Last updated: 04-Apr-19
By Steve Diederich
10. Sealskinz Thetford Beanie hat
RRP GBP £28 – Best online price £23
Sealskins are noted for their waterproof gear and this hat rounds off their range nicely, I’m not a fan of running in a hood as I find it a little constricting – this hat does the job nicely. It covers my ears while coming down to the top of my forehead and is properly waterproof. On cold mornings this goes on and there’s no amount of bad weather that can get through this headwear – only comes in grey, they also do a range of other styles if beanies aren’t your thing.
9. Silva Trail speed plus Headtorch
RRP GBP £139 – Best online price £111
You’re probably looking at the price and thinking to yourself “How much for a head torch?” – Yes it is a lot of money, my criteria on head torches are that they must be comfortable, lightweight, have a decent burn time and need to be able to work well on unlit trails as I want to see where I am going and where I am putting my feet. Well, Silva know a thing or two about head torches, coming from Sweden where these are essential kit in the winter. The Trail Speed Plus positively shines (please groan here at the gratuitous pun) with a whopping 500-lumen output, up to six hours battery life and a maximum light range of 90 metres. Coming in at 135gms on a soft headband, this pretty much ticks all the boxes for a great night-time trail run.
8. Eclipse foam roller
RRP GBP £40
I’m partial to a bit of foam rolling and myofascial release – however no one roller seems to do the body parts I need to work on – the result is that I have a collection of space wasting blue foam covered items that get rolled out (there goes the pun again!). Fresh from a successful Kickstarter funding campaign… this wont be able to grace your Xmas tree as delivery will not be until February 2016, this roller looks like it will pretty much handle any body part that you can throw at it and claims to cut down the time you need to roll and release trigger points – and at a reasonable price to!
7. Aclima Woolnet baselayer shirt
RRP GBP £59.95 – No online discount found
I’m partial to a base layer or two, I really like the versatility of them. I use them across a wide range of sports and since I discovered Merino Wool base layers… I now have the right tool for every occasion. You will certainly know that merino wool has some fantastic properties, it’s light, hypo-allergenic, incredibly warm for its bulk, has remarkable wicking properties and unlike its synthetic rivals – it doesn’t retain body odours. What sets this particular baselayer apart though is that it’s a hybrid string vest top and long sleeve shirt in one – it retains heat, wicks moisture incredibly well and is really light.
6. Lily drone
RRP GBP £550 (Dependent on $ exchange rate)
In production, first units are being delivered in January (so it won’t be under your Christmas tree). The YouTube video alone has got nearly 10 million hits… and for good reason, this is the first dedicated production “follow me” camera drone. Put the small tracker in your pocket or in the waterproof wrist case, throw the drone into the air and it will film you in action – you chose if you want it to follow you, be ahead, side by side or circle you – it will fly for up to 20 minutes on a charge, and land back in your hand and then fit in your backpack. With a maximum speed of 30 mph (48.2 kph), it will be more than happy to keep up with my plodder pace!
5. Salomon S-Lab Sense 4 Ultra
RRP GBP £145 – Best online price £98.00
It’s not often that I get misty eyed about shoes, this is more often the obsessive domain of ladies that I know at the mention of “Jimmy Choos” (still sounds like a chewing gum to me). However, the first time I saw these bad boys, I coveted them. It’s not that they are pretty (they are not in my book) it is that they are really comfortable, offer great support, stick to rocks like Spiderman to a New York skyscraper and that they are as light as pair of furry mules. So what if they are a better shoe than I will ever be a runner? If they are good enough for Killian Jornet, they are good enough for me.
4. Inov-8 – Race Ultra Mid Socks
RRP GBP £16 – Best online price £10
Socks are usually the last thing you think of in terms of kit, yet the difference between a pair of technical socks and the multipack that you get from Tesco’s is huge – a proper pair will provide excellent wicking, support and protection and the Race Ultras do this rather well – they are really well built and will easy outlast your shoes. It isn’t often you will ask someone for a pair of socks at Christmas, however for the Race Ultras you may want to make an exception.
3. Montane Minimus Jacket
RRP GBP £140 – Best online price £112
The essential part of any self respecting trail runner’s apparel, a decent light waterproof jacket will make even the most gnarly weather a running pleasure – and the Montane Minimus really delivers on this. At 228gms and with impressive waterproof and breathability specifications, this is a classy piece of kit. Don’t go tramping through the brambles with it though as it is strictly a shell jacket that will require you to look after it. It stuffs down small so will pack away easily and at this price point represents great value for money.
2. Suunto Ambit 3 Peak GPS watch
RRP GBP £255-£405 – Best online price £247 – £282
Currently, the clear market leader in GPS watches, the Ambit 3 added a whole new raft of functionality to the range – multisports functions, social media integration (including Strava), great battery life and route navigation. This is all tied in with Movescount, a web application that can provide all the data, mapping and analysis that you could ever wish for you run, cycle, swim, ski, climb or whatever sport you have dialled in. Match that with a HRM (heart rate monitor, not included) and you have a wealth of information to help improve your performance and monitor your progress. It’s really hard to find fault with this as you have up to 50 hours claimed GPS tracking on a single charge. Models vary, however the Ambit 3 Peak Sapphire is really solidly built with sapphire glass and a tough body to match.
1. PHD – Sleeping bag
RRP From GBP £219-£1000+
Peter Hutchinson Designs have been producing some of the finest expedition gear available form their base in Harrogate. Their sleeping bags are hand made to meet your specific requirements around weight and comfort – want a “ladies shaped bag?” No problem. Get cold feet at night? No problem, they will stuff some of their amazing down where you need it most. Want to save weight? You can chose between full/half or no-zip. If you’re shorter/ taller than the average person, again no problem PHD will make it so that you get a good night’s sleep, every night. If you think that their bags start at an incredible 240gms, then you get an idea as to how fastidious in their attention to detail their designs are.