Outdoor Gear Reviews

REVIEW: Lomo Zipped Full Sleeve Changing Robe

As far as watersports go, I have only ever been able to say that I am an Open Water Swimmer. However, for the review of the Lomo Changing Robe, I think that is actually spot-on. Swimming is an activity which can, and does, happen in pretty much any body of water… Continue reading

REVIEW: Keela Merino Long Sleeve Top

I only discovered Merino baselayers a few years ago when I picked up a long sleeved tee in the sales. I wore it so much that Christmas resulted in a second slightly heavier weight long sleeved tee ended up in my wardrobe. These two have served me well and given me a real love for merino wool which has stretched to my feet also. When the opportunity arose to invest in a Keela Merino long sleeve top, nothing could stand in my way. Continue reading

REVIEW: Helikon EDC Side Bag

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 reading

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 Clothing Reviews

REVIEW: Lomo Zipped Full Sleeve Changing Robe

As far as watersports go, I have only ever been able to say that I am an Open Water Swimmer. However, for the review of the Lomo Changing Robe, I think that is actually spot-on. Swimming is an activity which can, and does, happen in pretty much any body of water… Continue reading

REVIEW: Keela Merino Long Sleeve Top

I only discovered Merino baselayers a few years ago when I picked up a long sleeved tee in the sales. I wore it so much that Christmas resulted in a second slightly heavier weight long sleeved tee ended up in my wardrobe. These two have served me well and given me a real love for merino wool which has stretched to my feet also. When the opportunity arose to invest in a Keela Merino long sleeve top, nothing could stand in my way. Continue reading

REVIEW: TRC Outdoors Cierzo Shirt and Timmy Hat

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. Continue reading

REVIEW: Country Innovation Woodlark Waterproof Smock

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“. Continue reading

REVIEW: Country Innovation Raptor Waistcoat

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. Continue reading

REVIEW: Wunderbird Gyrfalcon Hoodie and Kestrel Tee Shirt

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. Continue reading

Boots and Footwear Reviews

REVIEW: Boreal Ordesa Boot

I reviewed the Boreal Ordesa leather walking boots for UKHillwalking.com. Leather walking boots that aren’t too heavy, hold up to some punishment and are comfortable for wider feet. Continue reading

REVIEW: Mammut Ayako High GTX Boot

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 website here, and the video review is below. Continue reading

REVIEW: Grisport Keeper Boot

I need most of my kit to just ‘work’. If I am aware of how my footwear feels on my feet then they’re probably demanding too much of my attention.
I purchased these boots two years ago (from a local retailer), and despite my best efforts they have refused to die. They are battered and the leather has some deep creases, but they are still comfortable and waterproof. Continue reading

Rucksack and Bag Reviews

REVIEW: Helikon EDC Side Bag

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 reading

REVIEW: Helikon-Tex Bushcraft Satchel

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

REVIEW: Wisport Raccoon 45L Rucksack

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

REVIEW: First Tactical Tactix 1-Day Plus Bag

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

REVIEW: Fjallraven Kaipak 58 Rucksack

There is enough padding on the waist and shoulders for them not to be noticed, but it doesn’t seem excessive. For one overnight trip with clients the overall ‘wet’ weight of the pack (including food, water and camera kit) was around 17kg and our reviewer was not left wanting more foam between the straps and my body. The adjustment for both the waist and shoulders stays in place once set, which is more than can be said for many packs on the market. Continue reading

Headtorch and Torch Reviews

REVIEW: Polymath Products OmniTorch

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 reading

REVIEW: GP Xplor PHR15 Head Torch

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.

Continue reading

REVIEW: Olight I1R EOS Key Ring Torch

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

Camping Gear Reviews

REVIEW: Mountain Equipment Firefly Down Sleeping Bag

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

REVIEW: Grayl Ultralight Water Filter

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. Continue reading

REVIEW: Sea to Summit Alpha Pot Set 2.2

The Sea to Summit Alpha Pot Set 2.2 is an integrated lightweight camping cookset that nests together. Richard Prideaux reviewed it for UKHillwalking.com Continue reading

REVIEW: Firepot Dehydrated Meals

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

REVIEW: MSR WindBurner Group Stove System

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

REVIEW: Therm-a-Rest Questar HD Sleeping Bag

Richard reviewed the 2017 Therm-a-Rest Questar HD Sleeping Bag for UK outdoor news and discussion site UKHillwalking.com. Hydrophobic down – does it really work? Continue reading

Sleeping Bag Reviews

GEAR NEWS: Sierra Designs and Kelty are hopping over the pond

Sierra Designs and Kelty are making the move into the UK with support from MCS PR and hope to bring something new to the outdoor gear smorgasbord currently available Continue reading

REVIEW: Mountain Equipment Firefly Down Sleeping Bag

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

REVIEW: Therm-a-Rest Questar HD Sleeping Bag

Richard reviewed the 2017 Therm-a-Rest Questar HD Sleeping Bag for UK outdoor news and discussion site UKHillwalking.com. Hydrophobic down – does it really work? Continue reading

REVIEW: Therm-a-Rest Trail King SV Mat

Richard reviewed the 2017 Therm-a-Rest Trail King SV Mat for UKHillwalking.com. A self-inflating mat that promises comfort without sacrificing weight or pack space. Worth the cost? Continue reading

Outdoor Gear News

GEAR NEWS: Sierra Designs and Kelty are hopping over the pond

Sierra Designs and Kelty are making the move into the UK with support from MCS PR and hope to bring something new to the outdoor gear smorgasbord currently available Continue reading

VIDEO: The new Paramo Velez Jacket

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 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 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 Torrent Jacket and Travelpak Sleeping Bags

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 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

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