<br />

poly-ripstop seat, it’s extremely portable,<br />

packing into a carry-bag sized 40x12x12cm.<br />

VERDICT A minimalist,<br />

beautifully-engineered camping<br />

chair with extra shoulder<br />

support.<br />

It’s rather pricey for what is essentially just a big tote bag,<br />

but the 35-litre YETI Camino is a super-charged tote bag.<br />

Ultra-tough inside and out, it’s made from a waterproof,<br />

super-durable, wipe-clean material that can cope with anything<br />

you throw at it. Leave it in your car and you can happily throw<br />

muddy boots, wet tents, soaking waterproof jackets or whatever<br />

else you want into it. The internal compartments are handy too.<br />

VERDICT Waterproof and durable, this is the ultimate adventure<br />

utility bag – but it’s pricey.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

91


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CANINE KIT<br />

Dogs make great companions in the hills but don’t forget that, just like you,<br />

they need a bit of extra care in harsh mountain environments.<br />

KURGO MASH<br />

N’ STASH BOWL<br />

(LARGE) £13<br />

New kid on the block Kurgo<br />

UK has some rugged mountainready<br />

doggie kit that comes with<br />

a lifetime warranty, including these<br />

collapsible bowls for drinks and meals on the go.<br />

They come in three different sizes, from<br />

6.5-44fl oz, and are lightweight<br />

and ready to clip onto your pack.<br />

VERDICT The lightweight and<br />

collapsible bowls are great<br />

for days on the hill.<br />

MOUNTAIN PAWS LARGE FOOD BOWL £9<br />

We love this bowl for backpacking weekends away<br />

with our furry pals. It’s made from robust fabric<br />

with a rubber base and wipeable material inside.<br />

The drawstring top closure means you can bag up<br />

food portions and store securely inside the bowl,<br />

ready for fuss-free mealtimes. There’s also a hanging<br />

loop to attach it to the outside of your pack.<br />

VERDICT Lightweight food bowl that<br />

doubles as handy food storage too.<br />

TOM BAILEY<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

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ORTLIEB PD350 10L DRY-BAG £19<br />

These come in all different sizes, but the<br />

10-litre version is perfect for medium-large<br />

size kibble caddy for a 2-week mountain holiday.<br />

Being airtight, food will be kept fresh and aromas<br />

will be trapped inside. And when not in use for food,<br />

it can be washed out and will make a tough dry-bag<br />

for keeping your hillwalking kit bone dry.<br />

VERDICT Multi-use dry-bag that<br />

makes a great kibble caddy.<br />

KURGO<br />

FIRST AID KIT £23<br />

Be ready for any eventuality<br />

with this 49-piece first aid kit,<br />

which will have all you need for<br />

first aid for you or for your dog.<br />

It contains everything from an<br />

emergency blanket, bandages,<br />

wipes and tweezers to parachute<br />

cord, and it’s designed to be<br />

attached to the Kurgo Activity<br />

Belt and Country Harness – but<br />

can just as easily be attached to<br />

your rucksack hipbelt.<br />

VERDICT Useful 49-piece<br />

first aid kit for man and dog.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

