It's a bumper year for the T3 Awards, with more categories than ever before. This article is dedicated to the Outdoors category winners for 2022, including the Best Drone, Best Waterproof Jacket, Best Action Camera, Best Tent, Best Camera, Best Hiking Boots and Best Walking shoes.
Our Outdoors awards are all about the products that help you get in touch with your adventurous side. Whether you're looking for top quality, well designed and ultra-functional kit to help explore the great outdoors in comfort, or the tech that'll help you capture and record your excursions, we've tested it and found the best-in-class examples.
This is an area that never disappoints when it comes to innovation, with brands constantly striving to improve on comfort, cut down on weight, add cool new features, take a more eco-friendly route, or tweak designs to maximise performance. 2022 has brought with it the launch of plenty of noteworthy new products, many of which get a shout out below. So let's get on and reveal the big T3 Awards 2022 winners in the Outdoor category.
Best Drone: Autel EVO Nano+
2022 was the year when DJI, the brand that had long dominated the top half of our best drone ranking, finally got some proper competition. It came in the form of a veritable fleet of new drones from Autel Robotics at the start of the year: the sub-250g Autel EVO Nano and Autel EVO Nano+, as well as the larger, prosumer-aimed Autel Evo Lite+. All three impressed enough to warrant an inclusion in our shortlist for this year's award, but in the end it was the Nano+ that snagged the top prize.
It's essentially the same the Nano, but with one big upgrade: the camera, which is a different beast altogether. When it comes to shooting aerial videography and photography, the Nano Plus blew us away – this compact drone will shoot phenomenal 4K video footage and aerial photos in practically any light, thanks to an awesome f1.9 aperture. There's also got three-way obstacle avoidance, and impressively smooth gimbal controller and excellent video transmission quality. And of course, it all comes in below that all-important sub-250g weight limit.
That's not to say that DJI didn't have such a strong year; quite the opposite, in fact. Since the last T3 Awards, we've seen several impressive new launches, including the DJI Mavic 3 and the DJI Mini 3 Pro – this year's Highly Commended Drone. The latter dropped while we were in the middle of finalising our Awards winners and prompted some serious head-scratching when it came to who should take the crown.
In our opinion, the footage isn't quite as good as the Nano+ (although it's still excellent), but elsewhere this drone is absolutely outstanding. It comes equipped with a wide f1.7 aperture for low light shooting, a new (optional) controller with integrated screen so you don't have to sacrifice your smartphone while flying, and the ability to shoot in TikTok- and Insta-friendly true vertical mode.
The Best Drone shortlist
Autel EVO Lite+
Autel EVO Nano
Winner: Autel EVO Nano+
DJI Air 2S
DJI Mavic 3
Highly commended: DJI Mini 3 Pro
- Too pricey? Here are the best cheap drones to buy now
Best Action Camera: GoPro HERO 10 Black
When it comes to action cams, GoPro still reigns supreme. The HEROs have picked up multiple T3 Awards, and the latest flagship continues the trend: the GoPro HERO 10 Black is our Best Action Camera 2022. While it might look similar to its predecessor, the HERO 10 brings with it a major upgrade under the hood: the first new chipset since 2017. The GP2 delivers a noticeable improvement in speed and smoothness; this cam will flash though any task you set it. There's also a bump in image quality, feature upgrades including improved horizon levelling capabilities, and a naturally hydrophobic lens (a big win for watersports fans).
While there's still only one brand to beat when it comes to the best action cameras around, we saw some seriously impressive GoPro alternatives appearing on the market this year. The two most notable were the DJI Action 2 and the Insta360 ONE RS, both of which favour a modular design over GoPro's all-in-one approach. The Insta360 won us over completely, with its fiddly-but-fun swappable lenses, reversible screen and outstanding image quality (in some cases, better than the HERO). It's this year's Highly Commended, and well worth checking out if you want something a bit different.
Best Action Camera shortlist
DJI Action 2
Winner: GoPro HERO 10 Black
GoPro HERO 9 Black
Highly Commended: Insta360 ONE RS
- Too pricey? Here are the best budget action cameras
Best Hiking Boots: Berghaus Explorer Trek Gore-Tex
Every year we see the launch of hiking boots that offer something new – lighter, faster, tougher, comfier – which makes picking the T3 Award winner a tricky process. We've put plenty of boots through their paces this year, but our Best Hiking Boot for 2022 is the Berghaus Explorer Trek Gore-Tex hiking boot. These boots perform on and off the trail, thanks to a Vibram rubber sole with well-placed Opti-Stud lugs that help you feel balanced and in control even when dealing with wet rock or slippery mud.
The suede outer is tough and smart but still flexible, while the Gore-Tex liner will keep your toes reliably dry when the inevitable rain sets in. These are comfy straight out of the box, too, thanks to deep, cushiony insoles mould nicely to your feet over time.
As outstanding all-rounder, the Berghaus Explorer Trek Gore-Tex hiking boots are our top pick, but if you need something more technical or lighter weight, our guides to the best men's hiking boots and the best women's hiking boots will provide you with plenty of alternative options.
