Whilst we appreciate that Christmas isn’t quite upon us yet, the shops are already bursting with trees and tinsel and baubles and wrapping paper. So, if you are stuck for some gift ideas, check out some of our Santa special finds…

Canford men’s watch


We are led to understand that every Elliot Brown watch is the result of thousands of hours spent obsessing over the smallest details; refining, improving, inventing and testing. These hard-wearing watches shrug off harsh elements and are relied upon for ocean crossings, mountain rescues, and just about any kind of extreme or arduous adventure. So we thought we would begin our wish-list with a bit of bling, courtesy of the men’s Canford. This is the first model the company designed, and it is still a real favourite. In fact, it’s their go-to watch. The uniquely polished bezel, crowns and the circular grooved dial catch the light and contrast with indices and hands the colour of blued screws used in gunsmithing. It is rather lovely, I am sure you will all agree. £350, www.thewatchhut.co.uk


Lifeventure’s practical Expedition Duffle


With more people choosing to enjoy holidays in the UK, perfect your packing with Lifeventure’s iconic Expedition Duffles. Part of Lifeventure’s range for more than eight years, the Expedition Duffles are unwaveringly popular with both travellers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Available in a range of colours, the duffles are renowned for their impressive capacity and ultra-robust construction. Forget having to leave favourite items or crucial gear at home, as the Expedition Duffle can easily accommodate everything you will need for your next staycation. With a massive 100L capacity, the Expedition Duffle is constructed from a robust, 1,200 denier fabric, and is further reinforced with a super-strong, 1,680 denier base. Tough grab handles with a padded grip make it easy to carry, and the bag also comes with a detachable shoulder strap. If required, the Expedition Duffle’s zips can be locked. For even bigger loads, the Expedition Duffle is also available in a 120L version that features robust wheels for extra portability. £39.99, www.lifeventure.com


Fudge from Copperpot Originals


When it comes to luxury confectionery, we happily recommend the new Christmas Spiced Butter Fudge and Apple & Cinnamon Butter Fudge from Copperpot Originals. Based in the Cornish town of St Ives, the international confectionery business has been serving up sweet treats since 1978. The range of fudge today is made in a bespoke kitchen where the product is batch-cooked and cooled on racks, then hand-broken. It is the expert timings, precise temperatures and superb ingredients that make the fudge so much more than a seaside souvenir. Check some out for yourselves, as the fudge makes perfect gifts as stocking fillers, something for your Nana and as gifts for sweet lovers… that is if you can hang on to them as long as Christmas Day without devouring them all! £3.99 (175g box), www.copperpotoriginals.co.uk


RFiD document wallet is great for travel


A slimline wallet with weatherproof fabrics for organising and securing travel documents, and RFiD protected, features include seven card slots, one with ID window, Smartphone stash pocket, passport and board pass slip pockets, external slip pocket (not RFiD), three note/ticket pockets and one zipped pocket, and pen loop. RFiD microchips can be found in most credit cards, passports and ID cards. They facilitate cash transactions or wireless identity checks from up to 10ft away. Identity thieves can use scanners to intercept the radio frequencies emitted by each chip in order to access your personal data. All internal pockets in this wallet are protected. The RFiD blocking material acts as a barrier against RFiD signals, dramatically reducing the risk of identity theft from bank cards, credit cards or passports.£19.99, www.lifeventure.com


Light the way with the Intensity


Even if conditions seem clear or you are taking a well-trodden route, a head torch should always be part of every walker’s daypack. The Intensity 105 from Lifesystems offers the ultimate ‘just in case’ solution that will not add unwanted weight to your bag. Featuring a robust and water-resistant construction, the lightweight Intensity 105 weighs just 42g, yet its CREE bulb has an output of 105 lumens. Six lighting modes help you to find the optimum balance between battery life and brightness, and include an SOS flashing mode that is ideal for helping emergency services locate you. The beam angle can be adjusted and the head torch offers up to 18 hours of battery life. If the integrated charging and power indicators suggest that the battery is getting low, the head torch can be easily re-charged using the USB lead provided. £19.99www.lifesystems.co.uk


