Following on from the excellent selection of outdoor gear and clothing that made our 2021 Gear of the Year list, we’ve got another selection of products created by brands that are doing great things for people and planet. Yes, there’s still a long way to go. But progress is steady and it’s been brilliant to not have to seek out the “more sustainable” brands. Pushing for environmental change has become the norm in the outdoor industry. And long may it continue to thrive and grow.
Cool of the Wild gear of the year 2022
A truly sustainable product is one that performs as it’s intended to and is created with a lifetime of use in mind. It should also be versatile, functional and stylish, as the more we love our outdoor gear and clothing, the more we’ll look after it.
With that in mind, may I present to you the below selection of outdoor gear and clothing that me and my team of reviewers have loved using and abusing in 2022:
Freescape Pro 40+ Backpack
This wouldn’t be a true reflection of our favourite gear without a backpack or two thrown in there. We LOVE a good backpack! And Deuter are one of our most favoured brands that seem to deliver every single time.
Our reviewer, Owain, put the Freescape Pro through its paces as a mountain guide in the Alps as well as during Mountain Rescue training in the Brecon Beacons. It has all of his carrying and hauling needs well and truly covered.
Adventure Race Range Bikepacking Bags
Of all the gear we’ve tested this year, these Restrap bags are up there with the very best, setting a super high bar in terms of design, durability and functionality. We used them on a bunch of short overnight biking trips in the UK and they also accompanied us on our 1200km cycle tour across Europe. They’re so good that sometimes I go riding just so I can use them!
DNA Tundra Hoody Down Jacket
Claerwen, our northern reviewer, has been living in the Tundra over the colder months of 2022. But it’s not just the cosy warmth, stylish design and weather resistant properties she loves about the jacket. She’s a dedicated environmentalist making the eco-credentials of the DNA Tundra a super important element of why Jack Wolfskin has won her over. The jacket is insulated with recycled synthetic insulation and is PFC-free with recycled outer fabrics.
Classic Armless Sunglasses
If we could give one prize to the most innovative product that’s actually useful, then these armless sunglasses would most certainly get it. For active folk, campers, hikers and water people, they are a no-brainer. I’ve fallen off my SUP with them on and yes, they stayed on my head! Plus, if you don’t want to wear them you can just leave them to hang around your neck. So simple, but so clever.
NXIS EVO Waterproof Boots
Keen are at it again with their progressive designs that are as practical as ever, without compromising on style. Jon, our reviewer, has been very much enjoying their excellent waterproofing as well as how grippy they are on varied terrains. But his favourite thing is their low weight for days when getting the miles in quickly are top priority.
Telos TR3 Backpacking Tent
On the face of it, the 3 person Telos is just another high-end, lightweight backpacking tent; supreme in all aspects of design and construction. But on top of that, the Telos TR3 is a small yet spacious tent like no other, offering the ability to use it as a hangout shelter under which three people can comfortably sit on camping chairs.
We spent 5 weeks living in this tent over the summer this year and loved every single well-ventilated and airy night under its protection.
Aeros Down Pillow
Another total hit on our bike tour this summer was the luxurious comfort of the Aeros Down Pillow. As a previous non-believer in the need for a camping pillow (folded up down jacket used to be all that was needed), I’m now a convert and have never slept so well when camping.
The combo of air, which you can adjust to your preferred firmness, with a layer of soft down to nestle into, makes customising your cosiness so easy. The huge dimensions of the pillow help too!
Incline Light Pants
Rob, our reviewer, has pretty much lived in these pants since he got them. In the heat of Europe this summer they were cool enough to wear during the evenings when the bugs came out and also flexible enough to cycle in during the cooler mountain days. But the best part is that they’re the kind of pants that can be worn for almost anything, in terms of style. Smart enough for casual socials but tough enough for life on the trail or in the tent.
Rockit Kayak SUP
This excellent value SUP package featured very regularly in the calmer than usual conditions we were graced with this year in the UK. I’ve loved playing in the waves, pootling on the estuary and missioning around the coast on it; a true all-rounder for beginners and improvers. But the best part is its ability to be paddled like a kayak thanks to the kayak converter kit and adaptable paddles. This makes its versatility rating go through the roof and has enabled me to take it out in windy and choppy conditions and still enjoy the experience!
Roll Top Backpack
Yes, we really do love backpacks! And although this waterproof backpack from Got Bag is less technical than many of the backpacks and daypacks we test, it’s by no means less loved or less useful. In fact, as an everyday backpack, especially living on the wet and windy coast of Cornwall, it almost gets overused!
It’s super spacious and has some very useful zippered pockets inside as well as a padded laptop sleeve. But the best part is that it’s made of 59% recycled Ocean Impact Plastic fabric.
Another super sustainable product that I’ve been loving this year are these gorgeously green running shoes. Made of corn fibre, organic cotton, natural rubber, bioform and algae bloom, they’re just about the most sustainably made running shoes out there. Plus, they feel pretty great to run in with good cushioning and breathability.
This compact solar panel was a complete game-changer for our bike tour this summer, esepcially when we relied so heavility on GPS mapping for our route-finding. And with a summer like we’ve just had, there was an abundance of free power constantly on tap! A highly recommended bit of camping gear for backpackers, campers and bike tourers alike.
Allure MIPs Helmet
Though it may be lacking in eco-credentials compared with many of the products on this list, the Allure helmet certainly makes up for it in terms of safety-credentials. Boasting MIPs technology for elevated brain protection and a super plush interior for warmth on the coldest days of winter, the Allure is super comfortable and stylish, for a helmet! I’ve loved charging around the mountain in it, feeling cosy and safe.
For more reviews of great equipment and clothing for the outdoors, check out our gear guides.