Sunday, August 13

Walking & Outdoor Podcasts

As I've mentioned previously, there is a huge amount of outdoors material on the web. Let's take a look at one new method that is proving of value to me, and possibly you in turn.

Podcasts (spoken articles) and Vidcasts (podcasts with video) are one of the latest ways of getting information via the net. There's an enormous choice already available. Most of it drivel from what I've listened to so far (that's the net for you!), but hey - that's my opinion.

However some key ones have already set the bar up high, and are continuing to maintain that level of presentation and content. To continue with regular quality updates - now that's the real test.

For instance, whilst writing this post I'm also busily catching up on the latest podcast, about the use of a tarp in the UK. Now as I've only heard about this via US based reviews (where conditions are not quite the same as the weather here in good old Blighty), and the occasional mag article, this is of interest to me as an option to keep pack weight down. Possibly?

The fact that this relates to an outing during this weekend shows how just quickly the information can be made available - no magazine deadlines here (and when was the last time you read a magazine that wasn't based on material mostly prepped a couple of months before the publishing date, no matter whatever their attempt to be 'timely')

These podcasts are for real world use, the sort of things you'd find out from talking with like minded people. As sometimes I feel I'm in a minority of one in this part of the UK they are a welcome source of views and opinions.

I find them to be complimentary to the monthly magazine reviews. Now to me a mag article will try to balance a number of comparative items side by side, whilst being aware of the ever present pressure on continued magazine income from the advertising dept. Not that I'm saying this pressure dictates the outcome of the review, but magazine space is limited, reviews can be brief, & some larger commercial retailers can appear to drive the outdoor magazine content, at times.

Compare that to a 30 minute discussion, often on just a single topic - so much more detail can be given, helping to inform and assist when you need information to make your mind up, whatever the subject matter may be.

If you're interested then here's some RSS feeds (that's the way in which podcasts feeds are monitored/downloaded)

You'll need a piece of software to download them, but there's plenty of free ones around. I've been using the free Winamp, application (mainly for playing MP3/CD music on my pc, but with Podcast support & internet radio feed as well) but every so often I wander off to use one of the alternatives to see if their auto download facilities have improved yet.
The juries still out on this so far.

Once downloaded they can be listened to on your pc, but personally I prefer to put them on my MP3 player and listen to when travelling, or during one of my longer dog walking sessions in the New Forest. Never a moment wasted eh!
;-)

So what are the best of the podcast offerings for the outdoors?

From the UK -
There's a wealth of podcast articles from the RSS feed BackpackingLite always well put together and entertaining. This is a small UK based business, but the podcaster is one of those innovative people whose leisure interests have moved over into a commercial venture whilst still being firmly based on his personal experience and requirements.

If you haven't yet sorted out an RSS feed - then you can download the MP3s directly from the site here

A newer site, also associated with this producer, is The Outdoors Channel - RSS feeds for either Audio or Video casts. This is a recent site, with more of a commercial sponsorship basis, but this allows content to be a little broader. More an audio magazine, and with The Great Outdoors Magazine involved, this will be an interesting diversification for a predominantly print based industry.

Direct download is available from here

Outside the UK -
RSS feeds for Practical Backpacking & The WildeBeast - both US based, but there are some gems amongst the material.

Direct downloads available here and here

I'd really love to offer some more options, but to-date there's been very little of real substance that I'd care to recommend, or waste your time in downloading.

Surely there must be something outside of these two countries? But nothing I've come across so far.

I'm always open to suggestions or recommendations - so please don't be shy out there - leave a comment.

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