20 best pieces of outdoor gear for nature lovers

Get out and explore with our selection of brilliant new outdoor gear, including jackets, tents, backpacks and more...
By New Big 5 project

1: The North Face Thermoball Eco Hoodie

Packable and compressible, with a water-repellent finish, the Thermoball™ Eco Hooded Jacket is an incredibly useful piece of kit for hikers to carry, particularly with the fluctuating weather found in alpine environments. Combining great style and functionality, this lightweight jacket supplies excellent breathability and insulation even when damp. It stows away in its own pocket and features a close-fitting hood, chest pocket and two hand pockets, with elasticated cuffs and hem. It’s also great to see the fabric and insulation are made entirely from recycled polyester, putting discarded plastic to good use. Available for both men and women.

£180 (approx $234)

2: Tentsile Stingray 3-person Tree Tent 3.0

The Stingray Tree Tent can accommodate 3 adults (or a young family of 4) and their gear in comfort, with lots of versatility and space for different camping situations. The eye-catching and original Tentsile Stingray design combines the comfort and versatility of a hammock with the protection, security and multi-occupant possibility of a tent. The unique 3-point anchor system provides a taut, tensioned base to the tent, giving campers an incredibly comfortable night’s sleep. There’s plenty of head room and extra storage space, so you can kick back, relax and enjoy the view wherever you choose to camp.

RRP: £699 ($699)

3: Dragon Alliance Excursion X sunshields

Dragon Alliance’s Excursion X sunshields are purpose-built for high alpine adventures and exploration. The removable sunshields block harsh UV light associated with high altitude, with a detachable leash and interchangeable cable temples to provided added security and comfort. More than just a tough customer, the Excursion X has a stylish modern look, thin temples and lightweight construction, so you can wear them from the mountaintops to sea level.

RRP: £192 ($239)

4: Lifeventure SoftFibre Recycled Towel

Absorbing nine times its own weight in water and drying eight times faster than a conventional towel, the Lifeventure SoftFibre Outdoor and Travel towel is a remarkably useful piece of kit, saving weight and space in bags and packs. Retaining Lifeventure’s original signature design, these vibrant, printed towels are made from 8.7 recycled water bottles, which is great for the planet and our oceans. Not only are they soft, durable and absorbent, they’re also fully recyclable and treated with Polygiene® Odour Control, meaning they, and you, stay fresher for longer.

RRP: £21.99 (approx $29)

5: Lowe Alpine AirZone Trek 35:45

Light and comfortable, the ventilated AirZone Trek 35:45 is a hiking backpack made for long-distance summer hiking. The pack provides a supportive, cool and comfy carry, with a fully adjustable AirZone+ ventilated carry system and patented FormKnit™ technology for all-day comfort. Built from tough, wear-resistant fabric, the AirZone Trek 35:45 has zipped front entry, a divider panel to keep your night kit separate from your day gear, and mesh pockets for maps, jackets and water bottles. Along with an integrated rain cover and water bladder compartment, this hiking backpack also features an extendable lid for 10 litres of extra packing flexibility.

RRP: £140.00 ($150)

6: Appalachian Gear Company All-Paca Fleece Hoodie

Appalachian Gear Company’s All-Paca Fleece Hoodie are made in the United States using 100 per cent alpaca fibres, with no added synthetics or harsh chemicals. They’re also fully biodegradable. The patent-pending fabric is environmentally friendly and offers brilliant breathability, moisture management and odour control. The easy-to-pack performance layer provides lightweight insulation with exceptionally tough seams for durability. All-Paca Fleeces dry fast, absorb minimal moisture and provide insulation even when wet. The hoodies are machine washable, but if that isn’t an option, they can be rinsed, rung and hung to dry, and they’ll ready to use again by morning. Available for men and women.

RRP: $145 (approx £110)

7: Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket

Created for outdoor adventurers and backcountry skiers who like to venture off the beaten path, Helly Hansen’s Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket is made to be lightweight and packable, while providing unrestricted movement, comfort and reliable weather protection. It features LIFA Infinity Pro™ technology, an innovative three-layer fabric construction that’s the brand’s most sustainable waterproof and breathable technology to date, made entirely without added chemicals. It’s designed to be compatible with helmets, backpacks and harnesses, and has an adjustable hood, mechanical ventilation zippers, a ski pass pocket, and a detachable powder skirt. It looks great, too.

