Sigg – Thermo Bottle

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The 1L bottle is a tall, thin affair which is quite elegant and sits nicely inside a 25L backpack. It has a cup which it snugly nestles inside, and both the cup and the bottle have a rubber patch on the bottom so they don’t slide off a car dashboard or move around on a boat. SIGG say that the cup can be attached to the top of bottom of the bottle, but on my sample the cup is a little loose to stay securely on the top. It is nice and secure on the bottom though. Read more…



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Airbac – AirTech Backpack (32L)

The amount of padding in the AirTech Backpack is insane. They’ve turned up the padding dials to 11 and it’s foam o’clock in the shoulderstraps. The bag oozes comfort from every pore. But it’s that enormous air bladder which is the party piece. Its over 4 inches deep at the bottom of the bag, and you kinda just want to put your laptop in the thing and drop it to watch it bounce around the room.
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Sprayway – Grendel Windstopper Jacket

It is sold as a windproof jacket, and uses mostly Gore Windstopper fabric, with panels of stretchy softshell in the sides and underarm to aid ventilation and movement. But the thing about Windstopper is that it’s actually pretty much the same stuff as the original Gore-Tex membrane, so the Grendel does a very admirable job of keeping showers at bay. Read more…

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Cyba-Lite – Vega lantern

The Vega lantern is said to chuck out 300 lumen from its 3 LEDs, which in real-world terms is enough to light a tent or room bright enough to read by, but probably not to do open heart surgery. We’re currently renovating an old house, and the Vega has been used to navigate our way to and from the bathroom on those (frequent) evenings where the lights have stopped working.
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Sole – Loft women’s boots

When I first put these boots on I was surprised at how comfortable they were. The flannel-lined inside made them as comfy as putting on a pair of well-worn slippers. And with the inner-calf circumference measuring a generous 34.5cm, it made them even more wearable for those of us with a “not-so-slim” calf – I was even able to put them on over a pair of jeans, a bonus in my book.
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Securikey T-Reign – ProLink Smartphone Holster/Tether

What you get is a tough bumper case for your phone (iPhone 4 or 5 models available) which clips around it in two parts and holds together securely. In case you are ham-fisted, the case and holster are connected with a retractable tether. The cord tether is 3ft long and the idea is that you can’t become separated from your phone, and it’s unlikely to hit the ground if you drop it. Instead, it’ll hit you in the knee.
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Didriksons – Malte Jacket

All in all, the Didriksons Malte has been my go-to coat this winter. Nothing has come close to its combination of waterproofing, warmth and practicality, and suitability for all activities. As Didriksons are about to re-launch their UK sales efforts they will be a brand to watch. Top notch.
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Sub Zero – Factor 2 inner gloves

We’ve had a surprisingly mild winter this year, but I still find it a little chilly on the hands during those early morning dog-walks, and up on the hills. But I’m not keen on big bulky gloves unless the conditions […] Read more…

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Therm-a-rest Antares Down Sleeping Bag

It’s designed with straps on the underside that fit a specific Therm-a-rest sleeping mat. As such, there’s no down in that area. At all. The theory is that the marvellous Therm-a-rest mat you will buy fits this space perfectly, and thus provides the required insulation in that area. Read more…

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Powertraveller – Powermonkey Expedition

The Powermonkey Expedition is a game changer. Make no mistake that this is a product which has had over two years of development and input from everyone as diverse Rolls-Royce through to Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
A battery pack you can charge via solar, wind, hand-crank and mains adaptor… And soon, hydrogen , butane and more modules. Read more…

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Kora – ShoLa 230 Zip Baselayer

The Kora ShoLa is an expensive piece of kit. But, based on my own use, I’d be happy to take it as my only baselayer on an extended trip. So maybe it’s a case of buy once, buy well, and make a sound investment. Read more…

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Rab – Xenon Pull-on Smock

I’ve been wearing it almost every day as an outer layer, and occasionally as a mid-layer, during activities from hill-walking through to working in an unheated office. It’s a warm, windproof and drizzle-friendly pull-on which has some badass combinations of materials going on.
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Powertraveller – Powergorilla

I’ve managed to flatten my car battery using an inverter, and have had a laptop jerry-rigged to run off a jump-starter pack before now, which filled me with dread. The Powergorilla just gives a more professional and dependable solution. And so long as you are organised and keep the correct adaptor tips in the right place, it’s a really neat solution for those who need adaptable power. Read more…

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Sole – Insulated Ultra Footbeds

The boots I have them in feature a steel protective plate in their sole, so you’d think that they’d suck all the heat out of your feet. Not so, I’ve only ever had cold feet on the occasions when I’ve been sat still for a while rather than when standing. The Thinsulate insulation seems to do a good job of fending off the chill. Read more…

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X-Bionic – Energizer MK2 Women’s Top

The only time I’ve over-heated in it was because I wasn’t sure how well it would work so I put fleece over top of it. And after bouts of intense exercise I didn’t turn into a shivering mess immediately afterwards so it seems to do the regulation thing quite well. Although it doesn’t make you feel warm and cosy like a thermal baselayer, it just stops you from feeling cold, which is a weird thing to describe.
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Caribee – Adriatic 27L Daypack School Bag

Caribee is an Aussie company, and their choice of colours for the Adriatic shows their southern Hemisphere heritage. The sample bag we have has been made from Joseph’s Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, and would be impossible to lose anywhere except for a clown convention.
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Aquapac – Upano Waterproof Duffels

Our first day in Spain was very, very wet. But when we arrived at our campsite in the Picos the contents of our AquaPac bags were reassuringly dry. Only when you have been wet through, cold and miserable can you truly appreciate the pleasure of dry socks. Read more…

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