The Sunday Post (Inverness)
Putting the latest outdoor clothing, accessories and equipment to test
1. Helly Hansen Odin Minimalist Infinity Jacket, £240
If you enjoy outdoor activities and live in Scotland it is vital to have a waterproof with you at all times. This hi-tech offering from Helly Hansen packs into its chest pocket to form a small and lightweight pack, that provides excellent cover from unforeseen weather.
I was particularly impressed with the hood, which is adjustable and protects you without obscuring your vision or becoming too annoying. The long back means it’s good for use when cycling. The seams and zips are fully watertight and the jacket is breathable so you can carry on with your chosen activity without breaking for the rain.
2. Sealskinz Waterproof Cold Weather Sock, £40
CAN socks really be 100% waterproof and breathable at the same time? It turns out they can. When crossing a burn I put these to the test, took my boots off, and waded through it. Despite the water coming up past my ankles, my feet stayed dry thanks to the socks’ hydrophilic membrane. I was pretty impressed. These are the cold weather versions from Sealskinz, which also have a Merino wool interior, which wicks away sweat and traps in warmth. They’re surprisingly comfortable too, with excellent ankle support and flat toe seams. I keep a pair in my pack now for cold nights while camping.
3. Vango Basho Folding Walking Pole, £25
You will not get a better walking pole at this price. It folds into three sections for easy stowing thanks to an elastic cord. It’s also extendable, with an easy-to-use snap lock on the top section, plus it has an adjustable anti-shock setting. The grip and wrist strap are padded for comfort. It has the standard tungsten tip and rubber stopper you expect on a pole. Made from light alloy, I weighed it at just over 300g. I’ve a pair of premium brand folding poles that are lighter (and with Kevlar cords) but can’t be adjusted and don’t have the antishock qualities – they retail at over £130 a pair.
4. Finisterre Transition Reversible Jacket, £150
The first thing I noticed about this lightweight jacket is the gorgeous matte finish material. Then I put it on and it just got better and better. The 100% recycled polyester fabric allows natural movement and flexibility for any outdoor activity. The bright orange and dark navy reversible jacket seemed too stylish for exercising in, but a very cold snap meant I tried it on a cold evening run and I’m very glad I had it. I was nice and warm but didn’t overheat and it kept me thoroughly dry during a surprise rain shower – never feeling at all bulky. The zipped chest pocket is very handy for keys or cash.