Gear reviews

Gear Review: Vaude Skomer Skort

RRP: £80 (available for less in many outlets)Weight: 115g (size XXS) The long hot summer of 2018 saw skorts enter the mainstream of Scottish hillwalking kit. A skirt with a shorts liner, skorts have actually been around for a while. They are beloved of female mountain runners and cyclists in the Alps, so I thought I’d test out the latest version from Vaude – from a walker’s perspective. The skort consists of a kilt-style wrap-around, above the knee skirt with two side pockets, both large enough for small phones, one of them with a zip. Two tiny fabric loops with

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Posted in Gear reviews, Magazine, Trousers

Gear review: Rab Flashpoint 2 Jacket

Recommended Price: £220Weight: 185g (large) The Flashpoint 2 is a truly ultralight waterproof jacket. Weighing in at just 185g in men’s size large, the jacket squashes into a tiny stuff sack and is barely noticeable in your pack; runners could even simply attach it to a belt. So where are the compromises? The fabric is 3 layer Pertex Shield. I’ve found it to be surprisingly breathable, and it also seems pretty robust for the weight. I’m sure these qualities are partly down to it having 3 layer construction – I typically find 2 and 2 and half layer waterproofs feel

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine

Gear Review: Sprayway Women’s Escape Shorts

Recommend Price: £50Weight: 175g (size 10) In recent years shorts seems to have morphed into either teeny weeny very short shorts or baggy knee length mountain biker style shorts. These Escape shorts from Sprayway are from the traditional, easy-fit school of design but in a great fabric that makes them both versatile and very comfortable. The lightweight TecWeave nylon fabric stretches in all directions, has a soft feel and a water resistant finish. In practice this means they move extremely well and can cope with scrambling without riding up. The fabric has worn well so far, has proved resistant to

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Posted in Gear reviews, Trousers

Gear Review: Salomon Outline GTX women’s hiking shoe

RRP: £115 (currently on offer with some retailers)Weight: 280 grams per shoe (UK size 6) For summer walking I always prefer to wear lightweight boots or shoes if conditions are dry enough. This year those days have been few and far between but there was a hot week in May and some drier days in between when I’ve been out and about testing these trail shoes from Salomon. Given the rain we’ve had recently I’ve been grateful for the Goretex lining. Designed on a running last, these lean towards lightweight trainers rather than being at the stout hiking shoe end

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Posted in Footwear, Gear reviews

Gear review: Mammut hiking pants

Recommended Price: £79Weight: 230g (32″) Allegedly we’re now in the middle of summer, the ideal time of year for this pair of lightweight walking trousers from Mammut. The fit is athletic, but the stretchy material (94% Polyamide, 6% Elastane) and shaped knees ensures that these are extremely comfortable to wear. They are very quick drying, and have been treated with a durable water repellent coating that helps to repel light showers. The coating is PFC-free, and the trousers are bluesign certified, so you can be confident that their manufacture minimizes environmental impact. There are two front pockets, both zipped, and

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Posted in Gear reviews, Trousers

Gear Review: Women’s Summer Baselayers

Patagonia Capilene Cool Lightweight Shirt RRP: £40Weight: 60g 4 colour options in sizes XS-XL, long sleeve version also availableMen’s version available in 6 colours sizes XS – XL, long sleeve version Beautifully soft and very light-feeling, this short sleeve T is 100% recycled polyester and certified Fair Trade sewn, which means the people who make it get a fair wage. For the last 3 years I’ve worn a similar long sleeved shirt from Patagonia which has worn incredibly well despite the thinness of the fabric, so I was keen to see what improvements had been made on this version. The

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Posted in Baselayers, Gear reviews, Magazine

Gear Review: Vaude Power Lizard 2-3 person tent

RRP: £525 (currently on offer at various retailers)Weight: 1.5kg When heading out on overnight or multi-day adventures, an ultralight tent can offer one of the biggest savings in weight. We’ve been testing this 2 to 3 person tent from Vaude to see how it measures up. First thing to say is that at 1.5kg including the stuff sack this is really lightweight and packable for a mainstream two-skin tent. Secondly it’s huge – luxuriously big for 2, with an inner base size of 3.2m2, you could fit a third small adult in, but would be perfect for 2 adults and

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Posted in Camping, Gear reviews, Magazine

Gear review – Tilley Hiker’s hat

Recommended Price: £85Weight: 108g Canadian brand Tilley are famed for their hats – whether you think that’s famously well-made and durable or famously expensive. For many years I baulked at the price being so much higher than alternatives, but I was bought one as a present around a decade ago – and have been a convert ever since. There are three factors which really lift Tilleys above sunhats I’d worn previously. One is that renowned construction. These are robust hats, covered by a lifetime guarantee. That’s not your usual guarantee covering faults in manufacture, but a guarantee that covers normal

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Posted in Accessories, Gear reviews, Magazine

Gear review – Keen Venture mid hiking boots

Recommended Price: £129.99Weight: 550g per boot (mens’ size 10) I’ve usually found boots and shoes from Keen to be a good match for my relatively wide feet, with a roomy toe-box. So I was interested to try out the new Venture model – available as both a low hiking shoe and as a mid boot, as seen here. They represent a move into lighter weight footwear for Keen. The Venture mids were comfy from the first outing, requiring next to no breaking in, which is as I’ve come to expect from the brand; the lighter weight of these is a

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Posted in Footwear, Gear reviews, Magazine

Gear Review: Osprey Lumina 45 women’s backpack

RRP: £220Weight: 0.77g (M) The last thing you need when backpacking is pack that’s heavy before you even start loading up all your equipment, food and water. The Lumina is a women’s specific backpack from Osprey that is ultralight – so light that it is hard to believe it has a full frame or will stand up to the rigours of multi-day camping trips. I like to backpack as light as possible and usually use a frameless pack that requires careful packing to give it some structure; it still has a tendency to take the weight on the shoulders and

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Posted in Gear reviews, Magazine, Rucksacks

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