Best of British gear

From South London to Sheffield, we proudly present a range of outdoor kit designed and made in Britain.

Best of British Gear

 

1 - Snugpak Softie 6 Kestrel sleeping bag £114.95, snugpak.com
This lightweight bag compresses to just 18 x 19cm and is rated down to zero degrees, making it ideal for all but the coldest camps. Snugpak is one of the last manufacturers of sleeping bags in the UK, being based in a West Yorkshire factory that is also a listed mill dating from the 1800s. Snugpak supplies the British military, hence the drab colourway, although this bag also comes in a bright blue emblazoned with the Yorkshire rose.

2 - True Mountain lightweight sportwool baselayer £45, truemountain.com
Established in 2014, True Mountain designs and makes all its products in Preston, Lancashire. The brand’s ethos is to support traditional skills in the UK textile industry, which it sees as a key part of preserving Britain’s outdoors heritage. This wicking baselayer is made from a polyester-merino blend with odour-control treatment. It has a useful stretchy chest pocket, a half-zip for easy venting and flat seams for added comfort.

3 - True Mountain Ventile Super Trek trousers £150, truemountain.com
These walking trousers are another high-performance garment from emerging British brand True Mountain. They’re durable, windproof and breathable, made from reinforced cotton Ventile fabric. Ventile was originally developed in Manchester, and uses extra-long staple cotton fibres that expand in wet weather to form an effective barrier against the elements.

4 - Alt-Berg Nordkapp boot £204.99, altberg.co.uk
Alt-Berg has been making boots in Richmond, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, since the early 1960s. Although some boots are now made in its Italian factory, specialist orders (including custom and made-to-measure fittings) are still made in Yorkshire. The Nordkapp is a classic three-season boot, ideally suited for British hillwalking thanks to its waterproof upper with full rubber rand and supportive midsole.

5 - Aiguille Geant 35 rucksack £129.95, aiguillealpine.co.uk
Aiguille has been manufacturing rucksacks in the Lake District for almost 30 years, but the brand deserves to be better known among walkers. The Geant is a classic fully-featured 35L pack, with a roomy main compartment, two zipped lid pockets and external wand pockets for walking poles. It comes in four back lengths, including a ladies version.

6 - Glogg pint cups £18 for 4, glogg.co.uk
Founded in Sheffield in 2007, glogg makes stainless steel water bottles as well as these stackable, reusable pint cups, which are manufactured in the UK. Designed as a more sustainable alternative to disposable paper cups at festivals and events, they’re also ideal for walkers and campers.

7 - PHD Minimus down jacket £317, phdesigns.co.uk
They don’t come cheap, but Peter Hutchinson Designs (PHD) down jackets are up there with the very best. The company has serious expedition expertise – Peter Hutchinson founded Mountain Equipment in the 1970s. The Minimus jacket is supremely light and warm, thanks to 1000FP goose down, superlight fabrics and elasticated side-panels that give a closer fit. It’s technically advanced stuff, all made in the PHD factory in Stalybridge, Cheshire.

8 - Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarwash/Solarproof £8.50, nikwax.com
Nick Brown made his first waterproofing wax for leather boots in a North London flat in 1977, aged just 22. That first batch was mixed using an old tea urn and a primus stove. Nick’s wax (hence Nikwax) was the first in a stable of aftercare products designed to look after your outdoor kit. The range now includes spray-on cleaning and reproofing solutions, all still made here in Britain.

9 - SueMe Echoic jacket £280, sueme.com
SueMe is a British brand specialising in recycled and organic clothing. Two years in development, the Echoic jacket fuses heritage textiles with modern innovations, and batches of 40 garments are sewn by a small workforce in the company’s North London workshop. It’s expensive, but it’s also a thing of beauty, made from recycled Polartec 300 fleece, with tweed and waxed cotton panels and a reflective trim to aid visibility in low light.

10 - Aquapac waterproof cases from £15, aquapac.net
The Aquapac story began in a London pub in 1983, when three windsurfers got together to design a waterproof case that would fit a Sony Walkman. Today, there’s a case for almost everything you might need in the great outdoors, from your iPhone to your wallet. Much of the range is made in a factory in Herne Hill, South London, from where Aquapac products are distributed to more than 60 countries.

11 - Mountain King Super Trekker poles £60 per pair, mountainking.co.uk
Mountain King has been designing and manufacturing high quality trekking poles in Newcastle upon Tyne for more than 20 years. Perhaps it’s that gritty North East heritage that accounts for their toughness. The robust Super Trekker pole is made from aluminium alloy with a durable carbide tip, and features an extended grip for choking down on difficult terrain, as well as switchable on/off shock absorption.

