Magazine article Geographical

Gadgets & Gizmos: Although Major Pieces of Kit, Such as a Backpack and a Tent, Are Essential for Outdoor Life, It Is Often the Less Obvious Accessories Which, Once Used, Become the First Thing on Your Packing List. Steve Watkins Discovers Size Isn't Everything. (Geographical Crucial Kit)

Magazine article Geographical

Gadgets & Gizmos: Although Major Pieces of Kit, Such as a Backpack and a Tent, Are Essential for Outdoor Life, It Is Often the Less Obvious Accessories Which, Once Used, Become the First Thing on Your Packing List. Steve Watkins Discovers Size Isn't Everything. (Geographical Crucial Kit)

Article excerpt

Multi-Tools

A simple knife is no longer enough for the wilderness. Nowadays you need to have a multi-tool that can cut, screw, skewer and file, among other things. Luckily, there are whole ranges of funky ones available. Victorinox led the way in this field in 1891 with the launch of its Swiss Army knife. This concept has now been taken to new heights with models like its Swiss Champ multi-tool boasting 33 features. It has recently introduced the even sturdier, all-steel Swiss Tool, which features needle-nose pliers and a mini socket set. Other multi-tools on the market include the highly impressive and beautifully crafted Gerber Legend -- which features a high-quality wire cutter and pliers -- and the Leatherman tools.

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Lighting

One of the most natural results of being outdoors overnight is that your body will want to fall into step with Earth's rhythms. Once night falls, having a good torch allows you to stave off the calling to go to sleep early and instead allow you to cook, read or perhaps play cards under the stars.

For handheld torches, you would be hard-pressed to buy better than one from the now-famous Maglite range. Beautifully crafted from anodised aluminium alloy, these torches are lightweight, almost indestructible, water-resistant and powerful for their size. The need to have two free hands led to the development of headtorches. Pioneered by Petzl, whose Zoom model is probably the world's bestseller, a headtorch always lights where you are looking and has almost made it onto the essential list these days. There are numerous models available with varying degrees of power, but if you need to light up the hill like your own personal football stadium, then invest in the awesome Silva 471 model. You might look like a mad scientist wearing this 90mm diameter -- but very lightweight -- lamp on your head, but its 20-watt bulb penetrates the darkness for a whopping 225 metres. The recent introduction of LED headtorches is covered later in Striding ahead, on page 71.

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Wrist Computers

With computer chips getting ever smaller it was inevitable that eventually this would bring James Bond-style computing power to your wrist. The latest wrist computers, such as Suunto's Advizor, can not only tell you the time, but will also let you know how high above sea level you are, what the barometric pressure trends are and even point you in the right direction with an electronic compass. …

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