For those backpackers amongst us that like to carry a small optic for nature watching and the like, there are surprisingly few decent options. The Viking 8x25 ED monocular is a well made instrument with features that belie its reasonable price.
Three Points of the Compass recently made a plea for those venturing into the outdoors to consider carrying and using a lightweight monocular. But what to buy? Just a few minutes browsing Amazon, eBay, AliExpress and the rest of them immediately reveals how much dross there is to choose from. Take your time, read up on the subject and specifications and choose wisely.
Three Points of the Compass only occasionally carries a little monocular on multi-day hikes, but one of these little gadgets almost always accompanies me on a day hike. I tuck it into my packs hip pocket, there to be (fairly) quickly pulled out should I see something of interest. I actually seldom use it, but just occasionally it has really proven its worth.
None of us require much in the way of a knife or multi-tool when backpacking. A small blade will normally cope with most tasks. However greater functionality can be useful on multi-day excursions. The diminutive Leatherman Squirt S4 has been a favourite of Three Points of the Compass across thousands of miles of trail.
The Fire Maple FMS-300T gas stove is a well made product from a manufacturer with many years of experience in producing stoves. This particular stove has been on their catalogue for ten years now. In that time Fire Maple have sold tens of thousands of them and they remain a favourite for those looking for a truly lightweight small burner, specifically for heating water rather than cooking. In operation, the stove benefits greatly with protection from the wind and if treated with due care should perform faultlessly for many years. While not the cheapest, or the most efficient, or even lightest for that matter, the FMS-300T will fill a particular niche more than adequately.
Backpacking along the edge of the Peak District, with hills to my left and the Cheshire Plain stretching far off to my right. It snowed, rained and (occasionally) shone brightly for this three day February trip. The Gritstone Trail went up, it went down, very rarely was it flat. Regardless of the gradient, mud was a frequent companion.
The Katadyn BeFree filter has been a favourite piece of gear for the past five years. Unsurprising as it is light, compact, easy to use and has been successful in preventing me from getting sick on trail
Katabatic Gear make some of the best down quilts available. Three Points of the Compass is fortunate enough to own two of their range. They have been used for hundreds of nights while backpacking and each is amongst my favourite pieces of gear. They are superb. I take a look here at the Katabatic Palisade 30°F and the Katabatic Flex 15°F quilts
The Miner's Way is a now largely forgotten trail that loops around the East Kent countryside, visiting the former collieries of the short lived Kent Coalfield. Once heralded as a fitting tribute to the miners who came to toil, live and die in brutal working conditions, local authorities now seem to be doing their best to ignore this trail.
The Great Glen Way is remarkable for the number of on-trail facilities provided. This is a simple account of those seen or passed by Three Points of the Compass on a six-day backpacking trip in November 2021
Thick with cold and unfit, what to do? It was obvious, go and backpack the Great Glen Way in Scotland. I waited a week to see if the aches and cough went away and the headache subsided. They didn't. It looked like one of those 'super-colds'. So I booked train tickets and was away within days.