Christmas stocking fillers for 2022. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Christmas stocking fillers for 2022. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Christmas is fast approaching, and we’ve dialled the hotline to Santa to give you an informed view on a few last-minute stocking fillers for the outdoor enthusiast in your life.
We’ve been out on the hills and moors over the past few weeks to put a variety of goodies to the test.
So take your pick and happy festive shopping!

Rab Down Hut Slippers
260g a pair, including mesh bag
Country of manufacture: Indonesia
Sizes: XS-XL (shoe sizes 3-10+)

The slippers are ideal after a long day on the trail or on the hill. Kick off your boots and slip on the soft down-filled footwear to give your feet a well earned rest.

The Pertex Quantum shell has fluorocarbon-free durable water resistant treatment to repel moisture, while the recycled down filling keeps your feet warm.

Rab Down Hut Slippers. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Rab Down Hut Slippers. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Rab slippers have a semirigid, tough nylon sole, with EVA cushioning in the midsole for extra comfort. The outsole has a non-slip pattern.

I used the Down Hut slippers both at home and also at basecamp. They’re easy to slip on, with an elasticated opening and a loop at the back to help pull them on. The slippers have a nylon reinforcement section at the lower area, which helped keep dampness at bay while walking on grass.

The down filling is 700 fill-power and has Nikwax hydrophobic treatment and, with the soft, brushed-fleece lining, provided just the right amount of warmth at camp. Rab suggests, as the name implies, the slippers will come in useful if you’re trekking using alpine huts, or UK bothies.

They’re pretty light too, and pack reasonably small in their supplied zipped, mesh bag, so are worth considering adding to your rucksack on a multi-day backpacking outing.

The Rab Down Hut slippers were supplied by Trekitt.


Zippo Heatbank 9S. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Zippo Heatbank 9S
Country of manufacture: China
Size: 12.5cm x 5.2cm x 2.3cm

This rechargeable heat bank is a handy little unit that provides fast warmth for those cold winter days.

The body of the Heatbank 9S is shaped to fit the hand comfortably and also comes with a cord lanyard so you can place it round your neck to hang at chest level to provide warmth.

The unit is charged using the supplied USB A cable to the heat bank’s micro-USB port. The power is provided to an internal 5,200 mAh lithium-ion battery.

This can also be used to top up rechargeable items such as phones and mobile devices, via its USB A socket. You’ll need to provide your own lead for that.

The unit can provide heat to both sides of or just to one side and there are three temperature levels in each setting. Pressing the power button briefly illuminates the row of three blue LEDs to indicate the unit’s charge level. To turn it on, the button is kept pressed for five seconds.

The first setting powers the heat at its lowest level on both sides. Repeated pressing cycles it through medium then full levels, then again through the same levels on just one side, with the LEDs turning green. Holding down the power button turns off the Heatbank 9S.

Zippo says, with a full charge, the unit will provide up to nine hours warmth.

In use, I found the lowest setting provided enough heat on all but the coldest days. The Zippo device warms up within seconds of being turned on. The company advises, if possible, turning it on initially while indoors for maximum performance. It also works better if used within clothing in, for example, a pocket.

Despite this, I found no problem switching it on while out in the cold. The double-sided setting worked best for hands, and the single-sided one was useful if wearing it round the neck under my jacket, so the heat was directed to my body.

I often spend time stationary while photographing in cool and cold conditions, and the Zippo Heat Bank 9S was a boon for rewarming my cold hands. It was also useful at camp for instant handwarming. The powerbank feature was also useful for recharging items when off-grid.

It’s light and small enough to consider adding to a backpacking kit when heading out on cold days and nights. It also has obvious uses for outdoor workers and anyone who spends time in the great outdoors.

Super Sparrow Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 1,000ml. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Super Sparrow Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 1,000ml. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Super Sparrow Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 1,000ml
Capacity: 1 litre
Size: 27.5cm x 8cm not including handle
Country of manufacture: China

The Super Sparrow bottle is a versatile addition to your outdoor kit, designed to keep liquids warm for up to 12 hours or cool for up to 24 hours.

The double-skin vacuum construction uses food-grade stainless steel, with a powder-coated finish on the exterior, which gives good grip and is sweat-resistant.

The bottle comes with two alternative caps: a bamboo-topped stainless steel one with metal loop for carrying; and a sports cap. Both have long threads that fit snugly in the bottle’s neck to guard against leakage.

The sport cap is black plastic with a large carrying loop and flip-up drink spout that gives a good flow. The Supper Sparrow bottle also comes with a long plastic tube, plus a spare, which can be attached to the underside of the sport cap to allow for drinking while keeping the bottle vertical. There’s also a wire and bristle brush to keep things clean.

