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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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Leki Makalu Trail AS (2012)

£55.00

A fairly standard pair of poles from market-leader Leki. They feature an anti-shock system that does provide a decent amount of spring on all terrains (not just road) although it may be a little too soft for some. The poles aren’t the stiffest in the world but they work fine, without any slipping from the twist-lock grips. The real selling ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Cotswold Outdoor Explorer UL (2012)

£54.00

These are actually made by Italian manufacturer Fizan and offer a decent budget option. Lightweight with decent strength under loading, they don’t flex too much. The lack of an anti-shock system may not suit everyone, but wasn’t a problem in use. Handgrips are fine and straps do the job with minimal amounts of fuss and reasonable comfort. The twist-lock system ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Blacks Carbon Lite (2012)

£50.00

Made from carbon, which makes them incredibly light and a good option for travelling or those not keen on an upper body workout. They do have quite a bit of flex, which isn’t necessarily great for when you’re putting a lot of weight on them. In addition, the twist-lock system isn’t particularly effective. The tested pair did slip after prolonged ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Fizan Prestige (2012))

£50.00

Some of the lightest poles in the test but it hasn’t impacted on their strength in use. When loaded with weight, the pole doesn’t really wobble or flex too much. The anti-shock system is decent enough too, with a good amount of spring, without being too noisy on harder terrain. It can be a little tricky to get the knack ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Blacks Compact Pole (2012)

£50.00

The Blacks Compact Pole is very well-priced, and it also benefits from a reasonable set of features that are also well designed for its price. So you get a three-section pole that weighs in at 470g, which is very reasonable. It packs down to a good size too, so it sits neatly on a rucksack. The length adjustment is the ...

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

£70.00

A simple set of rigid poles that do what they say on the tin. They are  lightweight and extend to a good length for most taller walkers, but still pack down to a decent length. The twist locking system works better than some with no slipping under heavy pressure. The grips are great, using a rubber compound that helps create ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Trekmates Carbon Ultralite

£70.00

 A super-lightweight set of poles, in a rather stealthy looking black carbon. Their construction makes them strong, and while there is a fair amount of flex in the shaft, try as you might, you won’t snap them. The twist lock system functions well without the section slipping at all. The soft foam handles are pleasant enough in the hand, although ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Vipole HSE EVO2

£60.00

These employ an oil-damped anti-shock system, which should offer a much smoother feeling in the hand, and the cushioning action is definitely an improvement on standard spring damping. Getting the anti-shock system to actually function proved to be difficult however, with the poles often remaining locked-out. They do function well enough as standard poles, and Vipole use high-resolution graphic printing ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Princeton Tec Apex 2011

£95.00

The Princeton Tec Apex uses a sophisticated electronic circuit inside the headtorch to control light output for the duration of the battery life. The heat sink on the back is designed to prevent overheating when the headtorch is set on maximum power. With technology like this the Apex could be ideal for hill-walkers. DesignThe Princeton Tec Apex weighs in at ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Mammut Lucido TX1 2011

£75.00

Lucido lights are now branded as Mammut, and the TX1 is designed for alpine use. The Mammut Lucido TX1 is unusual as it has three red lamps on the back that flash so the user can be seen from the rear more easily. Also the head can be rotated to protect the lens and lamps from being broken when in ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Freeloader Pro 2010 solar panel

£70.00

The Freeloader Pro is a pair of solar panels (which open out like wings) plus a battery unit in a stylish brushed aluminium casing. You get 10 adapters to allow the device to plug into Garmin and Satmap GPS receivers, mobile phones and a Blackberry. The supplied Cam Caddy allows almost any type of digital camera batteries to be recharged. ...

