1 A bonny bobble hat
Hartland Beanie, Berghaus, £20. We love the colours in this loose-knit bobble hat, in chunky acrylic yarn.
2 Button up
Tajga shirt, Haglofs, £90. This superb, warm, ruggedly stylish men’s outdoor shirt is made of cosy microfleece. It is practical and hard-wearing, with patches to reinforce elbows and cuffs. Wear with a T-shirt or baselayer.
3 Treat your toes
T3 Midweight Hiker socks, Lorpen, £19. Well-cushioned socks made from a cosy blend of fibres that includes PrimaLoft synthetic insulation and merino wool.
4 Back to basics
Warm Freeze Half-zip Base Layer, Helly Hansen, £70. (Men’s and women’s versions available.) Most base layers are either made of merino wool or synthetic fabrics – and each of these has its pros and cons. The Warm Freeze top aims for the best of both worlds.
It’s made of two fabrics – a merino wool outer, bonded to a synthetic lining. The Lifa fiber next to your skin keeps you comfortable by soaking up moisture, while the wool outer does a fine job of insulating you. Worn beneath a rain jacket and/or midlayer, that makes it well adapted to high-energy, stop-go activities – such as hill walking or climbing. Worn on its own, it’s excellent for running or cycling.
A high neck feels snug around the collar when you need it, while the half zip helps you control your temperature when you overheat.
5 Frosty fingers?
Helvellyn XP Gloves, SealSkinz, £50. Water-resistant and insulated gloves for cold, wet days. Technical gloves like these are often available in black only – so what about these daring new green ones? Caution: don’t expect them to withstand a complete soaking, and while the makers say they can be used on a touch screen, I found them are far too bulky for that.
6 Stay on your feet
Trail Elite Trekking Pole, Terra Nova, £30. Trekking poles are great for stability when slippery ice and snow underfoot, and allow you to tackle winter landscapes with confidence. Unusually, these lightweight alloy poles (274g each) are much easier than most to stash out of the way in your pack when not needed. That’s because while these poles stretch to 128cm when assembled, they then break down into three parts, making a bundle just 42cm long. They are easy to put together (once you’ve got the knack) in about 20 seconds – or a bit longer if you have cold, gloved hands.
7 Hot drink, anyone?
Trailbreak EX Vacuum Bottle, Primus, £35. A tough steel flask with rubber coating, bold design and a simple mug that’s easy to remove even with freezing hands. Highly effective insulation keeps drinks hot for many hours. Volume 75cl, weight 631g.
8 See and be seen
Intensity 220 head-torch, Life Systems, £24.99. Winter days are short so if you end up coming home in the dark, a head torch is essential. See and be seen with this super-bright head torch, which has lights both front and rear. The front light throws out a whopping 220 lumens – enough to see clearly for tens of metres ahead of you – which makes the price tag impressive, but doesn’t eat up the batteries – three AA batteries should last eleven hours at the brightest setting. Dimmer settings are available (and naturally prolong battery life), and you can switch between spotlight mode and a softer light using a diffuser that slides over the bulb. The rear light is much dimmer but will make you stand out on a dark lane. Finally, the front light can be switched from white to red – red light being much better for night walks because it allows your natural night vision to continue working.
9 More about the base
Bamboo Thermo Zip Neck Baselayer, Bam, £50. This warm and breathable layer is unusually long in both the sleeve and body. That helps ensure you are covered and cosy at the waist, even when a backpack makes your jacket ride up over your belt, or when you’re crouched over your handlebars. Thumb loops also help stop cold air creep up your cuff.
Bam make their range of baselayers and leggings using use a stretchy fabric derived from bamboo – but what’s it like to wear? I’ve tried on walks and trail runs, and it was soft, fairly dry-feeling even when wet, and pleasantly breathable. The zip is a very welcome way to regulate temperature. When you need to be warm, it insulates well beneath a fleece or other midlayer.
Note that the image here makes the top look black when it's actually 'slate' – a dark grey.
Finally, it looks good with a pair of jeans, too, which gives it a welcome versatility.
Pictures by Steve Sayers
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