If you’re new to the outdoor scene and you’re a little daunted looking at the plethora of outdoor gear to kit you out for your first adventure, then I have a suggestion for you. It can take hours searching through brand upon brand, trying to understand the different terminology each uses to describe its product attributes. So to help you find a brand that’ll suit your outdoor needs, I trialled a couple of important pieces of kit for you from Columbia.
I’m a great believer in that good old phrase ‘you get what you pay for’. Trust me, when I started out in the outdoors, I was all about buying the cheapest gear. Firstly because I had little money, and secondly, it can honestly look really shiny — but don’t be deceived by the sparkliness of cheap products.
So if you’ve been on a few adventures and the outdoors has really captured your heart, then I’d advise buying some middle range gear. You don’t want to go all out and go buying the best gear on the market, because you could literally spend hundreds that way. But at the same time you don’t want to go buying your first trail running shoes for a tenner — I promise you you’ll get what you pay for!
Personally I find Columbia a good mid-range brand. It’s not super expensive, but you’re going to get enough quality to last you a year to a couple of years, depending on how often you venture outdoors. So to get you started, you’re probably looking at investing in a good pair of trousers, a technical t-shirt and some all-round shoes.
I trialled Columbia’s Women’s Silver Ridge Convertible Pant (£30-50) and found them a good fit for me. The material is super light, so dries really quickly should you get caught out in a shower or have to cross a stream or the like. They’re also great all year round trousers, as they zip off at the knee, turning into shorts. This makes them perfect, say if you’re starting out early in the morning while it’s still a little cool, but by the time you’re part way up the mountain, both you and the weather have warmed up. They come in a variety of colours and leg lengths, which is really handy too. For more features, check them out here.
Whether you’re hiking, trail running or cycling, Columbia’s Women’s Zero Rule Short Sleeve Shirt (£15-25) is a great all-round t-shirt. On my first few hikes I always wore normal t-shirts, thinking there was no difference to a technical top. But boy oh boy does it make a difference wearing a moisture wicking fabric. Not only does it keep you cool when you’re warm and warm when you’re cool, but it also wicks sweat off your body, so you don’t end up super sweaty and gross. I also liked the length of the t-shirt. I’ve found many t-shirts to be quite short, which isn’t great when you’ve got a backpack on, as you’ll find the hip strap rubbing on your skin. If you’d like to know more about the product’s features, check them out here.
I’m a fan of wearing lots of colour in the great outdoors, as bold and vibrant clothing makes for lovely striking photos in mountains, forests and beaches. Plus, it’s fun to wear! So I loved the vibrant colour of the laces and soles on Columbia’s Women’s Ventrailia II Outdry Shoes. These trainers are waterproof, breathable and super grippy, so are great for trail running, moderate hikes and general everyday adventuring. I found them to be a little tight when tying the laces, but apart from that, I’ve enjoyed taking them out. And at just £59.50, they’re a not too pricey for your first pair of decent trainers for all that adventurous fun you’ve got planned. Columbia’s now got them in a couple of fun new colours.
Note: I was gifted these items from Columbia in return for a review. All views are my own.