RRP: £600 (approx $791)

8: The James Brand’s Ellis knife

From food and drink to cutting rope or twine, it’s surprising how much one tool comes in handy on an outdoor adventure. The James Brand’s The Ellis knife and multi-tool has a sturdy partially serrated drop-point stainless blade, a combination bottle-opener and screwdriver, and the company’s All Things® scraper and pry. It uses a double lockback design, so you can do necessary jobs safely and with confidence. There’s also a bail loop for attaching it to your keys, carabiner or backpack. 

RRP: £100 ($99)

9: Terra Nova Extremities Evolution Gloves

Taking gloves off and on to take photos or use phones and tablets can be a pain. Terra Nova’s Extremities Evolution Gloves come in very handy then when it’s cold and wet. Designed with a durable nylon mix for the outer layer and warm, soft merino wool mix on the inside, it’s a thermal glove with a hidden waterproof, breathable membrane to keep you warm and dry. But the supple dextrous glove’s innovative touchscreen digits also make it easy to make calls or use smart screen devices, while a silicone print on the palm and fingers provides a reassuring grip.

RRP £45 (approx $55)

10: Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket

Rab’s classic lightweight down jacket has been updated to make it functional and more environmentally-friendly. The redesigned Microlight Alpine Jacket features a combination of zoned micro and nano baffles to increase core warmth without adding weight or bulk. With 30D Pertex® Quantum ripstop nylon, as well as GRS-certified 700 fill power P.U.R.E recycled hydrophobic down, the Microlight Alpine Jacket now features fully recycled shell, insulation and lining. Practical and user-friendly, both as an everyday jacket and as a mountain layer, the jacket also features three harness-compatible pockets, an easy-carry stuff sack and a down-filled hood with a stiffened peak. Available for both women and men.

RRP: £195 ($280)

11: Arcade Ranger Adventure Belt

Arcade Belts are made for adventurers, designed to function better than standard belts, to last longer and be more comfortable on the move. They’re lightweight, with an elastic stretch webbing that’s durable and tough, with enough flexibility to move with you. Each belt provides a custom fit and sturdy hold thanks to a micro-adjust belt buckle. There’s no metal, meaning going through airport security is hassle-free. Built from machine-washable materials, you can also leave the belt in your trousers on laundry day. The belts are available with many different patterns and colours, from simple navy blue to ivy green/peaks camo.

RRP: £20 ($24.95)

12: Mountain Equipment Earthrise 600 sleeping bag

Made with recycled down and recycled fabrics, the Earthrise is Mountain Equipment’s most sustainable range of sleeping bags, made to be long-lasting and provide nature lovers with many years of service. Based on the design of their best-selling Helium models, Earthrise bags are high performance sleeping bags that provide serious warmth and comfort, while still being light enough to be carried for long distances. The Earthrise 600 is a roomy, versatile and efficient bag, with a Lode Lock collar closure and sufficient warmth to be used for early Spring and late Autumn.

RRP: £320 (approx $421)

13: Mizu D7 flask

Many outdoor adventurers know single-use plastic bottles and disposable cups are bad for the environment. A reusable bottle or flask is the way forward. The Mizu D7 is a 22oz vacuum-insulated flask with a double-walled cup, perfect for coffee, tea or soup on the go. With its copper lining and vacuum-sealed cap, it delivers excellent thermal properties, with 20 per cent increased thermal retention, something you’ll appreciate if caught out on a rain-drenched hike. The durable self-cinching paracord rope handle also makes for easy carrying or fastening. 

RRP: £39.95 ($37.95)

14: Nordisk Asgard 12.6 tent

In old Norse mythology, Asgard means ‘Enclosure of the Æsir’, one of the Nine Worlds, only accessible via the burning rainbow bridge Bifrost. The Asgard 12.6mnatural cotton tent is a lot easier to access than that. The bell-shaped tent provides a spacious, comfortable camping experience for a family or a couple who want a laid-back camping break. There’s room inside for up to 6 people, with a simple centre pole that makes it easy to pitch and allows maximum use of the floor space. The tailored zip-in groundsheet and cabins also mean the Asgard can be customised to individual camping needs.

