For travellers, the world’s great cities promise excitement and discovery around every corner: boutique hotels, gourmet restaurants, hipster bars, cutting-edge galleries, famous parks, historic landmarks – all within easy reach.
In our latest gear reviews, we look at equipment ideal for urban adventures, whether you’re roaming the boulevards of Paris or exploring the backstreets of Phnom Penh.
AKU Montera Low GTX
City sightseeing can mean serious legwork. So keep your feet comfortable all day with a pair of Montera Low GTX shoes from Italian footwear specialist AKU. Designed for light hiking, they’re ideal for pounding the pavement. And should you find yourself in wet conditions, they boast a breathable and waterproof Gore-Tex lining, plus grippy soles by Michelin.
- Plus points: sturdy and comfortable; Michelin soles inspired by mountain bike tyres
- Worth noting: available in male/female designs, with/without Gore-Tex and various colours
- Cost: UK£125, €130 approx; US$150 approx
- Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value 8/10
- More info: aku.it
Vango Zest 40
For city breaks where every hour is precious, avoid airport waiting times (and expense) by flying hand-baggage only. The Vango Zest 40 is big enough for a weekend’s requirements and small enough for airline cabin regulations. If you’re walking any distance, backpack straps enable easy carrying then zip away, turning the Zest into regular soft-luggage with handle or shoulder strap.
- Plus points: versatile, functional, discreet style
- Worth noting: water-resistant, wipe-clean external fabric
- Cost: UK£60; €80 approx
- Rating: quality 8/10; practicality 9/10; value 9/10
- More info: vango.co.uk
Tripp Holiday 5
For city visits requiring more than carry-on luggage, consider the Holiday 5 hard suitcase from Tripp. The medium version has 66L capacity and at 3.5kg leaves plenty of weight allowance, while the all-around zip is neat and secure – as long as you don’t over-pack. Telescopic handle and four wheels make airport manoeuvres easy, although in testing we found exposed wheels more prone to damage than bags with recessed wheels.
- Plus points: light and sturdy; zips secured with TSA lock
- Worth noting: also available in smaller/larger sizes and range of colours
- Cost: UK£140, €160
- Rating: quality 7/10; practicality 8/10; value 8/10
- More info: tripp.co.uk
Lifeventure RFiD trifold wallet
No need to get paranoid, but it pays to protect your money in crowded areas like markets or train stations. Lifeventure’s trifold travel wallet has compartments to organise tickets and currencies, plus pockets with extra protection to prevent thieves with radio frequency identification (RFiD) scanners stealing information from contactless cards, all secured with an external Velcro closing tab – although in testing we found this caught in trouser pockets. For extra peace of mind, Lifeventure’s travel money belt has a hidden compartment for storing emergency cash.
- Plus points: durable fabric, understated appearance
- Worth noting: wallet available as slimmer bifold option with zip or elastic closure
- Cost: wallet UK£16.99, €19.99; belt UK£12.99, €17.99
- Rating: quality 8/10; practicality 7/10; value 8/10
- More info: lifeventure.com
Nite Ize Radiant 200
In cities, extra light helps you enjoy hidden corners in cathedrals and catacombs, walk safely after dark in streets prone to power cuts, or just find the bathroom at midnight. The Radiant 200 from Nite Ize is ideal for travel, with low and high power settings, red light (night vision) option, long battery life and adjustable beam angle. The thick elasticated strap can be used as a handle or go around your head to leave both hands free.
- Plus points: small and light (92g); water-resistant and shockproof
- Worth noting: takes three AAA batteries; rechargeable version is the Radiant 250
- Cost: UK£29.95; US$29.99
- Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value 8/10
- More info: niteize.com
Osprey Daylite Plus
A small backpack means you can carry city essentials – camera, sun cream, raincoat, map, guidebook, drink, lunch – and the Daylite Plus from Osprey fits the bill. It’s light, compact, comfortable and spacious, with features including a padded section for a tablet or laptop and inner mesh pockets to keep stuff organised, while for souvenirs or unexpected extras there’s an expanding compartment on the outside.
Plus points: Waist-belt can be removed; mesh back-panel helps ventilation
Worth noting: For longer trips, the Daylite Plus attaches neatly to larger Osprey bags, such as the previously reviewed Farpoint 80
Cost: UK£50, €65
Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value 9/10
More info: ospreyeurope.com
Leatherman Style PS multitool
Designed specifically for travel, the Leatherman Style PS multitool is a little gem. Measuring just 75mm (3”) and weighing only 45g, it includes scissors, pliers, tweezers, nail file, wire cutter, bottle opener and screwdriver. There’s no knife blade, but in testing we found scissors and pliers more useful for city travel. The bottle opener doubles as a carabiner so you can clip the tool on your belt or backpack, or even use it as a key ring.
- Plus points: small and light; durable stainless steel construction
- Worth noting: this PS version has pliers and small scissors; the CS version has larger scissors and a knife blade
- Cost: UK£39.95; US$24.95
- Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value 9/10
- More info: leatherman.com
Kit Fresh portable power bank
In the city your phone gets a beating as you check restaurants, take selfies, use mapping apps, book tickets online, update social media with holiday snaps and even make phone calls. So when the battery gets drained, top up with a Fresh portable power bank from electronic specialist Kit. It’s slim, light and easy to carry, and revives a standard smartphone from 5% to 50% in about an hour.
- Plus points: input/output via mini/standard USB sockets, so only one cable required (depending on your phone)
- Worth noting: good for one full charge of most smartphones; not for tablets
- Cost: UK£19.99
- Rating: quality 8/10; practicality 9/10; value 8/10
- More info: kitproducts.co.uk
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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.