Wise buys for wildlife-watchers

What's the best kit for a great day out watching wildlife? Here, we review a selection of the best kit for wildlife watching.

Birdwatching at Arne nature reserve in Dorset.

Megan Shersby from BBC Wildlife Magazine reviews a selection of the best kit for wildlife watching in the UK

RSPB Avocet jacket

RSPB Lady Avocet Jacket

Country Innovation, £195

A very comfortable outdoor jacket, with enormous pockets big enough to fit even a pair of binoculars. There are four additional pockets, both external and internal. The microfibre fabric has a soft texture, is waterproof and windproof and feels extremely hard-wearing. An inner zip allows for an internal fleece jacket to be added. Unlike some jackets, the large hood can be put up without fiddling with the main zip and has three buttons to hold it in place once up. The hood can also be easily detached. Be aware – the sizing is generous. Country Innovation say the ‘small’ jacket I tried should fit someone of size 10 to 12, but we found that it was much closer to a size 12. Bird-lovers take note that Country Innovation donates £10 to the RSPB for every jacket they sell.

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MERLIN ED, 8X42

Viking Optical, £259.95

These binoculars provide a very clear image, even in low-light conditions. ED glass is used for the objective lenses to give sharper images and reduce chromatic aberration. The 42mm objective lens is heavy and contributes to the overall weight of 720g. The rubber casing protects the whole of the binoculars, and the grip feels comfortable.

• More detailed reviews of binoculars.

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Fold-out charts

Field Studies Council, from £2.50

Identify wildlife with these lightweight guides designed for outdoor use. The illustrated charts cover a wide range of species and habitats. They are laminated to keep them splash-proof.

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Sitpack ZEN

Sitpack, £86.65

Designed in Denmark to improve your posture (whether indoors or outdoors), this compact chair, with its single, telescopic leg will help with watching wildlife in remote areas. It collapses down to a pocket sized handful (pictured above right) and weighs a modest 555g.

It works bit like a traditional shooting stick – like this:

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Dry Roamers

Rohan, £99

With a windproof and waterproof inner liner and a water repellent outer liner, these trousers combine warmth and comfort for changeable weather.

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Beginner’s Sweep Net

Watkins and Doncaster, £15.10

Ideal for beginners who wish to catch invertebrates for a closer look. Avoid brambles and thorns to minimise tearing holes in the net.

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Hand lens

Watkins and Doncaster, £9.20

Identify invertebrates and plants using the x18 magnification of this hand lens. Battery-powered LED bulbs help you see clearly in low light. Comes with a case.

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Terradora EVO mid hiking boots

KEEN footwear, £114.99

Keep your feet comfy with these boots designed specifically for women. With a reduced instep volume and a narrower heel, plus a quick-dry lining, they provide a secure and breathable fit.

• More detailed boot reviews here.

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Trophy Cam Hd Essential E3

Bushnell, £166.95

Capture images and videos of wildlife with this trail camera. The 16-megapixel camera takes full colour images during the day and black and white images at night.

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Epiq Hooded Down Jacket, Kathmandu, £149.99

Warm, comfortable and lightweight jacket great for standing out in the open when watching wildlife in cool temperatures.

Insulated with 100% ethically sourced down, and certified by the Responsible Down Standard, it has elasticated cuffs to help preventing the cold from getting up into the sleeves. The soft, brushed lining of the pockets mean that hands can be kept warm when binoculars or a scope aren’t needed.

The outer fabric is water repellent rather than waterproof, which means that water rolls off during a light shower, but the coat isn’t suitable for heavy rain. The fabric is also made from 100% recycled polyester.

Handily, the coat also comes with its own stuff sack so if you get too warm, or decide to visit the cafe at a nature reserve, you can squeeze it into the sack then pop it into your bag.

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Versions for women and men available.