walkhighlands

Gear reviews

Gear Review: Trail Shoes

Outside of the snowy season, more and more walkers are opting for trailshoes over boots these days. With lower weight and increased flexibility comes more comfort… though the low rise compromises waterproofing. As usual, we’d recommend trying on in a shop rather than buying online, as fit is the most important factor with footwear. Many people find they are wearing a size too small, which can’t be fixed; if the shoes are big enough you can easily adjust with footbeds/socks/lacing. All weights are per pair; the women’s shoes were tested by Helen and the men’s by Paul, so be careful

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Posted in Footwear, Gear reviews, Magazine

Gear Review: Alpkit Ranger Ventile Jacket

Recommended Price: £349.99Weight: 720g (women’s size 10) Originally developed in the late 1930s, clothing made of Ventile is said to have saved the lives of countless RAF pilots who ditched into the sea. A very tightly woven cotton, it was created to be cool and practical when worn in the cockpit but warm and impenetrable when it came into contact with water. Later used both during the first ascent of Everest in 1953 and by Sir Ranulph Fiennes to cross the Arctic, it has continued to be championed especially by polar travellers, but largely fell out of favour as other

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine

Gear review: Alpkit Brevent 22l rucksack

Recommended Price: £119.99Weight: 780g In recent years, retro-styled gear has been making a comeback – with many outdoor brands once again making rucksacks in canvas; perhaps heavy, but durable. The Alpkit Brevent is a 22l pack made from tough 330 denier dry waxed cotton. The dry wax treatment means ensures it’s water repellent for showers but does not lose wax to your clothes, though as with all (non-waterproof) rucksacks you’d want a cover or liner in heavy rain. There are two bellows style side pockets with compression straps – generously sized to easily take a litre water bottle a piece,

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Posted in Gear reviews, Rucksacks

Gear Review: Rab Kangri waterproof jacket

Recommended Price: £275Weight: 465g Rab is now making their long-popular Kangri jacket with recycled outer fabric – I’ve taken full advantage of the shockingly wet Scottish autumn to put this updated classic through its paces. Made from 70 denier 3 layer Gore-Tex, I’ve found it to be a reliable hardshell with excellent features that make it comfortable for all day wear. The fabric feels very robust but is still reasonably flexible and doesn’t make too much noise during wear. I found the sizing true to size; I’m 5’3″ and it properly covered my bum and the arms are long enough

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine

Gear review: Synthetic insulated jackets

When it comes to keeping warm on the hill, there are three main options. A traditional fleece offers warmth but very little protection from the wind, and so is best as a mid-layer. Down jackets offer the most warmth for the weight and pack the smallest, but lose most of their insulating properties when wet. Synthetic insulated jackets offer warmth but also protection from wind, and perform much better than down when conditions are wet. Highlander Lewis insulated jacket Recommended Price: £99Manufacturer Weight: 350g Livingstone-based Highlander Outdoor produce a range of outdoor gear towards the lower end of the price

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine

Gear review: Waterproof trousers for women

Waterproof trousers have come a long way from the “boil in the bag”, flapping, oversized, essential but unloved items of gear I remember from the past. Whilst innovation has come with higher prices, there are now options that can be worn all day, as alternatives to regular hiking trousers and do more than just keep the rain out. Alpkit Nautilus Recommended Price: £124.99Weight: 420g (10 Short) Nautilus is Alpkit’s heavier overtrouser, made from 3-layer fabric with waterproof and breathable membrane with a nylon outer with a bit of stretch in it. This allows a slimmer fit so there’s less fabric

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Posted in Gear reviews, Magazine, Trousers

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


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