Okay, when I say “back garden” I usually mean the Kilpatrick Hills. But due to post ice-age population distribution, and the change from black&white to colour in the late 60s, back gardens in 99% of cases have more of a lawnesque feel to them, with a fencette motif and bird bath standing in for the obligatory glacial erratic.
Geography gives us diversity and a reason to go somewhere else because it’s different. Of course we can’t all live near the mountains, or have the free access we enjoy up here. Living in the Big City kinda screws you if the outdoors is where you’re heart lies, but we need an economy, hospitals, bargain book shops with permanent sale signs and the like as well.
So, the back garden is where a lot of lightweight gear testing has goes on. I’m not worried about you or I maybe trying out a bit of kit before we go out. But there is a parallel a world of theory, of tweaking, of experimenting, postulating, of updating and of never actually using something in context and doing it for real. “Last summer I was going to…over the winter I’ve looked at…I’m going to try…and next summer…maybe, here’s pictures”. Give me a break.
Buy something lightweight, take it to the top of a mountain, onto the moors, the corner of the top field, the middle of a forest, the public park and then see if it works. At 0200, in the rain, in the wind, when you’re tired, and cold, and hungry.
Did it work well in those conditions?
- Answer; Yes. You have a fine and practical piece of lightweight kit. You will be able to rely on it to operate quickly, just when you need it to. It is a tool to facilitate joy unto you and enrich your outdoors experience.
- Answer; No. You’ve bought pish gear. “But it worked so well in the garden last Sunday afternoon”. Aye that’s great, but now we have the truth about the kit which we needed.
What makes us look like idiots to the boot wearing, weight lugging masses is this fannying about at home with gear inappropriate for UK mountain conditions. One look at some poorly attired fat knacker/scrawny American lying under a tarp trying to persuade a bowl of burning petrol to boil a cup of water and the fence sitters or the potentially interested are lost. Consequently we’re all tarred with the same brush and dismissed as retards.
Everything I have these days works at 0200 in a storm on the top of a Munro. It’s all lightweight. The blogs are full of folk getting it right on the money, yes in the back gardens, but also out and up there. So why does this outdated image persist in the minds of the public?