Sunday 28 April 2013

New The Great Outdoors: Pacific Crest Trail, Backpacking Abroad, Stoves Review & Load Monster Pack Test

High Sierra scenery along the Pacific Crest Trail
Just out: the latest The Great Outdoors magazine. This is the Spring issue, sandwiched between April and May. A main theme is hiking overseas and my contribution to this is a big feature on my Pacific Crest Trail hike, illustrated with my old Kodachrome slides (another one of which you can see above), which have mostly scanned very well. My backpacking column is also about hiking overseas, in particular to places with guaranteed sunshine. In the gear pages I review 13 stoves - four meths burners and nine canister stoves - plus the big Osprey Xenith 88 load monster pack.

On the overseas theme this issue also has suggestions for ten great trekking destinations ranging from the Himalaya to Norway from Ben Lerwill (I've been to six of these and would recommend them all) plus, in the Hill Skills section, advice on dealing with high altitudes from  Nancy Chambers and Nigel Williams of Glenmore Lodge and on staying healthy in general overseas from Helen Barnard of Plas y Brenin. In the same section Kev Reynolds looks at trekking in the Himalaya and Tom Shearman at trekking in the Andes.

This issue isn't all about foreign travel though and there's plenty of British stuff. This includes an excellent feature on a first backpacking trip to Knoydart by David Lintern and suggestions for weekend walking in the Lake District from Hanna Lindon.

Elsewhere in the magazine Ben Lerwill describes the mountaineering history of the Pen-y-Pass Youth Hostel in Snowdonia; various writers, including myself, consider digital technology in the mountains; Ed Byrne tries bushcraft in a wood somewhere in deepest Oxfordshire; Roger Smith looks at the privatisation of the Search and Rescue helicopter service and also discusses what appears to be a shift in the Scottish government policy on wind farms on wild land; Jim Perrin praises Robert Louis Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes; Daniel Neilson reviews seven sub £140 waterproof jackets; and Judy Armstrong tests six pairs of women's walking trousers.


  1. Phew, what a great edition of TGO. A real breath of fresh air to see so many inspirational overseas locations profiled. At the same time, there is a certain irony that in our small country (Scotland at least) wild camping and trail access is free and easy. But, as as you lament in your article, in the big wide open spaces of North Amwerica, the zoning system and wilderness management used in some areas can feel quite restrictive.
    Dave Porter

  2. Chris - where is this edition available? It doesn't seem to be available through my ipad app and I couldn't see it in WH Smiths in Bristol either.


  3. It may not be in the shops or available on the app yet. I think the official publishing date is May 2. Subscribers usually get their editions first.

    1. Sorry if my early description of the issue has had you spending time trying to find it. With 13 issues a year I sometimes get confused as to when they are actually published! And sometimes I don't get a copy until after it has appeared in the shops. It's best to check with the TGO office rather than me.

  4. Chris - thanks for the clarification!