Friday 30 March 2012

May TGO: Pacific Crest Trail, Bivi Bags, NeoAir Xlite, Tent Pegs, Green Outdoor Gear & Backpacking with Ed Byrne

At Campo on the Mexican border at the start of the Pacific Crest Trail

Ready for the snowbound High Sierra with 23 days supplies and snow and ice gear.

Volcanic country along the PCT in Oregon with Mount Washington in the background

Thirty years ago this April I set off on the Pacific Crest Trail, my first long distance walk outside the UK. It was to be a life-changing experience. In the May issue of TGO, just out, I describe my walk (briefly!) in my backpacking column. Just writing it up and looking at my old slides sent shivers down my spine. How exciting it was!

A rather different backpacking trip is described by Ed Byrne, who I took wild camping in Glen Feshie. I described this trip, without mentioning Ed, in my blog for March 1.

On gear I review a selection of bivi bags, try the new NeoAir XLite air mattress and answer a question on tent pegs while Judy Armstrong tries a dozen pairs of women’s 3-season boots and Daniel Neilson likes the Arc’teryx Gamma SL Hybrid Hoody.

I also write about gear and the outdoor industry in general in a piece called The Green Outdoors in a special supplement, Tread Softly, about greener hillwalking. Elsewhere in this supplement there are pieces on caring for gear; reusing and recycling gear; key figures in the outdoors industry describing their work – Nick Brown of Nikwax/Paramo, Rohan co-founder Sarah Howcroft on her Recycle Outdoor Gear project and Debbie Luffman of Finisterre on Bowmont sheep (UK wool that could rival merino); suggestions for car-free walks and plane-free travel; leave no trace tips and Tanya Bascombe of the European Outdoor Conservation Association describing its work.

In the actual magazine itself the theme, as daylight hours grow, is big days out. Dan Bailey, who has a new book on the subject called Great Mountain Days in Scotland that looks good, describes ten big summit days in the Highlands; Tim Gent suggests a long peak-bagging walk on Dartmoor and Ronald Turnbull recommends the Caldew Circuit, a long walk over the Northern Fells including Blencathra and Skiddaw.

Away from the summits Cameron McNeish describes organising his own trek in the Himalayas; Daniel Neilson tries scrambling and climbing in Snowdonia and Jim Perrin write passionately about the Kinder Trespass on its eightieth anniversary and, in his Hillwalkers’ Library column, about a book I haven’t read, Jean Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees, that sounds interesting. In the Hill Skills section Kevin Walker describes search techniques for finding an obstinately hidden objective; Tom Durham looks at how to deal with soft tissue injuries; Chris Highcock looks at why you get tired and what to do about it and Chris Fenn describes some delicious sounding and looking trail mix. 

Note: the PCT pictures are scans from Kodachrome 64 slides taken with a Pentax ME Super SLR camera with 28mm and 50mm lenses.


  1. what a pack!!!.
    id have given in and found a mule to tote it for me...

  2. If you are Planing for the camping and want to spend many days there so this is useful for you because that time you have to have Portable Camping Stoves for cooking some food and this is very good opportunities go out for camping.thanks for such a nice blog.
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