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Fjallraven Friluft 35 (2014)

£115.00

A virtually flawless rucksack which is a pleasure to wear thanks to some hugely supportive hip-fins that are so sturdy, they almost massage your lower back as you walk. Packing is a little tricky if you’ve put in a hydration system, but it still takes a lot of filling. A curved aluminium frame makes it very light and the bottom ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
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Vaude Triset 35+8 (2014)

£77.00

This colossal pack swallows anything: jacket after fleece after drybag went flying in with no problem, even before we’d expanded the extra side storage areas and shoved in two more jackets. The lid pocket is equally cavernous. Yet while it feels like a sack in the loading, when worn it disperses the weight with ease and feels incredibly secure and ...

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Osprey Kyte 36 (2014)

£100.00

Like all Osprey packs this is sleek, beautiful and packed with features. It has a really effective back system which is adjustable via a Velcro panel, and lets your back breathe without impeding your packing. The shoulder straps and hip-belt really are designed for a woman. The hip-fins encircle the torso almost completely and contain two huge pannier pockets – ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
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Deuter ACT Trail 28 (2014)

£90.00

This one prides itself on its attention to feminine detail, not least in the lovely faux-flower that comes attached to it. The shoulder straps curve neatly round the bust and the weight disperses neatly round the hips, establishing it as a genuine women’s pack. The capacity is huge for the stated 28L; the main compartment is very deep and there’s ...

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Vango Transalp 30 (2014)

£50.00

The best thing about the Transalp is the ease of access: the entire front panel unzips and flips up if you lie it down, allowing instant access to the contents. It fits securely and the back system is a pleasing mix of padded panels and subtly concave suspension, which means air can circulate around your back without the load being ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
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Lowe Alpine Yocton 35 (2014)

£70.00

A great-looking, slimline pack with robust face fabric, devoted to moving light and fast rather than with all mod cons. There’s no rain cover, for one thing. Nothing is chunky here; the shoulder straps are narrow with very minimal padding, and the attachment and compression straps are also slim and lightweight, as are the clips which connect them. It sits ...

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Berghaus Freeflow 30+6 (2014)

£85.00

An exceptionally comfortable, robust and intuitive rucksack. The adjustable sliding harness is easy to master so you really can tailor it to your height. Bright internal panels mean it’s easy to find what you’re looking for, and it has a removable internal divider: you can shrink the main section for smaller loads (and use the lower section for something you ...

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Montane Bionic (2014)

£65.00

As its name suggests, this is a top which means business. The Bionic is sleek and technical, with a slightly looser fit than the other base-layers to ensure ease of movement for strenuous days out in the hills. It’s incredibly lightweight and floats against the skin like gossamer – perfect for sweaty climbs on otherwise chilly days. But it’s the ...

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Smartwool NTS Mid 250 Zip (2014)

£75.00

At the top end of the price range, we find this: supremely comfortable merino wool, fitted but not clingy, a completely natural thermostat and easy to wash too. And as a bonus, it's muted enough to hide all its technical brilliance in a top that looks profoundly ‘normal’. I wore it on four separate trips without washing it, and it ...

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Mammut GoWarm (2014)

£60.00

Here we get a bit more athletic. This is a high-performance technical top and the tightest fit in the men’s group, although it adapted nicely to my body shape after three outings and careful washes. It’s a complex blend: a merino and polyester face fabric plus a polyester-only inner lining, which together offer great temperature regulation on hard climbs. There’s ...

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Sherpa Adventure gear Dikila (2014)

£50.00

Though the heaviest base-layer in the women’s group, the Dikila is surprisingly versatile. Using their own blend of synthetic fabrics called Dry-Zone, Sherpa have created a top which can double up in both a summer and winter wardrobe. It kept me warm on low-level strolls during the cold snaps of November, but it’s also breathable enough to cope with warmer ...

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Icebreaker Oasis (2014)

£70.00

Here comes the merino champion: luxurious, comfortable and expensive. Unlike the coarse, itchy wool which comes from your bog-standard sheep, merino sheep produce exceptionally fine and soft wool which feels like silk next to the skin. And with this top, Icebreaker have engineered it into a top-of-the-range, deluxe base-layer. Made from 100% merino, the Oasis is tailored to be snug ...

