Person wearing a jacket and smiling

Meet Phoebe Hewitt:

Outdoor Kit Specialist

As we welcome the approaching winter days, our outdoor experiences naturally take on a new charm, as do our kit choices. We caught up with our very own Copywriter and outdoor kit specialist, Phoebe Hewitt, who shares her passion for venturing onto fresh trails with dear friends, delves into the value of long-lasting outdoor kit, and shines a light on the positive impact this has on our planet.


Plus, she offers gifting advice that will leave every outdoor enthusiast with a smile.

People preparing a snack wearing knit wear

Where in the UK do you love to explore?


I love popping on my hiking boots, leggings, and a knitted jumper or fleece and getting my dog out for a crisp morning walk up at Leigh Woods in Bristol - this is my happy place. He enjoys chasing the crunchy, newly fallen leaves, and I enjoy sipping on a chai latte from my coffee flask – bliss!


A close second would be a walk along the coast, especially up in Horsey, Norfolk, to see the seal pups with paper-wrapped fish & chips to warm up after. And, of course, it is the best time of year to curl up with a good book by the fireplace, dry off your soggy coat and socks after the dog walk, and just chill out. 

Tell us about your most-loved piece of kit.

My Patagonia Down Sweater Full-Zip Hoody is my favourite. In the early 2010s, my mum bought herself a new bright yellow Patagonia Micro Puff Jacket and passed on her older volcanic blue Down Sweater Full-Zip Hoody to take to university and throw on for dog walks. This jacket had a whole life before I owned it. I even remember it many years ago, out on family walks and skiing trips!


I've had it for 10-plus years - it's been on archaeological digs around the UK, up to the top of the Langtang trail in Nepal, crushed into the bottom of a rucksack for four months around Southeast Asia, and is still with me now on every chilly morning dog walk. 


Plus, after a fire pit incident, I shipped it off to Patagonia's Worn Wear service for a stitch-up. It now has dark navy blue patches along its rear and chest. If I ever need another jacket – which I hope I don't – a Patagonia Down Hoody would top my list.

A collage of a women wearing different outdoor kit

How do you make your outdoor kit last longer?

As I'm outdoors a lot, maintaining my kit and doing my bit for our planet is a top priority for me. In today's world of fast fashion, it's crucial to counteract waste in landfills by responsibly repairing and tending to our outdoor equipment. 


As winter approaches, a key practice is to regularly clean and wipe down your hiking footwear. This prevents the build-up of mud, which can harm the outer layers and membranes – a simple way to keep your boots in play for longer!


Cotswold Outdoor offer a range of products to protect your kit, plus an in-store recycling service for kit that can no longer be repaired. 

If you could choose the perfect Christmas present for a friend and fellow outdoor enthusiast, what would it be and why?

The Patagonia Retro Pile Fleece for sure! I bought one for my boyfriend in the past, but I also gifted a Retro Pile Marsupial Fleece to myself too...


For me, this is the perfect everyday throw-on fleece that's effortlessly stylish and exceptionally durable. Soft and cosy on both the outside and inside and made with 100% recycled polyester fleece. It comes with a heat-dumping neck zipper to help beat the chill, roomy handwarmer pockets for cold hands, and even a handy zippered chest pocket for a phone or keys.


It comes in a wide range of colours and styles suitable for any outdoor enthusiast looking for the perfect mid-layer that can do it all. So, whether your friend likes to explore the mountains, walk their dog, travel the globe, or is always complaining about that long walk down the pub to meet you for a drink - this ultra-soft, lightweight fleece is - quite simply - a must-have!

A collage of a women wearing different outdoor kit

Please share a memorable outdoor experience that strengthened your connection to conserving our environment.

One of my favourite moments that left me with a strong connection to our natural world is when I helped with an ecological rescue operation during an archaeological project in Southern England.


A new housing development threatened a local badger sett, so we carefully designed an artificial sett on protected land nearby. Employing specialised cages and a well-coordinated team effort, we safely relocated the badgers one by one to their new habitat. 


Plus, hiking and being outdoors are my passions, whether in the UK or abroad. Our country is home to beautiful creatures like foxes, deer, badgers, squirrels, kestrels, owls – the list is endless! So, maintaining the delicate balance of our ecosystem is super important to me. I'm dedicated to creating safe and nurturing spaces for wildlife, not just locally but also on a global scale.


A collage of a women wearing different outdoor kit

What challenges has the outdoors helped you overcome?

As a child, I suffered from asthma. I was always last in every race on the school track, leading the back of every group of friends on walks.


Later in life (thanks to numerous dog walks), I grew to love being outside and taking things at my own pace. I stopped pushing myself to keep up with others which allowed me to relax and take in my surroundings. Wildlife spotting and tackling challenging hikes began to pique my curiosity, especially when travelling abroad.


In 2018, my boyfriend urged me to join on a journey to Nepal's Langtang trail. I was scared! As not too long ago, I heavily relied on inhalers and shied away from steep climbs. The prospect of traversing high rocky paths, grappling with altitude adjustments, and enduring long days of continuous walking seemed daunting. But the possibility of seeing red pandas and yaks eventually swayed me. 


Over six days, we navigated our way up and down the trail, finding solace in local tea houses and enjoying Dal Bhat and Momo dumplings. It took every bit of my willpower to put one foot before the other and keep going, but I still look back on it now as a proud accomplishment. The only mistake can be to not give it a go - you may surprise even yourself.

Who do you love to explore the outdoors with, and why?

I love to explore the outdoors with friends. Having a group around you that loves adventure creates the perfect outdoor experience.


Camping out together under the stars, cooking breakfast, then having a whole day outside tackling the trails, exploring the unknown and preparing for unpredictable weather. Plus, walking to the summit and exchanging stories over a drink and a meal down the pub at the end of the day. These are the memories my friends and I always enjoy reminiscing over together whenever we meet up.

Thanks, Phoebe, for sharing your stories and expert kit advice. If you’re ready for adventure – no matter what mother nature throws your way – make sure to pop into your nearest Cotswold Outdoor store. Our team have all the knowledge and experience you need before setting off on your next adventure. Know what you need but not sure what size? Book an in-store appointment and find your perfect fit, first time. 

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