A First Look At The Naturehike Shelter Camping Canopy Hammock

I’ve been struggling to get a good night’s sleep under the stars for a while now.

I actually made a post about it here, and on the back of a discussion with our community, concluded that I needed to try hammock camping.

Luckily for me, the lovely folks at Naturehike offered to provide me with their new lightweight backpacking hammock to try out.

I’m no novice to hammock camping, having done it for a few extended periods abroad, including sleeping in a Costa Rica jungle in a hammock, safely raised off the floor and away from the swathes of insects out to bite me.

I’ve also had the joy of hammock camping by the sea a few times, and know too well the relaxing swaying, and cradling a hammock gives you when you’re trying to sleep. It’s like nothing else.

My Naturehike hammock didn’t take long to arrive. Impressive, given it came from overseas. It was well packaged, and fit into a small drawstring sports bag – similar to what you get at JD Sports or Sports Direct. I’ve since transferred it to a stuff sack as I find it better for use outside and trekking.

I’ve since had a chance to test it out in the woods local to me, and I plan to use it on a few multi-day hikes this Autumn and into next year.

Honestly, if I can get away with it, I will use this over a tent. Why? it’s lighter, easier to pitch, and way more comfortable.

Product Specs

Size: Tent fly – 189x186cm, Hammock – 300x316cm
Tent fly fabric: 40D Nylon coated silicon plaid fabric
Hammock fabric: 75d pongee, B3 fine poly mesh
Packed Size: 26x40x12 (but can squeeze smaller in testing)

Build Quality

I extensively checked the seams, and stitch quality of the hammock and fly and was impressed with the sewing quality, and overall feel of durability across the piece despite its relatively low weight and affordable price point.

What I really liked was the metal rings sewn into the ends of the tarp reinforcing the attachment points and making it easy to rig mini-pulls to pull the cords taught.

Moreover, the fabric coverings that wrap around the top of the hammock were a nice feature to keep the bunched up fabric dry in heavy rain, which stops the soak slowly working its way down the hammock towards you.

The fabric for the fly is also an excellent choice – being durable enough but also feeling relatively lightweight.

Suitability For Long Distance Hiking

If you want to switch up your camping setup away from tents, and towards hammocks then this isn’t a bad place to start.

Let’s assume you already use a Vango Banshee 200, at 2.4kg and a pack size of 47×18, and a setup time of 7 minutes.

Now compare this to our hammock at around 1kg, and a pack size of 40×26 uncompressed and a setup time of around 5 minutes. Yes it’s marginal gains, but losing 1.4kg of weight is never a bad thing.

Suddenly you have a compelling alternative, which in all honestly is more comfortable than a tent. Better still, if you are using this in warmer summer months to wild camp you don’t even need a camping pad (but you do need one in colder conditions for insulation) saving further grams.

Yes, I agree that a hammock is not as versatile – it cant be pitched anywhere. However it can be pitched in most places as you will find trees everywhere from the edge of playing fields to small coppices of woodland or forests on route.

With enough research, you can be sure to find a number of potential hammock camping spots along most routes.

Overall I feel hammocks are well suited to long distance hiking on certain trails and make a nice alternative to sleeping under canvas.

The bad

I really didn’t like the bag it came in. For a product designed for outdoor use, I personally would have used a different bag. A compressing lightweight stuff sack, made from the same fabric as the tarp would be more fitting for the product.

The good

Initially, I was unsure whether I liked the colours. Shouldn’t a hammock be bushcraft green?? After use, I realized I love the colours. They are not discreet, so for silent camping, you may need to hide a bit further into the woods, but otherwise, the colour choice really works for me.

I’m also a big fan of the tarp and its overall size. It’s not so massive that it’s extra weight, but big enough to drop the sides down to keep you dry in sideways rain and to give you some privacy within the hammock setup.

