Unusual hiking gear you haven’t heard of yet

Posted by Matt Sterne on 5 March 2018

You might have a hiking hat, trusty backpack and stick, but what about these helpful items?

Also read: 5 multi-day hiking essentials you didn’t know you needed


1. Hiking Jeans

K-way Men’s Explorer Crag Tech Denim

R999, capeunionmart.co.za

My first thought when given these jeans to test out was, ‘Who hikes in denim?’ Regardless of my scepticism, I slipped them on and hit the trail fully prepared for an uncomfortable experience. I was wrong. They were surprisingly light and flexed easily as I scrambled over rocks. The Coolmax wicking fabric also keeps my legs dry. Would I wear them again for a day out hiking? Probably not. Even though they ticked all the boxes, I still prefer a simple pair of lightweight pants. They do look good though and could be a great crossover option for hikers who want to hit town afterwards without skipping a beat. Reviewed by Leo Abrahams


2. An instant luxury bed

Highlander Double Self-inflating Mattress

R1095, campandclimb.co.za    This mattress lives up to its name. Within a minute of opening the nozzle, it was inflated and I could lie down like I would on my bed at home. This large and soft mattress is almost comfortable enough to deserve that kind of comparison, with cushioning so good it’s even possible to sleep on your side. The challenge came when packing it up, as it was a real struggle to get it back into the bag. Being a double mattress it’s bulky to hike with, so it’s better to throw it in the back of the car for a quick overnight or camping adventure.
Reviewed by Matthew Sterne


3. Coffee on-the-go

Oomph portable coffee maker and mug

R1150, moreflavour.co.za

If you are new to making filter coffee or use a filter coffee machine, this will be the easiest cup of coffee you’ll ever make. There are just two parts to it – no fancy dials to work out. Convenient and compact are the words that stand out the most, after I tested the Oomph outdoors – it’s small enough to put in your backpack for a hike and can also be used as a travel mug when you’re on the go, as it’s insulated and won’t burn you. It comes with easy-to-follow illustrated instructions: simply add the ground coffee to the clear flask, add the boiling water and then use the black attachment as the plunger. You’ll get four to five small cups of strong delicious pressure-brewed coffee within minutes. There’s an internal seal that traps heat to retain the temperature – I left it standing for about seven minutes for a stronger flavour and the coffee was still hot. It was a bit of a mission to clean as some of the coffee grounds were tricky to get out. If you are camping, you can give it a quick rinse but make sure to clean it well when you get home.
Reviewed by Ondela Mlandu


4. Sun-powered light at night

Hybrid light solar headlight

R295, outdoorwarehouse.co.za With this little number you’ll never have to worry about batteries. It provides 30 hours of light from one full charge, which you can get from 10 hours of solar charging or just one and a half hours via USB. It also turns itself off if you accidentally leave it on. The light is not too bright, just 75 lumens, but I found it perfect for a campsite or braai (it won’t blind everyone else). The adjustable strap is comfortable and the angle of the light can be changed. If there’s light rain, no problem, it’s water resistant. And if you’re only an occasional outdoorsman, no problem either – the manufacturer’s claim that it keeps its charge for a year.
Reviewed by Matthew Sterne


5. A nifty wrist tool

Leatherman Tread

R3200, awesometools.co.za
This is jewellery with a purpose – a hardened stainless-steel wristband with 29 tools on it. The new Leatherman Tread LT is a lighter and thinner version of the original and quickly impressed a few of the boys around the braai. Bling that’s ready for anything, the tools include Allen wrenches, screwdrivers, box wrenches and a bottle opener. There’s even a small pick that can pop the sim card out of your phone. Despite its usefulness, it’s not close to having the functionality of an actual Leatherman, but I found it was perfect for the odd quick job, and it has been designed to meet regulations for airline carry-on.
Reviewed by Matthew Sterne


This story first appeared in the December 2017 issue of Getaway magazine.

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The December issues features the Tok Tokkie Trail in Namibia (perfect if you dream of sleeping under the stars), 50 things to boost your summer holiday and our ultimate gear guide with the best travel gear, and much more!


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