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First test: Sherpa Nangpala Down Jacket (2014)

£250.00

The traditional and well-proven choice for top-quality insulation has been down, gathered from geese. However, as down loses some of its insulating performance when wet, synthetic fibres are often used instead, which perform better than down when wet, but are heavier and less compact. This is not ideal, say when carrying an insulated jacket in your rucksack. So over recent ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Sherpa Tsepun Zip Tee Zip (2014)

£55.00

FeaturesFrom a company owned by Sherpas, the Tsepun Zip Tee has a chest pocket big enough for a credit card or the like. Nice details include the ‘endless knot’ symbol on the rear neck and ‘prayer flag’ zip, plus padded cuffs and collar. The zip is generous: more like 1/3 than 1/4. The women’s equivalent is the Dikila. 5/5 FabricWhile ...

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Marmot Precip (2014)

£85.00

FeaturesThe Marmot Precip has been a stalwart of lightweight hill and mountain travel for many years. Its low weight of 325g (size L) is a mammoth feature when backpacking. It also has a two OS map-sized hip pockets, pit zips to aid ventilation and a hood with a rear volume adjuster and face cords that can be rolled into the ...

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Aclima Warmwool Hoodie (2014)

£80.00

FeaturesThis oddball from Norwegian wool specialists Aclima can be worn as a crew, a polo neck or sporting a full hood, making it ideal for a range of cold conditions. You also get a tunnel pocket and thumb loops so – while it looks a bit Flash Gordon – you’re getting great value here. A women’s fit is available. 5/5 FabricThe ...

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The North Face Thermoball Hoodie (2014)

£170.00

FeaturesWhat a difference a hood drawcord makes – and that’s what sets the The North Face Thermoball Hoodie apart from others. You also get elasticated cuffs where the elastication is tucked inside so the cuff is neater and potentially less draughty. The two main pockets are happily OS map-sized; but, like most, access is obscured when a hipbelt from a ...

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Berghaus Capucin (2014)

£160.00

FeaturesThere are a lot of nice touches here, but some annoying elements too. The hood has face drawcords, but no volume adjustment at the back. The three pockets on the outside are placed reasonably well for access with a rucksack on, but they aren’t quite big enough for an OS map. The cuffs get internal elastication, though, which is neatly ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Karrimor Technical Top Zip (2014)

£8.00

FeaturesThe Technical Top Zip is a very well-featured base layer from British brand Karrimor. You get flat seams, good stretch, high wicking action and light weight (191g, size M), which makes it good for summer. Factor in the zipped neck – rarely found on lower-priced products – and you have a bargain. 5/5 FabricDistinctive (white inside, coloured outside) with a ...

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Montane Primino (2014)

£60.00

FeaturesNew this autumn from British brand Montane, the Primino is an unflashy zip-neck top with minimal features (on a base layer, though, so you may not want them!) and clever fabric that’s useful for standalone use in autumn/spring and as a layer in winter. A women’s fit is available. 4/5 FabricA clever idea (common to several other brands), the Primino ...

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Rab Xenon X Hoodie (2014)

£140.00

FeaturesThe Rab Xenon X Hoodie’s two main pockets and a chest pocket are all map-sized and have zips, although if you wear this with a rucksack you do lose some access to the lower pockets. The hood is elasticated around the face with no drawcords at all, while the cuffs have no adjustment and are simply elasticated. 4/5 FitThere is ...

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Rab Aeon Long Sleeve (2014)

£32.00

FeaturesDesigned to be very light – it’s 94g for a size M – and comfortable, you’d expect features to be lean. But the Rab Aeon Long Sleeve doesn’t do badly: you get flatlocked seams and reflective decals on the back and sleeves, handy for running and cycling as well as night walking. Treated with Polygiene to control odour, it’s also ...

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Keela ADS Long Sleeve (2014)

£20.00

FeaturesKeela gear is trusted by outdoor professionals, and on the strength of this product you can see why. The ADS wicking system, the zip neck (which has a glove-friendly pull and a draught flap behind it), robust but light – 212g (size M) – construction and sculpted fit give it the technical chops of products twice the price. 5/5 FabricADS ...

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Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody (2014)

£180.00

FeaturesThe Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody has seen a major improvement since Trail reviewed it in March 2013: the hood now has a rear volume adjuster. The two pockets on the body are still just too small to take an OS map, though, and access to these is also slightly obscured by rucksack hipbelts. Like most jackets in our test the ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Páramo Cambia Zip Tee (2014)

£40.00

FeaturesA fascinating concept well-executed by a British company that knows a thing or two about sweat. The clever Cambia can be reversed for optimal use in both cold and hot conditions, and is therefore rather plain-looking. But you get a deep, two-way zip neck, stretchy fabric plus padded cuffs and hem. 5/5 FabricThe reversible fabric is ‘Parameta T+’. In hot ...

