From Swedish Lapland and Norway’s fjords to Denmark’s Lake District and Iceland’s volcanoes, Nordic brands create gear for wild terrain and harsh conditions – making it ideal for winter walking in the UK, too
From Swedish Lapland and Norway’s fjords to Denmark’s Lake District and Iceland’s volcanoes, Nordic brands create gear for wild terrain and harsh conditions – making it ideal for winter walking in the UK, too.
1 Didriksons Bengt jacket
Founded as a Swedish family business in 1913, making clothing for fishermen, Didriksons prides itself on producing functional outdoor gear for all ages. The company also strives to reduce its environmental impact by minimising use of chemicals, toxic substances and transport in the production of its gear. The Bengt is a thick, stretchy, warm, modern-looking soft-shell jacket that’s water-repellent and great for everything from walking and scrambling to skiing and climbing.
2 Primus TrailBreak EX bottle
The Primus TrailBreak EX vacuum- insulated bottle has a double-walled stainless steel body, making it rugged, sturdy and great at keeping drinks warm. The soft silicone sleeve adds an extra layer of insulation and protects your fingers in sub-zero conditions. It’s fairly heavy, but great at what it does, with a double-walled steel cup that retains heat once your drink is poured.
3 Primus Lite+ stove
Founded in Stockholm in 1892, Primus made the stoves that accompanied Roald Amundsen to the South Pole and Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay during their ascent of Everest. The brand still creates pioneering gear, with an ethos that celebrates everyday adventure as much as epic expeditions. The Lite+ is a perfect example – a lightweight, compact, fast-boiling stove that packs up inside itself (including a 100g gas canister), so you can make a brew on your walk.
4 Fjällräven Greenland jacket
In any conversation about iconic Scandinavian outdoor gear, the Fjällräven Greenland jacket – the first incarnation came out in 1968 – will always crop up. Made from durable, windproof and water-resistant G-1000® material (manufactured from recycled polyester and organic cotton) this is a great outer layer for crisp winter days. Nice touches include reinforced fabric on the shoulders and elbows, with a buttoned flap over the zip and plenty of space for extra layers underneath.
5 Robens Ravenglass T7 walking pole
The Ravenglass T7 aluminium walking pole from Danish brand Robens offers triple fast-clip adjustment, a long and cushioned handle, and a tungsten tip for durability. As well as ticking every box for walking on all types of terrain, the Ravenglass T7 can be used as a monopod or selfie stick, with the camera adaptor included. There’s even a carry bag for stashing it in your pack.
6 Haglöfs ShoSho medium rucksack
The ShoSho is a beautiful 26-litre backpack that’s equally at home on walking trips or your office commute. As well as traditional features like a spacious main compartment, snowlock and side compression webbing, there are practical extras like a key holder and internal sleeve for laptops. With no hip-belt, the ShoSho isn’t for heavy loads or challenging walks, but its stylish design and weatherproofing give it bags of appeal.
7 Fjällräven Vidda Pro trousers
Made from the same G-1000® material as the Greenland jacket, Fjällräven’s Vidda Pros set the benchmark for hard-wearing cold-weather walking trousers. With six pockets of varying sizes – perfect for stashing everything from phones and wallets to compasses and maps – plus reinforced knees and adjustable elasticated ankle cuffs, they’re also incredibly practical.
8 66°North Vatnajökull PrimaLoft® vest
66°North was founded in 1926 to make protective clothing for Icelandic fishermen. Its name comes from the latitudinal line of the Arctic Circle, which touches Súgandafjörður, where the company was founded. This lightweight, slim-fitting gilet is insulated with PrimaLoft Gold®, a blend of millions of PrimaLoft® ultra-fine fibres, each with a water-repellent finish that keeps moisture out and warmth in.
9 ISBJŐRN of Sweden children’s jacket, trousers and hat
From £25 isbjornofsweden.com
Founded by two mothers frustrated at being unable to find good quality outdoor clothing to protect their children from harsh Scandinavian weather, ISBJÖRN is building a reputation for high-performance, stylish gear for kids. The Frost jacket (from £85) features PrimaLoft® insulation, the soft-shell Trapper pants (from £80) are windproof and water-resistant, and the Eaglet knitted cap (£25) is fleece-lined, with flaps to keep little ears warm.
10 ECCO Exostrike GTX boots
Founded in western Denmark in the 1960s, ECCO produces high-quality leather in its own tanneries to make footwear for everything from high streets to rugged terrain. Its Exostrike boots can handle rocky mountain paths without looking out of place in city centre pubs. They’re sturdy, comfortable and waterproof thanks to the Gore-Tex® lining – but the big selling point is the stylish design.