I am a big fan of the ‘No Zipper Design’. Here’s a fact. Zips fail, always. Whether it’s a year from purchase, or 5, your zip will always fail. And on a product like a hammock where tension is put on variable parts of a hammock the zip will fail quicker.

Fortunately, Naturehike has put a ‘No Zipper Design’ entry point into the hammock which closes with gravity and can then be velcroed together.

I wasn’t sure of the velcro opening at first, but now I love it. It’s also really easy to get into as you enter the hammock centrally instead of trying to roll in over the side, which can cause you to roll out the other side.

I also really like how Naturehike offers aftersales support and replies to their emails. Many overseas companies don’t, yet Naturehike offer original products and stands behind them with good customer support.

Overall thoughts On The Naturehike Shelter Camping Canopy Hammock

I’m really impressed with the product and will be using it over my tent going forwards If I am sure that I can get away with pitching it on routes for the duration of a trip. Honestly, we have enough coppices of woodland remaining to get away with using a hammock in the UK on most long-distance trails – particularly on lower routes such as the Yorkshire Wold Way for example.

The build quality is reassuring, and although it’s not the lightest hammock on the market it’s priced very generously for what it offers.


Naturehike Shelter Camping Hammock

Reviewed by Matthew Usherwood, Editor at DistanceHiker.com


Last Thoughts

An excellent hammock at a great price. Don’t be alarmed by the lack of weight, or pack size as honestly, it’s lighter than even the lightest tents but it is heavier than some competitor hammocks.

If you want a hammock to start your hammock camping journey then this is an excellent place to start.


The Ultimate Nitecore NU25 Headtorch Review

I quite like outdoor gear made in China.

I’ve got a number of reasons for that, which I will save for another article but simply, gear purchased directly from China, is quite simply, affordable. And for me that is hugely appealing.

Nitecore is no exception.

I discovered this brand after hunting for a new headtorch. I know most headtorches are made in China – probably all of them.

First I looked at Alpkits range. Out of stock, and the one I was replacing was Alpkit and honestly, I wasn’t that impressed with it.

I couldn’t justify a Petzl. I don’t have £80.00 to burn on a light.

And everything else I looked at on Amazon was questionable.

Then I thought – what do long distance hikers in South East Aisa use? That’s when I came across Nitecore, only to find out, it’s got quite a following here.

Nitcore do a number of torches, from heavyweight ones designed for caving and rescue, to lights designed to be positioned on top of a gun to see the people you are shooting.

So if it’s good enough for shooting people, it’s good enough for use on the trail or around the campsite.


I dug deeper into the extensive product range and discovered the Nitecore NU25 – An ultralight headtorch that packs a reasonable punch considering its size and weight.

This is what the review will be about. The nifty little Nitecore NU25, is your new best friend at night, while on the trail, or setting up camp.

Ultralight hikers, take heed, this one is for you.

Product Specs

Weight: 28 g without headband, 51g with headband.
Dimensions: 2.19″ x 1.36″ x 0.91″ (its really small!)
Built in power indicator (more about that shortly)
USB rechargeable
Cable included
Lockout functionality
Three colours to choose from (I went for black 🦇)

Nitecore NU25 Brightness Levels

Nitecore publish the following brightness levels for the torch

Turbo: 360 lumens – 30 mins runtime
High: 190 lumens – 5 hrs runtime
Mid: 38 lumens – 8 hrs runtime
Low: 1 lumen – 160 hrs runtime
High CRI White Light: 20 lumens – 6 hrs 15 mins runtime
Red Light High: 13 lumens – 7 hrs 45 mins runtime
Red Light Low: 0.9 lumens – 68 hrs runtime
Red Light Caution: 13 lumens – 13 hrs runtime

For the purpose of this review, I wanted to test the Turbo to see if it ran for 30 minutes, from new as suggested. Given the nature of lithium-ion batteries which pretty much all modern electronics use, these times will reduce with use.

Upon testing the torch on Turbo it ran for 40 minutes. I expect that to reduce over time.

