Ever had the urge to escape the rat race and never look back? If so: you’re either a hiker, or could do with becoming one (even if just for the weekend).
However – while you’d be surprised how long you can last out there with 12 freeze-dried meals and a Camelbak – no matter how sharp your Bear Grylls skills are, eventually you will have to return to civilisation.
On the plus side: this will give you a chance to purchase some cool new gear, whether that is to prepare you for your next weekend getaway or whether you plan on wearing it around the city to increase your ‘rugged gentleman‘ street cred.
Of course, you might not need to replace everything – we are well aware of the sentiment (not to mention sediment) a beat up water bottle can hold – but if you do need to stock up then you’ll want to be getting the best bang for your buck.
Whether you are about to attempt the Kokoda Trail or whether you are simply looking to float down the nearest river on an inflatable thong, beer in one hand and trail mix in the other (and of course wearing some timeless wardrobe essentials), these are the coolest new hiking brands to get into your life (and hiking pack) this year.
A hiking brand staple since the very first jolly swagman put his billy on to boil (pretty much), Kathmandu is a much loved across Australia, New Zealand and the UK. It is solid, reliable and has some pretty decent muted prints to complete your look (all while keeping you warm or cool, of course).
Patagonia is now a brand synonymous with the outdoors and adventure. Their gear is made to extremely high standards and they have committed to sourcing all their materials from sustainable and ethical sources. To further bolster their 'activist' status Patagonia gives 1% of its annual profit to charity organisations that focus on conservation and sustainability. Patagonia is the brand for you if you're looking for high quality gear that looks good whilst saving the environment.
A close relative to Patagonia, Black Diamond was founded by the same man Yvon Chouinard, a mountaineering legend. Black Diamond focuses on climbing, skiing and mountain sports equipment with a focus on making the best gear possible. From rain jackets to carabiners , they draw on decades of knowledge of the mountains and snow to ensure their gear performs to the highest standards.
Since 1974, Marmot has been producing high quality mountaineering and outdoor equipment. They have been the choice of equipment for the films 'Eiger Sanction' as well as the National Geographic documentary 'Journey to the outer Limits'. They were one of the first adopters of Gore-Tex fabric and have been innovating ever since.
Danner is an American boot manufacturer that specialises in both handcrafted leather boots as well as specialist hiking, hunting, law-enforcement and military boots. Safe to say these boots are about as tough as it gets, whether your about be deployed in a war or needs some boots for Aspen Apré Ski, Danner has a pair to suit your needs.
Most famously known for their 'Kånken' backpack, Fjällräven also produces a range of other outdoor equipment. Designed and made in Sweden, their gear is designed to handle the cold of a Swedish winter and the heat of their summer aka just about anything you can possibly think of. Their gear is all made sustainably and they support various wildlife charities.
Arc'teryx's name refers to one of the earliest know birds, the Archaeopteryx and it embodies the companies vision of creating innovations that are disruptive and 'evolutionary' in the outdoor equipment industry. Arc'teryx is a brand you can count on even in the most extreme conditions.
The North Face
The North Face is a name synonymous with high quality outdoor equipment and derived from the notorious north face of Mt Everest. They have produced equipment that has ascended the worlds highest peaks as well as catered for 'Hypebeasts' of the world, no matter your intended use, anything from The North Face is bound to keep you warm, dry and stylish.
Literally founded as a result of frostbite, Outdoor Research produces gear to keep you warm and dry even in the most outlandish conditions. They are constantly testing their gear and innovating on all aspects to ensure they provide the highest quality product. They even provide a 'Lifetime warranty', now that is confidence in your product.
Since 1938 Colombia has been producing equipment for all types of outdoor activities. Tested in the rugged and tough conditions of the Pacific Northwest, they can handle anything you can throw at it.
Mountain Hardware is a brand that focuses on producing high quality, high performance equipment for outdoor enthusiasts and athletes alike. They sponsor several athletes that have climbed all of the worlds 8000m+ peaks, who have tried and tested the gear to ensure it will cater to anyones needs.
Originating in New Zealand, MacPac is known for their camping and travel equipment. Their backpacks, in particular stand heads above their competitors and have been used by backpackers as well as ascenders of Everest. Whatever you throw at your MacPac gear, they are sure to cope with it.
Forsake build high quality waterproof, leather shoes for hiking, travel and casual use. Built to give you freedom wherever you go, their boots are inspired by the mountains and fit for every journey.
From South Korea, BlackYak has been producing superb outdoor garments under the radar for the last 40 years. Their testing and innovation takes place in the Himalayas to ensure quality and durability. They have sponsored several expeditions and has won several ISPO awards for their efforts.
Traditionally an outdoor equipment retailer, Backcountry has seen it all, from the best raincoats to the best boots. This deep understanding of what makes the best, the best has enabled them to create their own collection of gear to suit all budgets, whilst ensuring top quality.