Category Archives: Camping

Fastpack Tour du Mont Blanc – 180km, 11,000m ascent, 5.5 days

The Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc (UTMB) is one of the world’s best known ultras, and one I dream of entering. For now a 100 mile race is beyond me, but I still wanted a taste of the UTMB…

So instead of racing, with my running buddy Bo, we fastpacked the Tour du Mont Blanc trail, setting off from Chamonix where we watched the start and some of the finishers of this year’s UTMB.
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A promise of the mountains from Chamonix centre at the UTMB start line

Day 1 – Chamonix – Les Houches – Les Contamines (France)
A day of two halves – spectacular views of glaciers from the Brevent (2526m), followed by an exhausting and seemingly never ending descent into Les Houches (1007m). 

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Thinking about wild camping? For inspiration read Extreme Sleeps by Phoebe Smith

I thought about wild camping for quite a while, but it seemed like a bit of a mysterious world. With so much freedom I almost didn’t know where to start.

Extreme Sleeps by Phoebe Smith showed me how it’s done, and gave me the encouragement I needed to stop thinking about it and just get out there! Continue reading

Trolltunga hiking guide – Odda, Norway

Trolltunga, or the Troll’s Tongue, is a spectacular natural rock formation hanging 700m above the ground. It’s one of Norway’s most iconic locations, only accessible via a 22km hike out and back with 1,400m ascent and descent. You can hike it in one big day, or wild camp as part of a multi day hike. Continue reading

Best lightweight camping gear – 5 essential pieces of kit

Buying new camping gear is an investment, there are so many options it can be hard to know what to choose. I do a lot of research and look for a combination of functionality, light weight/small pack size, and best value.

My top 5 essential pieces of camping kit have been thoroughly used by me and tested in all conditions, and I would recommend all of them!

1. Tent – Terra Nova Laser Competition 1 (970g packed)

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The Laser Competition 1 is Continue reading

Tour du Mont Blanc camping: your TMB questions answered

I’m often contacted by people preparing to hike and camp the Tour du Mont Blanc asking questions about my TMB experience. It’s great to hear from everyone and I’m glad you’ve found my Guide to Campsites on the TMB helpful. This post is a summary of the questions I get asked most often. I hope this is useful, please feel free to comment with more questions or advice! Continue reading

Tour du Mont Blanc – solo hiking and camping trip highlights, July 2015

In July I solo hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc, camping along the way. It was physically the hardest thing I’ve done so far, involving 9 days of sustained effort to carry all my camping gear through three countries, over 170km, and up and down 10,000m of accumulated ascent/descent.

It was also one of the most rewarding experiences, with incredible views, physical and mental obstacles overcome, and many lessons learned. Here are a few of the highlights of my trip: Continue reading

Tour du Mont Blanc camping: A guide to campsites on the route of the TMB

I hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc over nine days in July 2015, camping every night, and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I was able to stay outdoors rather than the shared dorms of the Refuges. As there is no pre booking I had more flexibility about the distance and route I covered each day, the cost was lower, and it was satisfying to feel totally self-supported. Unexpectedly though, finding the campsites at the end of a long day was one of the most stressful elements of the trip for me.

I used the Cicerone guidebook, which is aimed at walkers staying in Refuges on the route, but I found that it didn’t provide adequate information for me. Some campsites were a little off the standard route of the TMB, meaning that I had to walk further at the end of the day on a route not described in the guide. In some cases it was necessary to extend the day described in the book to reach the next place to camp. These are not real problems, but I would recommend a little extra planning to supplement the guide.

Here is the information I wish I’d had for the route I followed (all prices are for one person, one tent, one night): Continue reading