Gear of the Year Awards

To celebrate the first full year of reviews, we’ve chosen our top 10 bits of outdoor gear from the last year.
In no particular order:


Nokia MD-11 Speaker

Nokia – MD-11 travel speaker

Muz: “Cheap, simplistic and sounds great even without stereo from a second unit. I use this every single day with TuneIn Radio on my iPhone, and I love it. In fact I’d be lost without it now.”

Review Summary: “The MD-11 has a kind of retro look about it and it packs a very impressive punch for its size. Far better than any other portable speaker I’ve used and subsequently lost. Battery life seems good so far but if you don’t already it might be worth switching to rechargeables to keep any running costs down. At £13 this seems to be a very good buy for (*cliché alert*) music on the move. The only reason this doesn’t get five hammers is because you need to shell out again for stereo.”

 Read the whole review here

Subtle, simple design. I like it.

Paramo – Torres Smock
Andy: “If it was cold, wet and miserable last winter, this was the jacket I’d put on. The way it sucks water off mid-layers is amazing.”

Review Summary: “ The Torres Smock is very, very warm indeed. It’s waterproof and since it uses Paramo’s Analogy system, it also sucks water off any garment underneath it and helps dry off your mid-layers. You can buy lighter jackets, if this is something you’d just stuff at the base of your pack for a hike, but for the price, and with just enough features that you’re not left wanting for anything, the Torres is a superb deal.”

Read the whole review here

Brasher Kuga GTX without my foot inside

Brasher – Kuga GTX
Muz: “Superb quality, great looks, instantly comfortable and as tough as old… er… boots. I wear them all the time and never want them to die.”

Review Summary: “Excellent walking shoes that are well worth the money because of their quality, ruggedness and comfort. Equally at home with shorts on the fells as they are with jeans at Maccy Dees or down’t pub. I really can’t fault them.”

 Read the whole review here

PowerMonkey Explorer

Power Traveller – Power Monkey Explorer
Andy: “Looks funky and works brilliantly. Plus it comes with every adaptor you’ll ever need.”

Review Summary: “The Power Monkey Explorer is an awesome piece of gear. It’s unbelievably comprehensive in terms of jacks and sockets for use in 150 countries and with pretty much every gadget. It’s rugged and chunky, yet lightweight and dispenses with the need to carry a phone charger. The Solar Monkey works well and doesn’t fail to get people asking you what it is. At £65 this is slightly more expensive than a simple solar charger, but you get much, much more in a package suitable for the outdoors. Awesome, and now an essential part of my touring gear”

 Read the whole review here

Spotlight Turbo

Spotlight – Turbo 12v Flashlight
Muz: “Super-bright, waterproof and aircraft aluminium construction means it’s teeth-chippingly tough. I should know. Being plugged into the car’s cigarette lighter socket makes it as handy as Andy.”

Review Summary: “A great little torch with surprising power. Always ready for use if you’re in or around the car, it gives excellent light with a powerful beam.

Read the whole review here

Cobra 2 - slipper or trainer?

Carn – Cobra Trail Shoes
Andy: “Simply the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn, and still my day-to-day choice of footwear.”
Review Summary: “Unparalleled comfort with a great mid-sole and padding as good as a sumo-wrestler. Not for hard-core trekking, deep mud or those who like solid-feeling boots, but if you like lightweight, cool-feeling feet and a shoe that’s as happy trotting around Waitrose as it is yomping across grassy fields then give the Cobras a look. I love these shoes.”

 Read the whole review here


Sea to Summit – X-Mug
Muz: “Space-saving and its generous capacity means you can have a decent cuppa in the morning and a good old booze-up at night without having to top it up every two minutes. Versatile is the word here.”

Review Summary: “I don’t have the plate or bowl (yet) but I do have an X-Mug, and it’s dead good. It holds liquid, squishes flat and swills out without leaving an evil whiff behind. What more could you need? They’re not the cheapest mugs in the world, but when you’re pressed for space they’re the donkey’s knob.”

Read the whole review here

Smartwool PhD Socks

Smartwool – PhD Mid Crew Socks
Andy: “I own a LOT of socks and these are my stand-out favourite for comfort, fit and all day wearing.”

Review Summary: “The PhD socks are superb. Comfortable, well built, warm and cosy with a near perfect fit. OK, so they’re expensive compared to Bridgedale and other trekking sock competitors, but when you’re wearing them you don’t think about your feet, which when the trail is hard is worth a couple of pounds.”

Read the whole review here


Nite Ize – Flashflight flying disc
Muz: “Unlike every other GWA review this year, this has something for everyone. It brings young and old(er) together, keeps everyone fit, provides a bloody good laugh and extends the normal camping day for as long as you want. And although it will break windows it won’t break the bank.”

Review Summary: “ If you want a simple, unbreakable and lightweight toy for kids and adults to enjoy then the Flashflight ticks every box. It brought together a group of beer and camping addled friends for a hilarious and fun evening in a field. And it looks damn cool just waved around at night.”

 Read the whole review here

Fold-out and follow

Handihikes – Walking Guides with OS Maps
Andy: “Quite simply, I wish I’d thought of these. I love maps and exploring new places and whilst the price of OS maps is a little too high for my pocket, Handihikes give you a great bite-size chunk of map complete with well-researched walking routes.”

Review Summary: “HandiHikes guides are really neat. They fold down to fit in a pocket (smartphone size), are waterproof and you get detailed OS mapping for a 25-30 sq.KM area as well as three or four well-researched routes. Some map-reading skills might be useful, but you do get a written guide on using an OS map if you need it. Each guide is simply written, with easy-to-read fonts and sections. A great idea for tourists, those searching for interesting walks or maybe even DoE Award candidates who don’t require a full OS map.”

Read the whole review here

  • Yates

    Are you guys having a 2012 ‘gear of the year’ top 10?

    • Yes, coming soon.