Our top tips for the outdoor kit you're going to need
Saturday 05 June 2021
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Having been stuck indoors for the best part of the past year, we’re all in need of a bit of space, and the British countryside is the place to get it. Exploring nature doesn’t need to cost a packet, but it’s important to do your research and make good choices if your kit is going to do what you need.
When it comes to picking a bag for your adventure, it’s very much a case of horses for courses. What every weekend warrior will need though is a good day pack; spacious enough for everything you want, versatile enough to keep equipment handy, and ergonomic enough to forget it’s even there.
Our pick: Osprey Talon 22, £70
Osprey has been synonymous with comfort for decades, so it’s little wonder its day packs are among the most popular on the market. Where the Talon really shines is its clever storage options. A profusion of quick-access pockets, pouches, clips and loops, mean an end to rooting around mid-walk to find that one thing you need. A built-in beer koozie would have been nice, but you can’t have everything.
Tent shopping can be daunting, and a necessary first step is to think carefully about how it will be used. Do you want standing-height comfort, pitched straight out of the back of your car, or will you need something light enough to hike or bike to your destination? Great options exist for every pocket, but please avoid ‘disposable’ pop-up tents - they’re a false economy and terrible for the environment.
Our pick: Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2, £400, also available in one or three-person configurations
An ultralight three-season hiking tent that clocks in at just 1.2kg, but is still versatile and comfortable. Thanks to its clever frame design, the Copper Spur is high enough for two adults to sit up, side-by-side, while the double awnings also serve as rain shelters. With the optional footprint ground sheet, it’s also free-standing – handy for camping on rocky or rooty terrain.
Again, there’s a solution for every pocket, but it’s important to understand the intended purpose of what you’re buying. For family campsite holidays, a heavy, stable stove with a big fuel source is best. For hiking or more extreme adventuring, spend more to get a lightweight stove that will heat quickly in poor conditions.
Our pick: PRIMUS PrimeTech Stove Set 1.3L, £140
Packable into a small and light carry pouch, this impressive stove set is designed for two to three people. Its highly efficient design will boil water in a snap, and can be relied upon in even the worst conditions.
A good pair of outdoor trousers are a must-have for a whole range of activities. Look for something that gives you a good range of movement – a bit of stretch is handy – and is quick to dry. Many modern walking trousers come with a bit of shower resistance and even insect repellence.
Our pick: Craghoppers Nosilife Pro II, available for men and women, £70
These lightweight adventure trousers are an excellent allrounder; UV-protective, anti-midge, and comfortable in a wide range of temperatures and conditions.
Even the most seasoned adventurer can get into difficulty, so always be prepared. Check the weather, dress appropriately, let someone know where you’re heading, and pack a few essentials:
First aid kit: There are some excellent minimalist kits designed for the kind of injuries you might run into in the great outdoors. LifeVenture does a good range, available in many outdoor shops, but also check out the Ultralight/Watertight packs from adventuremedicalkits.com
Water: Getting lost and dehydrated is bad news, so take more than you think you’ll need. Fortunately, virtually any water source can also be made potable with modern filtration technology.
Our pick for sheer ease of use is the MSR Trailshot Microfilter, £45.
What3words: Everyone should have this app on their phone. If you need to call the emergency services, what3words will give you a simple, unique phrase to tell the operator, which will pinpoint your location to within a few meters. Also remember: paper maps don’t run out of battery.
Our outdoor environment is a national treasure, there for every single one of us to enjoy. Help keep it that way by respecting your surroundings, considering other adventurers and following the Countryside Code.
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