I’ll start by saying that I wasn’t too familiar with Craghoppers until about two months ago when I tried them for the first time. Even though Craghoppers were new to me, they’ve been making trail-blazing technical travel, adventure and outdoor wear for more than 45 years. So, when I had the option of wearing and testing their gear in my (then) upcoming travels to Australia and New Zealand, I was more than happy to give it a go. What I liked about them is that even though they do travel clothes, most of their designs don’t look like “hey I’m a tourist” kind of clothes. That’s a plus for me.
Since I was up for a road trip on relatively cold weather, I decided to try a few items that I thought would be quite versatile for the trip. The first item on my list was actually my favorite of the three. It is the NosiLife Avila Hooded Jacket. One of the cool things about this jacket is that it has their branded NosiLife technology, which is an insect repellent treatment permanently woven into the fabric (not that there were too many mosquitoes in OZ and NZ during their winter); Solar Shield, which is an UPF40+ protection from harmful UV rays; and Moisture Control, to keep the fabric cool and dry while on the move.
While the jacket’s fabric is slightly thinner than how it looks on the site, it still worked well for me since it meant I could use it on slightly chilly days on its own and then use it with other layers when it got colder. I used it both ways several times and it always felt comfortable.
The second item I tried was the Milton Short Sleeved T-Shirt. I love traveling with comfortable clothing, so t-shirts are always high on my list of clothing. For me, the design of this t-shirt goes par with my design taste, simple and not too overpowering; and of course, it was t-shirt-comfortable. One thing though, I’m a small guy, so even the small sized t-shirt looked slightly bigger on me, which I personally didn’t like much (But it was still wearable. Just have that in mind if you’re ordering t-shirts). Beyond its regular t-shirt qualities, the Milton Short Sleeved T-shirt also has the Solar Shield Zinc Oxide, which differs a bit from the jacket one in which this one has zinc oxide (safe and skin friendly) to protect from UVB rays even when wet.
And, last but not least, there’s the Kiwi Pro Backpack 22L. I chose to try a backpack to hopefully replace my 7-year old 22L daypack, which is already incredibly stained and showing some wear. While the Kiwi Pro Backpack is a really good backpack itself, it didn’t manage to beat my expectations to replace my old backpack. But, I’ll run you through some pros and cons about my decision to choose it in the first place, and to not make it my main daypack in the end.
My decision to choose it in the first place included the fact that it is a light daypack great for hiking or short getaways, it has a water-repellent finish, has an air-flow mesh on the back, hip straps, elastic side pockets, hydration port and bladder pocket, and a few pockets. Seriously, this daypack is really good on its own and good for light packers who intend to use it for the purpose it was designed – hiking and light packing.
My decision to not choosing it to replace my daypack is because I intended to not use it for light packing or pure hiking. I use my current daypack to carry my laptop, DSLR camera, GoPro, and a bunch of electronics. In truth, my 22L daypack is heavier than my 40L backpack. For real! Based on this, I found the shoulders straps to be a bit thin padded, where my current backpack is quite thick, so it makes the load feel less heavy on the shoulders. I also like to have a sternum strap, in addition to the hip strap, to distribute the weight across my chest. Then, on the inside, I like to have a few more pockets to divide my electronics from my laptop. As you see, my complains are more about my intended use, and not the proper use for which the backpack was designed for.
Did I still use the backpack? Sure! I took several day trips in which this backpack was perfect to carry my camera, few layer of clothing, and some accessories. It worked well and I was happy with it.
To finalize, do I recommend Craghoppers?
Sure! They do have high quality travel clothing that can fit well to your travel and fashion styles. They have also some great fabric technology that can come in handy in some countries. I’m actually looking to test my t-shirt and hoodie in Tanzania this winter (lot of mosquitoes and UV). My recommendation would be to pay attention to the sizing charts to make sure their sizing matches your body size. As for the rest, when it comes to quality and style, Craghoppers is good at it.