Great Gear Guide
We put the latest outdoor clothing and equipment to the test
The latest outdoor gear and clothing reviewed for you
1. Scarpa Neutron 2 GTX, £140
THESE trail shoes are designed for extreme running – think sky marathons at altitudes of 2000 metres (6600ft) and above, with the inclines exceeding 30 per cent. The outer has Gore-tex lining and Vibram soles, ensuring feet are protected and grip well after mile upon mile of tough trail conditions. Inside, the TPU sole is designed to be anti-torsion and to give extra rebound on push off. My only complaint would be on the sizing, which differs from the usual narrow fit of Scarpas. My Scarpa winter boots are my pride and joy and fit my feet perfectly. The Neutrons, however, have a slightly different shape to them – a narrower toe, larger heel and wider fit.
2. Overboard waterproof backpack, £69.99
ARUCKSACK is just a rucksack, right? Not when you are on or near water, with the wet stuff splashing at you. I can take a soaking myself – after all, a good outdoors shirt or trousers will dry quickly, and a waterproof jacket can help when it is chillier. But when taking to a canoe, kayak, paddle board and so on, one thing that really puts a glum feeling on a day is soggy sandwiches or camera. This backpack does the job perfectly; it’s not too heavy and it’s watertight. At 20 litres, it’s big enough to store your day kit, yet small enough to stow comfortably in a canoe. I’m glad to say I’ve not tested it in a capsize but they are designed as being submersible.
3. Icebreaker COOL-LITE Strike Tee, £70
CONFESSION – I’ve avoided Icebreaker gear as, though folk rave about it, I thought it pricey. After all, you can get baselayers for a few quid. Now I get it! I wore this on the TGO Challenge coast-tocoast. Weight was vital so we didn’t carry many clothes – I feel a bit manky telling you how long I wore this (six days) but it didn’t whiff at all. Honest! It’s amazing. Apparently it’s the blend of merino wool and TENCEL eucalyptus wood fibre. Whatever it is, it works. Excellent wicking means it dries super-quick. It’s so soft and comfy too, with no scratchy seams. Top bit of kit. I guess it’s a case of you get what you pay for – it’s dear, but it’s the business! I’d prefer a long-sleeve, though, for better UV protection.
4. Goxtreme Pioneer, £49.99
BEFORE investing in any action camera, it’s got to be worth thinking how much you’ll use it. I’ve seen many early adopters of expensive cameras use them only a half dozen times, so an affordable cam like this seems a great idea. Frame rate is a smidge below average, as is field of vision, but build quality is good and it comes with a great range of accessories, including sturdy waterproof housing. The buttons are easy to use out and about, even with gloved hands. For cycling, it works best on a chest harness, not included, but available to buy separately. Uploading the videos to Youtube was quick and easy, and all I would ever do. Die-hard video buffs might want more, but for casual users it’s everything you need.