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

£80.00

Designed for climbers rather than walkers, these poles are the undisputed best when it comes to carrying them – weighing just 450g and folding down to a miniscule 41cm, making them perfect if you just use poles for the final descent of the day or when conditions get really tough. But the fixed length (they aren’t telescopic and are only ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Komperdell Carbon Airshock 2010

£130.00

The Komperdell Carbon Airshock is a very lightweight pole, thanks to the use of carbon fibre in the shafts. The poles also feature anti-shock, which makes the lower weight even more impressive. The anti-shock can be turned on and off by rotating the pole. The pole is a full 137cm long when fully extended, which means it will benefit those ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Satmap On-line Route Planner and Route Share Network 2010

£80.00

Satmap’s On-line Route Planner and Route Share Network functions totally online, so you don’t have to install anything onto your computer. The sign-up charge is £80 but this is waived if you purchase a Satmap Active 10 Plus GPS receiver. It is simplicity itself because Satmap has taken a very clear approach to the way you get into this system, ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Mammut Lucido TX1 2010

£70.00

The Mammut Lucido TX1 is a well-designed headtorch with a unique head that rotates in its housing to provide excellent directional control of the beam. The head stays in place well too when set in position. An additional Ambient Light housing can be added for an extra £9, which transforms this light into a useful camping lantern by diffusing the ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Hope Vision 1 LED Adventure 2010

£100.00

The Hope Vision 1 LED Adventure has 1 LED; max output 240 lumens; 4 power settings plus flash; very robust; tilting head; uses 4 AA batteries. But 322g is heavy; max burn time 30 hours; the light flashes every 6 seconds when battery is low.

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Black Diamond Sprinter 2010

£90.00

The Black Diamond Sprinter weighs 100g; 1 Double Power LED; max output 68 lumens; dimmer switch is very easy to use; rear flashing red strobe; swivel head; rechargeable battery pack; max burn time 64 hours; oval beam for running. But tilting head not as secure as pricier designs; not able to fit batteries if power drops during use.

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Primus Primelite Race 2010

£55.00

The Primus Primelite Race has 1 high-output LED; max power 140 lumens; 3 power settings; tilting head; uses 4 AA batteries in belt pack so can be kept warm in winter and not destabilise headtorch; good price for output. But 196g is heavy; 20 hour max burn time is relatively short.

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Barigo 45 SB 2009

£95.00

The Barigo 45 SB is a gimmick-free watch with a superbly large display and easy-to-use buttons. Despite its size, it is comfortable on the wrist and surprisingly light. It’s very intuitive to find your way around the basic functions (compass, altimeter, barometer etc) and that’s exactly what you want from a watch when you need information clearly and quickly. But ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Wenger Battalion III Diver 200m 2009

£140.00

Renowned for its penknives, Wenger also draws on its Swiss heritage to make watches. The Battalion III Diver 200m is really aimed at divers, but it features a luminous dial that delivers good night-time visibility and is waterproof down to 200m. It’s relatively light, sleek and comfortable when scrambling and climbing. As a basic timepiece we were pretty impressed with ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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MSR Quick 2 System 2009

£60.00

With the MSR Quick 2 System  you get an aluminium pan set with a 2.5 and 1.5 litre pot and a lid with straining holes. A removable pan grip can be fitted to either pan. You also get two polypropylene dishes for eating from, as well as a pair of insulated stainless steel cups. But the unusual shape of the ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Jack Wolfskin Wolfmat King Size

£75.00

Self-inflating mats come in all sizes and shapes, but if you really want to be comfortable look no further than the Wolfmat King Size. This mat offers unprecedented comfort with a very durable outer and a form core inner coupled with a huge size.   DesignLike conventional self-inflating mats the Wolfmat is based around a core of CFC-free foam. As ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Ajungilak D-Lux Pump Mat

£110.00

A mat with extra insulation to cope with winter days or for those who feel the cold more easily in summer. The D-Lux Pump Mat is also thicker than a standard mat and comes with a pump action and pillow profile for fast inflation and comfort. DesignThe D-Lux Pump Mat has a thin layer of MTI synthetic insulation inside, and ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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BLACK DIAMOND TRAIL SHOCK POLE

£70.00

Review: The Black Diamond has a wonderfully soft, grippy foam handle – one of the best tested – and the padded, easily adjustable straps make them among the most comfortable. The unique three-stage antishock system felt great, especially on rough ground; and the extended foam grip proved useful on rough ground, too. The sections are clamped together using a flicklock ...

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

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