Outdoor Gear Reviews and News

Reviews and Outdoor Gear News

Outdoor clothing and equipment review articles, video and news items. We review the gear we use regularly, we review gear for other people like UKHillwalking.com, and we go and visit companies we like at their headquarters and at outdoor trade shows.

Submitting Items for Review

We welcome submissions of equipment for review. We review the items whilst working with our clients on our outdoor skills training courses, and on our own adventures. If you think we can put your gear or product through some real-world testing then please get in touch via our Contact Us page.

Our Review Policy

Our policy on outdoor gear reviews is simple – if we review an item and we think it’s good enough to recommend in some way then we will write a review. If it’s terrible we will just send it back to whoever sent it to us for review with some feedback. We have done this in the past!
We do receive some items for free, other items we buy ourselves or acquire in some way. If we have received an item as part of a collaboration with another company or website (for example, with UKHillwalking.com) then it will be mentioned somewhere in the review, usually with a link back to that website.
We use the kit we test in the mountains and forests and spend time trying to break it, get it muddy/wet/dusty and generally give it a hard time. This is why the photos/videos of the equipment tend to show a slightly battered and used item rather than a shiny and clean brand-new product.

Outdoor Gear Reviews

  • review water filter 2018
    REVIEW: Grayl Ultralight Water Filter
    December 6, 2018 by
    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,...
  • helikon-tex bushcraft satchel review
    REVIEW: Helikon-Tex Bushcraft Satchel
    November 6, 2018 by
    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 reading ...
  • country innovation gear review
    REVIEW: Country Innovation Raptor Waistcoat
    October 30, 2018 by
    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...
  • GP xplor phr15 review
    REVIEW: GP Xplor PHR15 Head Torch
    October 19, 2018 by
    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...
  • wunderbird review richard prideaux
    REVIEW: Wunderbird Gyrfalcon Hoodie and Kestrel Tee Shirt
    October 8, 2018 by
    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...
  • military rucksack hiking
    REVIEW: Wisport Raccoon 45L Rucksack
    August 3, 2018 by
    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 reading ...
  • camping hiking meal ideas
    REVIEW: Firepot Dehydrated Meals
    July 20, 2018 by
    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 reading ...
  • olight led torch review
    REVIEW: Olight I1R EOS Key Ring Torch
    June 27, 2018 by
    Cheap, stupidly-bright Chinese LED torches have been around for several years now and there are many to choose from. I’ve used several over the years with varying degrees of success – and to be perfectly honest my hopes weren’t THAT high for this tiny keyring torch from Olight when it was offered as a review item. But it turns out to not be that bad – in fact, to be quite good. With a few important caveats that I will come to later… Continue reading ...
  • msr wind burner stove review
    MSR WindBurner Group Stove System Review for UKHillwalking
    April 20, 2018 by
    The MSR WindBurner range has been updated for 2018 with a wind-resistant remote canister stove, new pans and even a huge 4.5L stockpot. Richard Prideaux has been reviewing it in the mountains of Snowdonia and Scotland over the winter of 2017-2018 for UKHIllwalking.com Continue reading ...
  • helikon-tex windproof fleece
    REVIEW: Helikon-Tex Classic Army Fleece
    April 7, 2018 by
    Rugged fleece jacket with windproof membrane Helikon-Tex have been on the radar of outdoor enthusiasts and professionals, hunters, military personnel and security contractors for a couple of decades now, and they produce good kit. I have been wearing the Helikon-Tex Classic Army fleece for nearly 5 months and I think I’ve got a good angle on it now – it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty damned good. Continue reading ...

Outdoor Gear News

  • review water filter 2018
    REVIEW: Grayl Ultralight Water Filter
    December 6, 2018 by
    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,...
  • helikon-tex bushcraft satchel review
    REVIEW: Helikon-Tex Bushcraft Satchel
    November 6, 2018 by
    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 reading ...
  • country innovation gear review
    REVIEW: Country Innovation Raptor Waistcoat
    October 30, 2018 by
    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...
  • GP xplor phr15 review
    REVIEW: GP Xplor PHR15 Head Torch
    October 19, 2018 by
    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...
  • wunderbird review richard prideaux
    REVIEW: Wunderbird Gyrfalcon Hoodie and Kestrel Tee Shirt
    October 8, 2018 by
    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...
  • military rucksack hiking
    REVIEW: Wisport Raccoon 45L Rucksack
    August 3, 2018 by
    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 reading ...
  • camping hiking meal ideas
    REVIEW: Firepot Dehydrated Meals
    July 20, 2018 by
    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 reading ...
  • VIDEO: The new Paramo Velez Jacket
    VIDEO: The new Paramo Velez Jacket
    November 1, 2016 by
    Paramo Velez Jacket Having a closer look at OTS 2016 Last year I spent a bit of time speaking with Helen from Paramo at their stand at OTS 2016 about their Alta 3 jacket, and we were drawn back over their for this year. The new Paramo...
  • MindShift Gear Rotation 180
    MindShift Gear Rotation 180
    October 25, 2016 by
    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 give...
  • Aquaforno Outdoor Cooking Stoves
    Aquaforno Outdoor Cooking Stoves
    October 7, 2016 by
    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, smoked...

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Original Outdoors is an established outdoor activity and training provider in North Wales.
We are passionate about the outdoors and share this through our training courses, activity days activity days and outdoor services.

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