I’m writing this as winter continues to skulk outside the front door of my house. Frost glistens on the roads and across the fields which means it’s time to get some cold weather hiking done. Most of my backpacking trips involve at least one night of camping. Even though I usually hike alone I tend to carry a tent that can accommodate me and all my gear. So today we’re going to look at the best two person tent options available in 2020. (I almost wrote about the best two man tent, but a wise woman reminded me that it’s not only men who like camping out).
The best two person tents for hiking sit at the crossroads of needs. They are:
Large enough to accommodate two people and all their gear.
Provide protection from the very worst the elements can throw at us.
Light enough to carry, possibly for long distances. Models reviewed need to fit into the ‘best backpacking tent’ category.
With these criteria in mind, I went in search of a selection of tents that
matched the points above. Prices range from affordable to ‘ouch’!
For anyone looking to travel light and fast, take a look my review of the 5
best one-person tent models.
Weaving your way through the web, searching for the best down jacket for men is no fun. I mean, where do you start? Are you really prepared to pay a premium price in order to save a few grammes in weight? Or does a high fill power tick the right boxes for you?
Down jackets have many uses. Heavier, higher fill power options are ideal for journeys into extreme cold environments. Lighter, easily packed variants are better suited as a thin insulating layer to fit over a t-shirt, or base layer.
Note: most down jackets are not waterproof. In fact, down and rain do not mix will. Just anyone who’s ever been caught in a downpour – at some point during the conversation you’re likely to hear the phrase, “Smells like wet duck”!
You’re keen and diligent, you’re looking for the best hiking app that will keep you alive when the manure hits the whirling thing. But finding a decent app is, well, tedious. Can you really be bothered installing and comparing multiple apps on your smartphone? If not, then read on.
A word of warning before we move on: never, ever come to rely 100% on apps as navigation devices. First learn the essentials of hillwalking and hiking – like how to map read well. Use your smartphone as a backup, or confirmation, only. TrekSumo accepts no responsibility for you walking in a foul-smelling bog.
I’ve put together a list of what I and my fellow hikers consider to the best smartphone apps for hiking. Without further ado, let’s see what’s on the list for 2020.
Before we dive into this post, I’d like to say that the
Ashridge to Ivinghoe Beacon circular route is not one I created. The original
was posted on the Chilterns AONB site and is 5 mile walk along some pretty
substantial trails and tracks. At 8 miles, the route you’re about to follow is
a little longer thanks to my ‘navigation enhancements’. By that I mean map
reading errors (something that’s hard to admit considering I consider myself to
be a very good navigator).
Hiking pants should be comfortable, breathable and weather resistant.
As an added bonus, they’ll make you look amazing when you’re hiking! Over the
years I’ve tested and worn many brands. My most recent purchase was a pair of Rab
Vertex pants. I’ve been using them for about six months and to be honest I’m
actually pretty pleased with them. But rather than try and sell them to you
from the off, I’ll let you make up your mind.
I won’t go into any detail about Rab. Most of you already know this UK based outdoor gear manufacturer has a great reputation.
Are you looking for a challenging hike that will test both your navigation skills and your hill walking fitness? If so, you need to try some of the Dartmoor hiking routes that criss-cross this beautiful and very wild place. A National Park, Dartmoor is nestled in the south-west of England and is an ideal destination for hikers. Covering about 300 mi.², the distance from north to south is about 26 miles.
The hills peppering the moorland are known as
tors. Whilst not the highest heights in the United Kingdom they are numerous
and a large number of pretty steep. As with any of Britain’s national parks,
Dartmoor can be a dangerous place if you’re unprepared. If you’re a novice
hiker consider reading my hillwalking essentials guides before you attempt this
Now that we’ve covered the preamble, let’s
get this hike on the road.
As a regular visitor, you already know that I
use Dartmoor as a training ground. The terrain is hard going, and the weather
can be summed up in one simple phrase: ‘four seasons in one’. Temperatures can
drop from balmy to biting cold in a matter of minutes.
Dartmoor hiking routes can test both your skills and endurance.
I don’t actually do a lot of really, really long runs, except when I’m in marathon training, but I’ve nevertheless been after an ultra-running vest for a while, and eventually bought myself an Osprey Duro 1.5. The thing is that around this time of year I often end up running with a hat, gloves, water, a snack, sometimes a lightweight shell, and always an iPhone that is now so large it doesn’t fit in any of my running short pockets (and even if it did fit, is so heavy that it tends to pull them down…). To see what I’m talking about, check out my post about essential running kit for the winter.