Best Hiking Boots shortlist
Winner: Berghaus Explorer Trek Gore-Tex Hiking Boots
Inov-8 ROCFLY G 390
Keen NXIS Evo Mid
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
On Cloudrock Waterproof hiking boots
Best Walking Shoes: Lowa Innox Pro GTX Lo
For days where the terrain is easy going and you don't want to be bothered with a bulky boot, check out the Lowa Innox Pro GTX Lo – our Best Walking Shoe winner for 2022.
This versatile design ticks pretty much all our boxes. The Gore-Tex liner, predictably, halts heavy rain in its tracks, but crucially this shoe is still plenty breathable enough to keep your feet comfortably cool even in balmy summer weather. Triangular lugs deliver excellent grip on maintained trails and tarmac, and the styling is smart enough to be suitable for city wear as well as countryside rambles. Where this shoe really shines, though, is when it comes to comfort. Deep, cushioned inner soles feel springy and sumptuously soft underfoot, and seem to mould to your foot for a custom-feeling fit that'll keep you comfy for long miles.
There are techier, more specialist options in our best men's walking shoe and best women's walking shoe rankings, but if you're looking for a versatile all-rounder, the Lowa Innox Pro GTX Lo won't let you down.
Best Walking Shoes shortlist
Ariat Skyline Low
Winner: Lowa Innox Pro GTX Lo
Salomon Predict Hike
Vivobarefoot Primus Trail II FG
Best Waterproof Jacket: Arc'teryx Beta
UK summers often warrant more waterproof-wearing than you'd ideally hope for, but thankfully this is another category where there are plenty of strong options to choose from. We tested lots of excellent waterproof jackets this year, but our favourite was the Arc'teryx Beta – the award-winner for 2022.
This jacket displays the same premium build quality that Arc'teryx is known for, with a lightweight and versatile design that makes it suitable for everything from walking the dog in a downpour to tackling mountain trails. For our Arc'teryx Beta jacket review we tested both the men's and women's versions, and were especially impressed with the construction quality – the seams are a thing of beauty – and how comfortable it is to wear. Thoughtful details, including a hood you can adjust single-handedly, help elevate the relatively simple design further. A worthy winner of this year's Best Waterproof award.
The Best Waterproof Jacket shortlist
Winner: Arc'teryx Beta waterproof jacket
Columbia OutDry ex Reign
Montane Men's Spine Jacket
Rab Kangri GTX jacket
- How to waterproof a jacket, plus top tips for jacket care
Best Tent: Sea to Summit Alto TR2 tent
Our top tent pick for this year's Awards is the Sea to Summit Alto TR2. Many of today's best backpacking tents are a little on the claustrophobic side – not so the Alto TR2, mainly thanks to an innovative upturned cross pole that delivers enough interior height to comfortably sit up in, as well as improving the ventilation situation.
Everything about this tent feels well designed and thought-through. Three separate stuff sacks mean you can easily distribute the weight between campers when out and about (the two smaller of which will easily fit into a pannier, if you fancy hopping on the bikepacking trend), and it's cinch to pitch, thanks to colour-coded poles and clips. There's a bit of versatility here, too: you can pitch the inner tent on its own (or with the fly half-off) if it's a dry night and you fancy a spot of stargazing, and you can also pitch the fly on its own if you just want a rain or sun cover while eating lunch, for example. Head to our Sea to Summit Alto TR2 tent review for more info.
This year's Best Tent winner is built to last and has a price tag in line with that level of quality. But if you want something for casual camping on a budget, head to Decathlon for our Highly Recommended pick: the Quechua 2 Seconds Easy Fresh & Black Pop-Up tent.
This cleverly designed option pings into place at the pull of a couple of drawcords (not quite a true popup tent, but close enough). That absurdly easy pitching, plus a roomy and functional interior, effective blackout fabric, and great value price make it the best festival tent option we've tested in a long time. In our Quechua 2 Seconds Easy Fresh & Black Pop-Up tent review, we also flagged up Decathlon's laudable sustainability efforts – the fly is made from a combination of undyed fabric and low-water dyed fabric, to lower the environmental impact of production.
The Best Tent shortlist
Decathlon Forclaz Dome Tent MT900 Minimal Editions
Outdoor Revolution Airedale 7SE Air Tent
Highly Commended: Quechua 2 Seconds Easy Fresh & Black Pop-Up tent
Robens Yukon Shelter Tent
Winner: Sea to Summit Alto TR2 tent
Best Camera: Canon EOS R6
The Canon EOS R6 has, for a second year running, won the T3 Award for Best Camera. This full-frame mirrorless camera from one of the biggest names in photography represents a coming-of-age for the EOS R system and shows off what this heritage company really is capable of when it puts its mind to it.
You get great image quality, superb autofocusing and fast frame rates. It offers a lot of best-in-class capabilities. Overall, everything about the Canon EOS R6 impresses us, and it’s great to see Canon really getting itself into gear when it comes to full-frame mirrorless options – especially after a little bit of a lacklustre start with the Canon EOS R, it feels like the system has finally come into its own with the R5 and the R6.
Ultimately, the Canon EOS R6 won the T3 Awards because it produces great images, and is extremely impressive when it comes to fast frame rates, super quick autofocusing and Eye AF. We think it's the ultimate camera around.
The Best Camera shortlist
Winner: Canon EOS R6
Panasonic Lumix GH6
Nikon Z6 II
Sony A7 IV