The bottle also came with a stretchy sling pouch with adjustable strap.

The bottle and caps are BPA- and phthalate-free and there was no discernible taint of the water when using the Super Sparrow bottle.

The quality of the bottle and accessories was good and provided a good source of hydration on my walks. The mouth of the bottle is 4.9cm in diameter, which made it fairly good for replenishing from streams. Just remember to keep hold of the cap, as it’s not tethered.

I found the pouch and sling particularly useful for those days when I was out without a rucksack or other pack, yet still wanted to have water available. The strap is long enough to allow it to be passed over the head and shoulder, with the bottle then sitting at waist level.

The Super Sparrow insulated bottle is robust enough to withstand knocks and the stretch sheath provides extra protection. If you’re thinking of giving it to your outdoor enthusiast as a present, it comes in a sturdy presentation box – much easier to wrap than a cylindrical bottle.

I used the 1 litre version. The bottle is also available in 350ml, 500ml and 750ml sizes.

John Muir Trust Wild Nature Diary. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

John Muir Trust Wild Nature Diary. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

John Muir Trust Wild Nature Diary
£16 plus £3.50 postage
Country of manufacture: UK
Size: 21.5cm x 9.4cm

This desk diary features photographs from some of the leading photographers in the UK, with images spread throughout the months, with each turn of the page revealing another eye-catching photograph.

There are landscapes, nature shots and some remarkable images of British fauna.

Some reveal little known corners of the country’s wild landscapes, ranging from rugged sea cliffs in Cornwall to the spectacular mountain scenery of the north-west Highlands, along with others capturing more familiar scenes.

The diary is a week-to-a-page format, with space for upcoming appointments or observations. There’s lots of information about the subjects of the photography.

The Wild Nature Diary is edited by photographer John Beatty, and published by Northern Light Publishing, in conjunction with conservation charity the John Muir Trust, some of whose locations are the subjects of the images. There’s further information about the trust and the causes it supports.

The diary is softback and wiro-bound, allowing it to lie flat and also folded into a single-page format.

There’s also an accompanying calendar, priced at £12.50.

Ticket to the Moon Mini Backpack. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Ticket to the Moon Mini Backpack. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Ticket to the Moon Mini Backpack
Country of manufacture: Indonesia

The handy little rucksack packs into a stuffsack that measures just 11cm x 6.5cm.

Unpacked from the tethered stuffsack, the Mini Backpack provides a surprisingly useful pack that swallowed my spare kit – waterproofs, hat, gloves and even a small first aid kit and Blizzard bag – that accompanies me on my daily two-hour walk.

The pack is made from parachute nylon and also has a zipped side compartment. If you’re using it for urban travel, this will take a small tablet or large smartphone.

The top opening has a double-puller zip, giving good access to the rucksack contents. The pack has two adjustable soft shoulder straps and there’s a small hanging loop.

Ticket to the Moon says the 42cm deep backpack will carry up to 15kg and the fabric is quick drying. It also comes with a 10-year warranty.

I used the Mini Backpack on a variety of outings, in addition to my daily walk. The pack is good to slip in a jacket pocket so you have an on-hand means of carrying shopping or other purchases. It will also be useful for commuting trips or a saunter round urban routes.

It was even sturdy enough to slip in a couple of wine bottles on a trip to the off-licence.

The Mini Backpack is available in more than 20 colours.

Buff Original Eco Stretch. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Buff Original Eco Stretch. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Buff Original Eco Stretch
Country of manufacture: Spain

Buff is among the best known brand for neck gaiters, and this latest version of their original model comes with added eco-friendliness.

The Eco Stretch is made from two recycled bottles and offers UPF 50 sun protection.

It’s light enough and small enough to have in your rucksack permanently for when the wind picks up or the temperature dips. The five per cent Elastane which is added to the polyester fabric gives the Buff good four-way stretch.

In its simplest form, the gaiter slips over the head, giving warmth around the neck and keeping the face warm and ears when pulled up – especially welcome now the temperature is heading down.

But the Buff is versatile and can be used in more than 12 ways, from bandana to hat.

This lightweight version gives a moderate amount of warmth and comes in a variety of patterns and designs.

I never head out to the hills now without the Eco Stretch Buff, as it provides that extra bit of protection especially in cold headwinds. And it won’t break the festive piggy bank.

Keen Howser Slide III. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Keen Howser Slide III. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Keen Howser Slide III
712g a pair
Country of manufacture: Cambodia
Sizes: 6-14 (men’s); 2½-8½ (women’s)

The Howser Slide III is part slipper, part shoe, with a soft upper and full rubber sole.