Many of those items end up getting put on and taken off at various points during the run, and I’m desperate to have somewhere easy to stash everything, but that is as comfortable and unobtrusive as possible. Hence wanting a small hydration vest with plenty of pockets.
Hydration vests come in a bunch of different types, from those that are almost a small backpack, to the very simply that do little more than contain a water bladder or a couple of soft bottles. What I wanted was something in between, and the Osprey Dura 1.5 is exactly that.
A close-fitting vest with a wide gap at the front, across which sit two adjustable straps. the Osprey Duro 1.5 has one main compartment in the back that is designed to contain a water bladder but could, if the bladder was removed, easily contain a reasonably compressible jacket or some food. At the back there is also a smaller, zipped compartment – which is the perfect size for my Arc’teryx Squamish running shell – and then two stretchy pouches on either side of the lower back, which can just about be reached without taking the vest off. These are perfect for shoving a hat or gloves into and retrieving them on the move. There’s also a little loop on the back which I’ve found extremely useful for clipping a little red flashing light to, which is a must when running in the dark on country roads.
On the front, each side has two stretchy vertical pouches, a long one designed to hold a water bottle, and a smaller one on top of it. The left hand side also has a zipped compartment that is perfect for even quite a large mobile phone. I don’t use the front-mounted water-bottles, though I might on a very long run or for running on a very hot day, but these pouches are also useful for keys, a touch, and snacks. Just below each shoulder are also loops for storing hiking/running poles, although I’ve not tried using these as I don’t run with poles. Finally, there is also a little whistle, which is a tick in the box for one common essential item on ultra-marathon kit lists.
If you choose to use the hydration bladder, the tube can come round either shoulder, and has a nice magnetic connection to the upper chest-strap, making it very easy to quickly take a drink and then snap it back into place so it’s not flapping around. The only disadvantage is for anyone doing a run that requires navigation with a compass, in which case they just need to be well-aware of the magnet or remove it and find another way to secure the drinking hose.
The Osprey Duro 1.5 is one of those bits of kit that’s become absolutely essential for me, even on relatively short runs; it’s a comfortable, practical way to carry water, a phone, keys, and a few pieces of spare kit. By and large, I don’t really notice it’s there, although the first couple of times I wore it while hauling myself up a steep hill, I did find myself heating up a bit more and wishing it didn’t feel quite so ‘body-hugging’ – I think that’s partly just something you get used to. Where it will probably prove less useful is on the longer runs I occasionally do that require a train ride home at the end, simply because there’s no way I could shove a warm coat into it in the way that I can in my OMM ultra 15L pack, which remains my go-to for running with kit. I think it could, however, just about contain all of the mandatory kit for most UK ultra-marathons, as long as post-race kit was being transported for me.
Are you looking for the best 2 – 3 person tent? One that can stand up to the fury of Mother Nature at her angriest? Then look no further – you have found the answer. Anyone who has heard the name Hilleberg will know that the tents they create are top-notch gear. The attention to detail and quality of build is phenomenal. This Hilleberg Keron 3 GT review will help you decide if this is the right decision for you.
I’ve owned various Hilleberg tents for the past four years. They’ve joined me them on many trips including a ski to the North Pole and quite a few long distance UK hikes. I’ve also used some other tents, but none of them match the GT for its performance in extreme environments.
Part of the Hilleberg Black label range, the Keron is, I am sad to say, now discontinued. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get hold of one.
Many outdoor stores still sell this model. They’re also available on eBay and from outdoor gear exchange groups on Facebook. Before I go into this review all I can say is I recommend you consider buying one of these tents.
You unzip the door of your tent and the heat rolls in – it’s a
scorching day outside. Your lips crack at the more thought of hiking into what
will become a midday inferno. Even the parched plants look back at you with
pity. But suffering for no good reason is dull and painful, so here’s a big
list of hot weather hiking tips taken from my many miles of exploration.
Let me caveat this post: I find hiking in cold climates far easier
than warmer places.
Picture the scene: your hike has taken you deep into the serene and beautiful hills. Ahead lie swathes of green grass, shimmering peaks and slashes of crystal blue water. But in no time at all the stunning view turns dim as the rains come and turns streams into wild torrents. Now you need to know how to cross a river.
On your travels there are times when your route is going to be blocked by a river, or significant body of water. Some organisations, think military, advocate only one way to cross these kinds of features: jump in with all your gear and swim across! Not one of the rules for hiking we recommend.
Crossing swollen rivers or large bodies of water can be hazardous. Following a storm or flood there is a real risk to life. Today we’re going to explore a number of methods you can use to move or reduce the risk that comes with crossing a water feature.