The Journey: spring 20

Tried and tested

Four outdoor items put through their paces by The Journey team.

KEEN

Explore Vent 
keenfootwear.com 

Once the warmer months arrive, there are days when your faithful trekking boots can get cumbersome and clammy. These new lightweight hiking shoes offer a solution. Designed with a sturdy tread, a high-traction grip and anti-odour insoles, they also come with a meshed upper for ventilation. There’s no ankle support, but on the plus-side they’re good-looking enough to fit in everywhere from the mountain trail to the hostel bar. Comes in men’s styles (five colour choices) and women’s styles (eight colour choices).

Tom Rhys
-Great for warm-weather walks
-Attractive
-Sturdy soles
-Season-specific

Smartwool

Women’s Merino Sport 150 Tee 
smartwool.co.uk

Launching in April as part of Smartwool’s More Active campaign, this Merino Sport 150 Mountain Reflection Tee is several cuts above your average t-shirt. Its fabric is a combination of merino wool (which regulates temperature and resists odour) and quick-dry polyester. As an outdoor garment, the difference this blend makes, when compared to a standard tee, is pronounced. It’s been put together with intense outdoor exercise in mind, and looks good too. Versions are available in men’s and women’s styles.

Louisa Williams 
-Designed for high-output exercise
-Made for comfort
-56% merino wool
-Pricey for a tee

Opticron

Savanna R PC 8×33 Binoculars
opticron.co.uk

In a market where the best models retail for multiple thousands of pounds, it’s always a boon to find binoculars that do a sterling job without breaking the bank. This pair has the added advantage of being lightweight (it comes in at just over 400 grams), with a compact, easily packable design. Crucially, the clarity is very good too, functioning well for birdwatching and wildlife-viewing. The Opticron brand turns 50 this year – so it’s fair to say they know their stuff.  

Helen Kane
-Excellent clarity
-Light and packable
-Well priced
-Less advanced than top-end binos 

BAM

Zip Detail Bamboo Sweat
bambooclothing.co.uk

Bamboo is the one of the world’s most sustainable crops, and also happens to produce quality, super-soft clothing. This partly zipped sweatshirt is a fine example. Its main selling point, other than being extremely cosy, is its versatility: it has all-season, moisture-managing properties, making it a good option for day hikes and other light exercise, but it’s also a solid bet as a good-looking top to wear around town. And an aesthetic perk: unlike many outdoor brands, use of the logo is pleasingly subtle.  

Ben Lerwill
-Sustainable material
-Temperature-regulating
-Soft and comfortable
-Needs more care than cotton

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