Love hiking? Exciting new kit that will make your walks even better 

The boots, jackets and walking tech you’ll be buying next year.

If you love hiking in the hills and countryside of the UK then you’ll know there is a vast array of outdoor kit on offer to help you do this. Walking boots, jackets, socks, base layers, rucksacks and gadgets all promise to make your walk more comfortable and sometimes safer too.

The finalists of the UK Outdoor Industry Awards have just been announced – these are the best new products coming out now and next year.

We’ve checked them out on your behalf, and these are our pick of the finalists.

A woman holding a pile of walking bootsCredit: Saga Exceptional
Saga Exceptional’s Phillipa Cherryson checking out some of the new hiking boots

We’ve just come back from the annual Outdoor Trade Show, in Liverpool, where more than 130 of the biggest brands (think Rab, Berghaus, Sherpa, Garmin, Scarpa and Craghoppers) rammed the venue with all the hiking gear that will be hitting the stores in the autumn and next year.

As an outdoor lover, I felt like a child in a sweet shop, but luckily for me (and my credit card) nothing was for sale.

The show also played host to the annual industry awards and 110 products were entered into the categories of accessories, backpacks/travel bags, camping equipment, climbing equipment, clothing, footwear, sleeping, tech accessories and tents.

This year a new category was added – sustainability.

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‘Products for life’

Andrew Denton, the CEO of organisers Outdoor Industries Association, told Saga Exceptional that sustainability was vital in the trade.

“The greenest product isn’t necessarily the one that initially might look it,” he says. “It’s also the one that has the longest life, needs the least amount of aftercare and is one that you continue to use as it’s a great product – so you don’t throw it away and replace it.”

On the judging process, he said: “Our judges looked for a perfect mix of sustainable credentials, ruggedness, that it was fit for purpose and would be something you would love to use every day. These products aren’t about ‘green washing’, but are about lasting a lifetime for the buyer.”

All the finalists can be found here, but read on for our pick of the most exciting brands and products to be hitting our stores this year and in 2024.

1. Picture Organic Abstral 2.5l 3KT jacket

This waterproof jacket hasn’t got the catchiest name but it certainly makes up for that in looks.

A man wearing a waterproof jacketCredit: Saga Exceptional
Picture Organic Abstral hiking jacket

Manufacturer Picture Organic is a French company committed to sustainability. The Abstral is made out of recycled clothing, is CFC free and has a 10,000mm waterproof rating which will withstand most showers and heavy snow. It’s also super-lightweight and stashes into its own pocket when not in use.

The Abstral will be on sale next year priced £175 . It will be available in both men’s and women’s models – if the colour block design is too much for you, it will also be available in a plain colour way. If you can’t wait, then this year’s version is still available for sale (and there are ones at reduced prices to be found online).

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2. Montane Fireball Nano hoodie

Clothing giant Montane is renowned for its lightweight and technical clothing. This hoodie feels like a windproof jacket with added insulation, but is designed to replace a fleece during warmer weather.

A jacket hanging on displayCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Montane Fireball Hoodie is ideal for summer hiking

The hoodie is breathable and showerproof but it isn’t windproof. Montane tells us it’s designed to beat the problem of having to shed layers as our effort levels rise, so you can keep this one on as you tackle the uphill sections, rather than have to stop and take it off.

It looks great, weighs just 225g (8oz) and, if you do take it off, it packs down to almost nothing. The Nano hoodie has just hit the shops and the RRP is £165. Our only gripe is that it’s in men’s sizes only.

Featured product

Montane Fireball Nano

RRP: £165

Montane Fireball Nano

3. Craghoppers CO2RENU tech fleece

Another head scratching name, but basically Craghoppers says it has come up with a clever way of incorporating CO2 emissions into the production of its fleeces.

A woman wearing a fleece jacketCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Craghoppers fleece is good for the planet and lovely to wear

This CO2RENU technology is designed to actually clean up our air during the manufacturing process. We tried one on at the show and they really are super-soft.

The fleeces will be in the stores in September this year in men’s and women’s versions. The half-zip version is RRP £80 and the full-zip RRP £85.

