From: Staveley, Lake District
Inov-8 are one of the few brands to make gear designed specifically for the niche sport of fell running – essentially a form of mountain running that you could say is exclusive to the north of England. They’re best known for their trail running shoes which have incredibly aggressive soles to deal with slippery fellsides.
Key Product: Inov-8 Mudclaw G 260
A very British brand with a very German name. Berghaus, which translates as ‘mountain house’, was founded all the way back in 1966 when a Newcastle-based outdoor store called LD Mountain Centre started making and selling its own products. These days, the brand is still in the north-east, having moved down the road to the outskirts of Sunderland.
Key Product: Berghaus Changste
From: Alfreton, East Midlands
Things all started for this brand back in 1980 when climber Rab Carrington began hand-stitching and selling his own sleeping bags from the attic of his house in Sheffield. He was then able to upgrade to a factory within the city where he would begin building what eventually would become one of the biggest climbing brands in the world.
Key Product: Rab Alpine Pro 600
From: Alfreton, East Midlands
They might have had their beginnings in Colorado but nowadays Lowe Alpine call the Peak District their home. In fact, they’re owned by the same people as Rab and share an HQ with them. Despite the move, Lowe Alpine have always stayed true to their origins as a climbing and mountaineering brand, but they’re also well regarded for their trekking, cycling and running packs these days as well.
Key Product: Lowe Alpine Altus
From: Llanberis, Snowdonia
These guys from North Wales are a global leader in the production of technical climbing equipment. Makers of nuts, bolts, draws and carabiners, look at what’s hanging off a climber’s belt in the UK and you can be pretty sure you’ll see their dragon logo there.
Key Product: DMM Highball Bouldering Mat
From: Newtonards, County Down
Bridgedale have been making socks out of Newtonards in Northern Ireland since the First World War when they were contracted to kit out the British Army. These days, it’s outdoor enthusiasts that they cater for, offering a range of different socks for walkers, runners and skiers.
Key Product: Bridgedale Storm Sock
From: Wadhurst, East Sussex
Nikwax might have a fancy lab these days, but it was in Nick Brown’s kitchen that the first ever samples were produced. The brand now stock a whole host of different products to clean, maintain and protect everything from your tent and backpack through to your baselayers and socks. We can’t mention Nikwax without mentioning their sister brand Paramo as well. They use Nikwax as the crucial waterproofing ingredient in their jackets.
Key Product: Nikwax Down Wash Direct
For good value for money, you can’t beat a Vango tent. Loved by everyone from weekend wild campers to award scheme hikers, they’re affordable but also reliable, practical and generally long lasting. Founded in Scotland and still there, they began in 1966, launching their first product, the now almost iconic Vango Force Ten tent the following year. Nowadays, Force 10 is a brand in itself (though still part of the Vango group) – we’re big fans of their Force 10 Arete tent.
Key Product: Vango Heritage Typhoon
From: Ashington, Northumberland
It’s probably fair to say that Montane make kit for the more active outdoor people, with a range that covers everything from climbing and mountaineering to hiking and trail running. More recently, they’ve begun to specialise in kit for moving quickly through the mountains for extended periods of time – aka fast packing.
Key Product: Montane Quattro Fusion Jacket
Related: Best Waterproof Jackets
From: Newthorpe, East Midlands
Alpkit seemingly came from nowhere, bursting onto the scene with a whole armoury of affordable own brand items to kit out outdoor enthusiasts right from head to toe. They’re primarily a direct-to-consumer online retailer, though they do have a handful of stores now as well.
Key Product: Alpkit Gravitas
From: Staveley, Lake District
Aiguille Alpine design, manufacture and sell their backpacks all from a small workshop within an industrial estate in the Lake District. What we like most about them is that they’re happy to customise their products to suit a customer’s needs; whether that’s adding on an extra pocket, modifying back lengths or sticking on extra straps.
Key Product: Aiguille Alpine Midi 40L
Related: Best Backpacks For Hiking and Trekking
From: Harrogate, North Yorkshire
PHD, like Aiguille, are another brand that are happy to customise their products for people – you can even ‘build your own sleeping bag’ on their website. It’s insulation that they’re perhaps best known for, with some serious stuff for high altitudes available.
Key Product: PHD Kappa Jacket
From: Silsden, West Yorkshire
This is a brand with two sides to it. There’s it’s green and brown coloured collection of clothing and equipment that’s popular with squaddies, and then there’s the brightly coloured side that’s aimed at all of us outdoor enthusiasts.
It’s worth checking out their Softie range of sleeping bags. Ultra comfortable and able to provide warmth even when the fill gets wet, these things are capable of seeing you through the worst of storms.
Key Product: Snugpak Journey Duo Tent
Once known mainly within skateboarding circles, in recent years this west Wales company has repositioned itself, moving instead into outdoor and adventure and focussing on lower impact and ethical clothing. Check out their merino baselayers and also their side project, the Do Lectures.
Key Product: Howies Munnings 1/2 Zip Baselayer
Quite simply, Terra Nova make some of the best backpacking tents out there. In fact, they recently put out what is said to be the lightest tent in the world with a packed weight of just 450g – that’s lighter than a loaf of bread! Their sister brand, Wild Country, also have some great tents in their repertoire. They’re the ones to go to if you’re looking for something more affordable but less technical.
Key Product: Terra Nova Laser Compact 2 Tent
Don’t let the name fool you, this is a born and bred British brand. The guys behind it are two former Royal Marines with a wealth of mountaineering and ski mountaineering experience between them, and this is reflected in the products they’ve created. It’s all technical stuff designed for super tough conditions.
Key Product: Jöttnar Elvar ThermoLite Insulated Jacket