The Outdoor 100 2019/20, our guide to the best outdoor gear of the year, is genuinely a never-ending thing for our team. The only escape is sleep, or, well, perhaps a change of career.
We love it though really. It all starts with the trade shows, navigating our way through huge halls to see new products and then navigating through the marketing spiel in order to decipher which ones actually work. And it all ends with the writing, which I’ll admit, isn’t my favourite bit. There are at the very least 50,000 words to write after all.
In-between all that however, there’s the good bit, which is the testing. This year I thought I’d give some insight into the kind of stuff we got up to and places we travelled in order to make sure the 100 items in our guide are all legit.
The Early Stages of Selection and Testing
Throughout the year, we’ve taken the gear we’ve had up for consideration for the 100 list out with us at any opportunity. I was away in February hiking the Beacons Way for six days with a number of items that made the cut including the Jöttnar Elvar jacket and Rab Xenon Gloves, and I also managed a couple of trips to the Alps, where I tried the Lowe Alpine Altus backpack, Haglofs Skuta Proof Eco and a few others.
Jordan our staff writer has been equally busy. He travelled as far away as Iceland where he tested out a pair of boots by Hoka One One, and, being a big fan of trying and failing to find the right conditions for ski mountaineering in Scotland, he’s spent a chunk of time north of Hadrian’s Wall with various items, like the new Suunto 9 Baro watch and Adidas Terrex Free Hiker.