Sign up for updates at Craghoppers.com

4. Altra Lone Peak 7 trail running shoe

The Lone Peak is already a favourite among trail runners and walkers for its great grip and foot-shape fit.

A red trail running shoeCredit: Saga Exceptional
Altra’s Lone Peak 7 shoe is available in a men and women’s fit

The shoe is an award-winner and is also available in a mid-cut for additional ankle support. The Lone Peak 7 has been upgraded to make it even more grippy and comfortable for walkers and runners. The shoe comes in men’s and women’s versions both in five colour ways. Buy it in stores now with a RRP of £135.

Featured product

Altura Lone Peak 7

RRP: £135

Altura Lone Peak 7

5. Suunto Vertical watch

The Vertical is a large screen adventure watch for the outdoors, with solar charging. If you love global exploring, then this watch has got free preloaded offline global terrain maps. It boasts all the features you could need for hiking, trail running or cycling and a battery life of up to 500 hours of continuous exercise tracking.

Five versions of the same adventure watch on a standCredit: Saga Exceptional
The large screen Suunto Vertical adventure watch

We had a play with the watch in the wilderness that is the Royal Albert Dock, and we were very impressed at first try. We loved the large screen, which is easy to read even in bright sunshine (and for someone who forgot her reading glasses). The Vertical is out now, but with all that tech, it isn’t cheap. The stainless-steel model is RRP £545 and the titanium RRP £725.

Visit Suunto.com

6. Sierra Designs Nexus Lite 35-50l rucksack

US firm Sierra Designs is growing in popularity in the UK. It’s another Marmite product but the firm’s Flex Capacitor backpack has won countless awards and is already a favourite among UK multi-day hikers.

Two rucksacks in front of a tentCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Sierra Designs Nexus Lite rucksack

The new Nexus Lite rucksack is even more interesting. It’s lightweight and adjustable to the load you are carrying, but it’s even more eco-friendly than previous models and has no zips at all.

If you are looking for a new rucksack for walking, this one is definitely worth considering along with the more traditional brands. The Nexus will be hitting our stores in spring 2024, RRP £220, with UK stockists including Valley and Peak and Absolute Snow.

7. Stanley IceFlow Flip Straw Tumbler

A lovely looking 0.89l (one-and-a-half-pint) flask from stalwart Stanley, leak proof, with a flip straw and easily packable

insulated tumbler flasks on a display standCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Stanley Iceflow Flip Straw Tumbler is available in five colourways

The Tumbler is made of stainless steel and BPA free plastic with insulation that will keep your drink cold for up to 48 hours.

It has a carry handle and is tapered so it will fit in your car’s cup holder. You can stash it in your rucksack when you go hiking or take it to the gym. It’s in shops now and is RRP £42.99.

Featured product

Stanley IceFlow Flip Straw Tumbler at John Lewis

RRP: £42.99

Stanley IceFlow Flip Straw Tumbler at John Lewis

8. Vasque Reconnect Here mid boot

This Vasque boot made the shortlist but wasn’t a finalist. So why is it here? Simply because we really liked it.

Three walking boots on displayCredit: Saga Exceptional
The lightweight Vasque Reconnect Here boot

The Reconnect Here is a very lightweight, comfortable mid-cut hiking boot for summer made from recycled materials. It’s not a boot you’ll be tackling mountains in, but it’s one you’ll wear to walk the dog or go for a family walk in. I reckon you’ll end up wearing them shopping or to the pub.

Vasque is a US-brand and has been making walking boots for almost six decades. It’s relatively new to the UK and has a range of mid-priced boots and shoes. It’s a brand to watch out for. The Reconnect Here is available to buy next year at RRP £130.

Sign up for updates at Vasque.com

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Phillipa Cherryson

Written by Phillipa Cherryson she/her

Published:

Phillipa Cherryson is a senior digital editor for Saga Exceptional. Phillipa has been a journalist for 30 years, writing for local and national newspapers, UK magazines and reporting onscreen for ITV. In her spare time she loves the outdoors and is a trainee mountain leader and Ordnance Survey Champion.

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