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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 ...

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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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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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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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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
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Lowe Alpine Meron (2014)

£130.00

A weight of 359g with a price tag of £130 and some good hill walking features makes the Lowe Alpine Meron very appealing. It is built from Lowe Alpine’s Triplepoint fabric in a 2.5-layer construction. This keeps weight down but does not handle condensation as well as 3-layer fabrics. The front zip is a good water-resistant design with a stiff ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
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Berghaus Voltage/Electra (2014)

£200.00

The Berghaus Voltage for men and Electra for women feels nice and robust compared to other lightweight jackets and that makes it instantly appealing for hillwalking as it means it should be better able to trap air around the body than softer and more flexible materials. The fabric is Gore-Active Shell, a well proven development from the house of Gore ...

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Salomon Minim (2014)

£180.00

The Salomon Minim lives up to its name by tipping the scales at just 292g (size men’s large). It is made from a very thin Climapro fabric that is waterproof and breathable but does not boast the performance of higher-priced jackets, and that is why it has a lower price tag than some options. The main front zip is exposed ...

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Patagonia Cragmaster (2014)

£90.00

The Patagonia Cragmaster is designed for approaching crags, bouldering and moderate climbs. To that end it weighs in at a respectable 954g (pair, size 11), so it feels quite nimble on the foot. The upper is made of leather with two nice large rubber rands for durability. But there is no waterproof lining, and water would easily enter this shoe ...

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Quechua Bionnassay 600 (2014)

£150.00

The Quechua Bionnassay 600 is made from NovaDry, a 3-layer laminate with a membrane that offers good breathability figures (that said, it only boasts a 5 metre hydrostatic head, while higher-priced jackets offer around 20 metre hydrostatic heads, so like any lower-priced jacket it may not compare as well in the long term as higher priced options). The jacket is ...

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Mammut Kala Patar Tech (2014)

£110.00

Not everyone likes pockets, and if you have a hands-on approach to your outdoor activities, such as when scrambling and mountaineering or just due to using trekking poles a lot, then do you really need them? If the answer is no, then the Mammut Kala Patar Tech may be for you. It’s made from a combination of two fabrics: one ...

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Mammut Atlas GTX (2013)

£110.00

The Mammut Atlas GTX is a very comfortable boot straight from the box, partly due to its very low weight of just 1058g (pair, size 11). Also, the upper is made from mesh and is very flexible, so it’s able to mould around the foot more easily than a leather upper. Under the foot, a large wedge of cushioning gives ...

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Mountain Hardwear Heracles Glove (2013)

£80.00

The Heracles is designed to be close fitting hardwearing glove and so it gets a 4 way stretch body with a leather palm with Kevlar stitching. The glove has a Outdry waterproof lining plus a Thermal Q layer of insulation on the back of the hand with polyester fleece on the palm of the hand. This combination does allow a ...

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Keen Marshall Mid (2013)

£140.00

The Keen Marshall Mid is a mid-cut boot that’s new for autumn 2013, and it’s very lightweight at just 1084g (pair, size 11).  The upper is very soft and flexible, which makes it very comfortable straight from the box. There is some support in the heel cup, but not as much as with other boots, and the upper is generally ...

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The North Face Wreck Mid GTX (2013)

£130.00

The North Face’s Wreck Mid GTX has a stylish upper made from leather and fabric, and unlike most boots in its price range it benefits from a rubber rand to provide valuable protection to the upper. On the foot this boot does feel very comfortable straight from the box with a little more width in the forefoot area than some ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
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Merrell Chameleon Arc 2 Rival (2013)

£125.00

Designed for women, the Merrell Chameleon Arc 2 Rival is a stylish mid-cut boot with a dash of pink in the model featured here, although a black and brown version is available as well for the more conservative user. The upper is made from a full-grain leather with a waterproof membrane tucked away inside. This leather is nice and soft, ...

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Terra Nova Voyager 45 (2013)

£140.00

If you want to make multi-day backpacking less tiring, then stripping down the weight of your gear is important – and that includes carrying your gear in the lightest rucksack possible. The Terra Nova Voyager 45 tipped the Trail scales at 627g, which is half the weight of most 45 litre packs. But with all that weight saving does come ...

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OMM Mountain Raid (2013)

£160.00

Preposterously small (about the size of a Nalgene bottle) when packed due to its intended use in mountain marathons, on first look the OMM Mountain Raid raises quiet alarms as well as eyebrows. More worrying is that the bag isn’t temperature-rated. Its makers claim it is ‘designed for use in the last weekend in October in the UK by experienced ...

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Terra Nova Voyager 800 (2013)

£340.00

Striking a middle-of-the-road note on performance and a slightly on-the-heavier-side one on weight, the Terra Nova Voyager 800 comes from a design stable well used to paring high-quality products down to a minimum weight. Its lower comfort rating is freezing point, which means it’s very much a spring/summer bag if used on the tops, but would stretch to 3-season use ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
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Sprayway Eos (2013)

£150.00

It doesn’t look as swish or technical as pricier ones, but Gore-Tex fabric ensures it's waterproof and breathes well. The face fabric is soft and not too noisy, and there’s a mesh lining which helps wick away sweat. It hasn’t got a waterproof zip, but this means the zip’s very easy to operate, and there’s a Velcro-secured storm flap to ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Berghaus Electra (2013)

£180.00

A really lightweight and high-performance jacket in Gore-Tex Active Shell. It’s got a cavernous hood that cinches down firmly over your face to keep out driving rain, and a high, snug, fleece-lined collar, which feels great against cold skin and traps warmth really well. The design is simple and fuss-free, with two deep, mesh-lined handwarmer pockets well placed for access ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
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Regatta Lady Ultra-Max Low X-LT (2013)

£65.00

Brand new, lightweight and breathable walking shoes that feel comfortable from the first wear. They’re fairly soft shoes and aren’t particularly supportive, making them best-suited to low-level trails and casual walking. There’s plenty of space at the toes for women with broader feet, and the heel cup is stable and comfortable so will hold your heels in place well with ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
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Karrimor Elite Alpiniste (2013)

£200.00

High performance and high visibility, this is made from eVENT 3-layer fabric which is waterproof, very breathable and extremely tough. It’s got a cavernous and adjustable hood, with a stiffened, wired peak which will keep your face dry even in really heavy rain. It tightens down securely over your face, and there’s a high fleece-lined collar to bury your face ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
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Gelert Argyll Multi-Activity Shoes (2013)

£50.00

Robust-looking shoes with an aggressive sole and supportive suede and mesh upper. Plenty of padding makes them very comfortable from the box, and the wide toebox will feel great for women with broad toes. The lacing system is a little stiff, making it almost impossible to achieve any tension across the toes if the fit is loose, but they do ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
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Hi-Tec Harmony Lace WP (2013)

£80.00

New for 2013 and very lightweight, but surprisingly small and narrow for their size – they’re very well-suited to women with lower-volume feet. The uppers are soft, comfortable and supportive, though, and plenty of mesh in the uppers helps your feet breathe and makes them feel great in warm weather. The lacing system is a little fiddly across the toes, ...

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

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