Accessories for walking
The outdoor world is paradise if you're a gear freak. There are numerous industrious companies falling over themselves to design and manufacture anything the outdoor enthusiast's heart may desire. Take any activity or piece of equipment and someone somewhere will be designing manufacturing accessories to go with it. For example, if you own a popular brand of stove you should be able to buy such things as specially designed bases to stabilise your stove, instant ignition devices to attach to the burner, windshields to speed up the warming of your beans and a plethora of spares to ensure your stove will work in outer Mongolia or Patagonia.
The outdoor world is paradise if you're a gear freak
But accessories needn't be high-tech in order to be invaluable. Sit mats, simple low tech squares of closed cell foam, are great for lunch stops, to keep your bottom warm and dry and weigh next to nothing. Do not forget the thermos flask, which these days comes in a myriad of different capacities, materials and colours, always a boon and a morale booster on a long day in the hills, especially in winter.
The thermos flask is always a morale booster
Even lower-tech is the humble stuff sack. Produced in a dizzying number of styles, sizes and materials, they allow you to protect the contents from the elements and provide quick and easy identification when rummaging around deep within your rucksack.
The headtorch is another top accessory that can be easily overlooked but which we can't do without. The new style LED designs are pushing regular torches into the 21st century with style. These units are incredibly lightweight, as compact as a box of matches, and one set of batteries will provide enough light for several all night forays into the hills.
In fact the scope of outdoors accessories is only limited by our imagination - and our awareness of what's out there. From waterproof matches and penknives, hydration packs and rucksacks for dogs, to precision engineered multi-tools to GPS navigation units and waterproof mobile phones, the scope for the helpless gear fanatic is endless.
Andy Kirkpatrick is recognised as a world authority on equipment and technique, a knowledge built up on some of the hardest big walls and faces in the world. Andy's expertise is big wall climbing and winter expeditions. He has scaled Yosemite's El Captan, one of the hardest walls in America, over 24 times. As well as being a successful climber, writer and speaker, Andy also works in film and TV as a stunt safety advisor.
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