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Paramo Grid Classic (2014)

£50.00

If you want a warm, clever and versatile top that doesn’t look too flashy, look no further than the Grid. It’s a relaxed fit, but it’s made with a thick, insulating fabric (almost like fleece) which is so comfy I was still wearing it as an outer layer in late autumn. The distinctive grid pattern of this Parameta G fabric ...

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Hillsound Trail Crampon (2014)

£50.00

As the ice gets harder and the snow cover gets deeper you need more, longer spikes to keep a grip. But you also need a unit that will stay on the shoe and not roll off when you traverse a slope. The Hillsound Trail Crampon has 11 spikes that are 1cm in length, and the unit is held on the ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Snowline Snowspikes Light (2014)

£55.00

As the name suggests, Snowline Snowspikes Light are much lighter than the other similar models, being just 267g (pair, size XL) while similar products such as the Kahtoola Microspikes (430g) are heavier. The weight saving is due to the rubber cradle and metal chains being thinner, but the metal spikes are the same size. You get 12 spikes that are ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Berghaus Pravatile Hooded Jacket (2014)

£75.00

There are a lot of hooded fleece jackets available but not that many under £100, so at £75 the Berghaus Pravatile Hooded Jacket does have some appeal. It is made from an attractive stretch fleece that offers a good level of insulation for general hillwalking. It is not very wind-resistant, which makes it ideal for wearing under a waterproof because ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Vaude Brenta 35 (2014)

£90.00

The Vaude Brenta 35 narrowly missed out being featured in the top eight in our test. It is a well-featured 35-litre rucksack with two hip pockets, a floating back system that adjusts, a rain cover, two wand pockets, a clipped webbing pocket on the front that is ideal for a jacket, a valuables pocket under the lid and the usual ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 (2014)

£85.00

Made – as its name suggests – for scramblers, this 30L rucksack is ideal for those who want something lean, light and equipped for the hard stuff. Consequently it’s lean on many features hillwalkers take for granted, such as a padded waistbelt, raincover, and under-lid zipped pocket – and heavy on things that might not be needed, such as gear loops ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Marmot Thermo Hoody (2014)

£100.00

The divisions between next to skin base layers, insulating mid-layers and waterproof outer layers are becoming ever more blurred as brands develop products to suit every style of outdoor activity and the specific needs of different types of users. The Marmot Thermo Hoody is a thin mid layer, but it could also be considered as a thick base layer. For ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Sprayway Scorch Hoodie (2014)

£75.00

The Sprayway Scorch Hoodie is made from Exo/therm Stretch. This provides a medium level of wind resistant, similar to Polartec 200 Micro, but it has a closer knit on the outside to give it more abrasion resistance, while on the inside it has a more brushed appearance. The result is that it does not feel quite as warm as Polartec ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Montane Prism (2014)

£100.00

Synthetic insulated jackets are ideal as year-round garments, and the Montane Prism is one of the best all-rounders out there. It uses PrimaLoft Eco synthetic insulation that includes 50 per cent recycled fibres. The shell is made from Pertex and when combined with the insulation you get a very lightweight option at just 423g (size L). That weight includes a ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
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Alpkit Filo (2014)

£120.00

Alpkit gear is only available directly from the manufacturer, but the price is stunning for what you get. The Filo is very warm thanks to a good amount of good-quality down, which is packed into a shell made of ripstop nylon with a water-resistant treatment. The detachable hood benefits from a wired peak, but there’s no volume adjuster and it ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
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Jack Wolfskin Rambler 32 (2014)

£65.00

The Jack Wolfskin Rambler 32 is an excellent-value rucksack with a good feature set for the price that narrowly missed out on being featured in the final eight rucksacks. It features a suspended airflow back system that is good for controlling sweat, a pocket on the hipbelt, hydration compatibility, a rain cover, wand pockets, a zipped front compartment and a ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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The North Face Terra 35 (2014)

£90.00

The The North Face Terra 35 is a sturdy rucksack with some interesting features that no doubt will appeal to some, but light on others. You don’t get a rain cover, and the hipbelt doesn’t have any pockets; the back system doesn’t adjust (though it does come in two sizes); there’s no zipped pocket under the lid; and the back ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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First test: Brunton Hydrogen Reactor (2014)

£135.00

Mobile phones, GPS units, headtorches – all of these require power, leading to a demand for portable devices capable of delivering a charge when ‘off-grid’. The Brunton Hydrogen Reactor is such a device, but one that is remarkably different from those that have gone before. The clue’s in the name. The Reactor combines hydrogen with oxygen from the air to ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0

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