Montane – Axion Neo Alpha Jacket

montane

I think that one of our Judges summed up the Axion almost perfectly when he said “It’s just a nice place to be”. It is. It envelopes you in comfortable warmth, and you feel protected and almost invincible against the elements. It’s a ‘bring it on’ jacket.
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merrel moab

Merrell – Moab Gore-Tex Beluga

Like a moggy drooling over catnip, there are four smells that I just can’t get enough of: freshly-struck matches, petrol (not at the same time, m’lud), new cars and brand new trainers. Knowing this already, it still came as something of a surprise when Mrs Muz came home from work one day to find me with my overly-generous nose firmly embedded inside one of these Merrells. I was also wearing one of her flowery bras and wellies, but that was easily explained away. I think.
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craghoppers trousers

Craghoppers – Kiwi Pro Trousers

The trousers are nicely put together with well thought out design touches such as 3 zipped pockets – although I could probably live without the one on the butt. The hems have been finished with heel tape meaning they won’t get rubbed and tatty quite so quickly. They wash and dry really rather quickly and still look smart after several outings in the mud and showers. Read more…

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UST – 10-day Lantern

Sometimes a piece of gear boasts a claim that is so definitive, that the only way to test it is to call them out on that claim. So we stuck some batteries – an honourable mention must go to Varta’s High Energy Alkaline AAs – in UST’s 10-day lantern and turned it on.
24 days later, it finally went out.
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F-REACTOR-YL

Brunton – Hydrogen Reactor

The device itself converts little cartridges of Hydrogen in to electricity, which in turn powers your USB-compatible device. There are no batteries. No wall chargers. No solar panels and no winding anything up. It’s really bloody clever stuff.
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spotty otter splashsuit2

Spotty Otter – Adventure Waterproof Splashsuit

I let him have a splash in some puddles, then he decided a sit on the path to contemplate some stones was in order – all the better to see if any water would seep through. On getting back indoors, the only water seepage was wet socks and this was through the suit being a little too big and him not yet able to wear wellies, so a big thumbs up there. Read more…

osprey questa

Osprey – Questa 27 Pack

So as I mentioned the Questa 27 is a female specific commuter pack, what does that mean though? Well the first and most visible feature is that the shoulder straps are close together, which for me made a huge difference – especially on the days I really loaded the pack. Read more…

merrell anex2

Merrell – Annex GTX Casual Hiking Shoes

The Annex-es are pretty solid with good support, the ‘Remember Me’ foam footbed started out with some short term amnesia, but they are settling in, the nylon arch shank certainly makes it’s presence felt, which I got used to, and the Vibram sole is hefty and solid enough to provide a good walking platform and also are fine for driving Read more…

mammut-ridge-low-gtx

Mammut – Ridge Low GTX Trail Shoe

What struck me the most when I put the shoe on was the stiffness of the sole as I am used to a more flexible walking shoe. The ‘Gripex Iron Grip’ concept is designed for the via ferrata (iron road in Italian) style of hiking that involves trails that have steel cables and iron stemples (rungs) fitted. A hard and firm sole is an advantage as it provides support and protects the foot from sharp rocks with its ‘stone shield’ whilst having a good adhesion to prevent you slipping off those metal rungs. Flexibility is limited but the bottom of the shoe is contoured so that you can rock and pivot on the ball of your foot and use the (again helpfully labelled) climbing zone at the toe if the going gets steep.
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happy camper happy going

Happy Camper – Happy Going

Not only does the Happy Going glow in your general direction while you meditate, if you press the power button again the lights… well, obviously, they flash. They even flash at two different rates of urgency. Perfect for those speed poo scenarios when you just want to launch and go. Get these babies strobing in a dank, dark, spider-infested cubicle in the wee small hours and you’ll want to get the whole ungodly experience over with as quickly as humanly possible before your epilepsy kicks in. Read more…

Keen Newport

Keen – Newport H2 Toddler shoes

The thickness and height of the rubber toe rand means that your child will never be able to kick enough stones or crawl around sufficient quantities of rough ground to penetrate the shoe or even damage it sufficiently to make it look tatty. In fact, I think I am setting a challenge right here and right now to toddlers the length and breadth of the land to try and prove me wrong!
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doohickey

Nite Ize – DoohicKey Key Tool

Made of durable stainless steel, the Nite Ize DoohicKey features half-dozen tools that do everything from tighten bolts and screws to open a bottle of refreshment, all in a simple key tool that fits in the palm of your hand. On one end of the Doohickey is a sturdy karabiner clip, allowing you to attach keys to it, or attach the DoohicKey itself to any loop or ring. Opposite the clip is an etched ruler for on-the-spot measurements and the karabiner opening is strategically shaped to function as a wrench. On the other end, the DoohicKey features a bottle opener, a flat head screwdriver, and a box cutter.
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zamberlan

Zamberlan – 230 SH Crosser Plus GTX RR

I did get quite excited when I read that these boots are made from Kevlar. I’m pretty sure that there isn’t enough Kevlar to make these boots bullet proof, but does mean that there are certain points which are super strong. The Kevlar is actually a Cordura-Kevlar mix, and forms a rand like band around the shoe. It is quite clever to take this particular design feature from heavy leather boots, and add it to a lightweight boot like this. Another thing that adds to the strength of these boots is the plastic reinforcements around the lace holes, and across the upper. I’ve had laces rip through the fabric, which is mightily annoying when the rest of the shoe is fine. I like to think I’m strong, but I don’t think I could rip plastic with just a shoe lace.
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xtorm-lava-charger

Xtorm – Lava Charger

The Lava Charger comes in the box with a 75% charge, so you can buy it and charge your phone immediately if you’re stuck. And Xtorm say that it takes just 8-hours of sunshine to charge the Lava back up to full – we have that on test at the moment. In practice, we got what showed as a 3-quarter charge out of a typically British summer’s day. We’ll take it touring next time we go abroad somewhere sunny and see if we can up that to a full charge.
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packit-Ziggy

Pack It – Freezable Grocery Bag

The bag works through a gel lining stitched in a series of squares, which then freezes. So you have a completely frozen bag – and a zip lock to keep air in. To use you just (remember!) to pop the bag into your freezer for 12 hours (i.e. overnight) before it’s ready for use! Read more…

PureLime bra1

PureLime – Compression Bra

It’s obviously been developed for women with actual breasts who actually do real exercise, and that’s great. It kept everything strapped down right where it was supposed to be. No black eyes or escapees to frighten the farmers. I have no complaints at all about its performance under bouncing. But, I do have a genuine gripe with this bra though. It’s the thing that’s stopping me giving it full marks. It’s a RIGHT pain in the bum to put on.
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tagine 2

Ilumi – Nut, Gluten & Milk free packaged meals

Not made specifically for camping, but they work brilliantly as an alternative to a lot of other pre-packed food for people with food intolerances. The easy to open pouches can be boiled in water or poured into a saucepan. There’s curry, middle eastern, pub food, sauces, rice – something to whet every appetite and portion size is good. Read more…

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