Gear reviews

Gear review: Keen Targhee III boots

Recommended Retail Price: £119.99Weight (size 10.5): 575g per boot I’ve bought many pairs of Keen Targhee’s over the last decade or so, which should tell you a great deal about how I find these boots. Firstly that I like them as I find no other boots quite so comfortable – both in the personal fit and the generous padding. The compromise, as is usually the case with comfier or lighter footwear, is that they are not the most durable. I’ve never reviewed a pair of Targhees on Walkhighlands, so the introduction of the latest model – the Targhee III –

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Posted in Footwear, Gear reviews, Magazine

Gear Review: Fjällräven Expedition Pack Down Hoodie

Recommended Price: £275 (£255 without hood)Weight: 435g (S) This retro-styled mid-warmth down jacket is part of Fjällräven’s new Expedition range. An extremely cold night in a snow hole bivouac in 1974 inspired company founder Åke Nordin to come up with the original Expedition jacket – basically two down jackets sewn together. I’ve been using some recent cooler weather to check out this modern product of the intervening four decades. Constructed with wide sewn-through baffles, the insulation consists of 110g of down (90% warmer goose and 10% duck) with 700 fill power and a reinforcement of synthetic padding at the shoulders.

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine

Gear review: Osprey Daylite 13l pack

Recommended price: £45 (£50 for print colour shown)Weight: 500g (as reviewed) A surprisingly spacious, comfortable, reliable pack for summer days when no winter kit is required. Osprey have updated their daylite pack with some added features, new colour options and a kids version. I’ve been using this one on a variety of day walks and found the single main compartment can easily hold a lighterweight set of waterproofs, first aid kit, insulated top, and food. There’s a sleeve at the back of this section that can take a tablet or small laptop and an externally accessed pouch for up to

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Posted in Gear reviews, Magazine, Rucksacks

Gear review: Vaude Alpstein 200 DWN quilt

Recommended Price: £330 (but check prices online)Weight: 595g including stuffsack An ultralight sleeping bag or quilt has been on my gear test wish list for longer than I can remember. Lifting of lockdown restrictions mean I’ve finally a proper chance to get out and try the Alpstein 200, a summer sleeping bag / quilt from Vaude. The Alpstein design is interesting, quite different from any sleeping kit I’ve used previously. The foot end is fully enclosed, like a sleeping bag, up as far as the backs of my knees. The rest of the design is then open, though there’s a

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Posted in Camping, Gear reviews, Magazine

Gear Review: Hanwag Banks SF GTX boots

Recommended price: £210Weight: 1060g pair (women’s size 5.5) I have wide feet and often struggle finding suitable stiffer boots, ending up either with pinched toes or a larger size with a loose hill grip that let my feet slide forwards when walking downhill. German company Hanwag has a reputation for making boots in a range of fits so I’ve been trying out the Banks, which comes in 3 different fits for women. This is a traditional looking boot in navy nubuck leather with mesh fabric tongue and ankle cuff. There is a good amount of extra reinforcement around the heel

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Posted in Footwear, Gear reviews, Magazine

Gear Review: Black Diamond Mission LT Approach shoe

Recommended Price: £130Weight: 600g (Pair, UK size 6 womens) The Mission LT is one of series of new shoes by Black Diamond aimed firmly at climbers but as this model is also supposed to be suitable for a longer walk in, I was interested to test it for day walks and scrambles. I’d been wearing it for a couple of months on any dry day walks prior to lockdown and since then it’s been my shoe of choice for shorter local walks – so it has also seen a fair bit of pavement pounding. The all-in-one knitted sock structure of

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Posted in Footwear, Gear reviews, Magazine

Book review – Wild Light

I know from our social media pages – and my own experience – that looking at photographs of nature, and of wild landscapes and well-loved places that are currently out of reach are a comfort for many of us in trying to get through these testing times. So I was delighted when this stunning book of Scottish panoramas – taken by Craig Aitchison – dropped through the letterbox for review. Craig was the inaugural winner of the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year competition, and this is his second book – following on from the successful The Highlands: Land &

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Posted in Books, Gear reviews, Magazine

Lockdown reads for lovers of the outdoors

Isolation Shepherd – Iain R. Thomson Delve into the world of remote isolation in this moving and very readable account of a shepherd and young family’s life in Glen Strathfarrar. Set in the mid 1950’s it tells of a world before modern communications and comforts but with many aspects – the mountains around Loch Monar, the relationship between laird and tenant, the tough winter weather, and the working of sheepdogs, that remain to this day. Plenty of photographs help to bring the story to life and the loving descriptions of the landscape mentally teleport you to that remote cottage at

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Posted in Books, Features, Magazine, News, Walkhighlands news

Gear Review: Kathmandu Aikman fleece jacket

Recommended price: £64.99Weight: 430g (women’s size 8) Once ubiquitous, fleece jackets have fallen from favour somewhat in recent years, with many walkers switching to synthetic insulation that offers more warmth to weight. They are, however, usually more breathable which makes them still a great choice when it’s slightly less cold or when your sweating heading uphill. This fleece jacket from Kathmandu is made from Polartec Thermal Pro, a high performance fleece. In addition to the usual soft fleece inner, the outer surface is a knitted structure giving the garment a distinctive look. The surface has proved robust with no piling

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine, Midlayers

Gear review: Walking trousers for winter

Rab Spire Pants Recommended Price: £110Weight: 495g (Men’s 34″ waist) Described by Rab as ‘mid-weight softshell’ trousers, the Rab Spire are made from a double-weave Matrix fabric – 92% polyamide and 8% elastane. There’s a very tough-feeling reinforced fabric on the knees and the inside of the lower leg, great for me as this is where I find my walking trousers usually get badly abraded. Despite feeling robust, the main fabric is also stretchy, with a very soft inner face, and the design includes a diamond gusset and articulated knees – I’ve found them very comfortable to wear. On the

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Posted in Gear reviews, Magazine, Trousers

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