Meeting an outdoors legend

This week saw me tramping the exhibition halls of the Outdoor Trade Show at Stoneleigh Park, near Coventry. Having already bumped into my old friend Alan Hinkes (first Brit to climb all 14 8,000 metre peaks) earlier on, I was delighted to happen across Hamish Hamilton.

He was there helping to promote his ever-popular Buffalo Pile and Pertex sleeping bags and clothing. But Hamish is probably one of the few people on the planet to have designed a tent which has sold pretty much unchanged for over 40 years.

It was in the 1960s that Hamish Hamilton famously sketched out his design for the legendary Force 10 Mk3 on the back of an empty packet of Senior Service cigarettes. The A-frames and ridge pole combined with a flysheet that came all the way down to the ground, making a tent capable of going pretty much anywhere. And that, indeed, is just what it has done. Despite the lighter high-tech designs available now, schools, scout groups and trekking holiday companies still use the Force 10 Mk3 because it’s so robust, and easily repairable in the field.

But just to dispel one popular misconception – that famous shade of orange didn’t grace the Force 10 for reasons of safety. It was done because Hamish thought the light inside was “more romantic!”

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