Gear Guide

We put the lat­est out­door cloth­ing and equip­ment to the test

The Scots Magazine - - Outdoor Scotland -

1. Columbia Cal­do­rado III UTMB Shoes, £115

I’D never worn Columbia footwear be­fore so came to­tally fresh to this shoe, a lim­ited edi­tion ver­sion of the pop­u­lar Cal­do­rado range. A tad heav­ier than my reg­u­lar trail shoe, and more ro­bust – no sur­prise given it’s in­tended for the Ul­tra-trail du Mont Blanc – a 166km route round Europe’s tallest peak and one of the tough­est races in the world. The shoe’s a good all-rounder. Up­pers are seam­less “soft-shell” but abra­sion-proof. Comfy but a bit wide at the ball of my foot. I like heftier lugs for muddy, slippy runs but they were good on for­est tracks. Great heel sup­port and tough toe pro­tec­tion.

2. Keela Ladies’ Scuf­fer Trousers, £79.95

ICANNOT de­scribe how much I love these hik­ing trousers. They’re win­dresis­tant and wa­ter-re­pel­lent, but – un­like most trousers claim­ing to be both – this doesn’t come with added weight or at the cost of breatha­bil­ity. The Stretch-tec Ad­vance fab­ric is comfy and gives great ease of move­ment. It’s durable, too, and the knee and seat ar­eas are dou­bly-re­in­forced. The in­ner lin­ing has mois­ture-wick­ing prop­er­ties, and there are added ven­ti­la­tion pock­ets. I es­pe­cially like the ad­justable tabs at the an­kle. I’ve been try­ing to find a neg­a­tive about these trousers, but I hon­estly can’t think of any­thing. I’m go­ing to or­der another pair. Men’s sizes also avail­able.

3. Helly Hansen Li­faloft In­su­la­tor Jacket, £160

THIS jacket re­ally does live up to the of­ten-made claim of be­ing light­weight. On first try­ing it on I thought it was re­ally a fash­ion gar­ment and not weighty enough to with­stand any­thing more than a stroll to the shops. But the Li­faloft tech­nol­ogy, which makes the in­su­la­tion lighter than the usual polyester, did the job per­fectly on a breezy day in the hills of Gal­loway, and then on a chilly evening camp­ing. Also, it is less cum­ber­some than a woolly jumper or sweat­shirt and far eas­ier to fold up and slot away in a ruck­sack with­out tak­ing up too much space. I’ve had a num­ber of top-qual­ity jack­ets over the years but this is the best by far. It’ll eas­ily cope with what­ever weather the win­ter is go­ing to throw at me!

4. Lifesys­tems Heat­shield Blan­ket, £7.99

I’VE been car­ry­ing a one-per­son ver­sion of this for years. Sadly, I never had it with me on the oc­ca­sions I’ve been ly­ing in the woods wait­ing for an am­bu­lance, but I wish I had. It’s amaz­ing how cold you get after the shock of an ac­ci­dent wears off, and this is an in­ex­pen­sive, pack­able and re­us­able way of sig­nif­i­cantly re­duc­ing that prob­lem. This dou­ble-sized one al­lows you to share your body warmth with an in­jured party, and the bright or­ange colour is help­ful in mak­ing sure you’re found. It’s the sort of unglam­orous thing that’ll sit at the bot­tom of your bag for years, but if the time comes to use it you’ll not re­gret spend­ing a penny of the measly ask­ing price. Team it up with a sur­vival bag for ad­di­tional weath­er­proof­ing.

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Ka­t­rina Pa­trick

Nick Drainey

Alex Corlett

Robert Wight

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