As the festive season bears down upon us, grough thought we’d give you a few hints for gifts and stocking fillers for the outdoors person in your life.

Nalgene On The Fly

Nalgene On The Fly

We all know that keeping hydrated is one of the most essential considerations in the great outdoors. Nalgene’s On The Fly bottle is the perfect answer to carrying the water that is essential for hydration whatever your lifestyle choices and demands.

The OTF bottle is made to carry 650ml and its unique design, while totally watertight can also be conveniently opened with only one hand, making it perfect for when you’re riding a bike, climbing, mountaineering or practically any other outdoor activity where using one hand instead of two is sometimes a necessity.

The bottle can fit into a bike cage or a cup holder and the cleverly designed locking bale is 100 per cent leak-proof with an easy-to-use push button open closure mechanism. The On The Fly Bottle is a must-have for any traveller or outdoor adventurer and is very durable.

The On The Fly Bottle is available at leading outdoor retailers nationwide in a wide variety of colours and retails for £10.99.

Designed for people who need to stay connected during their outdoor adventures, the Berghaus Touch Screen Gloves combine great insulation with smart design.

Warmth comes in the form of highly effective Polartec Power Stretch Pro fabric, while special conductive fingertip patches allow for the easy use of a touch screen device while on the move.

Berghaus Touch Screen Gloves

Berghaus Touch Screen Gloves

In colder conditions, when no-one wants to expose their hands to the elements unless they really have to, these gloves allow the wearer to continue using mobile devices such as smartphones, MP3 players and tablets.

They are also ideal for providing additional insulation and warmth when used inside a shell glove.

The Berghaus Touch Screen Gloves retail at £16.

Outdoor innovator Helinox has introduced a portable, lightweight and packable chair to the UK, ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, wherever they go.

The Helinox Chair One combines the DAC aluminium alloy technology that is applied to the most advanced tents and clever design to deliver a comfortable and multi-purpose seat. The chair has already picked up two major international product design and innovation awards – an ISPO Award and a Red Dot Design Award.

Helinox Chair One

Helinox Chair One

The Helinox Chair One comes in a tiny pack size and weighs only 850g. It is easy and quick to assemble and will take a load of up to 145kg (320lb). A tough, lightweight seat fabric with breathable mesh delivers a comfortable sitting experience, while a zipped carrying case with grab handles and a daisy chain allow make the chair easy to store and transport.

The Helinox Chair One retails at around £90 and is available from selected UK retailers.

Vango Eye Lights

Vango Eye Lights

If you want to keep an eye on things in your tent, the flexible and bendable Vango Eye Lights are great for night-time reading for all the family.

They can be attached to almost anything and have a 40cm arm and can be rotated 360 degrees.

They come in three vibrant colours and a triple pack costs £8.99.

Therm-a-rest NeoAir Venture WV

Therm-a-rest NeoAir Venture WV

Mini-test: Thermarest Venture WV Mattress

Price: £60
Country of manufacture: USA
Weight: 584g including stuffsack
Colour: charcoal
Material: top: 75 denier polyester;
Size (M) 51 x 168 cm (20 x 66 inches)

Therma-a-Rest’s inflatable mattresses have come a long way since their initial offerings. The NeoAir range offers a good deal of comfort and is easily inflated to provide insulation as well as padding for a decent night’s sleep on the trail.

This is Therm-a-Rest’s NeoAir mattress aimed at use down to about 0C, but for true comfort we found about 4C was its limit. It gains its insulation from more than a hundred WaveCore cells. The horizontal baffles supply good support as well as a good amount of warmth.

Inflated depth is about 5cm (2 inches) which is just about enough to cushion the body from the ground.

It packs down in its supplied stuffsack to about 24cm, with 13cm diameter.

The NeoAir Venture WV comes in four sizes, ranging from 119cm to 196cm, with a width of 51cm, apart from size L, which is 63cm.

A good compromise between weight, price and insulation for those who don’t need sub-zero warmth.


More details are on the Therm-a-Rest website.

Superfeet’s original Green insole is designed to increase comfort and support for hiking and walking footwear.

The Green insole has a high volume heel cup to provide optimum support and deliver maximum control, stability, balance and shock absorption.

It also reduces heel lift and foot fatigue, delivers an increased stride length and has a friction control top cover which helps to minimise the risk of blistering.

Superfeet Green insoles

Superfeet Green insoles

The Green insole resists moisture and has an antimicrobial treatment to inhibit the development of odours. It is available in Superfeet sizes A-H (13.5 – 16) and sells for £35.