The slip-on Slide III has a low heel and a bungee cord at the front of the opening to cinch it round the foot and keep it in place.

The uppers are made from recycled PET bottles and have a fleece lining for extra comfort.

There’s a generously padded insole, which also helps insulate the foot from the ground. The outsole is rubber with a high-traction design which I found reassuring even on damp ground. The outsole wraps up around the lower area of the Howser and there’s even stiffened protection at the toe and heel areas.

The design allows plenty of space at the forefoot, so there’s no cramping of the toes.

With the bungee slackened, the Howsers were very easy to slip on. A quick cinching of the cord, which locks with a spring toggle, kept them firmly on the feet. Comfort was very good, and they’re ideal for campsite or bothy use, with the rubber sole giving good protection on gravel. They’re also handy to have at home to slip into after a tiring day on the hill after you’ve kicked off your boots.

The Howsers are also suitable for short outdoor excursions. They’re ideal for a garden gathering. The soles are made from non-marking rubber and are patterned to give good grip on a variety of surfaces.

The Keen Howser Slide III also have Eco anti-odour treatment.

Trekmates Chamonix GTX Glove. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Trekmates Chamonix GTX Glove. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Trekmates Chamonix GTX Glove

Country of manufacture: China

The Chamonix Glove will give you protection from the elements when the weather closes in.

The gloves have both Gore-Tex Active lining for waterproofing, plus polyester hollow-fibre insulation for warmth.

The Trekmates gloves are pre-curved for comfort. The palm is non-slip polyurethane in a faux-leather pattern, and the fingertips have similar reinforcement. The forefinger tip is touchscreen compatible, enabling you to operate mobile devices without taking off the gloves – except for fingerprint recognition of course.

The outer shell is tough-feeling polyamide, with a durable water-resistant finish. There’s an elasticated wrist section, which helped keep out draughts. The Chamonix gloves have an elastic tether loop to slip over your wrist so you can keep the gloves attached to you if you need to take them off. The gauntlet section has a shock-cord with spring toggle to allow it to be cinched in to help keep out the wind and rain.

The gloves also have spring clips to enable them to be attached to each other. I find this useful if I want to take them off temporarily while on the move and hook them over a rucksack sternum strap for safe storage, but still handy.

The fleece lining gives the Chamonix gloves a snug, warm feel. On cold, wet days – a typical day on the British hills – the gloves gave good protection against the wind, rain and low temperature. Breathability was pretty good too, for an insulated glove. The Chamonix GTX Glove offers good value for a proper waterproof winter glove.

Meindl socks. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Meindl socks. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Meindl Men’s Merino Socks
80g a pair
Country of manufacture: Italy
Sizes: S-XL
Colour: black

Meindl Lady Trekking Basic Socks

54g pair
Country of manufacture: Italy
Sizes: S-L
Colour: red

Although we tested the men’s merino socks and the women’s trekking socks, they are both available in the two gender versions.

The Merino Socks use a blend of 24 per cent merino wool; 24 per cent acrylic; 21 per cent polyamide; 15 per cent bioceramic polyester; 13 per cent polypropylene and three per cent Elastane.

The bioceramic element consists of crystals in the lining, which Meindl says enhance insulation and comfort. The merino also helps regulate temperature and minimise odour.

The complex construction includes a soft, stretchy cuff to stop the sock slipping down. There are ventilation strips running down the front of the sock and padding at the instep. The toe and heel have extra padding and are abrasion resistant and under the sock there are channels to enable flexing of the foot both in the sole and the sides.

On cool and cold late autumn outings, the Meindl Merino Socks provided good comfort with just the right amount of warmth. Wicking was good, with no build-up of clamminess. I wore the socks repeatedly on my daily walks and there was virtually no odour build up.

The Trekking Socks are a lighter construction designed for use in trail shoes or light walking boots. Content is 47 per cent polyester; 36 per cent polyamide; 14 per cent polypropylene and three per cent Elastane.

The Trekking sock has a similar soft elasticated cuff to stop it sliding down the calf and there are ventilation channels. The padding at heel and toe is abrasion resistant, and there’s padding at the instep. The socks also have padded channels at the sole allowing flexing of the foot.

The socks stayed in place well, both when worn with shoes and with lighter boots. The underfoot padding made for comfortable walking. The Trekking Socks feel durable and resisted wear well during testing.

Both versions of the Meindl socks are asymmetric, with left- and right-foot marking to ensure they go on the correct side. The brand recommends washing the socks before first use, and turning them

Silva Terra Scout H. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Silva Terra Scout H. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Silva Terra Scout H
Country of manufacture: China

The Terra Scout H is a simple-to-use headtorch with good sustainability credentials.

