Whether tackling a mighty peak or traversing lofty passes, high-altitude trekking offers a chance to escape the hectic modern world, push personal boundaries and discover some literally breathtaking landscapes. But whether you join an organised expedition between mountain huts or you’re self-supported and sleeping under canvas, serious trekking requires dependable kit.

In this set of reviews, we test a range of technical gear designed for mountain trekking, from sturdy boots to keep you comfy during the day to a sleeping bag that'll keep you cosy at night.

Vango F10 Makalu 2 tent
Vango F10 is an iconic brand among outdoor enthusiasts; the Makulu tent maintains the tradition © David Else / Lonely Planet

Vango F10 Makalu 2 tent

If your high-altitude trek requires sleeping outdoors, packing a reliable, easily assembled and light-weight tent is essential. The Makalu 2 from Vango’s F10 range ticks these boxes and, despite weighing just 2.5kg, is capable of standing up to all but the most severe conditions. The tent comprises a main area, large enough for two people to sleep comfortably, and a porch with ample space for gear storage. Another big plus is the ability to pitch the whole tent (inner and flysheet) in one go, making set up after a long day’s hike speedy and simple.

  • Plus points: good balance between weight, space, strength and durability
  • Worth noting: for severe conditions, Vango’s F10 MTN or XPD is a stronger alternative
  • Cost: GBP£400, €450 approx
  • Rating: quality 8/10; practicality 9/10; value 9/10
  • More info: vango.co.uk
Fjallraven Kaipak 58 rucksack
Timeless looks and high-level protection from Fjallraven’s Kaipak 58 rucksack © David Else / Lonely Planet

Fjallraven Kaipak 58 rucksack

Combining a simplistic Scandi style with rugged durability, the Kaipak 58 is a reliable and – thanks to its range of alluring colours – undeniably cool bag to trek with. Capacity is generous at 58L – though in practice more with the main compartment fully utilised – and is comfortable on the shoulders even when full. The bag is constructed from extremely tough G-1000 Eco material (a mix of recycled polyester and organic cotton); this makes it heavier than full-nylon equivalents, but it’s built to last and easily resists abrasions from rocks or trees in the wilderness.

  • Plus points: strong and stylish; male and female versions available
  • Worth noting: height of shoulder straps cannot be adjusted, which could be an issue for some users
  • Cost: GBP£220,  €254.95, US$235
  • Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value 8/10
  • More info: fjallraven.com
Rab Neutrino 600 sleeping bag
Rab Neutrino 600 sleeping bag; high-tech materials for high mountain conditions © David Else / Lonely Planet

Rab Neutrino 600 sleeping bag

Nothing makes a trek more enjoyable than a good night’s rest, and when temperatures plummet at altitude you need a warm and reliable sleeping bag. The Neutrino 600 hits the spot with a great warmth-to-weight ratio, thanks to a a lightweight fabric and Nikwax Hydrophobic Down filling – a natural material enhanced with a treatment to resist moisture.

There’s further ingenuity on the inside, such as the wedge-shaped foot-box (keeping feet away from the fabric where they can feel cold), which is treated with a technology called Polygiene Stay Fresh; this controls bacteria and therefore odours, which comes in handy on long treks with limited washing facilities – especially if you’re sharing a tent.

  • Plus points: the 600g of goose down is responsibly and humanely sourced
  • Worth noting: also available in 400/800 varieties for warmer/colder conditions
  • Cost: GBP£410, US$500
  • Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value 7/10
  • More info: rab.equipment
Fjallraven Keb trousers
Fjallraven Keb trousers; combining traditional style and modern manufacturing © David Else / Lonely Planet

Fjallraven Keb trousers

Like the brand’s rucksack range, the Fjallraven Keb trousers are clearly built for performance. Constructed from a tough cotton-polyester mix and reinforced with padding around the knees, rear and inside hem. In testing we found they kept our legs surprisingly warm, even in severe winds, while zipped ventilation slots can be opened when required. A possible downside for some trekkers might be the lack of waterproofing (though Fjallraven offer a wax that aids water resistance) and relatively heavy weight, especially when wet, meaning the trousers are ideally suited to cold, drier climes.

  • Plus points: stretchy fabric plus no seam on inner thigh equals no chafing
  • Worth noting: available in numerous colour combos, different lengths and male/female cuts
  • Cost: GBP£190, €224.95, US$225
  • Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 8/10; value 8/10
  • More info: fjallraven.com
Thermarest NeoAir Trekker mattress
Save weight with lung-powered inflation: the Thermarest NeoAir Trekker © David Else / Lonely Planet

Thermarest NeoAir Trekker mattress

The Thermarest brand is largely known for its self-inflating camp mattress, but if you need to keep things light and compact, the NeoAir Trekker, inflated by lung-power, is arguably a better bet. In testing, we found 40 puffs were needed to achieve full inflation, a fair swap for the weight of just over 500g. Other features include a generously-proportioned rectangular shape, a 60mm thickness that’ll keep you off cold ground at night, and, when morning comes, the ability to be rolled down to the size of a drink bottle for simple storage.

