The Gear Guru
His superfine merino base layer, Montane trews and Innov8 shoes give the impression that Gavin is about to throw on a jacket, pick up his sack and head for the hills. Yet although well known in hillwalking circles as an expert on navigation, gear and gadgets, few have ever actually seen him on the hill. In truth Gavin’s only real connection with the outdoors is his broadband connection.
Once a promising Queen’s Scout, technology seduced the teenage Gavin and he slowly mutated into a gadget and gear guru. Now, as an unofficial (and unpaid) reviewer for “Trudge” magazine, he not only owns an example of almost every type of GPS receiver made since 1997, but publishes highly detailed accounts of how to modify their software on his outdoor blog “Wilderbytes”. Withering about Windows, offhand about Apple and firmly anti-Android, Gavin extols the virtues of the most obscure and specialised navigational software from small “cottage industry” producers, who tend to go bust and disappear within weeks of his review.
As well as being a technology expert, Gavin is highly respected as a pioneer in ultra-lightweight backpacking. In his home made vacuum chamber a chemical balance is currently weighing rival toilet tissues to a tolerance of 0.01 mg. His dedicated readership awaits his recommendation with bated breath and clenched buttocks.
Under piles of Pizza boxes, discarded phones and Coke bottles lie the remnants of Gavin’s previous experiments in ‘lightening up’. A Scarp tent (with the groundsheet cut out and guy lines removed), a tarp (reduced to the size of a large handkerchief by over-zealous remodelling) a Gore-Tex jacket (with the sleeves, hood and torso removed) … and an unmolested pair of home-made cuben fibre trousers … but thanks to Domino’s excellent delivery service, Gavin outgrew them long ago. Not that it matters. Gavin doesn’t get out much anymore.
Deep in the gloom of his bedroom lit only by the glow of a screen and flickering LEDs, Gavin Blogs, Twitters and Tweets with the cream of outdoors elite. There is little he doesn’t know about the great outdoors, from extreme mountaineering to gentle country rambles. No outdoors blog or forum can escape Gavin’s well informed advice and comment.
It’s easy to scoff at this indoors outdoorsman, but Gavin deserves the respect of all who aspire to a green lifestyle and care for the delicate ecology of our wild land. Creating zero path erosion, leaving absolutely no trace and with a nil carbon footprint, Gavin is truly an outdoorsman for our time.
Labels: Gear, Outdoor Stereotypes, Technology