A headtorch is an essential for me, particularly at this time of year when daylight is in short supply.

The body of the torch is made from hemp and recycled plastics. The Scandinavian brand says this has a 90 per cent lower CO2 footprint compared to conventional plastic. It also gives the unit its brown, mottled appearance.

The Terra Scout H can use either the supplied rechargeable lithium polymer battery or conventional AAA batteries. The 1.25 Ah/4.5Wh Silva Hybrid Battery is removed from the torch by unclipping the end plastic panel and removing it. A USB C lead supplied with the torch can then be plugged into a power source. An LED on the battery turns from red to green when fully charged, which takes about 2½ hours to achieve.

The battery is then slotted back into the torch and clipped shut. This means you can take backup AAA batteries to use if you’re worried the lithium battery will run out of power. Silva says a fully charged battery should give three hours burn time when using the maximum power; 25 hours at minimum power.

Controls are simple: pressing the button on top of the housing turns the headtorch on in its full 350 lumen power mode, giving a beam that reaches 65m. A second press reduces the power to minimum, with 50 lumen and a 30m reach. Repeated pressings cycle through the two settings. To turn the torch off, you hold down the button for a second.

To switch to the single red LED, you press the button for a second from its off setting. The red LED helps maintain your night vision, and I found it useful for reading and close work.

An LED in the front of the housing glows green, orange or red for three seconds to give a battery charge indication when using AAA batteries.

The Silva torch has a wide, adjustable, elasticated headband.

The Terra Scout H was comfortable to wear over an extended period, and stayed in place on the head. The housing can be adjusted for angle continuously from horizontal down to near vertical. The headtorch is rated IPX5 for water resistance, so is good to use in rainy conditions, and is designed to operate between -20C and 60C.

In practice, I found the lower power was enough for most circumstances, illuminating the terrain immediately ahead while walking. A quick switch to maximum power enabled more distant features to be lit up. For runners and cyclists, the useful three-hour burn time at full power should see you through typical outings.

The Terra Scout H has a permanent place in my rucksack even when I’m heading out in daylight hours, as you never know what might delay your outing.

Montane Nev Beanie. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Montane Nev Beanie. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Montane Nev Beanie
Colour: grey
Country of manufacture: China

A warm hat is another winter essential to help stop heat loss when the temperature plummets and the wind picks up.

The Nev Beanie is a snug bobble hat made from a blend of 50 per cent acrylic and 50 per cent mulesing-free merino wool.

It has a broad internal fleece headband that felt very comfortable. The merino wool helped keep my temperature at the right level and also resisted the build-up of any unwanted odour.

The hat sits firmly on the head and stayed in place on windy days, thanks to a nice stretchiness in the knit.

The cable-knit design is simple and the hat has a subtle branded tab on the turnup. With wintry days now with us, the Nev Beanie has become a staple of my outdoor kit.

Keela Crevasse Socks. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Keela Crevasse Socks. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Keela Crevasse Socks
88g a pair
Colour: green
Country of manufacture: Portugal
Sizes: S-XL (3-12+)

The Crevasse is the mid-calf-length version of the band’s Glacier sock, and uses a blend of merino wool, acrylic, nylon and Elastane. The toe and heel sections also contain Cordura to give better durability.

The construction is aimed at comfort and warmth, with the welt at the top section turned in. The top of the sock is nicely elasticated to stop it slipping down. There are further elastic sections at the ankle and the Crevasse has ventilation channels to keep down any perspiration build-up. The sock has good under-foot cushioning and the sole is designed to wick moisture away to help keep feet dry. The toe section is flat linked for comfort.

I put the Crevasse to extended use in late autumn as the temperatures began to fall and the wind and rain lashed the moors. The Keela socks kept my feet warm and dry and comfort over extended distances was good.

The merino content also helped keep any odour low, even after repeated use.

The price for a pair of warm winter socks is also very competitive and outdoor enthusiasts will find the Keela socks a welcome addition to kit for outings in cold and wet conditions.

LED Lenser K6R Safety. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

LED Lenser K6R Safety. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

LED Lenser K6R Safety
Country of manufacture: China

The K6R safety is a handy little addition to the handbag, backpack or pocket, which provides illumination and a degree of reassurance.

The LED Lenser unit is a compact 6.3cm x 3cm x 1.3cm torch and personal alarm. The lightweight torch provides two levels of illumination, giving up to 400 lumen with a beam reaching up to 80m. There’s also a 100dB alarm coupled to a strobe setting.

