Thursday 7 January 2010

New TGO - winter backpacking & cartridge stoves

The February issue of TGO is just out. My backpacking column is very appropriate at present as it’s about winter hiking and camping. In gear I’ve reviewed ten cartridge stoves, looking at how heat exchanger models compare with standard ones. Elsewhere John Manning reviews gloves, also apposite in this cold weather. (It’s -2 outside at present, with two feet of snow on the ground. I was outside earlier cutting firewood wearing an old pair of Extremities Guide Gloves, made from Windstopper fleece with a leather palm and fingers, as these are excellent for handling the saw and axe). And Eddy Meecham looks at insulating mats and why they aren’t always as warm as the R-values suggest, which is also useful information for snow camping. Other features in this TGO include an ascent of the high points in each country of Europe, dawn in the Arran mountains, Helvellyn in winter, the Welsh 3,000s, Jim Perrin on stravaiging (one of his best recent pieces), a profile of Outward Bound, and Paddy Dillon on the changing face of the Pennine Way.

Photo info: A winter camp in the Glen Affric hills. Canon EOS 350D, 18-55@41mm, 1/640@ f8, ISO 100, tripod, raw file converted to JPEG in Lightroom 2.6


  1. Looking forward to it, Chris.
    You seem to be busy today. The BBC have obviously been scouring the UK for people to give 'How to Drive' and 'How to Walk' advice. You were very restrained, not plugging snow shoes, skis, or even crampons (which are now de rigueur here in Timperley).
    Have fun in the snow!

  2. Hi Chris

    I ask this out of genuine curiosity...

    I enjoy a spring/summer/autumn camp but have not tried anything in winter (I'll confess that I don't intend to anytime soon).

    How do you fill the long dark hours on a winter camp? Of course there is eating and sleeping and maybe a good book but 15 hours or so seems a long time to me!

  3. Dougie, the good book is a key! I often don't make camp until after dark too and usually get up before dawn so I'm ready to go when it's light. That can reduce the time in the tent when I'm awake to 2-3 hours in the evening. But even when I'm in the tent for 5 hours or more before going to sleep I find plenty to occupy me - cooking (three courses in winter), eating, reading, making notes and, if the weather's okay, sky watching.

  4. Phreerunner, I was tempted! Actually, I would have mentioned micro spikes and similar if I'd had a few seconds more. I don't think I'd have dared recommend crampons though, even if I'd already seen your photos!

  5. Your article on stoves had me trying to track down a retailer of the new Primus Spider, not much luck it must be said. I did find a shop in Warwick that is hoping to take delivery next week. Shame as I could have given it a good test this weekend when I'm out.

  6. Baz, sorry you couldn't find a Spider. It is a brand new model so I guess most shops don't have stock yet.