Other insoles in the Superfeet range include the Carbon, the brand’s thinnest, designed for athlete’s use in shoes, and retailing at £40; the Berry, specially tailored for women and costing £40; and the £35 Yellow, designed for cyclists.

BioLite KettleCharge

BioLite KettleCharge

BioLite has come up with an innovative way of charging up those electronic gadgets we all rely on so much these days.

The KettleCharge redefines on-demand energy, using thermoelectric technology to convert heat to electricity which is then stored for when you need it most.

The electricity-generating kettle can be used with any stove and its compact, packable design means it’s a perfect fit for any adventure. The innovative KettleCharge boils up to 750ml of water while producing 10W of electricity – perfect to charge smartphones, cameras and head torches.

Compact and cost effective, BioLite KettleCharge is the ideal multi-purpose adventure travel accessory to keep essential kit charged, anytime, anywhere.

The Thermoelectric Generator, located on the base of the KettleCharge, uses a difference in temperature to produce electricity. This comes from having a hot side and a cold side within the device.

The Kettle filled with water serves as the cold side; the flame of your stove in contact with the baseplate is the hot side.

As you bring the water to a boil, electricity is produced and sent to the Power Handle, leaving you with potable water and 10W of usable power.

The BioLite KettleCharge retails at £159.95.

Aclima Jib Beanie

Aclima Jib Beanie

Aclima’s unisex Jib Beanie is for those who love venturing out even when it is cold.

It has a unique WoolNet liner so will keep your head warm, even in sub-zero temperatures, and offers superior wicking properties. The Jib Beanie also fits perfectly under a helmet and comes in a variety of colours.

The Jib Beanie costs £29.95.

Montane Polartec Powerstretch Pro Gloves

Montane Polartec Powerstretch Pro Gloves

Keep your hands warm in the great outdoors with Montane Polartec Powerstretch Pro Gloves.

Technical and warm mountain gloves designed to perform in cold weather, they feature Polartec fabric which creates a warm insulating liner to protect you in cold conditions.

The gloves cost £25 a pair. Details are on the Montane website.

If you’re out on the hills in typical British weather, the Aquapac Large Camera Case will protect that expensive digital camera.

Aquapac Large Camera Case

Aquapac Large Camera Case

The case is suitable for cameras whose shape or size means they won’t fit in Aquapac’s mini or small cases. The optically clear lens window on the case means you can get great photos through the case, even underwater.

The Aquapac Large Camera Case retails at £35.

How about some everyday inspiration on the great outdoors?

The John Muir Trust’s Wild Nature Diary and Wild Nature Calendar feature stunning photography edited by internationally renowned travel, wildlife and adventure photographer John Beatty.

He said: “This year’s editions have outstanding and spectacular covers, representing the ‘personality and emotion’ of the natural world. They are eye-catching and inspiring visions that hopefully, will carry the message of conservation far afield.”

The John Muir Trust’s Wild Nature Diary

The John Muir Trust’s Wild Nature Diary

John Beatty has been a professional outdoor photographer himself for more than thirty years and, as an editor, says he continues to be inspired by other photographers work: “I have travelled around the world for three decades and still find the wild places of Britain as my source of inspiration.

“And as an editor and publisher of this diary and calendar, reviewing the hundreds of images submitted online by some of the UK’s finest photographers for the John Muir Trust Wild Nature Diary each year, is a joy.

“I study each one carefully looking for attention to detail, spirit and atmosphere. In choosing the final 60 I learn so much about composition, style and commitment too, from this; the very best nature and landscape photography in Britain.”

The calendar costs £11.99 and the desk diary £14.99 or both for £25. Details are on the John Muir Trust website.

CT Mini LED Flashlight

CT Mini LED Flashlight

Don’t find yourself in the dark in the countryside. The perfect stocking filler for outdoor enthusiasts, the CT Mini LED Flashlight weighs just 43g.
The palm-sized torch proves that good things come in small packages, offering 75 lumens of light and boasting an impressive 55m beam distance.

The torch sells for £9.99. Details are on the Coleman website.

Columbia’s new TurboDown range combines synthetic Omni-Heat insulation with natural down warmth to create soft, lightweight and warm jackets to keep your core cosy in the coldest conditions nature throws your way.

Columbia women's Platinum 860 Turbdodown jacket

Columbia women's Platinum 860 Turbdodown jacket

The Omni-Heat Thermal Reflective and down also maintain a high level of breathability.

The jackets come in men’s and women’s versions at £140 or £150 for the hooded version and the range is on sale at Black’s.

