Trail magazine review: Black Diamond Hot Forge Hoody


Black Diamond's Hot Forge jacket contains PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Down Blend, an "ultimate hybrid" of 30% PrimaLoft ultra-fine fibers and 70% water-repellent goose down.

But does that make it any good for a typical winter day in the UK hills? Trail magazine took a Hot Forge Hoody to the Peak District on a suitably grim day to find out!

Would you buy a £3,000 rucksack?

Outdoor gear often gets accused of being a bit on the pricey side, but never mind your top-dollar stuff from Arc'teryx and Canada Goose - Louis Vuitton has gone and taken the biscuit.

The handbag-bothering fashion label has commissioned a bunch of fashion luminaries to "rethink baggage" and come up with something crazy. Most of the entries (from the likes of Karl Lagerfield, Frank Gehry and Christian Louboutin, who are apparently big names in a world we don't fully understand) are very much travel baggage, but Aussie designer Marc Newson had a go at a backpack. This is the result: a shearling-and-leather rucksack, a snip at £3,350. Basically the rucksack the Sex and the City Girls would wear if they were yomping up Skiddaw on a wet Thursday afternoon. 'Cos that happens.


Mr Newson says: "I set about trying to collate all of my experiences over the years of owning a backpack. I wanted to concentrate all of the features that I love and try and put them into the piece. Making the thing stand up for example was very important, I hate when you wear a backpack, take it off and it just falls over. This bag has a structure inside to enable it to stand." 

We'll probably stick with an Osprey, but in the meantime, feel free to gawp...

What the Pluck? Patagonia's traceable down

Patagonia have the highest assurance of animal welfare in the apparel industry. Period. No other company goes to the lengths Patagonia does.

In 2002 Patagonia reintroduced down into the product line not examining where it was coming from and how it was produced. In 2010, they were called out for animal cruelty in its down supply chain. Instead of playing defense, we met public criticism with transparency - taking a deep look at our failings and discussing openly our mistakes and intentions for fixing them. We poured resources into making it right - developing the highest standard for animal welfare in the business - and now we're encouraging other companies to join us in meeting this same high bar.

As a result of this tireless effort, all Patagonia down products now contain only 100% Traceable Down. All of the down in all of our products can be traced back to birds that were never force-fed, never live-plucked - and we don't allow blended down, period. Patagonia 100% Traceable Down provides the highest assurance of animal welfare in the apparel industry.


Berghaus appoints corporate sustainability officer

Berghaus has increased its focus on social responsibility and sustainability issues with a new appointment.

Elaine Gardiner has joined the company in the role of corporate sustainability officer and will help the company to deliver its programme of action on product sustainability, reducing the environmental impact of business activities and ensuring ongoing ethical trading with the brand's supply base.

Berghaus already has an established corporate responsibility strategy and plays an active role in the wide ranging initiatives that are led by parent company Pentland Brands.  However, the position of corporate sustainability officer is new at Berghaus and will allow the firm to enhance its existing work in that area.

In recent years, Berghaus has increased its focus on the issues of corporate responsibility and sustainability, with some important results in product development and sourcing.  For example, in one of the key growth areas of the business, insulated clothing, the brand has ensured that all of the down that it uses comes from one source which has been audited by the International Down and Feather Laboratory, giving the reassurance of full third party traceability.  None of that down is the result of live plucking or is linked to the production of foie gras.  Among other initiatives, Berghaus is launching a range of ECO Woven clothing in spring next year, with a production method that makes huge savings in the use of water and chemicals, while also reducing CO2 emissions.

As corporate sustainability officer at Berghaus, Elaine Gardiner will be responsible for developing more ways in which the company can address environmental and ethical trading challenges.  Reporting to chief operating officer James Harris, she will work closely with the product and sourcing teams to review each stage of the design, development and production processes.  Gardiner will also coordinate Berghaus' ongoing contribution to Pentland's work in this area, as well as collaborating with the sustainability team at the European Outdoor Group, which coordinates efforts on behalf of the outdoor sector in Europe.


Elaine Gardiner is an experienced sustainability professional, with a background in the product development and manufacturing of consumer goods, who has worked on projects around the world.  Gardiner joins Berghaus from the University of Melbourne, where she completed advanced studies in the area of corporate responsibility while undertaking research on various sustainability issues.  Previously, she had worked at Procter & Gamble, WWF, the Carbon Disclosure Project and Net Balance Sustainability Consultancy.  Gardiner is also a keen outdoor enthusiast, with a passion for hiking and cycling.

James Harris, Berghaus chief operating officer, comments:

"We are incredibly pleased that Elaine has agreed to join Berghaus.  She has a wealth of very relevant experience and has a great global perspective on the sustainability challenges that we - and all businesses - face.  Our focus on the area of corporate responsibility has increased a great deal in recent years and we can continue to enhance our approach now that we have someone of Elaine's calibre driving the programme from within the business."

Elaine Gardiner adds:

"This is a great opportunity to help an iconic brand take a lead in an area that is coming to the fore for all businesses operating in the sector.  Berghaus has made good progress in its approach to corporate responsibility, but there is a real appetite at all levels of the company to do more and I look forward to playing a role in achieving that goal."

For more information about Berghaus visit

Trail tests the Keen Durand hiking shoe

We're fans of Keen at Trail, so we couldn't wait to get out feet in a pair of their Portland Oregon built Durand Mid WP boots, particularly as Keen were promising "Amazing comfort and unsurpassed durability from the first step to the millionth!"

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Now that's quite a promise, so we were 'keen' to put the Durands through their paces, albeit probably not 1 million of them.

In this video, Trail magazine's Oli Reed offers his first thoughts on the Durands, takes a look at some of their impressive features, and lets you know his thoughts on their '1 Million Step' promise.

For more information visit


How to look after your leather boots

The new issue of Country Walking contains a complete buyer's guide to leather walking boots for men and women.

To go with it, here is our definitive guide to washing and re-proofing leather boots. It explains everything - and will help you protect your investment, and keep your boots in great shape for years to come...