Wednesday 2 November 2016

The Great Outdoors latest issue - sleeping under the stars, insulated jackets, solar panel

My last camp on my walk from Yosemite Valley to Death Valley

In my backpacking column in the November issue of The Great Outdoors, in the shops now, I write about my love of sleeping under the stars and how much I was looking forward to not needing a shelter on my walk from Yosemite Valley to Death Valley, which I was about to set off on when I wrote the piece. In fact I slept out on thirteen nights and used my tarp on thirteen more, either to cut the wind or for privacy on campgrounds. Another six nights were spent indoors.

In the gear reviews I look at the Powertraveler Extreme solar panel and power pack. I used this on the walk and submitted the review after a week or so. I'm pleased to say the unit continued to work well for the rest of the trip, powering my phone, cameras, watch and e-reader. I also review eighteen insulated jackets, including one I took on the walk. Elsewhere in the gear pages Will Renwick reviews twelve pairs of softshell trousers.

The rest of the magazine contains an interesting mix of material. The Hill Skills pages are about digital navigation with a good piece about navigating with a smartphone by Alex Roddie. On my walk I used ViewRanger on my smartphone frequently for navigating in pathless desert terrain.

Cameron McNeish praises Glen Affric, a wonderful place at any time of year but especially specatacular in autumn, while Paul Beasley visits the Lake District with Wordsworth in mind. Peter Aylmer arrives in Berwick and describes his long walks across England, Wales and Scotland and the fourteen years it took to complete them. Further afield Mike MacEacheran enjoys the Tour du Mont Blanc. Staying in one place Jim Crumley contemplates the Buachaille Etive Mor, one of Scotland's great mountains, in an excerpt from his latest book, The Nature of Autumn, a book I am really looking forward to reading. Another book that sounds essential reading is Simon McCartney's The Bond, about what happened on two climbs in Alaska many years ago, which is praised highly in a review by Jim Perrin, who also discusses Jon Krakauer's books Into Thin Air and Into The Wild, both well worth reading.

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