Travel Equipment

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Outdoor Equipment:

If you are doing any sort of outdoor activity -trekking, climbing, camping, diving, skiing etc, then you need the right equipment. We have listed below some of the better know travel equipment manufacturers and retailers.

For items like tents and sleeping bags, the decision is a factor of weight and degree of protection afforded.

Choosing a backpack -key factors in making a choice:

  • Capacity -how much you need to carry, and how far. Nothing is more annoying than having to carry an extra bag along with a backpack. If you are new to backpacking, I suggest you do borrow a pack first and try a couple of walks with it laden to see what sort of capacity you can cope with. Packs come in a number of sizes -Daypacks (up to 35 litre) for short outings, Alpine (35-55 litre) for touring and climbing, Backpacking (55-75 litre) for hiking over a number of days and Expedition (75 litre+) for extended trips
  • Back support/type of frame -don't buy a floppy day-pack if you are going to walk long distances -you need a proper framed bag with lumbar support -find a location where you can try a number of types out with an assistant to advise you. Frames can be internal or external -internal framing is used largely for large loads and transfers the weight to your hips whereas external frames have a higher centre over gravity but leave room for ventilation.
  • Adjustability -again try it out -can you adjust the straps to suit your body? Women should look for a pack where the straps and support is designed to fit the female shape.
  • Do you need an integral daybag -something that you can unclip and use for lighting walking around when you have reached your destination.
  • Weather resistance -if you are going to encounter really wet weather then buy a poncho.
  • Budget -you will regret it if you do not get the right pack -that doesn't necessarily mean spending a fortune, but don't skimp either.

There is a really good article on choosing a pack at Simply Hike, and if you want to find out more about the art of travelling light, see Doug Dyment's site

Major makers of backpacks and rucksacks: Aztec, Berghaus, Gelert, Karrimoor, North Face, Vaude, Whipperleys, Wynnster.

Pack Your Bags

Choosing a tent -key factors in making a choice:

  • Size -number of people -is it just somewhere to spend the night for two people or will you need one the size of a semi detached house to accommodate your family and their airbeds!
  • Weight/bulk -how far will you have to carry it?
  • Protection -degree of exposure likely to be encountered.
  • Setting up -separate inner and outer sheet is more complicated but offers a larger ventilation gap to avoid condensation, plus extra stability; there are now instant pitch tents on the market but they are not for high exposure and have an awkward folded shape.
  • Cost -keep it cheap if you are going to Glastonbury, but spend out it if it may save your life on a bleak mountainside.

Tents are categorised as 3-season for camping and backpacking in mild or hot weather; 4-season for all year round backpacking, trekking and camping; expedition for mountaineering, high altitude trekking, and camping in exposed locations.

Leading tent manufacturers -see Aztec, Coleman, Gelert, North Face, Terra Nova, Vango, Vaude, Wynnster.

Choosing a sleeping bag -key factors:

  • What is the primary type of use -backpacking, car camping, alpine climbing or traveling?
  • Is weight and size an issue?
  • Are you generally a cold or warm sleeper?
  • Do you tend to sweat beneath the covers or wear socks to bed year-round?

We encourage you to be conservative when considering sleeping bag temperature ratings.

Which insulation is best for your primary activities? Will you be camping in humid climates or in the desert?

Tasteful Travel Gear

Choosing travel clothing:

  • Is weight/bulk an issue -do you have to carry your luggage far and are you limited by airline baggage allowances?
  • Smartness -if you want to arrive smart and stay smart then non creasing fabric avoids the need for ironing.
  • Weather resistance -dependent type of climate you expect to encounter -temperature, rainfall, humidity
  • Budget -do you really need specialist travel clothing or can you get by with an old pair of jeans?