Fjällräven gear has a reputation for blending quality with Scandinavian style, and the Kaipak is no exception. Also available in 38- and 58-litre sizes, the 28 is an excellent walking daypack. It feels spacious for its size, with a large zipped lid pocket, two stretch side pockets and a useful zipped pocket on the front that can hold everything from maps to snacks to warm layers. Durable and hard-wearing, it also has a detachable hip-belt and rain cover.
Helly Hansen might once have been thought of more as a designer high-street brand than a pioneer in cutting-edge outdoor gear, but get your hands on the Verglas jacket and you’ll feel more than a century of heritage and craftsmanship running through it. Designed for winter pursuits like skiing, climbing and hillwalking, the Verglas is waterproof, windproof, breathable and hard-wearing thanks to its tough three-layer fabric. The fact that Helly Hansen has been producing it for over 10 years says a lot.
With its single-pole construction and tipi design, the Fairbanks mixes simple assembly with a classic look. You won’t fit it in your rucksack for a lightweight backpacking adventure, but you won’t find many better options for a base-camp tent. The single-wall design and lightweight alloy central pole make it easy to put up and peg out (one person could do it in under five minutes), and it fits four people inside with a roomy porch for your gear.
14 Reima children’s Reimatec Ilves hat and Etappi mittens
Hat, €34.95, mittens, €19.95 reima.com
Founded in Kankaanpää, Finland, in 1944, post-war Reima recycled old army gear into women’s workwear. It began developing children’s clothing in the 1950s and is now one of the world’s most trusted junior outdoor brands. The Ilves winter hat is made from waterproof, windproof, breathable material, with a brushed lining to keep little heads warm. Pair it with the reinforced Etappi mittens and your little explorer will be ready for any weather.
15 Optimus Svea stove
The old-school design of the Svea has been a cult classic for decades among walkers, backpackers, climbers and mountaineers – basically anyone who fancies a brew or hot food on outdoor adventures. The stove is extremely simple, with a solid brass construction that can handle bumps and scrapes, and the lid doubles up as your cooking pot. Optimus was founded in Stockholm in 1899 and the Svea has been part of its range for more than 70 years. If it ain’t broke…
16 Houdini Power Houdi
The Power Houdi from Swedish brand Houdini is one of those rare bits of walking gear you can easily wear in everyday life – to the pub, to work, for other sports – with the bonus that it’s made from Polartec® Power Stretch® Pro™, one of the best fleece fabrics around. Comfortable and warm, its body-hugging design moves with you as you walk.
17 Haglöfs Zip-off pant
Founded by Wiktor Haglöf (the son of a Swedish forester) in 1914, Haglöfs gear was originally designed for people who lived and worked outdoors in Scandinavia. It’s since grown into a huge global brand, with those same values still evident in its gear today. The Zip-off trousers are a perfect example – they’re durable, comfortable and wind-resistant, and they convert into a good pair of walking shorts in warmer conditions.
18 Haglöfs Essens Mimic jacket
The Essens Mimic is packed with features that make it ideal for walking in Britain. Available with or without a hood, it’s warm (tick) thanks to its unique, blown-in padding that retains insulating qualities even when wet (double tick). It’s durable, too, thanks to lightweight, tear-resistant Pertex® shell fabric, and it packs down small to stash in your bag. A great piece of cool-weather walking kit.
19 Light My Fire outdoor cooking equipment
Swedes are known for their love of outdoor cooking, and Light My Fire offers clever, easy-to-pack cooking equipment. The FireLighting Kit™
(£17.50) will get your campfire going. Grandpa’s FireFork™ and Grandpa’s FireGrill™ (£15) attach to almost any stick for easy cooking. The MealKit 2.0™ (£25) is robust as well as dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe. It includes a plate, bowl, two waterproof containers, a cutting board/strainer, collapsible 260ml cup and the company’s best-selling spork (more than 21 million sold!).
20 Helly Hansen Vanir Canter HT boots
Norwegian brand Helly Hansen has been producing outdoor gear for 140 years, so knows a thing or two about what walkers need. This ultra-modern boot isn’t one for purists, but for comfort and cushioning it’s hard to beat. Knitted textiles paired with the company’s Helly Wear® technology protect your feet, and a Helly Tech® waterproof membrane keeps them warm and dry.
21 Northern Playground Zipwear™ base layers
From £80 northernplayground.no
Founded in Norway by outdoor enthusiasts tired of sweaty boxer shorts, this multi-award-winning brand has come a long way in the seven years since its founders taught themselves to sew by watching YouTube videos. Made from merino wool, the Zipneck base layer (£80) and Ziplongs® long johns (£90) do a great job of insulating when you’re cold, and regulating temperature when you’re hot, thanks to their extra-long zips.