Outdoor essentials: the latest active kit for travellers

From eco-socks to digital radios, Mark Harris rounds up the best new products
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The Independent Travel

Viewranger

Sat nav isn't just for drivers the latest phones put GPS navigation in the palms of hikers and bikers, and now with full Ordnance Survey mapping. Viewranger software works on Symbian Series 60 mobiles we'd recommend one with GPS built-in, such as the Nokia 6110 and N82 or Samsung's i560 (coming soon). Viewranger shows your location on a pixel perfect 1:50,000 or 1:25,000 OS map, at prices ranging from 24.99 for National Parks to 150 for the whole country. Although there's no guidance, you can search for landmarks, load routes from walking websites, and even locate friends running the same software. One warning carry a spare battery, as GPS receivers are power hungry.

From 24.99; 020-7193 7233; store.viewranger.com

Snugpak Travelpak Traveller

Step one to travelling light: buy light stuff. This featherweight sleeping bag weighs just 750g and packs down to about the size of a melon. It's home to some smart features, such as antibacterial and antimicrobial coatings to keep it fresher for longer, and a roll-down mosquito-proof hood to protect you from nibbling nasties. It unzips into a square quilt or zip left-handed and right-handed versions together to create a double-wide bag for two. Alpinists be warned: the Traveller is a spring/summer bag, rated between 7°C and 17°C for comfort (but down to 2C at a pinch).

49.95; 01535 654479; www.snugpak.com

Teko socks

Worried that your itchy feet are leaving too large a carbon footprint when you travel? Teko socks are some of the most ethical footwear available. You can choose from sustainably farmed Merino wool, Ecopoly recycled polyester, organic cotton or Ingeo fibres made from corn sugar, all treated with non-toxic dyes and woven for serious walkers, cyclists and skiers. Teko purchases wind energy credits to account for the electricity used in manufacturing, and even offsets the carbon emitted during transportation from its US factory to UK shops. Oh, and they're dead comfy, too.

From 7.95-16.95; 0800 032 3505; www.tekosocks.com

Outwell Kid's Room

Tents are fun places for kids and even more so when they have their own special den. This inner room fits into any of Outwell's new tents with more than one bedroom, creating a tiny "woodland" retreat. It has mesh pocket for storing toys (good luck with that) and comes with a game of on-your-back basketball, complete with soft balls. Every Kid's Room has its own separate mini entrance for children only, and a starry night ceiling to lull them too sleep when the sun goes down. Outwell also has lightweight sleeping bags and pop-up tents in funky fabrics for young 'uns.

59.95; 01937 591101; www.outwell.com

One Earth Woman's Hooded Fleece

It's always nice when saving money and saving the planet go together. This eco-friendly fleece is made from washable polyester microfleece, 30 per cent of which is made from recycled plastic drinks bottles. It's fully breathable, machine washable and quick drying, with a deep pocket and elasticated cuffs. Better yet, it's currently on sale at a reduced price on Millets website.

10.99; 0800 389 5861; www.millets.co.uk

Intempo Daisy radio

Just because you're travelling the globe, why should you have to miss The Archers? This portable radio brings a new meaning to the word wireless, connecting via Wi-Fi hotspots to over 6,000 online radio stations around the world. It can play BBC iPlayer radio "listen again" shows, and even picks up good old FM stations when you're away from internet access. It's on the chunky side for a portable (around 1kg) but the battery life is equally heavyweight, giving 20 hours playback between charges. It's arriving in stores in April.

149.99; 0161 828 5241; www.intempo-digital.co.uk

Steripen Traveller

Buying bottled water abroad might be safer than drinking from taps or mountain streams, but it's hardly an eco-friendly option. The pocket-sized Steripen Traveller lets you enjoy the flavour of local water without any of the viruses, bacteria or protozoa that might be lurking inside. It uses ultraviolet light to disinfect half-a-litre of water in under a minute. It's light, tough and runs on two rechargeable batteries for which you can even buy a solar charger (50). The ultraviolet lamp has a healthy lifetime too you can sterilise four litres of water every day for seven years before it needs to be replaced.

90; 023 9252 8711; www.steripen.com

Pentax K200D and 18-55mm lens

There are dozens of affordable digital SLRs around these days, but few as suited to travel as Pentax's user-friendly latest. For a start, it's sealed against water and dirt a rarity at this price and even if dust does sneak inside, a self-cleaning sensor works to keep your 10 megapixel photos speck-free. Built-in shake reduction helps you take sharper images with zoom lenses or in dark conditions. Best of all, the K200D produces natural colours and sharp detail without you having to worry too much about complex manual settings. If you're on a tighter budget, Olympus's competent E510 camera is lighter still and around 100 cheaper.

580; 0870 736 8299; www.pentax.co.uk

Ajungilak D-Lux Pump Mat

Enjoy a touch of luxury on your next camping trip with this revolutionary airbed. It has a foot pump built into the pillow itself to inflate the comfortable mattress within minutes. And because you're not blowing into the mat with your mouth, there's almost no chance of ice forming during in cold weather. The D-Lux packs down to around two-thirds the size of most self-inflating mats, with two sizeable valves and built-in straps to speed up the packing process. Having said that, at 890g, it's not the lightest camping mattress out there.

110; 01625 508218; www.ajungilak.no

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