Principle makes to look at: Berghaus, Cragghoppers, Regatta, Rohan


  • Aztec Outdoor -tents, sleeping bags, rucksacks, furniture and picnic equipment.
  • Berghaus has been developing and selling outdoor gear since 1966 and is one of the leading brands of high quality performance clothing, rucsacs, footwear and accessories.
  • Coleman -worldwide manufacturer of tents and camping products.
  • Craghoppers -travel clothing and outdoor adventure wear.
  • Ellis Brigham -retailer of quality outdoor and adventure equipment, selling online and in twenty-five stores nationwide. As a leading mountain sports retailer, they have a strong concern for the environment, with a number of initiatives that are aimed at reducing their environmental impact, including biodegradable packaging, and working with manufacturers to promote environmentally friendly products.
  • Gelert -full range of camping products, including a quick pitch tent, as well as sleeping bags and rucksacks.
  • Karrimor -the specialists in backpaks -range includes ultralight packs for climbers, performance packs, travel packs as well as day and urban packs for use around town.
  • Nomad Travel -suppliers of a range of travel clothing, equipment, books and maps, medical supplies and vaccinations for more than 16 years.They also support many expedition organisations, including the Royal Geographic Society, who venture out to remote countries, participating in conservation work or independent expeditions that have set personal challenges.
  • North Face -makers of expedition tents, packs, shoes, sleeping bags, and apparel.
  • Outdoors -specialists in scouting equipment.
  • Really Interesting Tent Company -specialise in unusual tents from around the world -Yurts, Teepees and Geodesic Domes.
  • Regatta -outdoor clothing, footwear and rucksacks.
  • Rohan -the best in lightweight and waterproof packable travel clothing.
  • Suunto -precision instruments for outdoor activities -compasses, heart rate monitors, diving computor watches.
  • Terra Nova -mountain, backpacking and family tents and accessories.
  • Vango -leading Scottish tent manufacturer.
  • Vaude -specialists in mountain sports equipment, including the Vaude Triset Rucksack.
  • Wild Country -the UKs leading specialist provider of high quality rock climbing equipment.
  • Whipperleys -online retail of military style and outdoor clothing and equipment including travel bags, rucksacks, sleeping bags and camping equipment.
  • Wynnster -suppliers of performance waterproof jackets, trousers and fleecewear, sleeping bags, rucksacks and tents.
  • Blacks  -the outdoor experts, offering products ranging from Berghaus and The North Face to Karrimor and Salomon in 104 high street stores nationwide.
  • Chas E Smith -outdoor equipment retailers in Romford -they are a third generation, family run business with over sixty years experience in the outdoor industry and passionately committed to providing outstanding service.
  • Craigdon's Mountain Sports -well established Scottish retailer of a wide range of outdoor clothing and equipment for camping, snowsports and walking - branches in Inverurie, Aberdeen, Perth and Inverness.
  • Extreme -the official shop for the Extreme Sports Channel, selling cool surf, skate and snow wear online.
  • Field and Trek -one of the UK's leading technical retailers of outdoor clothing and equipment, supplying everything for walking trips, camping holidays, backpacking & trekking expeditions, mountaineering & climbing, adventure racing and travel.
  • Girls Travel Club -founded by Beccy Coombes Burr, GTC specialises in gear for women travellers. They try to source all their products as ethically and as responsibly as possible. The site also provides tips, unusual packing lists, natural remedies and even games for travellers. There is some seriously good advice on the site (and not just for women).
  • Millets -Millets is one of the high street's best-known outdoor stores, offering products from Peter Storm and Eurohike to Berghaus, Columbia and Coleman.
  • -outdoor equipment, clothing and travel products such as Fleeces, Gore-Tex Jackets, Tents with brands including Berghaus, The North Face, Craghoppers, Wild Country, Lifesystems and Petzl.
  • Itchy Feet -from their shop in Bath, Nancy and John Coppick have used their huge experience of travel around the world to build up a mail order business with a range of the best travel kit. Some useful packing lists for gap years, trekking, round the world, tropical and high altitude travel.
  • Safariquip -all aspects of travel equipment available from their base in the Derbyshire Peak District.
  • Simply Hike -tents, sleeping bags, camping stoves, walking boots, rucksacks from Berghaus, Mountain Equipment, Coleman, Craghoppers, Garmin, Campingaz, Vango and Suunto.
  • Up and Under -outdoor travel equipment from Wales.
  • Wet and Windy -suppliers of boating equipment and surfing kit.
  • WildDay -leading outdoor brands online from at up to 65% less than on the high street from Europe's largest outdoor store -camping, accessories, sailing, ski and snowboard.

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