Cool kit for frosty walks
Beat the chill with our selection of outstanding cold-weather walking kit for winter 2018-19
This luxuriantly snug fleece is made of Polartec Thermo Pro, a knitted-style fabric which is stretchy for a close fit. The hood is warm and the pockets can be zipped to keep valuables secure. Stylish and green, too – it’s made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.
Heat Walk Sock
1000 Mile, £17.99
Keep your feet snug by wrapping them in a double-layer of insulating fabric. The inner layer is made of Nilit Heat yarn, apparently made from charred coffee grounds (whatever next?), while the outer is a blend of merino wool (25%) with man-made fibres and a bit of cotton. Proper cosy, as we say in Bristol.
Hot & Cold One thermal bottle
Stylish 50cl flask with drip-free, pop-open top. Keeps drink piping hot for an impressive 12 hours. Lots of colour options available, including brushed steel – probably the most durable finish.
With a tough and waterproof fabric and effective synthetic Softie insulation designed to keep you comfortable in subzero temperatures, this is great for low-exertion activities: walking the dog, winter gardening, wildlife-watching or mooching about in chilly woodlands. If you do overheat, underarm vents let in cool air.
It’s relatively bulky – not the kind of thing you want to stuff in you daypack. The removable, insulated hood fits a little loosely – adjustment could be better. The pockets are snugly fleece-lined.
Fingerless Thinny Glove
If you want to keep your fingers free to fiddle with your phone or GPS, these stretchy Thermolite gloves give you some welcome protection from Jack Frost. When it’s really freezing, wear as a base layer beneath more substantial gloves.
Kepler Zip Top
One of the most competitively priced merino wool base layers on the market. Merino is warm for its weight, stays fresh with repeated wear. The ¼-length zip allows you to cool off when you need to. Men’s and women’s versions available.
Jeroen knitted hat,
Tubular knitted scarf lined with soft Primaloft fleece to seal the warm air in, plus matching hat in denim blue. Seriously cosy.
Lifa Merino Hybrid ¾ Boot base layer for men
Helly Hansen, £70
In freezing weather, full-length long johns can seem like a good idea – but once you are walking, they may soon feel uncomfortably hot. These sportily-styled boot-length leggings stop just below the knee, so tall winter socks can be pulled up or down to regular your temperature. They comprise mostly merino wool backed with a man-made mesh fibre, plus panels of highly breathable mesh fabric behind the knees and along the side of the leg (the dark stripes visible in the picture). Helly Hansen also makes ¾-length leggings for women, but in an all-lightweight fabric that doesn’t include merino wool.
Blizzard Pass beanie
Cable-knit bobble-hat, with a fleece lining for added insulation.
Furnace Pro Glove
These look like a pair of conventional knitted gloves, but clever conceal two layers of technical protection. There’s a waterproof (X Dry) membrane and a thin layer of high-quality (Primaloft Gold) synthetic insulation, which together keep your hands both dry and warm. Padding at the palm strengthens them against wear, and a short zip at the cuff keeps them snug. The touch-sensitive fingertips work screens on digital devices – but usability is hampered by the bulk of the fingertip, which makes basic functions like swiping viable but rules out fine keyboard work.
Men’s anatomica boxers
These merino wool boxers remain pleasant to wear when you are toiling up hills, as merino has natural wicking properties, drawing moisture away from the skin. It stays fresh after repeated use, too – perfect if you are heading out on a multi-day hike. Some merino underwear tends to sag a little after a day’s wear – not a good look – but these held their shape nicely. Lots of undie options for women, too.
Terra Nova, £30
This herringbone weave cap has a traditional look – but cleverly conceals a waterproof membrane, so your head stays warm and dry even in teeming rain.
Outdoor Research, £80
The waterproof mittens protects your hands from really harsh winter weather. The outer layer is made of a tough, water-resistant nylon fabric. Inside there are removable fleece mitten liners, the thumb and tip of which can be folded back and fastened with a pair of sewn-in magnets, to quickly expose your fingers when needed. A wrist strap on each outer mitt can be tightened with your teeth to keep drafts out. Note that we haven’t had a chance to try the mitts out in heavy rain, but Outdoor Research’s Infinite Warranty guarantees that the Pertex Shield membrane is 100% water-proof.
• Reviews by Joe Pontin