Turbo has more than enough power for a spot of Nav, and actually isn’t that much brighter than High, which offers 5 hrs of runtime.

Nitecore NU25 Review

Honestly, I am impressed with this torch.

For the price it’s a bargain, and it performs remarkably well, by that I mean it has a good focus of light, without being too directional, or too spread out.

Some head torches can be very spread out making them great for lighting up a whole tent, but awful for navigation or use in the hills.

The Nitecore NU25 is a good compromise. It reaches ahead by about 20-30 meters on Turbo and 15 meters on High making it good enough for a bit of night Nav, but perhaps not suitable if you are planning to walk in difficult terrain over bad weather during the night.

The headtorch is very ergonomic despite the size. It features a single rubbery button on the top. Hit the right of the button as many times as you need to select the brightness of the main light, or hit the left side for the red light.

In addition, it rocks back and forth on its frame, so positioning is easy, and without much friction.

The torch can be charged via the Micro USB slot, which is hidden under a water-resistant flap at the bottom of the torch. The slot is well made, with the rubber flap being quite substantial and unlike some Micro USB slots isn’t difficult to put a cable into, or isn’t too loose either.

I would however have preferred a USB C slot, which I find more durable in the long run and as they are double-sided, you don’t need to faf around trying to get the plug into the jack.

The headstrap is also well designed. It’s not just a simple elasticated strap. Instead, it features raised rubber ridges to allow for better friction against your head or headwear. It’s easily adjusted, and due to the low weight of the torch, doesn’t need to be overtightened as it really doesn’t pull down at all, unlike some heavier torches.

The torch itself is very light. This will appeal to the ultralight hikers here. Its held together in a robust plastic shell, which doesn’t seem to have any give on it or any points where it can be pressed in or easily crushed in a bag or by stepping on it. Overall the durability is on point with the Nitecore NU25.

Product name – the bad

Honestly, other than the poor choice of USB connection, I’m struggling to figure out what I don’t like about this headtorch.

As with any product from China, don’t expect aftersales. I’m not speaking from experience with this particular product, but I am aware that you are unlikely to find any warranty or guarantee on most products sourced from China.

Product name – the good

I love the low weight of this headtorch, and of course the price, given the quality of the item, especially when compared with other headtorches of a similar specification.

I also really like the look of it. It’s low profile, not looking like a cheap headtorch with a sticking-out lamp or any nonsense that shouldn’t be there. It looks great and most importantly its practical.

Overall thoughts on Product Name

Frankly, if you are in need of a half-decent headtorch that is affordable then I think the Nitecore should be on your shortlist of purchases. You could buy a Black Diamond or Petzl, but expect to pay 2-3 times the price for the same level of performance and durability.


Nitecore NU25

Reviewed by Matthew Usherwood, Editor at DistanceHiker.com


Last Thoughts

An excellent headtorch for the ultralight enthusiast, novice, and expert alike who don’t want to buy into ‘big brands’ yet want the performance. You cannot really go too far wrong here.


Small Home Grown Outdoor Brands Making A Big Impact

Where there is passion, there is progress.

This certainly applies to the Outdoor Industry – which makes all of our awesome gear for long distance hiking adventures.

The big brands are consistently pushing the envelope of what’s possible in terms of fabric, design, and scale of manufacturing.

However, when some customers don’t find what they need, naturally, necessity breeds innovation.

This post intends to shine a light on some of the exciting garage grown / cottage industry outdoor gear companies, from backpacks, to tents and everything inbetween.

Atom Packs

Atom packs certainly deserves the top place on this article, gaining a cult following over the past couple of years as a go-to ultralightweight brand. It ticks all the boxes of being a successful business, from sporting made in Britain credentials, to outputting a high quality product.

You can find more out about Atom Packs on their website.


