Over the years, this ethos has been our North Star as we continually strive to create outdoor clothing and camping equipment that is quality gear at great value whilst being durable, accessible for all and helps everyone to explore their world, their way.
Established in 1985 to provide an alternative toniche and over-priced outdoor kit, Scottish brand Highlander is all about affordable gear - and this backpack is no exception. It's half the price of some of its competitors andperforms surprisingly well out on the trail. You get a 40L capacity, loads of useful pockets and straps, and a comfy back system with sturdy hip-belt and padded shoulder straps.
If you're planning an extended adventure, you'll need a 70L, Troon dry duffle bag.
It ensures that everything from clothes to loo roll will remain dry
Waterproof, comfortable and practical, this jacket is certainly great value. Testers said the full-length zip made it easy to put on in a hurry and you can also pack it away into a compact 'stuff sack' when you want to shed a layer. Some of our panel grew a bit hot and sticky during longer runs, and found the toggles a tad annoying as they tended to bounce around. However, it's ideal for casual runners looking to stay dry, or for anyone who doesn't want to spend much.
These high-cut boots are as comfy, flexible and lightweight as many of their more expensive rivals, but lack a little structure and cushioning.
Features 3/5 | Construction 3/5 | Comfort 5/5 | Performance 3/5 | Value 4/5
Overall score: 72% ---- Pros: Lightweight, flexible, comfortable
Sold singly, these lightweight, 3 section poles use the twist lock mechanism for both adjustable lower sections giving an overall length range between 65cm and 135cm. I liked the grippy foam handle which should last well and has a hard but well shaped top and a well-padded adjustable strap. The basket is a useful size and the pole also came with a larger, perforated, snow basket and a rubber ferole for extended road walking. The tungsten tip is smaller than some but has worn very well so far.
A standard-looking bivvy bag, the Hawk has some useful features. The panel over the face is supported by a wire frame to keep it in shape and both a solid waterproof panel and a mesh ventilation panel are provided - simply zip one out and attach the other in its place.
The fabric has a HH rating of 5,000mm and feels reassuringly tough.
In addition to being highly wicking and tough, the bamboo base layer also has a pleasantly soft feel, making this t-shirt extremely comfortable for long, warm days on the hill. It has a close, athletic fit for maximum performance when you’re working up a sweat.
Available in three stylish colourways, the Stow & Go Waterproof Jacket may be at the lower end of our price range, but you wouldn't know it. Scoring an impressive 5/5 in our waterproof lab tests, some of our runners found the jacket to be on the snug side so it might be worth sizing up. Also, unlike some of our other higher-ticket jackets we tested, the Highlander team has designed pockets that are genuinely useful, according to our panel. That said, it didn't score too highly on breathability so this might be best kept for those who like to mix running with walking the dog or the odd hiking expedition.
Okay, they might not look the cutest, but there's plenty to shout about with these sturdy hiking companions. Our testers found them supremely comfortable, with plenty of room for thick hiking socks, thanks to the wide toe. They were a doddle to slip on and off too, and, best of all, the grippy soles performed brilliantly on tarmac and rockier off-road terrain.
Panellists found them great for short rambles and long hikes, but they did experience some leakage around the laces when the weather took a turn. Our only other quibble is the mesh material, which makes them a tad tricky to clean. These are small flaws, however, for top-qual boots.
Very affordable, good for occasional use, very lightweight. Light and packable, squeezed into their stuffsack the Stow & Go trousers take up just 20x10cm in your pack. They're not the most robust overtrousers available, but their reasonable waterproofing and great portability makes them an ideal pair of just-in-case' waterproofs.
Features 3/5 | Weatherproofing 3/5 | Breathability 3/5 | In use 3/5 | Value 5/5
Adventure - November 2022
A wonderfully warm cocoon for winter camping adventures, the Serenity 450 is a quality sleeping bag at an unbeatable price. A great value synthetic bag that is well equipped for winter camping. Wonderfully insulated and capable even when wet, it will keep you warm even when it’s just beyond freezing outside. Its size and weight make it less appealing than a premium down bag for sustained backpacking, but for single night wild camping or year-round car camping, it’s a solid option
Pros: Very affordable, very warm
Cons: Heavy, bulky, so-so build quality
You can easily spend an absolute fortune on a down winter sleeping bag. But to save hundreds of pounds, instead opt for a synthetic sleeping bag from a price-conscious brand like Scottish firm Highlander.
