Archive for February, 2015

How to make duct tape zipper bags for your gear

| February 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

20150301-untitled001-2You can pay a lot for plastic zipper storage bags designed and marketed for outdoor use. I’ve bought my fair share of them and they always seem to tear at the zipper after a few uses, just like the common supermarket variety. Out of frustration, several years ago I experimented with making my own and I like them so much that I’ve been using them ever since.

In this article, I’ll share how I reinforce ordinary plastic zipper bags to make cheap water-resistant cases for protecting and organizing smaller items such as your cell phone, point-and-shoot camera, GPS receiver, and credit cards.
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Banff film festival 2014 trailer – it’s amazing!

| February 21, 2015 | 0 Comments

photo from Banff film festival 2014 trailer-1

A Snowball’s Chance in Hell © Manuel Ferrigato

It’s February, and that means the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour is well underway, covering 40 countries with an expected audience of 400,000.

If you’ve never seen this amazing show, you’ve been missing out! It’s guaranteed to fuel your passion for outdoor adventure.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival is an annual event

The Banff Mountain Film Festival is a creation of the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, which supports the development of new art in many disciplines. Each year, the center holds its Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, which includes a competition for the best outdoor documentary films. The most suitable of these, usually the shorter ones, are chosen for its world tour.

Each location that hosts the tour selects the most relevant films for its audience. For the 2014-15 tour there are 28 films to choose from.

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How to import gpx into Google Maps to make a GPS track viewer

| February 15, 2015 | 2 Comments


You probably carry a smartphone with you while hiking, but you may not realize that you can use its built-in GPS receiver to easily track where you went, the time you took, your speed, and your elevation changes.

Reviewing the data from your hike using free mapping software can be both fun and educational, and it only takes a few minutes to do it.

If you’re a serious hiker or trail runner you may have spent the money on a purpose-built hiking GPS or a GPS watch and have at some point tried loading track files into the accompanying software. If you haven’t thought about using the free offerings from Google, you’re in for a real treat.

In this article, I’ll show you how to use both Google Maps and Google Earth as a GPS track viewer, whether you’re using a smartphone or separate GPS device. Google Maps provides a two-dimensional map or satellite view  that we mostly use with city streets. Google Earth provides a more photographic three-dimensional view of the whole planet.

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How to increase creativity — go hiking

| February 6, 2015 | 0 Comments


Sometimes the best ideas come to us when we’re least expecting them.

A quick poll of my friends validated my own experience of getting the best ideas when in the shower, out walking, or lying half-asleep in bed in the morning. A Stanford University study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology backs up the idea that walking increases creative inspiration — and by an average of 60 percent! Even better, the creativity boost continues for a while afterwards.

Some ideas for how to increase creativity

It doesn’t seem to matter whether we’re walking indoors or outdoors, and we can even be on a treadmill staring at a blank wall. Now, that’s not a suggestion to exchange your wilderness hikes for a treadmill, but if you’re in need of creative inspiration and can’t wait until your next big hike, a walk around the block may help you to get the answer you’re looking for.

To boost creativity, you can also schedule walking meetings with colleagues at work. Getting out from behind a desk and taking a walk  brings a different vibe to the meeting. It’s more relaxed, informal, and really does get the creative juices flowing. It’s not for every meeting, but in my experience as a people manager it’s a good tool to have in your toolbox for when you’re coaching someone, kicking around ideas, or just need to work around an energy low.

The idea of holding walking meetings is not new and some well-known business leaders, such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerman have been known to walk with colleagues. Nilofer Merchant suggests turning meetings into walking meetings in her TED talk.

You might also want to try a community walking group that aims to mix walking with idea sharing, such as the Hikestorming group in Silicon Valley.

Now, before you get the idea that walking is going to serve all of your creative thinking needs, the Stanford study finds that although it helps with the generation of ideas (divergent thinking), it doesn’t help with the focused (convergent) thinking that’s needed to solve a problem when there’s one right answer. So, don’t put your desk out on the curb just yet.

If you want the full details, you can read the Stanford University research report by Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz.

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Photo credits: Mark Beresford.