Ever used those ‘Fieldnotes’ notepads? They look great on your desk, in a ‘Layflat’ insta shot with a coffee, your Mac and a few nice pens, but try taking one into a field and using it to record notes.
Yea, that paper ain’t going to hold up to any bad weather. Fortunately we have Thrunotes, which as the name suggests is inspired by a love of Thruhiking. Founded by Russ Hepton, AKA Trail Hunter, Thrunotes makes for a durable, and attractive choice for your long distance hiking journal, or sketch pad.

You can find more out about Thru Notes on their website.

Outdoor Provisions

I often make snacks for my longer days out, such as high-energy peanut butter, honey and nut filled flapjacks, but honestly, I don’t always have time.

For this reason alone, brands such as Outdoor Provisions are fantastic as they sell high quality energy loaded snacks for the trail.

If you love peanut butter you will love Outdoor Provisions. Lugging a jar of nut butter up a hill isn’t always the best weight saving option, BUT with Outdoor Provisions nut butter sachets, you can have nut butter on hand at all times for your nutty fix.

You can find more out about Outdoor Provisions on their website.


If tins of beans and surviving off porridge while on the trail isn’t your cup of tea, ration packs or camping meals is the next best thing. Some options are questionable (avoid those Military ration packs that never expire).

Fortunately the folks at TentMeals have come up with a great solution.

TentMeals mostly sell vegetarian/vegan options, loaded with dried couscous, or freeze-dried rice, nuts, dried veg, and spices.

Their rave reviews, due to the compact packaging, and great taste win them a space on this article.

You can find more out about TentMeals on their website.

Buffalo Systems

Lets get this straight. Buffalo systems make excellent gear, but it is not ultralight if thats what you are looking for. Buffalo run a small-ish operation, concentrating on unchanged timeless designs. Their kit is generally made with pertex, and by an experience team of seamsters and seamstresses who know the gear well (kind of like Atom packs!)

If you want good quality gear that lasts then Buffalo is worth considering.

You can find more out about Buffalo Systems on their website.

Kula Cloth

As the shake to dry type, as my gender allows, a Kula Cloth isn’t much use to me. However for women who hike, the Kula Cloth has been a big hit and has even reached mainstream news in recent weeks. The Kula cloth is essentially a re-usable antimicrobial pee-cloth which allows women to clean.

The Kula Cloth is a USA brand but7 Wonderful Benefits of Long Distance Walking available in the UK through friend of Distance Hiker Vampire Outdoors.

How Much Water Should You Carry When Backpacking And Trekking

It’s always a bit depressing when you have nailed a healthy base weight on your pack, complete with

your trimmed toothbrush, and ultralight sleeping bag, only to put another 2kg in your bag of water.

Yet, water is essential for survival, and we need to drink regularly to avoid sunstroke, dehydration, and a range of other unpleasantries.

I’m not going to suggest the formula to how much water to carry, as this would vary depending on where you are walking. Influencing factors could include, age, weather, sweat rate, body type, and how strenuous the trail is

However, as a guide, a half-liter of water per hour is a good starting point.

In this article, I will lay out how to prepare for water, how to carry water, and how to find water
on the trail.

Water prep

First, lets talk about bottles.

Take yourself down to any outdoor shop and you will find a wide range of bottles, from Nalogen flasks to soft flasks and bladders.

All are fine to use, and your bottle of choice will really depend on how you wish to travel.

The choices of the bottle, with pros and cons, generally tend to be:

Hard bottles, such as Nalogen (plastic) and stigg (metal)

Pros: They are tough as nails. You can scratch, puncture and drop these bottles and they are unlikely to bleed the wet stuff.
Cons: They are heavy…

Bladders, such as playtapus, and camelback

Pros: They fit neatly in your bag, close to your back and can be accessed easily with a straw.
Cons: When they leak, they can ruin your day

Softflask such as …..

Pros: They weigh very little
Cons: They won’t last as long as other bottles

The other option is a smart water bottle. You know the ones. Pair this with a sawyer water filter, which screws on top, and you have yourself an ultralight refillable bottle.