Whistle down the wind


If you get caught out on the hill, a whistle is one of the best ways of signalling for help. Made from tough, lightweight plastic, the Survival Whistle weighs just 10g, adding minimal weight to your gear. Designed to work in all types of conditions, the whistle has an impressive 122dB loudness, which makes it one of the most powerful whistles in the world.  Part of the DofE Recommended Kit List, the Survival Whistle comes with a neck lanyard and attachment clip so you can easily keep it close to hand in case of an emergency. £5.99www.lifesystems.co.uk


Thermal Blanket packs crucial warmth


A wrong turn or a twisted ankle, small accidents can turn into bigger problems without the correct equipment to deal with them. The Lifesystems Thermal Blanket weighs just 55g, yet can provide crucial warmth and protection in the event of an injury or sudden weather change. The strong, metallised material is wind and water resistant. It reflects and retains over 80 per cent of radiated body heat, so is ideal if someone is cold or in shock. The orange exterior of the blanket is radar-reflective, making it easier for help to locate you in an emergency situation. The Thermal Blanket is part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Recommended Kit List. £3.99, www.lifesystems.co.uk


Impressive Powerbank


This lithium-free PowerBank is powered by ReCyko Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries. Safe for travel, it can be carried in your check-in or carry-on baggage, and with a fast charging speed, it is soon ready for your Smartphone, iPad and most Tablet PCs. An LED indicator shows the battery level. £30, www.gpbatteries.com


Luci solar lights simply require the sun


Lightweight, waterproof and completely solar, this little light is like no other we have come across. Lightweight (4.4oz), waterproof and durable, the range of Luci solar lamps boast ultra-bright LEDs. With no batteries required, all you need is solar energy to fire them up. In a frosted finish, the three modes are bright, super bright, and one-second flashing. The ultra-bright LEDs (50 lumens) charge in seven hours in direct sunlight, and last up to 12 hours in a bright setting. Check out www.mpowerd.com for the full range and individual pricing.


Check out the BEAM torch range


If you are looking for the perfect stocking filler for the gadget geek, then we suggest the new award-winning BEAM torch range from GP Batteries. Designed for those who require a premium, high specification flashlight, the BEAM collection has been meticulously crafted for easy handling and robust performance. Featuring a rugged ergonomic design and high quality finish, the eight models in the range offer easy one-hand operation for effortless light control. Featuring a lumen range of 100 to 1000, high quality CREE LEDs, aircraft grade aluminium and industry leading GP Battery cells, the range recently received a Red Dot Award in the ‘Product Design 2017’ category. Visit www.uk.gp-design.com


A leisurely read over Xmas

SLOW BOATS TO EUROPE, by Trevor Cherrett, pb Matador, £7.99

Trevor Cherrett had a dream – to cross Europe by river from the English Channel to the Black Sea. Only a mere 3,500km navigation via the mighty rivers Rhine, Main and Danube. Completed in five stages over a three-year period, the author was accompanied by various friends and relations along the way. This personal odyssey takes on the theme of a collection of vignettes into the heart of Europe by passenger ferry, motor cruiser, bicycle and, by way of a relaxing finale, a Saga cruise. As Trevor explains: “Our journey started off as a kind of ‘gap year’ for baby boomers, but quickly turned into much more than larking about on rivers!” A semi-retired rural community planner, the author has maintained a passion for messing about in boats throughout his life, having spent a good part of 30 years navigating the rivers and canals of England, and has now settled down to exploring its coastal harbours, estuaries and rivers.