Sigg, the Swiss company best known for its drinking bottles, has new models which it says will keep a drink at 60C for up to six hours.

Sigg Hot & Cold

Sigg Hot & Cold

Designed for performance, the sleek and contemporary new Sigg Hot & Cold range is reminiscent of the well known Sigg shape. Designed and engineered in Switzerland, all double-walled vacuum insulated flasks are manufactured from high-quality, food-safe 18/8 stainless steel.

The screw top is inspired by Sigg’s original top, enabling easy carrying and comfortable pouring.

Available in two sizes, 0.3L and 0.5L, are perfect for tea lovers: equipped with a stainless steel removable tea filter, they are suitable for both tea bags and loose tea, enabling fresh brewing on the go. The screw top and filter can be taken apart into two parts within a second, making it easy to clean.

The Sigg Hot & Cold bottles are on sale from £19.99.

Seal Line Cirrus Dry Sacks

Seal Line Cirrus Dry Sacks

Mini-test: Seal Line Cirrus Lightweight Dry Sack
Price: £17.95
Country of manufacture: China
Weight: 48g
Colour: red
Material: top: 20D silicone / polyurethane-coated Cordura nylon
Size (10 litres) 19 x 43 cm (7½ x 17inches)

The Cirrus range from Seal Line comes in sizes from 2.5 litres to 30 litres and is great for keeping your gear dry without adding much weight to your pack.

We tested the 10 litre version which, like the whole range, is made from tough rip-stop Cordura nylon.

The dry sack has a simple roll-top fastening: roll the lip over a few times then fasten it with the plastic buckle. It also has a plastic loop for hanging or attaching, so you can attach the sack to the outside of a rucksack if you want.

Seams are taped and the silicone treated fabric kept water out on our trips.

We found the 10 litre size held quite a bit of stuff inside our pack and we managed just about to squeeze our down sleeping bag inside it to make sure it got to camp nice and dry.

Larger sizes will work as a rucksack liner.

Simple to use and effective.

More details are on the Seal Line website.

Go Travel Mini Floodlight

Go Travel Mini Floodlight

Go Travel’s Mini Floodlight is powerful enough to light up a room. The LED torch has a wide expansive mega beam. Equipped with COB (chips on board) strip-light technology, small LED chips are packaged tightly together as one lighting module.

The result is a powerful, brilliant and voluminous light that surpasses narrow beam torches and flashlights. A handy integrated magnetic clip allows this mega bright LED torch to be used hands-free.

The Mini Floodlight costs £9.99. Details are on the Go Travel website.

For the climber in the family, Black Diamond’s Magnetron VaporLock carabiner is the brand’s lightest pear-shaped locking biner.

Black Diamond Magnetron VaporLock

Black Diamond Magnetron VaporLock

Using innovative Magnetron technology, the Black Diamond Magnetron VaporLock is the ultimate lightweight locker for long free climbs and shaving grams off of your rack. Magnetron Technology uses a steel insert in the nose of the carabiner and two magnetic arms in the gate for a super-secure, super-fast and easy-to-use locking mechanism.

Its pear shape increases friction up to 30 per cent when lowering or abseiling with Black Diamond’s ATC device. It’s Munter hitch compatible on ropes up to 9.4mm and the Keylock nose doesn’t snag.

The Magnetron VaporLock costs £25. Details are on the Black Diamond website.

Craghoppers Compresslite

Craghoppers Compresslite

Part of Craghoppers’ Outdoor Pro collection, the Compresslite Packaway Hooded Jacket is an advanced windproof, lightweight insulated jacket, which conveniently packs away into its own stuff sack.

Retailing at £60, the Compresslite features include two lower welted zipped pockets, an adjustable hem and a grown-on hood with elasticated bound face.

It is available in S-XXL in black, red, royal navy and bright green for men and twilight, black and Caribbean sea in sizes 8-20 for women.

More details are on the Craghoppers website.

Snugpak Merino Technical Socks

Snugpak Merino Technical Socks

Brand new for 2014, Snugpak’s Merino Technical Socks provide a relaxed comfortable fit thanks to the in-turned welt and extra padded sole.

The gentle grip sections support the feet and make sure the socks stay in place, whilst the fine toe seam reduces the risk of blisters.

Soft, warm, comfortable and durable, these socks are available in olive, barley or black and cost £10.95.

Details are on the Snugpak site.

