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Quechua A200 (2014)

£20.00

Quechua is currently creating some pretty big waves in the UK thanks to its expanding range of decent-quality outdoor kit at affordable prices. This self-inflating mat, although the bulkiest featured in our review, falls right into both categories. Serious wild campers will be put off by the size and weight (1234g) because it’s really too big to carry in your ...

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Multimat Discovery (2014)

£20.00

If you’re really into saving weight and money, and can handle the sneers from technology-obsessed walking buddies, you really can’t beat a classic closed-cell foam mat. No need to worry about spare pumps, self-inflating devices or repair kits; you simply unroll it, chuck it on the ground and go to sleep. The Multimat Discovery is made from high-quality polyolefin foam ...

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Vango Ultralite Mat Full (2014)

£40.00

If you want to take the next step up from the bargains on offer from Multimat (Discovery) and Quechua (A200), this Duke of Edinburgh’s Award-recommended mat offers fantastic value for money. It fully self-inflates so won’t leave you gasping for breath before bed, and it packs down almost as small as the Exped Downmat. The compromise is the depth of ...

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Regatta Survivor 35 (2014)

£45.00

A good, simple, entry-level pack with no frills. It took all the key items we packed, and the basic padded back system circulates air reasonably well. The dark interior makes it hard to find things, and the side pockets are rather shallow so your flask or bottle will protrude, if not wobble. The outer bungee cord will hold a spare ...

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The North Face Hybrid (2014)

£45.00

Despite coming in at the lowest price-point of all the base-layers here, the Hybrid boasts some pretty impressive technology. The fabric is mapped out according to the body’s hot and cold spots so that the underarms, for instance, are ventilated while the sides are insulated. Under test, it did a fantastic job of regulating my body temperature at a comfortable ...

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Outdoor Research Echo (2014)

£35.00

A comfy top which ticks most of the boxes for a great price. ‘Stripped-back’ is the word: it’s extremely lightweight, almost tissue-thin, with uncomplicated stitched seams; a lean top for those who like to move light and fast. It isn’t close-fitted at all, in fact it’s rather baggy and shapeless round the waist and at the wrists. This means it’s ...

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Sprayway Santiago/Atlanta Rainpant (2013)

£40.00

The addition of a lining makes low-priced overtrousers far more comfortable, and this means the Sprayway Santiago/Atlanta Rainpant is a good option for those with limited funds. The trouser benefits from a calf-length zip so it can more easily be put on without removing boots, although this is still not as easy as when the trouser has a full-length zip ...

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Regatta Packaway II (2013)

£15.00

If your overtrousers are going to spend most of their life in your pack, or you’re really strapped for cash, then a basic pair is probably your best bet. The Regatta Packaway II packs down to the size of a Coke can and weighs only 164g (size men’s L). The design is simple, with an elasticated waist and a couple ...

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Vango Adventure Tarp (2013)

£30.00

The Adventure Tarp is designed to be used as an additional porch for a Vango tent or as a standalone tarp-style shelter. It comes with guy lines, pegs and a very robust pole as well as an elasticated edge to provide a closer fit to a curved tent. When used as a more traditional tarp it can’t be set up ...

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Pure Hydration AquaPure Traveller (2013)

£35.00

The Pure Hydration AquaPure Traveller allows you to collect water and then drink it safely when you’re ready. The filter is screwed onto the top of the bottle and can be replaced when it reaches the end of its service life, thereby preventing the bottle itself having to be thrown away. Like other modern filters, there are no chemicals needed ...

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Drinksafe Waterstraw (2013)

£29.00

The Drinksafe Waterstraw is the lightest filter system available and is extremely well-priced, so it’s ideal for stashing in your rucksack for emergencies. It’s also extremely easy to use, because you simply remove the caps from each end, place one end in the water, then suck through the filter from the other end with your mouth. Once your thirst is ...

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Extremities Light Hiker (2013)

£18.00

Extremities are experts in, well, the extremities – so it goes to figure that their socks should be excellent. Probably the most comfortable socks here, the Light Hikers are made from 25 per cent wool and 42 per cent Coolmax polyester among other principally stretchy things, though on inspection you’d be forgiven for thinking they were pure wool. A light, ...

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Point6 Hiking Tech (2013)

£20.00

A company started by experts in yarn, Point6 guarantees the Hiking Tech socks to be ‘the best wool socks ever’– a bold claim that originates from the fine spinning process, which helps avoid bobbling and other signs of micro-wear, making them particularly durable. They’re highly elastic, which improves fit and wicking, and also helps to regulate temperature. www.point6.com  Review by ...

