Just crazy enough to work: LFTO�s top five items of eccentric outdoor gear

The outdoor market is a place of continual innovation. Thanks to this we have breathable, waterproof fabrics, lightweight tents and supple, comfortable walking boots.

But we also have some much more outlandish tools too � things that few people saw coming and that most would dismiss as too leftfield to be of any use to hillwalkers.

Let�s not jump to conclusions. Strokes of genius are rarely conventional and often controversial, and only a fool would dismiss a �crazy� idea without giving it full and proper consideration.

Which brings us to the following items. If weird kit that might just work wonders is your game, check out these top five choices.

1. Hilleberg Bivanorak


It may look fairly silly, and sport an even sillier name, but the bivanorak is not to be sniffed at. Developed for survival use by the Swedish air force, it weighs just 560g and triples up as an emergency shelter, a rain coat and a bivy bag. Let others laugh � you�ve got your world on your back and are well equipped to survive a night out in the wild.


2. Selk�bag Original


On a similar note, the Selk�bag takes the all-over-body-protection theme and brings it into the thermal arena. What you�ve got here is a sleeping bag onesie that comes in an exciting array of colours. Obviously the kids options seem the most logical choice, but the adult�s edition has a comfort rating of 6 deg C, so makes a fun choice for a summer camping trip.


3. BioLite CampStove


A camping stove that runs on discarded twigs and will charge your smartphone while it boils up your beans�? Ingenious! Designed for use in the tall forests of the USA � where dry kindling is presumably in more plentiful supply than in the UK � this device won plenty of awards on release in 2012. It hasn�t taken over from traditional gas and liquid-fuelled cooking stoves yet, but ten out of 10 for blue sky thinking.


4. Klymit Inertia X Frame


Weighing little more than a pair of gloves (284g) and packing down to the size of a drinks can, this eye-grabbing sleeping mat also comes with twelve gaping holes. If you�re happy to sleep on your back they�ll trap air between your body and the ground, easily making up for the lost insulation the fabric would provide while also saving weight. Clever stuff.


5. SplashMaps


Not only do these fabric fellows come fully decorated with OS mapping, but they�re also washable, wearable and able to withstand all forms of weather. While you might find it a little more difficult to take a bearing than on a traditional paper or laminate map, this is surely the most robust form of map you could take into the outdoors. They also make great bandanas too (see pictures).