It’s that time again. Yes, it’s the Cool of the Wild Gear of the Year round up! At the end of each year we put together a list of outdoor gear that we think offers exceptional quality, functionality, durabilty and versatility to adventurers and outdoor folk. From the unrivalled warmth of a Rab down jacket to the high performing gorgeousness of an heirloom Hults Bruk axe, it’s clear to see that we also consider style and aesthics when choosing the very best outdoor gear. Gotta keep it cool after all!
Cool of the Wild Gear of the Year 2018
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So here it is. May I present to you this impressible list of our favourite (and very cool) tried and tested items of outdoor gear and clothing from 2018. Enjoy!
Bushido Trail Running Shoes
These awesome and slightly intimidating looking trail shoes have rocked my running world this year. They are designed for skyrunners (which I am not!), making them ideal for fast hiking missions and scrambling, as well as trail running. Super supportive, mega grippy and highly comfortable. They make we want to hit the trail more than my knees would prefer!
Aeon 27 Daypack
Versatile gear really floats my boat. Give me a versatile bag, and I’m in gear heaven! Which is why, of all the packs I’ve tried this year, the Aeon is my favourite. It’s comfortable, lightweight, has storage options galore and is designed with multi-activities in mind. An ideal carrying companion for biking, hiking, snowsports and climbing.
Alpha 2.2 Cookset
Complete with mugs, bowls, pots and lids, the Alpha 2.2 Cookset has all your camp cooking needs covered. For gourmet backcountry chefs cooking up a storm for two is no problem. And it deals with big groups equally well when car camping. It’s versatile, has everything you need in a cookset and will make your camping food better than ever, probably!
Flash Cooking System
Redefining the term ‘fast food’, this insanely efficient cooking system boils hot water in 100 seconds! Flash by name, flash by nature. If you want hot food on the trail and don’t want to wait then Jetboil’s latest version of the Flash will not disappoint. The stove part fits inside the pot, as does a small gas canister, making it ideal for solo missions where weight, space and fast food(!) are essential.
Foraker Light Insulated Jacket
Lightweight, incredibly stretchy, comfortable, and with just the right amount of insulation for active adventures. The Foraker totally rocks during climbing missions on the windy coastal cliffs of Cornwall. It keeps the breeze out, stops light rain getting in and lets internal moisture move freely away from the body. It is also a hardy jacket that deals very well with the scrapes and abrasions of climbing days. And it looks rather dashing, too!
Drummond 500 Tent
With oodles of sleeping space for up to 5 campers, and a monster sized porch that lets the light (and not rain) flood in, the Drummond 500 is also an incredibly stormproof tent for its size. Yes, it’s got plenty of height: the porch is a whopping 6.8 ft tall at its highest point. There are a ton of guylines and a tension band system for extra stability. And it’s actually pretty quick and easy to put up, even on your own in the wind — believe me, I’ve tried it!
Greenwood GV Hiking Boots
Step into the plush comfort of Asolo’s latest addition to their Greenwood line and you’ll question why you ever wear any other kind of footwear. The ‘out-of-box’ comfort levels are out of this world as is the arch and ankle support. They are also fully waterproof with a Gore-Tex lining, and have a mega grippy Vibram sole. The Greenwoods are a thing of beauty, and an ideal boot for year-round hiking on tough terrain.
This Hults Bruk axe is so darn sexy that it lives on display in our office most of the time. That is, of course, when its not being wildly wielded around at the campground. But it’s not all about the looks you know. With a very fine and ergonomically designed 16 inch American Hickory shaft, and a solid head hand-forged out of Swedish steel, the Almike sure packs a punch when it comes to the job in hand. Beautifully weighted and as sharp as hell. We’re rather big fans. Can you tell?!
Titan Peak Hiking Leggings
For winter wanderers, scramblers and climbers, the Titan Peak Leggings are an absolute must. Not only are they mega comfortable and made with thick, durable fabric, but they also make chucking your waterproof pants on over the top a breeze! And when the lower body is reinforced in all the places where reinforcement is most needed, opting for robust leggings like the Titans is a no-brainer. Thanks to them, I’m now officially converted to leggings for outdoor adventures.
TrailBreak Vacuum Bottle
It’s robust, leak-proof, comes with a little cup, and it keeps hot drinks hot (like proper hot!) for a VERY long time. And it’s not just out on the trail, at the crag or on the campsite that I use it. I save multiple kettle boils during my working day by filling this puppy up with peppermint tea and sipping to my heart’s content. Some days it even gets treated to a fill up of coffee, whose taste doesn’t linger. 1 litre of black coffee is fine for one person to guzzle in one day, right?!
Neutrino Endurance Down Jacket
Sure, I may not be sitting out storms in the Himalaya in this jacket (although I certainly could!). However, the supreme cosiness and warmth offered by the Neutrino Endurance means that I can actually enjoy winter camping in the UK. In fact, wearing this jacket totally eliminates the endurance side of sitting around camp in subzero temperatures — it’s now become proper, type 1 fun! It is THE warmest puffy jacket I have ever come across. Plus, it’s filled with responsibly sourced down that is also water resistant. Really, what’s not to love about it? Er, nothing, nothing at all!
Probably the fanciest item I own, period. Elliot Brown watches ooze class and quality in a way that no other piece of outdoor gear could possibly do, even if it really tried. However, don’t be deceived by their seemingly everyday appearance. They may not look it, but these watches are virtually bomb-proof, totally shockproof and completely waterproof down to 200m (yes, they test every single watch at this depth!). We love this brand, and rather like showing off their watches, too.
Rob, our reviewer, received the Ferrosi shorts during the spring and loves them so much that he’s only just taken them off (it’s now November!) They’re the kind of shorts that look as great as they feel, and perform even better. Quick drying, highly durable, insanely comfortable and with a casual fit that makes them as well suited to daily life as to the rough and tumble of life on the trail. If you only want one pair of shorts in your life it has to be the Ferrosi’s.
TrialShot Pocket-sized Water Filter
MSR have really upped their game in the versatility stakes, with the introduction of the TrailShot. Yes — it’s pocket-sized, and it also deals with all the nasties one would expect any water filter to do. But what makes it really stand out for me is its ability to filter large amounts of water for cooking AND enable you to sip water directly from the source like a straw. Ideal for backpackers and hikers who want to save weight without loosing out on functionality.
Gear head or not, there’s no getting away from the fact that adventures are more fun when you have the right equipment. If it happens to look fabulous, then all the better! But whatever gear you choose to adventure with, make sure it offers the quality and performance that you deserve.
Looking forward to what 2019 has in store for us already!