KARCHER OC3 PORTABLE CLEANER £125<br />

Muddy dogs and boots are no more with this<br />

brilliant bit of kit. Just charge it up and fill the<br />

4-litre reservoir with water before you go, and<br />

you and the dog will be fit for the car/pub/tent<br />

after the muddiest of days in the hills. A 5-bar pressure<br />

spray nozzle works well to remove<br />

dirt while conserving water.<br />

VERDICT Easy to store in your car boot,<br />

and ready to wash off basically anything that gets muddy.<br />

USED BY Jerry the Springer, <strong>Trail</strong> watchdog<br />

USED FOR 3 years<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

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CANINE KIT<br />

RUFFWEAR ROAMER<br />

BUNGEE LEASH £48<br />

This lead has an extending<br />

section that is ideal for keeping<br />

control of your dog, but with<br />

a bit of leeway to allow them<br />

to move over more technical<br />

ground. The clip is a super<br />

secure claw design, and the<br />

hand loop is adjustable to be<br />

worn around the waist – leaving<br />

your hands free for maps or<br />

walking poles. It comes in two<br />

lengths – 5.5-7ft or 7.3-11ft.<br />

VERDICT Durable bungee<br />

lead that can be handheld<br />

or waist-worn.<br />

RUFFWEAR WEB MASTER HARNESS £77<br />

Made for hiking and scrambling where your pup<br />

might need a helping hand up the tricky bits,<br />

this harness features a handle that allows you<br />

to assist them. There is the added security of<br />

knowing if your dog falls, the harness won’t<br />

slip over their head like a collar. There are<br />

five points of adjustment for a good fit and<br />

padded straps prevent pressure points without<br />

hindering range of movement.<br />

VERDICT Multi-use harness for<br />

added security and control.<br />

RUFFWEAR SUN SHOWER £70<br />

This jacket has all the features a<br />

mountain dog needs in a raincoat.<br />

It has a great fit and good body<br />

coverage, and being a shell it can<br />

be worn in summer showers or<br />

in winter with an insulating layer.<br />

Leg straps stop the wind blowing<br />

the coat up – essential in the hills.<br />

A lead portal allows a harness to be worn<br />

underneath. It’s easy to fit with robust plastic<br />

clips either side, and machine washable.<br />

VERDICT An excellently fitting rain<br />

shell that won’t flap up in the wind.<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

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KIT FOR KIDS<br />

Inspiring a passion for the outdoors can’t start too young.<br />

Here’s our pick of gear to keep children warm, comfy and safe.<br />

JACK WOLFSKIN KIDS COLLECTION £15-£85<br />

Brand new for spring and summer <strong>2022</strong>, Jack Wolfskin’s kids collection is an<br />

affordable collection of outdoor clothing for children that’s designed to be every<br />

bit as good as its adult equivalents. The standout product is the Active Hike (£85), a<br />

waterproof and breathable jacket with a recycled Texapore Ecosphere membrane.<br />

And if you want your kids kitted out head to toe in<br />

quality summer hiking kit from a brand dedicated to<br />

making a difference through sustainability, the full<br />

range includes a stretchy fleece jacket, active hoody,<br />

soft shell shorts, T-shirt, cap and shoes.<br />

VERDICT Possibly the best example<br />

we’ve seen yet of a full kids’<br />

clothing range that’s<br />

every bit as good as<br />

adult equivalents.<br />

KLEAN CANTEEN KID CLASSIC<br />

£17<br />

These stainless steel bottles have a spill-proof sport<br />

cap with a removable spout for easy cleaning, a large<br />

carry loop, and – best of all – a tough and chip-resistant<br />

finish that can stand up to whatever your kids throw at it.<br />

The 12oz version comes with the choice of either Sippy<br />

cap (good for toddlers) or a pop-up sport cap (ideal for<br />

bigger kids), with a larger size available for another £6.<br />

VERDICT Easy to drink from, easy to clean,<br />

and difficult to destroy.<br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

NEW<br />

FOR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

KEEN KNOTCH HOLLOW<br />

£50<br />

Nobody makes comfortable, fun outdoor<br />

footwear quite like Keen, and this sporty, lightweight<br />

little trainer is one of many good examples of that in its junior<br />

range. The Knotch Hollow comes loaded with Keen’s iconic comfort fit, a<br />

contoured arch for mid foot support, plus a grippy and non-marking<br />

sole. There are some bonus features for parents in there too,<br />

because this shoe is machine washable, quick drying and mercifully<br />

free of laces. A great option for bouncing around trails and up hills in spring and summer.<br />

VERDICT One stop down from a proper hillwalking shoe,<br />

which will be plenty good enough for most outdoorsy kids.<br />

LONG-TERM TESTS<br />

SNUGPAK EXPLORER SLEEPING BAG £35<br />

Our 6-year-old graduated to his first ‘proper’ sleeping bag last summer and<br />

the Snugpak Explorer was a great choice. At 170cm long (he’s about 125cm<br />

tall) it’s nice and roomy with plenty of space to grow into, and the thing<br />

we really like is it’s manufactured to the same standards as Snugpak’s<br />

adult sleeping bags. It has the same technical insulation and fabrics, including a<br />

Supersoft lining and technical Isofibre insulation. Like most sleeping bags you can<br />

fully unzip it to use as a duvet, plus you can unzip just the area around your feet to<br />

make it into one big airy tunnel. Available in a range of colours – Sonny loves the<br />

camo one!<br />

VERDICT Great price for a great bag that should fit for good few years.<br />

USED BY Oli Reed, <strong>Trail</strong> editor<br />

USED FOR 1 busy year of family camping<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

