Here’s TOG’s round-up of the best winter walking gear of 2018 to make sure you stay warm, comfortable and safe on your cold-weather adventures.
Rohan Ascent Jacket, £189
This classic 2-layer waterproof jacket is perfect for walking at any time of year. It’s more than just a thin outer layer, with a reassuringly thick design that offers some insulation while also doing the all-important job of protecting you from the weather. You get two large zipped outer pockets that are well placed to avoid most rucksack hip-belts, plus a smaller zipped internal pocket that’s perfect for things like keys and cash. The hood, cuffs and hem are all adjustable so you can tailor it to your body shape, and the slightly oversized fit means you can fit extra layers underneath easily.
Aku Alterra NBK GTX boots, £240
They aren’t cheap, but you’re getting a lot of boot for your money here. The Alterra is made from a mixture of Nubuck leather and stretch fabric, with a Gore-Tex Performance Comfort lining to keep your feet dry. The Vibram sole has a very deep tread that gives excellent grip and makes you feel high off the ground, with a flexible ankle offering good freedom of movement. They can cope with rough and rocky terrain everywhere from Dartmoor and the Lakes to the Scottish Highlands, so a good option if you want one boot for every type of walking trip.
Osprey Mutant 38 rucksack, £130
The Mutant is a tough, durable and stripped-back pack that’s a great option if you fancy mixing your usual countryside strolls with some full-on winter walking in the hills and mountains. It’s lightweight and comfortable with a large main chamber, chunky hip-belt and a huge lid pocket for stashing everything from gloves and hats to snacks and drinks. You also get features designed specifically for winter, like a snow-shedding fabric back panel and dual attachments for ice aces – which are crucial bits of kit if you’re heading for mountains in full winter conditions.
Petzl Bindi head torch, £50
If you’re walking in winter it’s always worth carrying a head torch in case the darkness catches you out in the shorter daylight hours. The Petzl Bindi is a brilliant option if you want to stash something in your rucksack, jacket pocket, or even dangle it around your neck just in case it’s needed, because it’s so light that you’ll hardly even notice it’s there. The Bindi weighs just 35 grams and pumps out 200 lumens of light, so plenty good enough to light up the paths and trails ahead of you. It’s USB rechargeable with around 3 hours of battery life when used on the standard power setting.
Mammut Rime Flex IN Hooded Jacket, £219
This thick, well-fitting insulated jacket from Mammut is an absolute dream for walking in the colder months of the year. It’s warm enough to keep the chill away while wearing minimal layers beneath, and also breathable enough that you won’t overheat unless you’re doing really strenuous activity like mountain walking. The outer fabric is made of lightweight, elastic and water-repellent Pertex Quantum Air material, which is comfortable while also giving good freedom of movement. There’s a small zipped chest pocket perfect for keys or cash, and our only slight complaint is that the big side pockets are slightly too high to walk with your hands in them comfortably.
GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Microlite 720 bottle, £30
This stainless steel vacuum-insulated water bottle will keep your drinks hot for up to nine hours, so perfect for taking out on a frosty winter walk and treating yourself to a brew. It weighs just over 300 grams with a 720ml capacity, so it’s lightweight while still being able to carry enough fluid for plenty of drinks on your walk. The push button flip-lock cap is really nicely designed and gives easy access to the bottle without having to unscrew the lid, but don’t forget to take a separate cup because it doesn’t come with one.
Salewa Fanes Tirolwool Celliant jacket, £126
This is a perfect insulated jacket for cool days in late autumn and early winter. It has windproof and water-repellent outer fabric, with insulation made from a blend of synthetic material and natural Tirolwool. It has a lovely body-hugging design and a well-fitting hood that turns really easily with your head. You can adjust the hem to tighten up the bottom of the jacket and protect yourself in windy conditions, and our only slight complaint is the lack of an inside pocket for stashing smaller items. Great jacket though!
Zamberlan 1006 Vioz Plus GTX boots, £220
This full-leather boot is perfect for rough, muddy and rocky terrain. Like all Zamberlan products the 1006 Vioz Plus looks great and has superb build quality, with a Gore-Tex lining to make it fully waterproof and a grippy and stiff Vibram sole. It’s quite heavy so best suited to fans of traditional and robust leather boots, but there’s some good flex in the ankle and it feels very cushioned and comfortable. It’s pricy, but then most good walking boots are!
Helly Hansen Verglas Shell jacket, £260
This is a high-spec, reasonably lightweight, 3-layer waterproof shell jacket that can handle anything the British winter weather will throw at you. Founded in Norway in 1877, Helly Hansen know a thing or two about making good gear for getting outside in cold weather, and the Verglas is a wonderful piece of kit if you’re thinking of walking or hiking in the British hills and mountains this winter. You can adjust the hood, cuffs and hem to suit your body shape, and the two big chest pockets will fit everything from gloves and hats to chocolate bars and head torches.
Vaude Brenta 35 rucksack, £120
This is a great pack, designed with all the features that walkers need and made from durable material that’s tough enough to hold its own in winter conditions. The 35-litre capacity is big enough to carry extra insulating layers, flasks, gloves head torches, and all the other extra kit you need in cold weather. There’s a big main chamber, a large zipped lid pocket and handy little pocket on the hip-belt that’s just the right size for stashing sweets for a quick sugary energy boost! We like the big stretchy pocket front pocket and two stretchy side pockets, and the large zip on the front that goes straight into the main chamber. The mesh ventilation back panel lifts the pack a couple of inches away from your body, so you won’t get a sweaty back!
Snugpak SJ6 insulated jacket, £135
The fact that SJ6 stands for Softie Jacket 6 probably tells you a lot about how ridiculously warm and cuddly this jacket is. It’s packed with Snugpack’s Softie Premier insulation that’s designed to keep you warm down to temperatures of -5 deg C, with a rollaway hood that you can whip out when needed. It’s quite bulky but comes with its own stuff-sack that allows you to pack it down to a decent size to stuff in your rucksack. You get nice features like a water-resistant main zip, high neck and thumb loops, but the main thing we love about the SJ6 is that it’s just a great warm jacket for cold-weather walks.