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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Gregory Z25 (2015)

£77.00

FeaturesThe Gregory Z25/J23 is a little heavy at 960g, but it does have a CrossFlo back system, which holds the pack away from the wearer for more airflow. The opening is a zipped design rather than a lid and you get a huge front stretch stash pocket as well as a pair of stretch bottle pockets on the sides. There ...

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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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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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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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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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Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX (2015)

£130.00

FeaturesWith a weight of just 1060g (pair, size 11) and a modern, stylish upper, the Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX is instantly appealing to modern lightweight hillwalkers. The upper is synthetic with stitching over-layers and a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. The toe box gets a rubber bumper but is not fully stiffened. The outsole is a Salomon ContiGroup model with ...

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Keen Marshall Mid (2015)

£120.00

FeaturesThere is a KEEN. Dry waterproof lining behind the synthetic upper that comprises of synthetic mesh with rubber overlays. The heel cup is nicely stiffened and there is a large rubber rand at the toe, but the upper is quite soft in general. Underfoot you get 4mm deep widely spaced lugs, which is great, but there is no heel breast ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Lowa Ferrox GTX Mid (2015)

£135.00

FeaturesThe Lowa Ferrox GTX Mid’s upper is made of synthetic material with a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. The upper is very soft with no stiffening in the toe box area and a generally softer ankle cuff too, so it offers less protection and support than others. The sole is reasonably stiff though, with deep, well-spaced lugs and a heel breast. The ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
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Montane Atomic (2015)

£110.00

FeaturesThe Montane Atomic is made from Pertex Shield fabric, which boasts good waterproofness and breathability but isn’t as good as Pertex Shield + used in the Montane Minimus, although it does feel more robust. The two mesh-lined chest pockets would be better if sealed, but they have good access; and the hood gets a wired peak with face and volume ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
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Regatta Vapourspeed (2015)

£90.00

FeaturesThe Regatta Vapourspeed’s weight of 301g (size L) and a cost of just £90 are the main attractions. For that weight and price you get a 2.5-layer fabric that cannot boast the performance of pricier jackets. There are two main pockets, without mesh linings, so they won’t leak easily, while the hood gets a wired peak. Not outstanding but excellent ...

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Mammut Redburn Pro (2015)

£100.00

FeaturesThe Mammut Redburn Pro is a fairly light shoe that offers incredible rock performance for its price. You get a stiff sole with a smooth climbing zone under the toe for better performance on rock. The other lugs are slightly shallow. The lacing provides a more precise fit for use on rock while a rubber rand offers durability. The upper ...

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Salewa Mountain Trainer GTX (2015)

£135.00

FeaturesThe Salewa Mountain Trainer GTX is a remarkable shoe that has better hill features than some boots. Check out the full rubber rand, and the stiffness in the heel cup and upper generally, plus the relatively sparse stitching on the suede leather upper. Gore-Tex provides a waterproof lining, while there’s an outstanding Vibram sole unit with lugs of quality boot ...

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