Foreign Service Institute Language Difficulty Rankings

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Foreign Service Institute language difficulty rankings are an indication of how long a native English speaker would need to reach proficiency in a number of different languages. There are five categories, ranked from easiest to the hardest based on how many classroom hours a learner would need to reach professional working proficiency (i.e. Level 3 on the

How to prevent and treat blisters when hiking

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Don’t let a pesky injury ruin your time in the outdoors. Our guide on how to prevent blisters will keep you on your feet

Whether you’re an experienced trekker or a newcomer to the trails, you will invariably suffer from one of the most common hiking injuries. To help you minimise the risk, we’ve put together a simple guide on how to prevent and treat blisters when hiking.

Virgin peaks: the world’s unclimbed mountains

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The world’s unclimbed mountains are the last great challenges in mountaineering. We look at the most coveted of these unconquered summits

In January 2021, Nirmal Purja and his team of Nepali climbers completed the first winter ascent of K2, the world’s second-highest mountain. K2 was the final 8,000m peak awaiting a winter ascent after Nanga Parbat, Pakistan’s ‘Killer Mountain’, was scaled in 2016.

Best mountaineering books: 27 great reads

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Updated for 2021, we list the best mountaineering books ever written, drawing on accounts of world-class climbers in the harshest environments

As I’ve mentioned many times before, my bookshelves are filled with tales of adventure travel, survival against the odds and obsessive searches.

I’m an avid climber keen on winter mountaineering and wild camping so, naturally, mountaineering books take up a good chunk of space on my shelf.

Altitude sickness symptoms and how to avoid them

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Being young, fit and healthy doesn’t mean you won’t suffer from altitude sickness symptoms. Here’s how to identify, treat and prevent them effectively

Gracie is a student at Johns Hopkins, which offers one of the best medical training programs in the world. She is slim, fit and active. She doesn’t smoke, rarely drinks and always watches what she eats.

How to use a compass and map: a simple guide

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This guide on how to use a compass and map should be enough to get you started and give you the confidence to use the skills for yourself in the hills

As a schoolboy, I was lucky to learn how to use a compass and map. I then spent the best part of two decades putting these basic skills to use throughout the British countryside, without ever really having them tested.

How to choose a sleeping bag: a buying guide

How to choose a sleeping bag

Our comprehensive guide on how to choose a sleeping bag will ensure a cosy night’s sleep whatever the temperature

Whether you’re a weekend warrior making a dash for the hills or preparing for a multi-day trek through the Himalayas, choosing the right sleeping bag can make or break a camping trip.

30 most beautiful mountains in the world

Ama Dablam is a thing of beautyDaniel Prudek/Shutterstock

The most beautiful mountains in the world have captivated climbers for centuries. Here, we examine their lethal appeal

“You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you,” said John Muir, the renowned naturalist, author and environmental philosopher.

If our resident seven-summit hopeful is anything to go by, Muir makes a valid point. Those who spend time in the mountains seem to be driven by a deeper force.

Why I’ve given up eating fish (again)

Kia has vowed to give up eating fishRudmer Zwerver/Shutterstock

At the age of 13, Kia turned vegetarian but 15 years later, she started eating fish again. Here she reflects on why that decision was wrong

There is an inherent hypocrisy in what I do for a living. On one hand, I write about the state of the planet, call for tourism caps and grapple with extinction tourism, but on the other, I continue to fly when I know that it’s the worst way to travel in terms of carbon emissions. 

How to escape a wildfire: a hiker’s guide

With fire season fast approaching, we’ve updated our guide on how to escape a wildfire, inspired by Peter’s close call in Greenland

When Peter headed to Greenland last summer to trek the Arctic Circle Trail, I knew he’d be unreachable for 7-10 days. He’s a highly experienced hiker, but there was a tiny part of me that couldn’t help but worry.

How to choose a down jacket

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A beginner’s guide on how to choose a down jacket that will keep you warm and toasty in the great outdoors

A high-quality down jacket is no longer the preserve of the outdoorsy. Politicians, pop stars and even princesses have been pictured in a ‘puffa’. Of course, a down jacket truly comes into its own when used and tested in the great outdoors. 

20 best hiking apps to download in 2021

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We take a look at the best hiking apps currently available and which ones best meet your needs be they trip planning, navigation or first aid.

Hiking apps never used to feature in my outdoor adventures, but times have changed. Now, every Ordnance Survey map comes with a digital version available to download onto my smartphone or tablet.

Which country has the cleanest air in the world?

map of the countries with the cleanest air in the worldIQAIR

The countries with the cleanest air in the world have been ranked in a new report. We take a look at the results

The Caribbean island of Puerto Rico has the world’s cleanest air according to the latest World Air Quality Report by IQAir. The report ranks 106 countries and territories by the level of fine particulate matter present in the air.

The layering system: how to layer clothing for the outdoors

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Now that spring is finally on the horizon, we’ve updated our guide to the layering system and how best to adapt your clothing to suit any outdoor condition

Springtime is almost upon us and with it come the capricious weather conditions that define the season. Mark Twain once said, “In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”

Our top Instagram shots of 2020

top Instagram shots of 2020

From playful puffins to daunting peaks, we share our top Instagram shots of 2020

Kia has already written about how 2020 has been, uhm, testing to say the least. The year began with great promise, as you will see below, but it wasn’t long before all our trips got cancelled or postponed.

The 77 most inspirational travel quotes ever penned

Borobudur in Indonesia, the most multilingual countryPambudi Yoga Perdana/Shutterstock

Our favourite inspirational travel quotes that encouraged us to travel – with abandon – over the years. Maybe they will do the same for you…

For us, there is no such thing as luxury travel; travel is, by default, a luxury. It is a privilege provided by the country of our birth, a privilege that many are not as fortunate to enjoy.

Sometimes, we have to pinch ourselves at just how ridiculous our lives have become: an ex-teacher and jobbing writer travelling the world for a living. It is absurd, it is astonishing, and it is a luxury.

11 solo hiking tips for women

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We ask six expert climbers, thru-hikers and trail runners to share their solo hiking tips for women who want to walk alone

I’ve hiked all over the world, from challenging countries like Ethiopia and Lesotho to Pacific idylls like Rarotonga and Easter Island. I’ve done multi-day treks above 4,000 metres, day hikes under a scorching sun and gentle jaunts more like walks in the park. Throughout it all, there has been one constant factor: Peter.

How to choose a tent: a buying guide

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Our comprehensive guide on how to choose a tent will ensure dry and comfortable nights whatever the weather

If you ask me, time in a tent is time well spent. I’m usually at my most content when under canvas. With the distractions of modern life left behind, I find that camping has a detoxifying effect on me. At the end of a day on the trail, I pitch my tent, eat, drink, sleep. In the morning I strike my tent and then repeat. It’s a simple but good life.

Poles of inaccessibility: the middle of nowhere

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The poles of inaccessibility are arguably the true last frontiers for explorers. But where and what are they?

I’ve long been fascinated with the most remote places on Earth and the epic journeys of discovery to reach them. I’ve spent countless long mornings lying in bed leafing through giant reference books on the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration and even longer afternoons poring over immense maps detailing epic quests across untamed oceans.