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News & Advice

Great outdoor kit

From headlamps and camp stoves to camp beds and water purifiers

Tevasphere Trail eVent shoes

The backlash against barefoot running didn't take long. These trail trainers aim for a middle ground between traditional heel-strike designs and newer, ultra-minimal shoes. The rounded heel and arch support move impact forward while maintaining plenty of ankle control;

£110 (cotswoldoutdoor.com).

BioLite CampStove

Running on renewable biomass rather than fossil fuels, this stove has a thermo-electric generator that turns heat into electricity, powering gadgets via USB: it can boil a litre of water in five minutes using 50g of kindling. This could be the stove of the future; £149.95 (aboveandbeyond.co.uk).

Puma Basket Biodegradable shoes

These ecologically sound trainers are made from cotton, linen and a special plastic called Apinat Bio and are fully biodegradable;

£57 (puma.com).

Therm-a-Rest Luxury Ultra-lite camp bed

Look away if you prefer sleeping on the cold, bumpy ground to a flat, comfy, camp bed. This aluminium and nylon bed is almost two-metres long but packs down to 41cm and weighs just 1.2kg; £153 (cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest).

Suunto Ambit watch

Like other GPS timepieces, the Ambit can track your performance while running, swimming, cycling or mountaineering. Unlike most, though, it can also download specialist apps for more obscure activities and even creates personalised apps on a simple-ish website;

£350 (suunto.co.uk).

OS MapFinder

This new OS app for Apple gadgets has high-resoultion maps that are easier to read in the dark than their paper counterparts. Plan routes beforehand for an estimated time to completion, or track your progress as you go. Landranger grids (1:50,000 scale) are a reasonable 69p, and Explorer (1:25,000) £2.49, available for purchase within the app. Another handy app (also free) is the YHA Guide, which can locate your closest hostel; free (apple.com/itunes).

Pearl Izumi Elite Infinity jacket

Designed as a running jacket but stylish enough for town, this ultra-lightweight women's shell has a barrier layer to cut wind-chill, basic rain resistance, an MP3 zippered arm pocket, and low-light reflective elements; £60 (pearlizumi.co.uk)

Nobis Chloe reversible jacket

Shrug off unexpected showers with a jacket made for a climate wetter than Britain's. This Canadian outerwear is made from canvas nylon, with a durable PVC coating. Vents prevent over-heating and the hood is adjustable; £370 (nobis.ca).

Lifeventure Altai 65 rucksack

No fancy wheels or rollers here: this is a proper, old-school, 65-litre rucksack for adventure travelling. Well, sort of. You do get a security cover that hides its zippered compartments, an integrated rain cover for tropical climes and a 16-litre day-sack for sight-seeing. The whole pack weighs under 2.5kg and there are ventilation meshes, straps and lockable pouches galore; £170 (cotswoldoutdoor.com).

Petzl Nao headlamp

The Nao has built-in distance sensors that track what you're looking at and adjust its LED illumination accordingly. Read a map and the beam becomes wide and powerful, look up and it narrows and dims to provide even lighting; £115 (petzl.com/nao).

Steripen Freedom Solar

Previous Steripen water purifiers have seen me safely through multi-day backpacking trips. They have an ultraviolet light that blasts water-borne bugs without the nasty taste of chemicals or the pumping of filters. My worry until now, though, was that its battery might fail in emergencies. Cue the Steripen Freedom, which comes with a solar panel for recharging its lithium ion battery and is capable of purifying 500ml in under 50 seconds; £80 (steripen.com).