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Vango Trail 25 (2015)

£35.00

The Trail is a great, compact rucksack for everyday walks. It mixes simplicity and technicality: it has the most basic hip-belt and back system; yet it closes with a lid and buckle, which is unusually refined for a sub-30L pack, and it has two capacious side pockets which help you distribute the weight very evenly. The side pockets easily take ...

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Black Diamond Nitro 22 (2015)

£80.00

As soon as you feel the face fabric, you know this tough cookie is meant for rough, rocky adventures. It’s highly abrasion-resistant (I scrubbed it on hard, damp limestone while squeezing into a Derbyshire cave) and it doesn’t mind getting wet, so it doesn’t bother with a rain cover. The mesh/hole back panel ventilates well, while the huge hip-fins embrace ...

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OspreyStratos 24 (2015)

£75.00

The Stratos 24 has been my default summer day-pack for a very long time. It just gets everything right: compactness, stability, features in abundance and unrivalled comfort. It comes in two different back lengths and has a concave AirSpeed back system which pushes the load away and keeps you well ventilated. This does have a knock-on effect on storage space, ...

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Gregory Miwok 18 (2015)

£65.00

A perfect example of how a small pack can do great things. This tiny 18L pack is snug, secure and flawlessly stable, even on a boulder-hoppy hike in Snowdonia. The mesh back panel sits flush to your back, but flexes with you and has huge air pores which stop your back feeling too sweaty. The shoulder straps are highly breathable ...

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Jack Wolfskin ACS Stratosphere 20 (2015)

£75.00

The ACS is a fine-looking rucksack. But it’s clever as well as sexy. Firstly, it’s narrow so the load is tightly contained and it never impedes your arm movements. The harness is rigid round the back of the shoulders, like the collarbone of a good coat, the shoulder straps are well-cushioned but superbly ventilated, and the hip-belt is a model ...

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Platypus Sprinter XT25 (2015)

£120.00

This unisex pack comes from a brand who mainly make hydration systems, so it’s built around (and supplied with) a 3L water bladder and hose. This explains the higher prices and weights. Platypus’ approach is to hang the long, rectangular bladder in its own chamber behind the main section. You’d think this might impinge on storage, but no: the main ...

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AKU Nuvola GTX (2015)

£135.00

Italian brand Aku have gone bonkers for colour this season, perhaps figuring we all want to go back to 1985. I quite like this day-glo model, but if the colours repel you, be assured it also comes in more muted tones. The Nuvola is a rough, tough yomper with a robust outsole that tackles hill paths and boggy marsh with ...

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Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX (2015)

£115.00

The X Ultra is one of my favourite walking shoes (the ‘mid’ version is great too), and here is an updated version. Truth be told, the update is mostly cosmetic, smoothing out some of the chunkier edges and removing some of the excessive styling that made it look overly flashy. From the school of not-broke, no-fix, everything else is as ...

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Meindl X-SO 30 GTX Surround (2015)

£145.00

This one makes use of the new Gore-Tex Surround technology, which is designed to run cooler than a conventional Gore-Tex shoe without losing any of its waterproofing. The secret hides in the midsole: a 6mm-thick spacer which vents underfoot heat and expels it through a 9mm-high breathable area along the side of the shoe. It works: on hot days, the ...

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Ecco Biom Trail FL (2015)

£130.00

Most of these shoes occupy the crossover world between walking and running, but few more successfully than this one. The Biom is a running shoe that is perfectly adaptable for walking, if you like to be light and nimble. At 384g, it’s lighter by 50-75g than most other walking shoes. Ecco keep almost all their technologies in-house, so this packs ...

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Hanwag Belorado Low GTX (2015)

£140.00

The Belorado offers the same rough, tough durability as the Aku, but with a sleeker, lower body, a more elongated toecap and a more pronounced arch, which allows the heel to bite more deeply on stony ascents. The squidgy tongue is nice and soft, but overall the shoe values toughness over comfort: the insole is flat and hard; good for ...

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Bergans Eidfjord (2015)

£200.00

The Eidfjord is a do-anything, go-anywhere technical jacket that is equally at home in a summer downpour as it is in a wintry squall. While it’s light and compact enough to stuff into a rucksack quickly, the Eidfjord doesn’t compromise on durability: the three-layer waterproof fabric and water-resistant zips feel robust enough to endure the rough-and-tumble of all-weather walking. The ...