  • Plus points: also available in different sizes and weights
  • Worth noting: portable pumps are an alternative to lung-power
  • Cost: GBP£130, US$129.95
  • Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value 8/10
  • More info: thermarest.com
Kitvision Immerse 360 Duo camera
Cool technology, and fun to use: Kitvision’s Immerse 360 Duo camera © David Else / Lonely Planet

Kitvision Immerse 360 Duo camera

After putting in the blood, sweat and tears to reach a summit, for many trekkers it’s important they have reliable kit to document the moment. The Immerse 360 Duo camera is light and compact and comes with two lenses, offering the ability to capture scenes in crisp panoramic snaps or videos, without needing to pan the camera. The camera also connects to your phone, allowing you to upload your photos and videos to social media from almost anywhere; an increasingly important demand of the modern trekker.

  • Plus points: unique images, fun to use, great for uploading direct to social media
  • Worth noting: functions in cold climates but, despite the ‘immerse’ tag, cannot film underwater
  • Cost: GBP£249.99,  €291.76
  • Rating: quality 8/10; practicality 8/10; value 8/10
  • More info: kitvision.co.uk
Hanwag Tatra 2 GTX trekking boots
Sturdy construction and all-day comfort; the Tatra 2 trekking boots from Hanweg © David Else / Lonely Planet

Hanwag Tatra 2 GTX trekking boots

For long walks in high mountains, top-notch boots are essential. Step forward the Tatra 2 trekking boots from specialist German footwear manufacturer Hanwag. They’re certainly tough and well-built, but despite their sturdy nature we found them impressively light and extremely comfortable through several long days on the trail.

Features include a soft leather upper and deep-cut Vibram sole to maintain grip, a Gore-Tex membrane to keep the water out, and intuitive minute details such as hooks with locks on the upper laces (so laces can be tight around the ankle but loose around the toes, especially useful for descending). Details like this may seem trivial, but mark the difference between good boots and great boots.

  • Plus points: for dry conditions, Tatra boots also available without the Gore-Tex membrane
  • Worth noting: male and female styles also available in wider sizes, different colours, and even a bunion-friendly Hallux valgus version
  • Cost: GBP£220,  €249.99
  • Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value 9/10
  • More info: hanwag.com
Outdoor Research Interstellar Jacket
Waterproof, windproof, breathable, light. The Interstellar Jacket ticks all the boxes © David Else / Lonely Planet

Outdoor Research Interstellar Jacket

At high altitudes the weather can be very unpredictable, but the Interstellar Jacket is well-prepped for whatever Mother Nature hurls at you. We tested it in some serious downpours and stayed warm and dry and, thanks to fabric that allows moisture to escape from the inside, avoided feeling clammy while trekking. Key features include Velcro tabs to seal cuffs, stretchy fabric to allow freedom of movement, and, notably, a weight of just under 350g – meaning you hardly notice when you’re wearing it, and it packs away easily when the weather is kind.

  • Plus points: versatile, reliable, comfortable
  • Worth noting: close-fit; go up a size if you like more movement,
  • Cost: GBP£270,  €300, US$299
  • Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value 9/10
  • More info: outdoorresearch.com
Platypus Platy Water Tank
For carrying water around camp, the Platy is ideal © David Else / Lonely Planet

Platypus Platy Water Tank

After a day’s trek, your usual drink bottle is often too small for camp use. A portable Platy water tank from Platypus solves the problem. It stays rolled up in your backpack during the day, then when you pitch camp it can be used to carry larger quantities of water from a stream or other source back to your tent. In testing, we found the large zip seal sometimes leaked very slightly (literally a dribble) if not carefully closed, but around camp this was no problem (the tank is not designed to be carried full of water inside a backpack). Overall it’s a very handy addition to the trek kit armoury.

  • Plus points: quick to fill, easy to clean, antibacterial lining
  • Worth noting: available in three sizes (2L, 4L, 6L)
  • Cost: GBP£30, €35 approx, US$39.99 (4L size)
  • Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 8/10; value 8/10
  • More info: platy.com

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How we review products

Our opinions are by definition subjective. Our testers (male, female, young, old) trial products in the real world, then give their honest opinion and scores for quality, practicality and value: 5/10 = mediocre; 6/10 = fair; 7/10 = good; 8/10 = very good; 9/10 = excellent; 10/10 = perfect. We don’t include anything that scores less than 5/10.

We aim for gender balance, and over a year cover an equal number of male- and female-specific items. We state where kit is available in male and female versions, or for everyone, unless it’s obvious.

Prices are quoted in at least one major currency. Where possible we include other currencies. We take prices from manufacturers’ websites; information was correct at the time of publication, but you may find different prices online or in specialist stores, particularly after a period of time when products are discounted.

Manufacturers supply Lonely Planet with test products for review. We do not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage.

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