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

  • richard prideaux 2019
    REVIEW: TRC Outdoors Cierzo Shirt and Timmy Hat
    September 10, 2019 by
    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 reading ...
  • mountain equipment firefly
    REVIEW: Mountain Equipment Firefly Down Sleeping Bag
    May 22, 2019 by
    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 reading ...
  • waterproof bushcraft smock jacket
    REVIEW: Country Innovation Woodlark Waterproof Smock
    January 22, 2019 by
    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...
  • 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 review uk
    REVIEW: First Tactical Tactix 1-Day Plus Bag
    September 28, 2017 by
    MOLLE Day pack with versatile compartments From a distance the First Tactical Tactix 1-Day Plus looks like pretty much any other MOLLE daypack - webbing systems along the vertical surfaces, zipped compartments and compression straps. I admit to having a bit of a prejudice towards MOLLE packs. The MOLLE/PALS system (Modular Light Load carrying Equipment) works well with small packs and pouches, and is great for quickly changing the gear carried on say, body armour or a tactical vest. It doesn’t work as well when it comes to... Continue reading ...
  • fjallraven review richard prideaux
    UKH Review – Fjallraven Kaipak 58 Rucksack
    September 8, 2017 by
    UKH Review – Fjallraven Kaipak 58 Rucksack Review During this summer I have been trying out the the Fjallraven Kaipak 58 rucksack in the mountains and forests here for our work with UKHillwalking.com There is enough padding on the waist and shoulders for them not to be...
  • mammut ayako high gtx review
    UKH Review – Mammut Ayako High GTX Boot
    July 11, 2017 by
    Mammut Ayako High GTX Boot Review A hillwalking boot that performs well on the rocks I have been using the Mammut Ayako High GTX boots for a few months and they are sticking equally well to rock and to mud. The full review is on the UKHillwalking.com...
  • UKH Review - MSR TrailShot Microfilter
    UKH Review – MSR TrailShot Microfilter
    June 2, 2017 by
    MSR TrailShot MicroFilter Review Compact pump microfilter for fast-and-light travel It looks like a medical appliance and promises impressive performance – how does it hold up in the field? I reviewed it for UKHillwalking.com, and you can read the full review here....
  • msr tent review 2017
    UKH Review – MSR Access 2 Tent
    May 29, 2017 by
    MSR Access 2 Tent Review Lightweight 4-Season Backcountry tent The MSR Access 2 tent is lightweight, innovative and comes with a lot fo features – but is it worth that hefty pricetag? I reviewed it for UKHillwalking.com, and you can read the full review here. The video...
  • REVIEW: Helko Werk Black Forest Pack Axe
    REVIEW: Helko Werk Black Forest Pack Axe
    May 1, 2017 by
    Simple pack axe from the Helko traditional range My collection of axes needs to be carefully monitored. If I don't keep it in check they will spread out of the workshop and take over the rest of the house. There are a number brands in there - Gransfors, Hultafors and even a few Elwell hatchets that I keep meaning to rehandle. Do I need another axe? No. Do I want another axe? Well, I could follow the tried-and-tested n+1 rule, where 'n' is the number of axes currently owned... Helko UK offered the Black Forest Pack Axe for me to try out...
  • REVIEW: Fortis SAS Waterproof Smock
    REVIEW: Fortis SAS Waterproof Smock
    January 16, 2017 by
    I like this coat. I wear it pretty much every week and it has been deep into the mountains, dragged through forests and buried under piles of kit. But it has some serious issues... Back in the middle of 2016 we visited the Fortis Clothing factory shop and this is the coat I walked away with. I wanted an all-round tough outdoor jacket, and the Fortis SAS Smock fitted my needs. I ended up with one of the last with the older 'Country Covers' branding, Fortis being the new name for the family business run by Oliver Massey-Birch, but as far...

Outdoor Gear News

  • richard prideaux 2019
    REVIEW: TRC Outdoors Cierzo Shirt and Timmy Hat
    September 10, 2019 by
    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 reading ...
  • mountain equipment firefly
    REVIEW: Mountain Equipment Firefly Down Sleeping Bag
    May 22, 2019 by
    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 reading ...
  • waterproof bushcraft smock jacket
    REVIEW: Country Innovation Woodlark Waterproof Smock
    January 22, 2019 by
    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...
  • 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...
  • Snugpak waterproof jacket
    Snugpak Torrent Jacket and Travelpak Sleeping Bags
    September 26, 2016 by
    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 but...
  • BCB Dragon Cooker System 2016
    BCB Dragon Cooker System 2016
    September 12, 2016 by
    BCB Dragon Cooker System 2016 At OTS 2016 we once again booked some time with BCB Adventure to talk through some of their kit and George, star of the Dragon Fuel video last year, showed off the 2016 changes to the BCB Dragon Cooker System...
  • fortis clothing country covers
    Visiting Fortis Clothing
    August 12, 2016 by
    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 and...
  • VIDEO: Superfeet at OTS 2015
    VIDEO: Superfeet at OTS 2015
    September 21, 2015 by
    VIDEO: Superfeet saved my feet James from Superfeet gave us some time to talk about their product range and their new items at the 2015 Outdoor Trade Show: A pair of Superfeet helped me get back on my feet and out into the mountains after a mountain...
  • VIDEO: Keela - new bushcraft clothing from a British brand
    VIDEO: Keela – new bushcraft clothing from a British brand
    September 21, 2015 by
    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 recently...
  • VIDEO: Water-to-Go - the water filter bottle
    VIDEO: Water-to-Go – the water filter bottle
    September 17, 2015 by
    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 a...
  • VIDEO: Paramo and the new Alta III Waterproof Jacket
    VIDEO: Paramo and the new Alta III Waterproof Jacket
    September 17, 2015 by
    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 jacket...