PackTowl Original

PackTowl Original

Mini-test: PackTowl Original
Price: £15.00
Country of manufacture: Ireland
Weight: 80g including net sack
Colour: blue
Material: 90 per cent viscose rayon; 10 per cent polypropylene
Size (10 litres) 92 x 51 cm (36x 20 inches)

The PackTowl takes up less space and is lighter than a conventional towel, so makes a useful addition to the backpacker’s kit when on the trail.

The large size PackTowl original comes in its own net sack and will absorb up to 10 times its weight in water.

It’s not as efficient at drying as a nice cotton hotel towel, but does dry quite well. If it gets too soaked, simply wring it out and use again.

The PackTowl comes in various sizes. The large size we used is plenty big enough for shower use and has an antimicrobial treatment which stopped it getting too whiffy in the rucksack.

The towel can be machine washed and actually gets softer the more it’s used and washed. It has a fabric loop with a popper, so can be hung out to dry when on the trail.

Definitely preferable to lugging a conventional towel while camping. Prices range from £10 to £30.

Details are on the PackTowl website.

SmartWool Woody Creek Hat

SmartWool Woody Creek Hat

SmartWool’s men’s Woody Creek Hat has straightforward looks and a textured knit.

Pull it on when the temperature drops. The Woody Creek Hat is 50 per cent merino wool and 50 per cent acrylic, with a fully wool headband liner for softness and wicking.

The hat costs £28.99. Details on the SmartWool website.

Rohan Pathway Cardi

Rohan Pathway Cardi

The Rohan Women’s Pathway Cardi offers all the performance of a technical fleece in a relaxed, buttoned, cardigan style and comes in a range of gorgeous seasonal colours: gold ochre marl, mahogany red and ivory marl.

Unlike natural knitwear, it’s simple to wash, will easily dry overnight, and is cut slightly longer for extra length and comfort.

The Pathway Cardi costs £70. Details on the Rohan website.

Sub Zero Factor 1 Plus

Sub Zero Factor 1 Plus

Sub Zero’s Factor 1 Plus Long Sleeve Thermal Baselayer Top is made in England and offers super soft construction with seamless body for extra comfort, a long body length, set-in sleeves to maximise insulation and wicking, stretch rib zones for support and waffle zones for enhanced heat retention and wicking.

The top has a Tog rating of 0.47 and sun protection factor of 50+.

The unisex Factor 1 Plus is 100 per cent polyamide, weighs 200g and costs £49.99.

Details are on the Sub Zero site.

Keela High Visibility Dog Coat

Keela High Visibility Dog Coat

Don’t forget your four-legged friend this Christmas. The Keela High Visibility Dog Coat is perfect for keeping your dog safe in any conditions.

Fully waterproof and windproof the coat has reflective highlights so you dog can be seen on the darkest of nights.

The dog coat, which comes in yellow or orange, is made in the UK and costs £35. Details from Keela.

Platypus Big Zip LP

Platypus Big Zip LP

Mini-test: Platypus Big Zip LP
Price: £32
Country of manufacture: Ireland
Weight: 166g
Size: 2 litres

Keeping hydrated is important in the outdoors, especially when pushing hard uphill.

Having to stop to dig your drinks bottle out of your rucksack potentially means you’ll forgo the chance of a drink when you really should be taking in fluids.

Drinks reservoirs with a tube allow you to access your water on the move, when you want.

Platypus Big Zip LP has a wide top opening with a plastic closure system that make it easy to refill the reservoir from mountain streams.

The Slidelock fastening is easy to use: push the plastic top across the opening and it will seal the bladder. It also incorporates a handle that allows the whole reservoir to be suspended in a rucksack if it has the commonly found Velcro strap.

The Big Zip LP – LP stands for low profile – has an internal baffle that stops the bladder ballooning out when filled with water and is up to 30 per cent slimmer than previous versions.

The hydration system is taste-free and contains no BPA chemicals. It benefits from the delightfully named SlimeGuard antimicrobial treatment and comes in 1.5 litre, 2 litre and 3 litre versions.

The hose has a bite valve with shut-off Slidelock that ensures no liquid escapes when closed.

We tested the 2 litre version which is just about right for most day walks. You can put less than the full amount of liquid in, of course, to save weight, and the system worked well, with water always available.

The wide neck opening also allows for easier cleaning. The hose also has a clip to secure it to rucksack straps. There is also a valve system where the hose joins the reservoir bottom so it can be detached for easy threading through rucksack enclosures.

Well designed and well made.

The Platypus Big Zip LP costs between £30 and £35 depending on size. More details on the Platypus website.

