During the time we were all limited by COVID-19 restrictions, hundreds of thousands of us found pleasure in escaping to the great outdoors, seeking the physical and mental benefits of walking and being out in nature.

    In the colder part of the year though it is essential to wear appropriate clothing when venturing out. As they say, “There is no such a thing as bad weather but inadequate gear.” Layering is the best way to go if you are going hiking to avoid sweating as you warm up and then having that sweat chilling as you cool down – a perfect recipe for a cold. Another factor to take into consideration when venturing into the wild (-ish) is to wear bright colours… easier to spot by rescue teams. Just saying. Even a leisure walk in your local woods can be ruined if you are ill-prepared.

    Nowadays, all major clothing brands manufacture garments for hiking that also look fashionable and can be worn casually. I am starting my recommendations with boots. When venturing out for long walks – or a good hike – it definitely pays to have the best footwear you can afford. Field & Moor is a quintessentially British company selling walking and shooting boots that exude quality and heritage. Designed by Hannah Stiles, the boots are hand made in family-owned artisan factories in Spain. They are so chic you can easily wear them casually when in town over a pair of jeans or even a dress for a hippy-glam look. RRP: £240

    The Golden Eagle Country Boots by Field & Moor combine comfort and fashion for day-long activity in the field.

    The Osprey 11″ Country Boot is a gentlemen’s handcrafted model built to withstand the most demanding country pursuits. The leather upper is hydrophobic (it disperses water off it) while the insoles are leather-lined with cork insulation on the footbed. Supreme traction comes from the rubber Commando sole, preventing slipping in mud and snow. Ideal for me as a motorcyclist is the reinforced “Gun Rest”, an extra thick leather oval designed to take the butt off your shotgun, which also helps when changing gears.

    The Osprey 11″ Country Boots are ideal for more demanding country pursuits across upland areas.

    The Golden Eagle Country Boot offers fashionable, stylish comfort. They can be worn all day in the fields or paired with a dress when out shopping. The design of the sole – with rugged cleats – gives superb traction even in the muddiest of conditions. The boots benefit from Sympatex waterproof and breathable lining. To add even more protection from the cold, there is a cork footbed as insulation. They also boast strong pull-on straps on the side and an elastic gusset at the top to make it easier to get them on. RRP: £300

    However, never mind how good are the boots you are walking in if the socks you are wearing are not appropriate. The humble sock plays a vital role in keeping your feet warm and blister-free. They need to fit well, be comfortable, warm and allow your feet to breathe, so the material they are made of has to be the right one. TK2 hiking socks by Falke are made with medium cushioning and merino wool mix. They offer great comfort and superior thermal insulation whatever the weather. Rapid moisture wicking and their optimised shape guarantee perfect temperature regulation and exceptional comfort. RRP: £24

    TK2 Socks by Falke offer medium cushioning for well-adjusted protection and good shoe contact. Equally important is their optimal fit thanks to right and left padding, as well as the toe box.

    A brand fully endorsed by I-M Intelligent Magazine is Ecoalf, a Spanish company that is leading the way in the world of sustainable premium fashion. Recycling and upcycling are at the heart of their manufacturing and their products are incredibly functional, fashionable and of course, environmentally friendly.

    The Katman jacket for men is a rugged, waterproof, high wind protection jacket for all-weather use. Perfect for walking mountain trails or braving the high street, this 3-in-1 jacket has an outer shell 10K waterproof and breathable and it is made with recycled polyester and post-consumer coffee grounds, giving it quick-dry, odour-control and ultraviolet-ray-protection properties. Recycling saves 4.41 kg of CO2 eq and 2042.25 litres of water per jacket. RRP: £439.90

    Ecoalf’s 3-in-1Katman and Mandu jackets are made from recycled materials, lightweight and breathable.

    For women, the Mandu jacket is a versatile 3-in-1 reversible garment with zip closure, adjustable hood and zip-up side pockets. It also features an ultra-lightweight inner layer to keep you warm even in the coldest British weather. The breathable material stops perspiration build-up, so you remain dry and warm. RRP: £439.90

    Coming back to British shores, Barbour is a brand I have worn for decades, ever since my uncle first got me into motorcycling. He wore one of their wax cotton jackets on his motorbikes and then bought me one for when I rode pillion with him. As an option to layer up against the weather all year round, the Barbour Bretby gilet is constructed with a baffle-quilted outer with a FibreDown filling for exceptional warmth without excess weight. Styled with a two-way front zip and a stand collar for easy and versatile wearability, it features two in-seam side pockets for added practicality.

    The Barbour Bretby Gilet is Available in navy, olive, and black finished with Barbour embroidery at the chest. RRP: £99.95

    The Ambleton benefits from a colour block waterproof design with a fixed hood for unpredictable downpours. Featuring handwarmer and lower patch pockets for handy storage, you can take gloves, scarf or even a compass with you. You will be protected from the weather and able to enjoy your walk regardless of what the heavens through at you. RRP: £249

    Barbour’s Ambleton jacket has a more traditional look and feel whilst their Climate jacket has a more contemporary design.

    The Barbour Climate jacket features a mesh and nylon lining for supreme comfort and warmth. Ideal for walks in the fresh air, it is waterproof and breathable, so you’re prepared come rain or shine. A leather badge to the left hem effortlessly finishes the garment. RRP: £219

    Revolution Race is a Swedish brand made for the harshest conditions of Scandinavia. Relatively new to the UK, their products are technical and reliable. An excellent example is their Tornado Fleece, a superb mid-layer fleece. It consists of a coarse knit melange fleece combined with a super-stretch softshell for a perfect fit.

    The Tornado Fleece is the warmest in the Revolution race collection. This durable layer is perfect for tougher outdoor activities and retains warmth really well.

    The Tornado has a chest pocket and two hand pockets, all three of which can be closed with zips. This durable layer is ideal for more strenuous outdoor activities and retains warmth well during winter activities and hikes. RRP: £69

    Their Cyclone jacket is waterproof, windproof and highly breathable. This three-layer shell jacket, part of the Rescue Series, is equipped with their best membrane, called Hypershell Pro. It has a four-way stretch for perfect fit and is fully seam taped. The Cyclone is designed for extreme weather. A helmet-compatible hood, Recco reflectors, and the new CollarOpt adjustable storm collar make this shell jacket the obvious choice all year round in the mountains. RRP: £159

    Revolution Race’s Cyclone jacket and trousers are waterproof, windproof and breathable.

    Equally prepared for all kinds of conditions are their Cyclone trousers, with fully taped seams, Aquaguard zips and PFC free Bionic finish eco. These trousers are sure to keep you dry in any terrain. The breathable Hypershell Pro material in combination with ventilation along both thighs, lets you cool down when building up a sweat. Cyclone Pants are part of the Rescue Series and are equipped with RECCO reflectors, keeping you safe on the slopes and out in the woods. The adjustable leg openings are optimised to fit over ski boots during winter and hiking boots during summer. RRP: £119

    Words: Jeremy Webb

    Opening picture: Pavel Danilyuk, Pexels.

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