2017 has been a busy one for the Cool of the Wild team. We’ve been lucky enough to get out adventuring with some of the industry’s most innovative gear from some exceptional and forward thinking brands. We’ve loved using and abusing all of our new gear: new versions of old trusted favourites like the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 alongside some awesome new stuff at the cutting edge of outdoor technology, like the Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody and the GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle. And the rest of it is just downright brilliant gear that enable us to explore more, adventure better and get outside as much as possible.
Cool of the Wild Gear of the Year 2017
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So without further ado, may I present to you the Cool of the Wild Gear of the Year 2017 – our best loved and favourite outdoor gear that we just can’t get enough of.
Women’s Guidepost 65l Backpack
I could go on about this backpack all day! It’s superb. There are so many features and well thought through storage options, and it’s exceptionally well made and robust. But where is really excels is the magnificently comfortable hip belt that pivots on its axis to evenly distribute the pack weight as you walk, clamber and scramble. It’s ideal for multi-day backpacking trips for those looking for comfort and functionality in equal measure.
Dehydrated camping food that actually tastes great? Yep, that really is a thing! We’re big fans of Summit to Eat meals. They not only taste great but they’re also high calorie without being packed full of questionable ingredients. They’re really light to carry and couldn’t be easier to prepare. Ideal for those who value good nutrition out on the trail without compromising on taste.
Artemis Long Sleeve Top
Whether you need a comfortable base layer for skiing or snowboarding, an extra layer of warmth under your wooly winter jumper, something to sweat in when out running, biking, hiking and climbing, or just a stylish thermal that you won’t mind wearing out and about, the Artemis has you covered. It’s super versatile and so comfy. But the best bit? It takes forever to get smelly! Love this top.
We love playing at the beach. But since the arrival of Spikeball all our other games have gone out the window. It totally rocks! And everyone we play it with falls in love with it immediately too. If you only get one game for your next beach holiday then whatever you do make sure it’s Spikeball!
For beach lovers, sailers, canoeists, paddleboarders or those who live in areas of high rainfall, the Aquapac Toccoa is an essential piece of gear. It’s as equally useful carrying soaked wetsuits and towels back from the beach or river (keeping you dry), as it is carrying dry layers and gear when hiking and biking in the rain. It’s also mega comfortable and super versatile – and boy do I love versatile gear!
Kamoto Open Firepit
For those partial to a spot of al fresco dining by the fire, the Kamoto Open Firepit is an absolute winner. There’s just enough space on the grill to cook up a storm for four hungry diners, who can enjoy their meal in warmth as you reignite the coals with some wood. However, what I love the most is the easy to carry fold-up design that allows your adventures in campfire cooking to take you much further afield than your backyard or the campsite.
X-Set 32 Cookset
Lightweight? Tick. Versatile? Sure is. Good for cooking for 2 people? No probs. Good for backpacking and camping? Yep. Looks great?! Oh yeah! But what the above image fails to illustrate is how perfectly packable the cookset is once the kettle and pot are collapsed down and stored neatly inside the pan – only 2 inches deep! The kettle is my favourite part which features heavily on big day hikes for tea and coffee stops.
This is one super technical midweight insulated jacket that does the jobs of a light puffy jacket and a microfleece at the same time! It’s incredibly breathable with decent wind and water resistance (winter running in it rocks!). It is also so wonderfully lightweight and stretchy that it makes me feel like you’re not wearing it all! An absolute beaut of a jacket that is hugely versatile for those active in the outdoors, whatever the weather.
21oz Insulated Bottle
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how great Hydro Flasks are. (But I’m going to anyway, because I really, really love mine!) The bottle keeps hot drinks exceptionally hot, and cold drinks wonderfully cool for a very long time! Steaming hot coffee after hours of hiking? Urm, yes please! The double wall insulated bottle is also leak-proof, looks great, and puts the world a step closer to becoming plastic-free. Win-win!
GSI Outdoor Projector
The BenQ GSI Outdoor Projector is one of the coolest techy bits of outdoor gear we’ve come across this year, and that’s coming from a massive technophobe! It’s super simple to use, and I love taking movie night outside (not just into the backyard!). The streamlined battery pack means you can take this thing anywhere. Hold you very own pop up cinema nights wherever you fancy – at the beach, at the climbing crag, in the forest, at the campsite, on the edge of the cliffs. We’ve even projected Game of Thrones onto the side of a ruined building! So atmospheric.
Outdoor Tactical Pants
Our reviewer Rob, isn’t much of a huntsman. He doesn’t have a gun, and he certainly has no need to be carrying ammo around in his pockets. And although these Helikon-Tex pants are designed with the action-man in mind, they also fit very nicely into the wardrobe of your average outdoorsman – like Rob! He hikes, scrambles and climbs in them. And they are ideal for camping and traveling. Super robust with just the right amount of stretchy comfort, and plenty of pockets for… whatever you fancy really!
Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle
Finally, a device that filters AND purifies water. No nasty taste from chemical purifiers. No waiting time. No complex mechanisms to fiddle with. Simply fill up the bottle with whatever water you can find, plunge down the inner press, and you’ve got yourself a bottle full of clean fresh water! Our reviewer Kieran, is very much enjoying the newfound simplicity of hydration in the mountains, not to mention how good that water actually tastes!
Pocket Rocket 2
Smaller, lighter and more powerful. The Pocket Rocket 2 is even better than its original version. An ideal little stove for lightweight backpacking and hiking, and plenty big enough to whip up a gourmet camping meal for two. We also use ours loads for boiling up a fresh coffee when we’re out hiking for the day.
Lighthouse 400 Lantern
Where to start with this little gem of a camping lantern… The dazzlingly bright light it effuses that can also be dimmed and halved? The way you can recharge it via USB? The fact that you can charge your devices directly from it? The emergency red light? Or that it can be recharged using the dynamo hand crank on the top? Not just a camping lantern after all! Just make sure you keep it handy at all times as it’s also mighty useful at home in a power cut.
Vertex Carbon and EVA Trekking Poles
These refreshingly good value trekking poles don’t just wow the crowds with their pretty price tag. They also stand out for their excellent strength, ease of use, packability and low weight. In fact, they are so exceptionally well made that eveb our reviewer, Kieran, (who gets through trekking poles like they’re going out of fashion) hasn’t managed to break them yet!
Copper Spur HV UL2
If you’re after a lightweight backpacking tent that is unfathomably spacious, exceptionally well made, highly liveable, and bomb proof, then look no further. The new and improved version of the Copper Spur really is worthy of many awards in the backpacking world. And as much as I try, I’ve yet to find anything about it that I don’t like. It comes very highly recommended.
If you have questions regarding a particular product then we’d be more than happy to answer them, so just drop us a line: [email protected]
Otherwise we very much look forward to sharing next years top gear and awesome outdoor products with you… stay tuned!