All-round comfort is more than adequate considering the price. But ultimately, this is not a premium offering for winter camping connoisseurs. Instead, it’s squarely targeted at occasional winter campers and bargain hunters, who don’t mind the extra weight and bulk.
Verdict: A warm synthetic sleeping bag at a bargain price – but it’s rather basic.
Trekking poles work better in pairs, and when they weigh as little as these do – just 180g per pole (we’ve weighed them) – you’ll hardly notice you’re carrying them.
The carbon sections adjust with twist-locks. Granted, twist-lock isn’t as reliable as flip-locks, but twist-locks are easier to use with gloves. These Highlander hiking poles extend from 65cm for carrying to a maximum of 135cm in use and come with trekking baskets and rubber tip covers.
Pros: Very lightweight, Easy to use with gloves Cons: Twist-lock isn't as reliable as flip-lock
Highlander Outdoor are a Scottish brand with a focus on effective but good value gear. The X-Plorer Heavyweight wool sock is at the top of their sock range. These are very well padded socks which work brilliantly in heavier boots, especially in winter. With a decent level of merino wool, I was surprised at the luxurious feel at this price point, a match for some of the more expensive brands; the softness has been retained after multiple washes. Highlander’s lighter weight socks come in at under £10. A quality traditional sock offering excellent value for money.
Combining the reasonably lightweight, stretchy nylon – elastane fabric with some very stretchy side panels, the Munro trousers give excellent movement and I found them a comfortable fit. I found they generated a little static on first wear but this seems to have stopped after a couple of washes. They have a DWR coating to help repel the lightest rain. There are two well-sized hand pockets, plus one rear zipped pocket (what looks a little like waterproof zips is actually part of the styling). The waist has belt loops, but also elasticated sections to the sides. These perform great on the hill anytime outside of the winter, and provide excellent value for money at under £50.
For: Great price, Lots of space, Packs down small
Against: Tough to inflate without a pump, Not the warmest
Compared to some of the more expensive entries on this list, the Highlander NAP-PAK XL feels very affordable. It's also fairly basic, consisting of a 20D nylon ripstop material that has been sewn into a diamond-effect array of baffles to evenly distribute weight and improve heat retention. It packs down mighty small, and weighs just 480g, but you will have to inflate it. This can be done with just your lungs, but it takes a fair amount of puff. Highlander also sells a Wee Banshee rechargeable pump that's impossibly small (it will fit in your pocket) and makes the entire process much simpler - we highly recommend it.
There's no real R Value here, but it keeps campers off the ground, which is the main thing. It's also fantastically comfortable for such a small and light mat.
Incredible value - warm, comfortable and well made!
We were mightily impressed with the Highlander Serenity 450, a mummy-shaped sleeping bag for all-seasons when we tested in the Scottish Highlands during late winter, early spring. So much so that we've rated it our Best Buy All-Rounder for Value. Equipped with Highlanders superior fibre fill which is designed to be durable, warm and lightweight, this sleeping bag held up well in conditions close to freezing. It is a little on the bulkier side at 2kg but retains its loft and has a nice soft touch. Anti-snag zip works really well and it packs down compactly into the stuff sack. At under £100 you won't get a better all-round all-season sleeping bag!
A wonderfully warm cocoon for winter camping adventures, the Serenity 450 is a quality sleeping bag at an unbeatable price.
A great value synthetic bag that is well equipped for winter camping. Wonderfully insulated and capable even when wet, it will keep you warm even when it’s just beyond freezing outside. Its size and weight make it less appealing than a premium down bag for sustained backpacking, but for single night wild camping or year-round car camping, it’s a solid option.
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SINCE 1985SUPPORTING OTHERS
We are committed to supporting other adventurers.
We have sponsored expeditions that have inspired us to create the best gear we can, to better enable others to overcome their own huge challenges. In recent years, we have been lucky enough to collaborate with some incredibly inspiring people!
We kit-sponsored Mark Beaumont on his record-breaking cycle Around the World in 80 Days, and partnered with a trio of brave adventurers who trekked solo and unassisted across the Gobi Desert.
In 2010 Highlander was appointed the official licensees to the 2012 Olympic Games and in 2013 we were appointed official licensees to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, both events we are very proud of.