Best of British Gear

12 - Keela  Harris Tweed bush smock
 £189.95, keela.co.uk
The flagship product in Scottish brand Keela’s new heritage range, this smock pairs British fabrics with traditional looks. It’s built to last from heavyweight Harris Tweed and Millerain Stay Wax Cotton – making it water- resistant and exceptionally warm. It’s a good option for walkers who prefer classic country styling and traditional woven fabrics to modern synthetics.

13 - Terra Nova Quasar tent £640, terra-nova.co.uk
Derbyshire-based tentmaker Terra Nova still makes some of its expedition-spec tents in its UK factory in Alfreton. This includes the two-man Quasar, a classic geodesic design that has been around for more than two decades. This stable, dependable mountain tent has proven itself in some of the most remote and extreme locations on the planet. Each tent is made to order and has a lifetime guarantee.

14 - Ghillie Kettle Adventurer £49.95, ghillie-kettle.co.uk
Handspun in the UK, the Ghillie Kettle design dates back to the late 1800s, when ghillies (local fishing or stalking guides) used them on outdoor trips to heat water for their client’s tea. This modern update is made from lightweight but durable hard anodised aluminium, and is ideal for hiking and camping. It runs on twigs, bark and any other natural fuel you can find. The Adventurer boils 1.5 litres of water – enough for about five cuppas – in a matter of minutes. Best of all, it whistles when it boils, so you know when tea’s up…

15 - SockMine Tread Light socks £11, sockmine.co.uk
Proudly manufactured in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, SockMine trumpet their ‘Made in Britain’ heritage on product and packaging alike. Each of their hiking socks is emblazoned with a Union Jack, as shown here on the Tread Light for men and women respectively – a lightweight sock that incorporates merino wool and Coolmax fibres. The range also includes mid and heavyweight socks.

16 - Wainwright x Millican pack £195, homeofmillican.com
Inspired by Alfred Wainwright himself, this A-shape backpack with vintage looks pays homage to Britain’s most famous fell-wanderer. The bag is made in Sheffield from heritage fabrics and pairs a durable 12oz waxed cotton canvas outer with a recycled polyester and Harris tweed lining, set off with leather fixtures, wooden buttons and metal buckles.  

17 - Troll Omni trousers £50, trolloutdoors.com
Troll kit has serious climbing and mountaineering heritage, being used on noted expeditions such as Chris Bonington’s 1972 Everest attempt. Their Omni Trousers are a classic unisex design that first appeared in 1983, and are still made today in Skipton, North Yorkshire. The lightweight nylon fabric is windproof, water resistant, breathable and durable, making them ideal for hiking and hillwalking as well as climbing.

18 - Snugpak Sleeka reversible jacket £104.95, snugpak.com
The Sleeka insulated jacket is a favourite of outdoor enthusiasts. This version is reversible, so you can turn it inside out and still look smart when venturing from hill to pub. It’s lightweight, breathable, windproof and water-repellent, packing down into a small stuff sack while still being warm enough for sub-zero temperatures. It’s also Tyke through and through, being proudly made in West Yorkshire.

19 - Mountain Method Double Ventile smock £420, mountain-method.co.uk
Hailing from Millom in rainy Cumbria, Mountain Method is a family-owned business making high-quality weatherproof clothing under the expert eye of owner Fiona Butcher. The Double Ventile smock features a large chest pocket, front storm flap, two pockets and an adjustable waist and hood. The cut can be customised for men and women, while pockets and zips can be altered according to preference, making this a truly bespoke garment. It’s perfect for the hills – waterproof, durable, breathable and comfortable, with none of the rustle you get from synthetic fabrics.

20 - Ohyo collapsabottle £5.99, ohyo.me
Made in Sheffield, these ingenious, reusable plastic water bottles are the brainchild of environmental scientist Guy Jeremiah, who cites his dad’s Ramblers group in the Peak District as one of the inspirations for the bottle design. They’re made from BPA-free plastic, are easy to clean thanks to the wide mouth (they can go in the dishwasher too), and squish down when empty for ultimate packability – just pop them in a pocket. The Ohyo bottle comes in 500ml and 1 litre sizes.

21 - Boot Bananas £13, bootbananas.com
Boot Bananas are fragrant and moisture-absorbing shoe deodorisers for walking boots, trail shoes or any other ‘fruity’ footwear. Invented by a South London couple, the bananas simply slot into your shoes. They’re filled with a blend of salts, minerals and plant extracts with lavender, lemon, patchouli and tea-tree essential oils.

 

Buyer's tip:

Buying British goods is not always practicable. But doing so helps to sustain industries that provide jobs in local communities throughout the UK, and supports traditional manufacturing skills in goods and textiles, from boot-making to pattern cutting. It also reduces the environmental impact of transporting finished products from source to shop. Note, however, that many of the brands featured here are small, independent companies with limited distribution channels. They often sell primarily direct to customers – relevant websites have been listed accordingly.