Páramo women's Velez Adventure Smock

Páramo women's Velez Adventure Smock

Páramo’s women’s and men’s Velez Adventure Smocks are designed to be used for a wide range of outdoor activities, including walking, cycling, climbing and snow sports.

Full directional waterproof performance gives weather protection and perspiration removal and is combined with excellent ventilation via Páramo’s unique front twin zip design.

A roll-away hood with wired peak plus generous easy access pockets enhance its suitability for a broad spectrum of activities.

The Velez Adventure Smock retails at £225. More details on the Páramo site.

Don’t be caught out by black ice. The original American Yaktrax Walkers are the perfect solution to snow and ice covered paths.

They fit quickly and easily over any footwear and can be carried in your car, case or handbag.

No spikes, so they allow you to walk naturally and every step places hundreds of biting edges in direct contact with the ice beneath your feet.

Yaktrax Pro

Yaktrax Pro

The Yaktrax Walker Pro comes in small (sizes 4 to 6½), medium (6 to 9) and large (9 to 12) and extra-large (11 to 14). There is also an extra small version for children.

The Yaktrax Pro costs £14.99; details can be found on the Yaktrax website.

Exped SI Cushion

Exped SI Cushion

The Exped SI Cushion is perfect for winter walking or ski lunch stops.

It will keep your bum warm and toasty when sitting in snow. The cushion inflates in seconds and packs down small in your rucksack.

The SI cushion costs £20. Details on the Exped website.

Mini-test: MSR 2 Person Mess Kit
Price: £30
Country of manufacture: China
Weight: 416g including stuffsack
Colour: yellow/blue
Material: top: polypropylene
Size 13 x 14 cm (5 x 5½ inches)

The compact mess kit combines the bowls and mugs from our MSR’s Trail Lite Duo System, with two folding plastic spork utensils.

The whole thing slots together neatly and comes in a mesh bag.

MSR 2_Person Mess_Kit

MSR 2_Person Mess_Kit

The deep bowls, insulated mugs and sporks are colour-coded, so there’s no argument about whose cereal is whose at the campsite.

The oddly shaped mugs – they have to be to fit in the bows – are insulated and keep drinks nice and warm on a cold mountain morning. They also have lids with a drinking slot and the insides are marked in millilitres and fluid ounces so you can use them to measure water for cooking, for instance.

The sporks lock firmly into place when unfolded, then a simple squeeze on the plastic handle allows them to be folded back in. They then fit inside the mugs, which in turn slot inside the bowls.

The net bag has a drawstring to close it and a hanging loop.

The 2 Person Mess Kit is a neat solution for a pair of campers who want to make the best use of space.

More details are on the MSR website.

Ultimate Performance Anvil LED Shoe Clip fits on to the heel of your shoe or boot for constant or flashing ultra-bright LED which is visible at up to ½ mile.

Ultimate Performance Anvil Shoe Clip

Ultimate Performance Anvil Shoe Clip

It’s ideal for walkers, runners and cyclists and comes with two CR2032 batteries included.

It clips horizontally to the heel of shoes and will fit any size shoe with a heel width of 6-8.5cm.

Like the Anvil lighthouse, the LED Shoe Clip Light acts as a warning signal to others of your presence in the dark nights.

The Anvil Shoe Clip costs £19.99. Details on the Ultimate Performance website.

The Suprabeam Q1 Mini is the ultimate pen-sized torch for professionals.

Suprabeam Q1 Mini

Suprabeam Q1 Mini

Equipped with Hyper-Focus system and combined with the latest LED Power-Chip technology, the torch is perfect for a key ring, providing security and convenience or for the technician’s pocket.

A rotating focusing head keeps the light beam in desired position, with single hand usage.

The body is anodised high strength aluminium. It has Intelligent Lighting Control: high and low light output, with the beam using Hyperfocus by rotating the head.

It weighs 38g and works between –20C and 50C, with a maximum output of 80 lumens.

The Suprabeam Q1 Mini costs £30. For details, see the Suprabeam website.

1000 Mile 3 Season Sock

1000 Mile 3 Season Sock

And finally, we all know how important that Christmas stocking is.

Well, how about the 1000 Mile 3 Season Walk Sock, which has carefully chosen padded zones to offer complete protection and comfort.

A padded heel extends to cover the Achilles tendon while other padded zones cushion the ankle bones, toes and ball of the foot.

The combination of soft merino wool with top and arch venting allows the foot to breathe and maintains an even temperature.

The socks cost £14.99 a pair. Details are on the 1000 Mile website.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Adventurer Phoebe Smith gives up Christmas to sleep on Three Peaks for charity