Are You An Outdoor Geek?


You may take a couple of gadgets on the hill, but how many of these can you tick off? With bonus points, how many points do you score? Are you an outdoor luddite or an outdoor nerd of the highest order?

Our Outdoor Geek test goes all the way up to eleven and we don’t even know what the maximum score is!

1 Route Planning Software. Even before you’re on the hill, you’ll have planned the route on your PC down to the last detail and uploaded it to your GPS. Our favourite bit of software is Tracklogs, closely followed by Memory Map. You could argue that an electronic map measurer counts, but no, it doesn’t.


2 Smartphone. You’ll have a decent smartphone, preferably of the waterproof variety. This limits you to a few choice models, with the Sony Xperia Z1 the current pack leader. Otherwise, you’ll be protecting your phone in all manner of waterproof cases. Add a point if you take more than one on a trip!


3 Outdoor Apps. You don’t check a map, except as a last resort (you do carry one right?), and instead rely upon mapping software on your smartphone or tablet. Your mapping app of choice will probably be Backcountry Navigator or Viewranger, both of which have their own pros and cons. You can also get a point if you print your own maps and routes, AND laminate them before use. Deduct two points for having Tweeted “Yey! I’m on top of Snowdon!” or similar unless accompanied by a snazzy picture. Deduct ten points if you don’t (or your group doesn’t) carry a map and compass at all, you’re not an Outdoor Geek. You’re an idiot.


4 GPS Depending on your viewpoint, you may be hardcore and shun a GPS device and use the phone for logging your route as well. Others, like myself, concerned with battery life, will opt for a stand alone GPS. Keeping to the true spirit of the outdoor geek, you’ll have one with all the bells and whistles, preferably with pre-loaded and overpriced OS maps of the UK, along with Greenland and some other places you’ll never go. Bonus point for marine maps and you don’t even own a boat or kayak.


5 Tablet. If the smartphone screen isn’t big enough, even if it is one of the larger phones, you’ll need a tablet. Sony (again!) lead the way with a waterproof offering, but alternatives are thin on the ground. Opting for a non-waterproof version again means heavy investment in waterproof cases. Ideal for wild camping and perhaps watching a few movies or downloadable content from 4OD or iPlayer.


6 Setting up a Mobile Hotspot on the Hill. This one’s a bit tougher. Either you’ve got a signal, or you haven’t. So long as you have a decent signal, you can set most smartphones up as a mobile wi-fi hotspot that you can then use in order to access the internet over your Tablet. Make sure that before you do this that you disable automatic updating over wi-fi and that you’ve got a reasonably sturdy data package with your phone (or more money than sense so you don’t really care). Don’t camp low down in sheltered corries if you want a signal, keeping in view of civilisation gives you a better chance of a signal but no guarantee!

7 You carry extra juice. Using a phone as a wi-fi hotspot will kill your battery in no time. So you’ll need some sort of portable power pack. With all the gadgets you’ll be taking with you, it’s good to have one of these anyway. Bonus points if you’ve tried to use an alternative power source (solar, solid fuel, etc) and two more if you’ve managed to use it to fully charge your kit on a weekend out and not just top up the battery slightly.


8 Books. You want to read something whilst wild camping, or perhaps take a couple of walking guides with you, but don’t want the weight? You may already have a tablet, but that’s too easy. Kindles and the less popular Nooks and Kobo, are the way to go. How else are you going to take the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy to Knoydart on a five day trip? Bonus point if you’ve used it as a guidebook on any trip.


9 Entertainment. If you want to go totally OTT on a wild camp, then why not set up a projector screen in order to view video? Here’s how you set up the ultimate wild camping entertainment system. Only claim this if you’ve done something that was also a lot of effort just to be entertained on a camping trip. This one’s worth two points!


10 Wearable Tech. Add a point if you’ve got a smart-watch, or use a HRM during trips to log your HRM. We’d say add five points for owning Google Glass, but we’re jealous and not particularly gracious, so deduct a point unless you can really impress us that it’s not just £1200 worth of bragging rights and how you’ve made real use of it on the mountain (you lucky, lucky b******d).

sony smartwatch and garmin

11 Online. If you blog, or spend an inordinate proportion of your time posting outdoor stuff on social media. Add a bonus point if you spend more of your time on this activity than actually outside being active!


So how many points did you score? With our random scoring method, we can’t even work out ourselves what the maximum score is! I managed to score 12! Post your scores below, on Twitter or Google+.

Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader.
Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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