Shoulder bags are often the unloved stepchild of tactical and utilitarian outdoor gear. They have to function well in that narrow range between “just put it in your pocket” and “you’ll need a rucksack”. I do use them, but they have to work hard to earn their place in my kit loadout. Continue readingRead more... →
A few weeks ago I was asked a very pertinent question:
“Do you really need another sodding torch?”
Open on my browser was the page on the TRC Outdoors website for the Polymath Products OmniTorch – a cube-shaped LED cliplight with multiple attachment options. I have enough LED lighting scattered around the office and my truck to light up the Western Hemisphere. Do I need to spend £12.99 on another lighting source? Continue readingRead more... →
I’ve been aware of UK veteran-owned brand TRC Outdoors for a while, so when Brian from surveillance and fieldcraft specialists Kamouflage Ltd offered to send me the TRC Outdoors Cierzo shirt and Timmy hat to try out over the summer I was happy to help out.
I had the opportunity to try them both out over the last few weeks on some of our Outdoor Professional courses and a few mountain trips. This review is based on that use in the mountains and forests of North and Mid Wales and a few Scottish excursions. Continue readingRead more... →
I reviewed the 2019 Mountain Equipment Firefly down sleeping bag for UK outdoor news and discussion site UKHillwalking.com. It’s small, light and cleverly designed – but is it warm enough for a Welsh spring? Continue readingRead more... →
After reviewing their Raptor waistcoat I was contacted by UK brand Country Innovation to take an early look at their brand new waterproof smock design – the Woodlark. It’s listed on the Country Innovation website as being “made from a tough cotton outer fabric, which, when combined with the waterproof/breathable lining, offers great protection from wind and rain“.
With the wet and windy months of December and January coming up I accepted the offer and did my very best to try and kill, or at least maim, this waterproof outer layer. I was mildly surprised with how good the Raptor waistcoat was, so would I be as impressed with a sub-£300 waterproof from a smaller British brand?Read more... →
Water filters are becoming increasingly popular in the Uk hiking and outdoors market, and what was once seen as a niche item for overseas travel and expeditions are now starting to be habitually carried in the UK by adventurers of all types.
The Grayl Ultralight purifier bottle is a bit of a hybrid between a filtration bottle and something that can be used to transfer that cleaned water to another container – something that dedicated water filter/purifier bottles often struggle with.
I have been trying it out since late summer, using it on wild camping trips and expeditions with clients in Snowdonia, the Lake District and Scotland. Continue reading
It won’t take long to run through the features of this bag – but that is, I suppose, a feature in itself; the Helikon-Tex Bushcraft Satchel is pretty simple.
There’s an unpadded adjustable shoulder strap running between two clips, and slightly curved ‘ends’ where these clips attach. There is no padding anywhere on the bag, and it hangs symettrically – it isn’t contoured or ‘handed’ to fit on one side of the body or other. Continue readingRead more... →
Photography waistcoats like this are basically load-carrying vests and systems for a very civilian market, and the Raptor waistcoat from Country Innovation seems to be pitched straight at that market of photographers, birdwatchers and anybody who regularly points optics at wildlife.
I admit from the start that Country Innovation was a new brand for me, but a quick look through their website shows that their kit is trusted by the outdoor and wildlife photographers that I admire – so if it’s good enough for the likes of Simon King and Bill Oddie then it might be good enough for a scruffy outdoor instructor in North Wales? Continue reading
Head torch technology has come on a long way since I started working in the outdoors. My first ‘proper’ head torch was a Petzl Zoom. It had a massive alkaline battery and came with a spare bulb – it was also like a candle in a jam jar.
LED head torches started to creep in soon after, with the early ones being fairly disappointing affairs – and quite expensive. Now it seems we can’t move for fear of tripping over inexpensive and fairly powerful LED headlights – is the new Xplor range from pocket-power supplier GP Batteries worth a look, and does their 300 lumen Xplor PHR15 rise above the competition? Continue readingRead more... →
The two Wunderbird items I have been trialling are the Gyrfalcon Hoodie and the Kestrel Short-Sleeve Tee. Both garments have some interesting design features, including slightly padded shoulder areas and zipped pouches on the chest and similar pouches on the front of the stomach area. The Kestrel is a technical base layer and the Gyrfalcon is more of a thermal mid-layer shirt.
The idea with this range of garments is to provide the user with technical outdoor-appropriate clothing that also supports (literally) the use of binoculars. The chest and stomach pouches both support the weight of binoculars when worn from a neck strap or chest harness (what some of our instructors call a ‘Binocular Bra’) and stop them from bouncing around too much when walking over rough ground or uphill. The padded shoulders give some relief from tripods and similar long, heavy items being carried across the shoulder. Continue reading
Wisport is one of those brands I had heard of or seen in product catalogues and on websites, but had no direct experience of. Military 1st offered the Wisport Raccoon 45L rucksack to me to try out on some of our courses and I gladly took the opportunity. It’s not like I NEED another rucksack, but it’s a different style to what I am used to and I was curious to see how it performed. Continue readingRead more... →
Firepot are a relatively new supplier in the UK expedition food market but the information both on their website and what I had heard from other users was encouraging. I’ve been trying them out on wild camping and bivvying trips over the past few weeks – and so far I haven’t died. Continue readingRead more... →
MindShift Gear Rotation 180 Innovative gear bag for outdoor photographers At the Outdoor Trade Show at Stoneleigh Park earlier this year we stopped and had a good look at the photographer bags and accessories that Snapperstuff.com had on offer. Helen from Snapperstuff was kind enough to giveRead more... →
Aquaforno Outdoor Cookers The ultimate in camping cooking systems? The rise of glamping and ‘posh camping’ has led to a rise in standards of campsite cookery. A lukewarm Pot Noodle and a bit of malt loaf will no longer do – elaborate meals, fresh handmade pizzas, smokedRead more... →
Snugpak Torrent Jacket and Travelpak Sleeping Bags We went back to the Outdoor trade Show at Stoneleigh Park to chat with a few of our favorite brands – and the first we bumped into were Snugpak. Snugpak are known for their sleeping bags and insulated clothing butRead more... →
Visiting Fortis Clothing Last month I was down in Cornwall and Devon doing some promotional work and foraging around on the beaches of the south coast – and I couldn’t resist diverting to Axminster on the way home to drop in on Fortis Clothing, a family-owned andRead more... →
VIDEO: Keela – new bushcraft clothing range from a British brand We caught up with Tony from Keela to talk about their new bushcraft and country range of outdoor clothing I have used Keela clothing both in my time in a mountain rescue team and more recentlyRead more... →
VIDEO: Water-to-Go – the water filter bottle We spotted Dave Shanks from Water-To-Go Ltd doing a demo of their water filtration bottle, turning dirty water into clean drinking water (with an excellent flow rate and inexpensive filter cartridge replacements!). Finding safe, clean drinking water is always aRead more... →
VIDEO: Paramo and the new Alta III Waterproof Jacket Richard managed to grab a short interview with Helen Howard from Paramo Ltd at the Outdoor Trade Show 2015 to ask her about the Paramo Directional Clothing System, how Paramo works and the new Paramo Alta III jacketRead more... →