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1000 Mile Ultimate Heavyweight (2013)

£15.00

So confident is 1000 Mile in its system – two layers: a synthetic inner which moves with your foot and a wool outer which moves with the boot – that the company offers a money-back guarantee if you get blisters or the socks wear out. It’s an impressive idea, and the 1000 Mile Ultimate Heavyweight is certainly different to others ...

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Smartwool Outdoor (2013)

£19.00

Nothing feels quite as luxurious as new woolly socks, and no wool feels quite as good as that from merino sheep. Part of SmartWool’s PhD (geddit?) range, these socks are naturally odour-resistant and high-wicking – helped by the looped-thread lining – as well as being warm and supremely comfortable, making them just the job for long, multi-day walks when a ...

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Bridgedale Trekker (2013)

£15.00

The WoolFusion model is in a range that includes MerinoFusion and CoolFusion, and these UK-made socks are designed to give the best of both worlds: the comfort and natural low odour of wool combined with the durability, wickability and affordability of synthetics. The result is an ideal general walking sock of high quality that won’t break the bank. www.bridgedale.co.uk Review ...

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Brasher Hillwalker (2013)

£11.00

The Brasher Hillwalker is a thinner synthetic sock for lighter walking or for those who don’t like the thicker feel of wool. UK-made from Coolmax polyester and nylon, they aren’t as odour-resistant as wool equivalents and can feel on the warm side, but they’re not bad in either respect – especially given the price, which is pretty good for a ...

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Falke TK2 (2013)

£15.00

‘Engineered’ isn’t a word you’d readily associate with socks, but then the Falke TK2s are German. Made of a highly wicking, quick-drying combination of fabrics – featuring 22 per cent wool and integrated silver elements to reduce odour – the TK2 is a thinner sock than many, but it’s warm without being clammy and it’s impressively durable, especially for the ...

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X-Socks Trekking Outdoor (2013)

£13.00

X-Socks makes high-spec socks catering for just about everything that might make you sweat. Using a variety of synthetic materials they come in a variety of lengths – including this ‘crew’ variety, which is ideal for wearing with trail shoes. The Trekking Outdoor is padded for an anatomical, comfort-giving fit that aids wicking and keeps your feet padded and cool, ...

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SealSkinz Walking Sock (2013)

£28.00

SealSkinz waterproof socks have come a long way. Out is the stiff, slightly latex-y feel, and in is merino wool, an ergonomic fit and a much more agreeable-feeling fabric. The SealSkinz Walking Sock is still very different to the others we looked at, but then it is waterproof, so that’s to be expected. It’s also pretty breathable, and may be ...

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Lorpen Midweight Hiker (2013)

£16.00

Robust and supportive while not as finely woven as some options, Lorpen’s use of PrimaLoft Eco polyester (Lorpen is known for its polar socks) and 25 per cent merino wool in its Midweight Hiker sock is a quality combination. The Tri-Layer construction has a sound logic: synthetic next to the skin for wicking, natural in the middle to absorb and ...

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Páramo Cambia Shortsleeved T-shirt (2013)

£29.00

With the Páramo Cambia Shortsleeved T-shirt you’re effectively getting two T-shirts in one. The synthetic fabric is finished differently on either side to provide extra warmth or cooling as required. With the slightly shinier surface on the inside, moisture is effectively dispersed during heavy exercise, allowing the wearer to cool down more efficiently. The reverse side has a softer, almost ...

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Berghaus Long-Sleeve Zip-Neck Technical T-Shirt (2013)

£32.00

As far as general-purpose base layers go, the Berghaus Long-Sleeve Zip-Neck Technical T-Shirt ticks all the boxes. It’s a good price, it’s reasonably light and, because it’s synthetic rather than merino wool, it’s relatively low-maintenance. The long sleeves and high collar keep the breeze at bay on a cold day, and the long chest zip allows the wearer to cool ...

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Keela ADS 100 Short Sleeve Round Neck Top (2013)

£20.00

At just £20, the Keela ADS 100 Short Sleeve Round Neck Top is such a bargain that you might choose to buy a few, and with such a vast array of colour options you could really go to town with your walking wardrobe. Truth be told, you’ll probably want more than one if you’re going on a multi-day hike – ...

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Xcelcius Megatherm (2013)

£30.00

When a base layer comes with a warning not to sleep in it because it’s too warm, you should know what you’re getting; but just to make it crystal-clear, the Xcelcius Megatherm top also comes with a certified -25 deg C rating. Oh yes, it’s a hot one. Looking more like a sweatshirt than a base layer, it has a ...

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