Testing your gear

Having a pre-hike shakedown, especially if you are not yet sure on the best setup for your needs is strongly advised.

Planning refills

If you are not planning to carry a filter, which will vastly improve your ability to collect water from a range of sources (stream, resivour etc), then I strongly suggest having a water plan.

by this I mean, at least spend 20 minutes checking possible refil stops on route. This can include towns, where it will be obvious where you can fill up, shops and supermarkets, water fountains, and campsites. Bascially, having a list, or markers on a map of possible refil oppoortunities allows you to keep your water topped up. For well populated long distance trails (Thames Path for example) this is less of an issue, but for routes like the Pennine Way, or West Highland Way I strongly suggest a bit of planning ahead.

Carrying Water

When carrying water you need to make sure its actually accessable.

Bladders by their nature are designed to be accessable with a straw being available by your mouth at all times – perfect for frequent sipping.

Softflasks are also great if paired with a bag which allows you to holster bottles at the front since they can be accessed without any difficulty

Bigger bottles like a nalogen or sigg tend to get stashed at the back of your bag where the water bottle pockets are big enough to take them.

Choosing a rucksack for long distance hiking

Some serious baggage

A comfortable rucksack is essential for any kind of long distance hiking and I decided to make that my first purchase. The last time I did a multi-day hike, when I was a teenager back in the early nineties, my rucksack was basically a canvas bag slipped onto a large metal frame. Comfort didn’t feature in its design, and I don’t remember it having useful things like pockets, or separate compartments, or anything more than shoulder straps. How things have changed, and how very confusing it all was – not to mention potentially expensive

After looking online, watching YouTube videos from helpful outdoorsy people, and reading a lot of reviews and blog posts – including this one – I decided to splash out on an Osprey. I didn’t want my walking to be spoilt by an uncomfortable pack or problems with my back – you only get one spine and it’s worth looking after it, especially when you’re going to be carrying a lot of weight

The rucksack

The front

I bought an Osprey Renn 65, knowing it was probably a bit big but figuring that as long as I didn’t cram it full of unnecessary things, it would give me room to carry extra food or water if I needed to, to take off and pack away an outer layer easily, and to avoid having to fight to pack and unpack it. It’s adjustable to your torso length to make sure it fits properly and is comfortable, or as comfortable as carrying a heavy pack can be. It also has load adjusters plus plenty of pockets and compressions straps, and not forgetting a nifty stowaway rain cover. You can see the full spec of my pack and the men’s version on the Osprey website

The back

‘Ow much?!

I’m a Yorkshirewoman and, true to the stereotype, I like to get my money’s worth out of everything. Buying a  rucksack at the top of my budget is my way of making sure I don’t back out of long distance hiking – it’s too big for a daypack so can only be used on multi-day hikes, and hangs on the back of my bedroom door as a reminder of the money spent and the adventures still to come. As it turns out, buying the Renn 65 turned out to be a really good decision, for reasons I wouldn’t know until later – but I’ll save that for a future post

What I learnt about buying a rucksack

  • Don’t pick a rucksack based on looks or colour
  • Be prepared to spend more than you might think
  • If you’re looking at a bigger pack, are you disciplined enough to not fill it with unnecessary things “just in case”
  • Check all the features you want are there – is it adjustable in all the right places, is it designed for a hydration pack, are there the compartments and pockets you need, does it come with a waterproof cover, is it around the weight you’re looking for
  • Try it on – weight the pack (if you’re in a store, ask them if you can borrow some of their stock to do this) and adjust it to fit you. You’ll need to try it and adjust it for all the layers you’re likely to wear – base layer, middle layer, jacket, waterproofs. While you’re doing that, see how easy it is to adjust – will you be able to do that on a wet day on the trail after throwing on waterproofs
  • Look at yourself in a mirror – can you see any pinch points where straps look likely to rub, and if you adjust to remove those is the pack still as comfy