Gear Guides, Issue 12

Tried and tested

Four outdoor items put through their paces by the #LiveMoreYHA team.

VANS Ultrarange Rapidweld

Vans Shoes
Vans Shoes

This is an updated-for-2018 version of a summer shoe that was originally designed with surfers in mind, aimed at providing them with something comfortable and durable for long road trips from A to B. It’s fairly well priced, coming in at well under £100, and comes with trademark Vans features such as a tough grippy tread and a vulcanized natural gum rubber outsole. This particular model employs very little stitching (the RapidWeld name refers to the heat-bonded upper panels) and sits somewhere between leisurewear and outdoorwear. Feels trusty, lightweight and comfy.
vans.co.uk
Ben Lerwill

The verdict
If you’re looking for a shoe to handle everything from beach visits and pub trips to coastal strolls, it does the job well.

AKU Libra GTX

The other new warm-weather shoe we’ve looked at is this beauty from Italian company AKU. It has a higher price point – nearer £150 – but you get what you pay for. This is a cleverly engineered bit of kit, being highly breathable, waterproof (the GTX in the name = Gore-Tex) and robust enough to handle rough-terrain hiking. The real sell, however, is that alongside its stability and more rugged credentials it’s also incredibly comfortable, with a soft custom-fit footbed that seems to roll with each stride, and a flexible sole. It’s available in men’s and women’s models.
aku.it/en
Ben Lerwill

The verdict
An excellent multisport option for the warmer months. It feels high-quality from the moment the shoe’s pulled on.

Chris Packham Lutra Fleece

Chris Packham Jacket
Chris Packham Jacket

If you’ve read our Chris Packham interview you’ll know he’s launched a new outdoor range with Cotswold Outdoor, initially aimed at muddy-kneed kids. There’s also a choice of adult garments, including this good-looking zip-up fleece. Notice the camo print on the shoulders and elbow patches? Look closely and it actually shows stags, bats, patches and more. It’s a nice touch style-wise, but plenty of care has also gone into the product itself, which as well as being very warm (something of a must) also has five pockets (two inner, three fleece-lined outer) and a fitted, shaped collar. It’s designed to be worn in the field but would just as well suit cooler evenings around the campsite. The women’s version comes in purple.
cotswoldoutdoor.com
Jordan Maguire

The verdict
“Love life. All life,” says a quote on the inner lining. A well-made and attractive fleece that feels slightly different to the usual.

Land Rover Explore Outdoor Phone

Land Rover Phone
Land Rover Phone

The Land Rover Explore smartphone is explicitly designed for the outdoor enthusiast. The list of hardware features alone quite remarkable: drop proof, waterproof, wet screen tracking and usable with gloves. Key to this phone too is the ‘Adventure Pack’ that attaches to the phone by magnet and along with charging your phone, boosts the GPS. This Android phone is set up for outdoor activities and comes bundled with the excellent mapping app ViewRanger. The ‘Dashboard’ shows the weather, compass, altitude, GPS location – the widgets can be changed to the activity you’re doing. There’s a great camera. The cost, £599, is on a par with other phones of this calibre. A very impressive piece of kit.
landroverexplore.com
Daniel Neilson

The verdict
An amazing phone, full of handy features for adventure that will put up with whatever the British weather can throw at it.

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