The K6R Safety has a rechargeable lithium ion battery. Charging is achieved by flipping up a small panel, which also doubles as the main switch. The fold-out section has contacts that slot into a standard USB A socket for charging, meaning no lead is needed. It will charge fully in three hours.

The safety torch is small enough to be attached to your key ring, and has a plastic clip to allow this.

Pressing the switch button turns on the torch in its low-power setting, which is useful for illuminating near objects. Another press puts the torch into its full power mode with 400 lumen output and a third press turns the torch off. A small LED on the housing indicates the battery charge condition: green for charged and red denoting the torch needs recharging.

The full-power beam should last for about 20 minutes before it starts to dim. Minimum burn time for the torch on a single charge is two hours, with a maximum of eight hours if used in low-power mode..

The alarm is activated by pulling a tethered pin using its slender loop. This sets off the audible alarm and also the torch in a strobe mode to deter any potential attacker.

The unit is sturdy, with brushed aluminium casing.

Thankfully, I didn’t need to use the alarm function while out testing the K6R Safety, but attaching the torch to my keyring meant it was always to hand to provide illumination in the dark, with the added assurance that, should something untoward happen, there was a means of raising the alarm.

Meindl boot care products. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Meindl boot care products. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Meindl Conditioner and Proofer
Country of manufacture: England
Contents: 150ml

Meindl Sport Wax
Country of manufacture: England
Contents: 80g

If you want to keep your boots in a good condition, it’s worth spending a bit of time cleaning and waterproofing them.

These two products from the brand best known for its footwear, and are designed for different materials.

The Conditioner and Proofer is a liquid and comes in a pump-action bottle. It will reproof nubuck leather and suede, along with fabric boots.

Application is simple: just hold the bottle a couple of inches from the boot and spray onto the uppers. Even when your boots have a waterproof membrane, reproofing the suede or fabric will help keep things dry.

The Sport Wax will condition and proof leather boots. It’s made from natural beeswax and comes in clear or black versions. I used the clear wax on my boots.

The easiest way to apply it is with your finger or thumb, as the body heat helps melt it so it can be applied to the leather and seams. The clear version I used did darken the boots a little, but it helped them shed rain and water while out on the hills.

The Meindl treatments won’t break the bank, but they will help protect and prolong the life of expensive footwear.

Saxx Ultra Super Soft two pack. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Saxx Ultra Super Soft two pack. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Saxx Ultra Super Soft two pack
88g each
Country of manufacture: China
Sizes: XS-XXL
Colour: black/multicolour

Saxx briefs have one particular feature that set them apart from most men’s underwear: the ballpark pouch. Constructed to accommodate men’s anatomy, I’ve worn Saxx undies as my standard baselayer over the past couple of years, and appreciate the comfort they give.

This version is a slightly more relaxed fit than the standard Saxx briefs, and the material is soft viscose with a five per cent Elastane to give the boxer briefs their stretchiness. The Super Soft briefs also have a fly opening.

All in all, this makes them a good choice for everyday use, as well as for outdoor excursions. The Saxx undies have a good broad elasticated waist and breathability is good. The briefs wick moisture well and they also resisted odour after prolonged use.

The two-pack contained one multi-coloured desert grid version and one plain black. There are three solid-colour options and five patterns.

Dexshell Drylite Gloves. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Dexshell Drylite Gloves. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Dexshell Drylite Gloves
108g a pair
Sizes: S-XL

The Drylite Gloves are stretchy and hug the hands well, keeping out draughts.

The lightweight gloves provide good warmth for their thickness, and are also waterproof, thanks to the Porelle laminate. The Drylites have merino wool lining and the palms have cross-pattern grips, which extend to the thumb and first two fingers. The finger and thumb tips have touchscreen-compatible areas, so you can still use your mobile device while wearing them.

The main body of the glove is a mixture of viscose, polyamide and Elastane, with the back polyester and Elastane. The knitted lining of the glove uses a 40 per cent merino wool, 40 per cent acrylic mix, with 18 per cent polyamide and two per cent Elastane.

The cuffs are also elasticated.

The stretchiness of the gloves made them easy to pull on, even with damp hands. The lack of bulk made for good dexterity while wearing them, yet the Drylite gloves blocked the wind well, and the lining kept my hands warm. The Dexshell gloves performed well in the rain, too, the waterproof membrane keeping my hands dry.

I found the Dexshell Drylites ideal on cool, wet days on the hill and on the moors, and they’re compact and light enough not to add burden you. The gloves would also be a good choice for runners who want to keep their hands warm and dry, yet keep the weight down.

  • All the samples were provided by the brands, except where stated.

Prices were correct at the time of writing, but check online. You might even spot a handy discount on some of the items.

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