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The North Face Pursuit (2015)

£140.00

The Pursuit is one of the lightest full-on waterproofs on the market, weighing in at 350g. This makes it a great option for midsummer walks, when it combines the best elements of lightweight windshirt and full-on waterproof. But you can see where the weight has been saved: it doesn’t offer any soft fabric round the chin or collar, the simple ...

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Musto Evolution Sardinia GTX (2015)

£249.00

The Musto is a waterproof jacket that thinks it’s a soft shell. The soft face fabric is far nicer to wear than the average hard shell, and the hood is removable, meaning it can work as a warm and windproof outer layer even if it’s dry. It’s very warm, thanks to its two-layer Gore-Tex membrane and luxurious collar lining. But ...

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Rab Neo Guide (2015)

£300.00

Tick in the box straight away: look at the pockets. Two map-sized pockets on the upper torso; the Neo Guide doesn’t even bother with handwarmers because it expects you to be wearing a proper rucksack. This is a specialist jacket where every detail has been thought about by a serious hill-walker. In terms of performance, it is very similar to ...

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Sherpa Lakpa Rita (2015)

£280.00

I’ve been wearing the Lakpa Rita for over two years and if I’m heading for mountains and the forecast is dodgy, it is my go-to hard shell. It just has the whole package: a stiff, peaked hood, four taped pockets in all the right places and at the perfect dimensions, a slightly longer cut to cover most of the bottom, ...

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Salomon Elemental AD (2015)

£90.00

Calling something a ‘budget buy’ can damn it with faint praise, but there is nothing faint about this jacket. It represents exceptional value for money: trim, technical and just as waterproof as many jackets twice its price. The tidy cut gives a bit of coverage over the backside, but leaves you free to bring knee to chin if you’re so ...

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Berghaus Light Trek Hydroshell (2015)

£170.00

Berghaus say they designed this new jacket with input from walkers who had completed the West Highland Way, so its focus is on moving light and fast over long distances. It lacks the Gore-Tex membrane used on Berghaus’ tougher shells but is still reliably waterproof. (That said, the brand’s much-loved Paclite jacket does most of what this does, is the ...

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Osprey Talon 22 (2015)

£75.00

FeaturesThe Osprey Talon 22 and Tempest 20 are well-established favourites that offer a good set of all-round features for hillwalkers. They are built around a padded back system. The main compartment is a zip opening rather than buckled lid but you get a good stretch front compression panel and side stretch pockets. And 750g is a good weight. 4/5 FitThe ...

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Berghaus Trail Speed 30 (2015)

£70.00

FeaturesThe Trail Speed 30 is based on Berghaus’s hugely successful Freeflow rucksack, but they have taken the trampoline mesh panel away to create even more airflow while maintaining minimal body contact areas. The body of the sack has a conventional lid with twin buckles and pockets. Side compression straps combine with mesh side pockets. 5/5 FitThis pack is available in ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Black Diamond Bolt 24 (2015)

£90.00

FeaturesThe shoulder straps on the Black Diamond Bolt 24 are linked by a wire that slides through a sleeve on the base of the pack to allow independent movement of the shoulder straps. The body of the rucksack is a neat mountaineering-bias design with a single-buckle lid but you also get very useful side and front pockets and a pair ...

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Terra Nova Laser 20 (2015)

£45.00

FeaturesAt just 318g you’ll struggle to find a lighter 20 litre rucksack than the Terra Nova Laser 20; not only that, but you do also get a few features to make it more useful. The main body has front zipped opening, rather than a lid, and there is an additional external zipped pocket. You get mesh pockets on the body ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
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Vango Boulder 25 (2015)

£35.00

FeaturesThe Vango Boulder 25 is a well-priced general walking sack with a good set of features. Firstly it has a stiffened back with padding and an air channel up the centre to reduce sweat build-up. You get an attached lid with an outside and inside pocket plus a single buckle closure. On the sides are compression straps and small drawcord ...

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Millet Prolighter 27 (2015)

£90.00

FeaturesThe Millet Prolighter 25 is a dedicated mountain pack so you get a clean, uncluttered and streamlined design. The back system allows the pack to sit close to the body but is lightly stiffened and lightly padded. The top lid has a single buckle with a pocket on the outside and inside. You get a pair of compression straps on ...

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Deuter AC Lite 22 (2015)

£60.00

FeaturesThe AC Lite 22 features Deuter’s Aircomfort ventilated back system for maximum airflow across the back. The body has a single-buckle lid with an outside pocket that only just takes a map. There is no stretch pocket on the front, but you do get a pair of stretch side pockets; however there are no compression straps to work with these. ...

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