*AD – This post includes items gifted by Decathlon
For my new-found love and appreciation for hiking and all things outdoorsy, it’s essential that I equip myself appropriately, right? Any new hobby needs some new kit, and I’m lucky enough to be one of Decathlon’s group of bloggers and have been given some items from their Quechua hiking range to review.
Where better to test out some new products, than on the hiking trails of Central Portugal? So a little while ago when I visited my Dad, I took myself off on a little hike to Fornea, a beautiful view-point less than 2 hours drive from the capital Lisbon. Those of you who follow my instagram know that I might have taken a little tumble on this particular hike…no major damage done apart from a hole in both my knee and my leggings. Thankfully, I had snapped all my photos before that happened, and no….I wasn’t taking a selfie when I fell. That is something I wouldn’t be able to live down!
Rainwarm 3-in-1 Waterproof Jacket – £39.99 now £29.99
A 3-in-1 jacket is perfect for the unpredictable weather of both the UK and Portugal (no, it is not sunny all the time once you head up the Silver Coast). The cosy inner fleece is stylish enough to wear on its own in chilly but dry conditions, but double it up with the fully waterproof outer layer, and you’re ready for almost anything the weather can throw at you! Hiking in March in Europe is unpredictable at best, so I was grateful to have the fleece layer as I started my hike, which ended up around my waist as I heated up, and then went straight on again once I hit the peak and the windy conditions at the top.
The waterproof layer in itself is pretty versatile, with removable hood and multiple pockets for your phone, map, and snacks of course. The fabric is strong and durable, designed to not wear in the places a backpack might rub. I’ve worn it in London actually, when the weather is wet and drizzly, but mild, so there’s no need to overheat while wearing a super thick waterproof on public transport. If you like little details, you’ll love the soft floral lining of this jacket, ensuring it’s not just a functional waterproof, but a stylish one too.
Quechua 40l Backpack – £34.99
Designed at the Decathlon Mountain Store in France, which I had the pleasure of visiting last year, this backpack is perfect for beginner hikers taking on a 3-4 hour hike. There is plenty of room to carry everything you might need from food and water, to extra layers and accessories if needed. Despite its size, it’s super comfortable with a ventilated back and padded straps. For heavy loads, it has both a chest and waist strap, which keep the bag secure while hiking. The waist strap even has a mini bag attached to it to access all those vital items without needing to take the bag off.
I used this bag for both my luggage and my hiking bag while in Portugal. It had plenty of space for 4 days of clothing, and although a little too big for some airline carry-ons, it’s worth checking if you can go without checking in a bag and just using that for short trips!
I didn’t actually take this on my recent trip, but I cannot stress how much a pole helped when I was hiking last year! When walking over uneven terrain, especially downhill, it just gives that bit of stability without having to grab for the nearest tree branch. The one Decathlon sent me is adjustable from 63-130cm and shock absorbing to protect the joints on heavy descents. Who knows, if I’d have been using a pole when I was away last time, I might not have taken a tumble….we’ll never know!
Thanks Decathlon for not only providing me with some fabulous kit, but also being the company that has encouraged me to get into more outdoor activities and adventures. I’m planning more trips in the UK and beyond, where I want hiking and walking to be a planned part of my trip, not just something I decide on last-minute when there’s nothing else to do.
These items were gifted to my by Decathlon for the purpose of this review. All words and images my own.