96


KIT FOR KIDS<br />

SCARPA RUSH KIDS GTX £60<br />

This low-cut trekking shoe is also available in a high-ankle version<br />

(the Rush GTX Mid, £70) and both are lightweight and tough with plenty<br />

of grip and flex. The internal toe cap offers good protection at the front,<br />

but the key feature here is the Gore-Tex lining that means no water will<br />

find its way through the mesh upper. Like adult footwear, kids’ walking<br />

boots and shoes have come a long way in recent years, and the Rush<br />

occupies a nice middle ground between traditional walking boots and<br />

lightweight modern trail shoes.<br />

VERDICT Ideal for kids who want to thump over rocks and splash<br />

through puddles, without a clumpy boot slowing them down.<br />

OSPREY POCO CHILD CARRIER £350<br />

There are lots of good child carriers out<br />

there, and if you just need something for<br />

local walks it’s worth checking out the superb<br />

LittleLife S2 for a bargain £100. But if<br />

you‘re taking your toddler on some<br />

proper hillwalks, the Osprey Poco is<br />

the king of the mountains. There are<br />

almost too many features to talk about<br />

– adjustable back system, integrated<br />

sunshade and raincover, cavernous<br />

bottom pocket, washable drool pad – but<br />

the first thing you’ll notice is how robust,<br />

safe and comfortable the whole package<br />

feels. You can adjust every strap to make<br />

your child as secure as secure as possible,<br />

and the sturdy kickstand allows you to prop it<br />

up safely and confidently on the ground<br />

when you need a breather.<br />

VERDICT The price may be eyewatering,<br />

but you get what you pay<br />

for here. The Poco is pretty much<br />

the ultimate hillwalking child carrier.<br />

ISBJORN FROST<br />

LIGHTWEIGHT JACKET £95<br />

We’ve featured Swedish brand<br />

Isbjorn in most round-ups of junior<br />

kit for the past six or seven years,<br />

because the quality of its clothing<br />

really stands out from the crowd.<br />

The warm and toasty Frost jacket is<br />

perhaps the pick of its products, a<br />

lightweight padded coat filled with<br />

PrimaLoft Black Eco 80% recycled<br />

insulation that is useful all year<br />

round. The outer fabric can handle<br />

a light rain shower, plenty of bumps<br />

and scrapes and – crucially for<br />

kids’ kit – comes out of washing<br />

machines looking as good as new.<br />

It also scrunches down small inside<br />

its detachable hood, so can be kept<br />

in a pack until needed.<br />

VERDICT A piece of kids’ outdoor<br />

clothing that’s so good, our only<br />

criticism is they don’t do<br />

adult sizes.<br />

OSPREY TALON JR 11L BACKPACK £80<br />

If (like mine) your kids are now too big to carry, Osprey has also taken its<br />

award-winning adults’ Talon backpack and shrunk it down to create an excellent<br />

little rucksack for 6 to 14-year-olds. This is an ideal first pack for young hillwalkers –<br />

big enough to carry essentials like a few extra layers, maps, drinks and snacks<br />

without being too bulky or heavy. It has some nice touches too, like a scratch-free<br />

top pocket for sunglasses and electronics, an LED light attachment point and even<br />

a bike helmet attachment to make it a multi-use piece of kit.<br />

VERDICT If your kids are serious about getting into hiking and have<br />

outgrown their Paw Patrol school bag, this will take them to the next level.<br />

USED BY Oli Reed, <strong>Trail</strong> editor<br />

USED FOR Hillwalks, bike rides, camping trips, the school run… basically everything!<br />

GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

97


COMPETITION<br />

WIN £1991<br />

GEAR OF<br />

THE YEAR<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

OF <strong>2022</strong>’S 2 2 BEST OUTDOOR O O GEAR<br />

Eight pieces of kit have been awarded <strong>Trail</strong> magazine’s <strong>Gear</strong> of the Year award for<br />

outstanding performance in the mountain environment – and it could all be yours!<br />

We’ve teamed up with all eight brands to give one lucky reader the chance to win<br />

£1991 of the best kit a hillwalker could dream of. It’s free and easy to enter at<br />

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Comp closes 12 May <strong>2022</strong>. See website for full T&Cs.<br />

B E S T<br />

WATERPROOF<br />

J A C K E T<br />

M O N T A N E<br />

PAC PLUS XT<br />

£250<br />

BEST HEADTORCH<br />

PETZL SWIFT RL £96<br />

BEST 3-SEASON<br />

SLEEPING BAG<br />

T H E R M - A - R E S T<br />

HYPERION<br />

20°F/-6°C £415<br />

BEST 3-SEASON TENT<br />

SEA TO SUMMIT<br />

ALTO TR1 PLUS £425<br />

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GEAR GUIDE <strong>2022</strong> TRAIL<br />

98


Find, plan, and share<br />

your adventures with komoot.


Move, discover, connect and explore.<br />

Scramble, climb and breathe.<br />

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You are made to go further, faster,<br />

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MONTANE.COM

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