RRP: £650 (approx $857)

15: Millican Smith 25L Rollpack

Millican’s Smith The Roll Pack is a stylish waterproof canvas rucksack with a minimalist design concealing practical functions. Developed for everyday use, the 25-litre bag is light, tough and sustainable. It’s made from Millican’s Bionic Canvas, a 65 per cent recycled polyester and 35 percent cotton waterproof fabric that’s 30 per cent stronger than regular canvas, and features external and internal pockets for essentials, such as a laptop, water bottle or valuables. Ideal for hiking and cycling, it has removable waist and chest straps alongside ergonomic shoulder straps, which makes it comfortable to wear in all conditions. They’re available in three sizes and seven colours.

RRP: £140 (approx $185)

16: ZEISS Terra ED Pocket 8X25 binocular

ZEISS Terra® ED binoculars are tough, reliable and easy to use. Their state-of-the-art, sleek design makes them compact and light; at just 310 grams, you won’t be weighed down. The Terra ED 8X25 binoculars have eight times magnification, with smooth exact focusing and fantastic optical precision to ensure clear visuals down to the finest detail, whether you’re observing birds, bugs or other wildlife. They’re waterproof and nitrogen-filled, making them rough and ready, ideal for people who like to explore the rugged outdoors, even in conditions down to minus 20 C. Also available with X10 magnification.

RRP: £300 ($349.99)

17: Craghoppers Kiwi Pro II trousers

With around 280 grams of recycled material going into their creation, the popular Kiwi Pro II trousers deliver outstanding technical performance and a streamlined fit for agile, unrestricted movement. The stretch-recycled polyamide material has effective UPF 40+ sun protection and a SmartDry Eco finish to repel splashes. The trousers also feature a handy wipe for sunglasses and four zipped pockets to carry essentials. Available for men and women.

RRP: £55 ($75)

18: Slowtide Yukon Blanket

Having blended smart design and functionality with towels, Slowtide have taken their bestsellers and turned them into blankets, made to keep you warm on your adventures. The blankets are made from 100 per cent recycled post-consumer waste, primarily plastic bottles, which has been transformed into premium polyester fibres. The process is certified through the Global Recycle Standard. They’re lightweight and easy to carry, with a soft brushed finished and reversible design, and at 50″ X 60″, they’re big enough to wrap yourself inside, whether you’re at home or enjoying the outdoors. The Yukon design has striking red and black squares, but there are many different blanket colours and patterns to choose from. 

RRP: £30 ($34.95)

19: Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Bikepack Tent

Created for people who love to explore the world on two wheels, the new Tiger Wall UL Bikepack Solution Dye Tent from Big Agnes is made with solution-dyed fabrics, which significantly reduces water and energy consumption during manufacturing. The result’s better for the environment, and the high UV resistance of the solution-dyed fabrics improves the quality of the tent, making it a long-lasting, sustainable gift for bike-loving campers. Built for on- and off-road adventures, the Tiger Wall UL Bikepack tents are the lightest two-door, two-vestibule bikepacking tents in Big Agnes’ collection. A 3-person version, the UL3, is also available.

RRP: $449.95 (approx £425)

20: 686 Quantum Thermagraph Hydrastash Bib snow pants

Out on the slopes, weather conditions can change and layers need to be adjusted, but your bibs are with you day-in and day-out. 686 Quantum Thermagraph® Hydrastash® Bib snow pants allow you to stay hydrated without effort, via their  inconspicuous Hydrastash® tech, a bladder built into the lower back of the bib. Constructed with 2-Layer infiDRY 20K stretch fabric that’s durable and water repellent and fully taped Bemis Seams, you’ll stay dry, whilst the Thermagraph® body-mapping insulation system using infiLOFT keeps you warm. This is an innovative bib pant that can attach seamlessly to 686 jackets to provide outstanding comfort and on-demand hydration.

RRP: £298.95 ($329.95)

Lead photo of hiker in Patagonia, Chile by Graeme Green:

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We’re grateful to the companies above for making a small donation to the New Big 5 project to be featured in this article. This money is incredibly helpful for us to be able to continue working on this initiative to raise awareness and money for wildlife causes.

NOTE: The best way to solve the crises facing the planet and its wildlife is by having open, honest, respectful conversations and hearing diverse voices from around the world. The New Big 5 project does not necessarily support or agree with every opinion or idea expressed by photographers, conservationists or organisations featured on the New Big 5 website. The many different wildlife charities, photographers, film-makers and conservationists we’ve collaborated with also do not necessarily support or agree with every idea or opinion expressed by other people or organisations on the website. It’s ok to disagree and debate. But we hope the opinions and ideas can inspire people, make people think, and be part of the conversation to help our planet and the animals that live on it.

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