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Berghaus Tech Tee LS Crew (2014)

£25.00

FeaturesFeaturing Berghaus’ high-wicking Argentium polyester fabric, and Polygiene odour control – an antimicrobial treatment – this is a well featured base layer. You also get UPF 30 solar protection, stretch fabric and a crew neck. A zipped-neck version is also available for £28. Women's version has stripes but is £22! 4/5 FabricArgentium is a type of silver, which hints at ...

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Rohan Icepack (2014)

£125.00

FeaturesThe Rohan Icepack lacks a hood but has other benefits. A soft fleece collar adds comfort, although the fleece doesn’t extend to the chin area. You also get Velcro tab adjustment on the cuffs to lock out draughts. The two main outside pockets are OS map-sized and they’re placed high enough to allow access while wearing a rucksack hipbelt (although ...

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Osprey Talon 44/Tempest 40 (2014)

£100.00

The Osprey Talon for men and the women’s Tempest range of sacks have gained ‘Best Value’ awards from Trail on several occasions. They have a moulded back panel with a mesh covering to produce good airflow across the back, while the perforated hipbelt and shoulder straps allow further air circulation in body contact areas. This design allows the sack to ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Vaude Asymmetric 42+8 (2014)

£120.00

The Asymmetric range from Vaude replaces the popular Astra range of packs. The Asymmetric back system can be adjusted to length by raising or lowering the shoulder strap section along metal staves in the back panel. You get a thin layer of mesh over perforated padding on the main body contact areas to reduce the build-up of sweat. The back ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Mountain Equipment Vulcan (2014)

£200.00

There’s something retro about this new jacket from Mountain Equipment. With its chunky zips and vintage colour, from a distance it’s easy to mistake the Vulcan for the old-style fleece jacket that in a way it spiritually replaces. Thick and soft, it has the feel of a drysuit and the Gore Windstopper’s impressive DWR (durable water repellent) continues this illusion. ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Arc’Teryx Epsilon LT Hoody (2014)

£150.00

There’s a lot to be said for simplicity. It’s something Arc’Teryx is very good at: making products that seem minimalist but sport features that feel very considered. The Epsilon LT Hoody is fairly light, highly functional and understated-looking, with performance that is pitched just right for most regular conditions. So this is for those who prefer to have a basic, ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Deuter ACT Lite 40+10 (2014)

£110.00

The Deuter ACT Lite 40+10 for men and the women’s nearest equivalents – the ACT Lite 35+10 (£105) or ACT Lite 45+10 (£120) – are well-established packs. They have Deuter’s VariQuick adjustable back lengths so you can ensure you get a good fit. The back system is padded in the body contact areas, with air channels to reduce how sweaty ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Marmot ROM (2014)

£160.00

ROM stands for ‘Range Of Movement’, and this selling point is achieved by an all-over two-way stretch fabric with four-way stretch breathable panels under and along the arms. The Marmot ROM is also a generously long jacket that isn’t prone to riding up. Both of these assets notwithstanding, the freedom of movement isn’t massively more striking than other jackets in ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Rab Vapour Rise Guide Jacket (2014)

£160.00

Exceptionally comfortable and billed as the ‘original’ soft shell, Rab’s insulated Vapour Rise garments aim to be very warm yet extremely breathable. As such they are well-suited – and well-proven as such – to excelling in the British hills in seasons when you really don’t know what’s likely to be thrown at you. The Vapour Rise Guide Jacket is very ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Berghaus Freeflow 40 (2014)

£90.00

The Freeflow range of rucksacks from Berghaus have been popular for many years, and in the latest versions they get an adjustable back length so you can be sure that the sack fits you. Of course others may fit you straight off the peg, so this itself isn’t necessarily a big advantage. However, the Freeflow back system does hold the ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Mammut Ultimate Light Hoody (2014)

£170.00

Far and away the lightest soft shell we looked at in this test, the Mammut Ultimate Light Hoody, by its rather cocky name, has a lot to live up to. On paper it adds up: Gore Windstopper fabric provides premium protection from gales, while remaining relatively breathable. That said, you’ll still heat up if working hard, and for this there ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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La Sportiva Trango Cube (2014)

£275.00

Reducing weight in many products is relatively easy, but when it comes to stiff mountaineering boots there are limits to what can be achieved. Or at least that used to be the case, before La Sportiva turned to modern technology for an answer. Mountaineering boots have to be stiff to allow them to take crampons, hold an edge when climbing ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0

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