Amazing story, this. At the end of the 1970s, statistics showed that up to 80 per cent of the Swedish population at some point suffered back pain, a problem which appeared increasingly in younger age groups. This was the time when shoulder bags were popular. Enter the experts, who believed that if the load from school books was re-distributed from one shoulder to both shoulders, the risk of back pain would be greatly reduced. Now enter Fjallraven founder Ake Nordin, who sketched an affordable, functional backback with plenty of space for school books and binders. The Kanken made its appearance in August 1978, and next year celebrates its 40th anniversary. Apart from additional colours and new models,  little has changed over the years. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Check out the range at www.fjallraven.com


Columbia 25L Classic pack


A classic backpack by any stretch of the imagination, features include a multi-point lashdown system, external security pocket on the top for easy access to your essentials, and drawstring closure. There is oodles of space to pack everything that you think you will need for your urban adventure. The backpack is constructed from a 600D polyester, so its tough all right. The back straps are supplemented by a handle, making it easy to grab and go.£25, www.columbiasportswear.co.uk


Paramo Neckwarmer keeps the chill out


When there’s a chill in the air, grab yourself a neckwarmer, like this one from Paramo, to seal out the draughts. Made from Parameta G fabric, this versatile piece of outdoors kit provides excellent insulation as well as moisture management. Available in two sizes, it has a light stretch for a comfortable, snug fit, is fast wicking, quick drying and, of course, insulating. In case you were wondering, Parameta G is a Directional polyester fabric that wicks effectively, spreading perspiration over a large area and drying out rapidly. £18, www.paramo.co.uk


Paramo Expedition Towel in handy mesh sack


Grab yourself the Large version, and you will be pleasantly surprised at how light it actually is, with its low bulk and rapid drying capability. In fact, Paramo’s Expedition Towel is less than half the weight and dries twice as fast as an equivalent sized cotton towel. Made from Parameta S fabric, this towel provides a luxurious feel with unique water-management properties. Great for both expeditions and general travel use, it is sized 140cm by 80cm (also available in Compact size 100cm by 70cm), and comes in a handy mesh sack so it is great to throw in your rucksack for ‘on the move’ drying, just in case you fall into that unexpected stream. According to Paramo, it is most effective if you pat yourself dry. So there you have it. £20-25, www.paramo.co.uk


Berghaus Remote 12


There is definitely something to be said for a small backpack. Intrinsically, you can only pack so much gear, full stop. With the larger day packs, it is all too easy to fill the space with unnecessary items, and then you end up burdening yourself for the rest of the day. Believe me, I am as guilty as the next in doing just that. Enter the neat Remote 12, a cool and comfortable contender for the lightweight stakes. Comfort comes in the shape of fully adjustable chest and waist straps for that perfect fit. Then there is the nicely detailed mesh back, which helps ventilation, thus allowing your back to breathe. A pocket tucked away neatly inside will hold a variety of hydration systems, and there is also an internal zipped security pocket. Weighing a mere 460g, ass always, Berghaus have delivered. £45, www.berghaus.com

And last, but certainly not least, keep the chill out with our small but perfectly formed selection of hats and, in the case of Regatta, matching gloves…



Snugbug Crochet Cap


All Snugbug headwear, such as this 100 per cent New Zealand wool offering, is hand knitted by home workers in the mountain villages of Nepal. This ethical and sustainable way of manufacture directly supports the livelihood of local families in one of the poorest, yet most beautiful countries on earth. This particular beanie gives a tough, no-nonsense feel. It is lined with brushed polyester fleece only around the head band to allow for extra ventilation, and has a modern and minimalist close fit. £20, www.snug-bug.co.uk


Regatta Daved Hat


The men’s Daved Hat is made of easy-care acrylic yarn lined with soft fleece and topped with a matching bobble. Lovely. £15, www.beargrylls.com


Berghaus Ulvetanna


We like this, for the mere fact that it is reversible. The Ulvetanna offers warmth when it is particularly cold outside, whilst the reversible design offers two distinct styles to suit your outdoor kit, and possibly your mood. Weighing 106.5g, it is soft to the touch, and has a new, improved fit, £20, www.berghaus.com


Regatta Frosty for ladies


Regatta Frosty gloves


And yes, at last something for the ladies in your life. Super soft and warm, the decidedly attractive Frosty, shown here in Aqua, has a cable knit construction and is fully lined with fluffy fleece. Team it with the matching gloves, and look extra glam. Hat £25, Gloves £25, www.regatta.com