Ten of the best walking and climbing magazines

Posted by Carey Davies on 21/07/2014
Words! Pictures! Paper!

Even in the age of internet clickbait, printed publications still have the power to inspire and inform your outdoor experiences. Here are 10 of our favourite walking and climbing magazines.

It can be easy to forget about magazines these days. We seem to live our lives in a whirl of blogs, Tweets, status updates, retro-filtered pictures of food, videos of cats and stories with headlines like You Wouldn’t Believe What This Man Ate For Lunch. Amid all this flotsam and jetsam, the days where people sat down to read anything longer than a Buzzfeed post can seem distant.

But a magazine subscription can still be a very useful complement to your outdoor life. Most outdoor magazines carry invaluable information from month to month on gear, technique, destinations and routes, while the power of words and pictures on the page is almost always more inspirational than squinting at a smartphone (unless, of course, you’re reading a smartphone edition of a magazine, then who knows.)

The BMC has our own in-house magazine, Summit, which goes out in printed form four times a year to individual members. We’ve also made the digital edition free to all members, and have just published our first Summit Extra: Alpine Edition.  Similar organisations to the BMC in Scotland and Ireland also have their own membership magazines.

But walk into a shop and there is, of course, even more choice on the shelves. What’s more, BMC membership gets you a discount on many of them. Here are some of our favourites for walking and climbing.

 

Walking

Trail

The UK's best-selling hill walking title. Big and bold features on the pointier parts of Snowdonia, the Lakes and Scotland written in a light and accessible style, alongside lots of useful information on gear, routes and technique. Covers summer hill walking, scrambling and winter walking, with a healthy dose of wild camping and bivvying thrown in.

Availability: print, iPad, iPhone, Android

Subscription: (1 year, 13 issues) print £41 (offer of £31 by direct debit for first year, £36.00 by card, £34 with BMC membership), digital £34.99

Country Walking

From the same publisher as Trail, Country Walking covers a ‘softer’ range of walking than its mountain-heavy sister mag, with the emphasis more on cream teas than crampons. Coastal strolls and lowland rambles sit alongside hilly and mountainous walking at the more forgiving end of the spectrum. Celebrity columnists include broadcaster Stuart Maconie and former National Trust boss Dame Fiona Reynolds.

Availability: print, iPhone, iPad, Android

Subscription: (1 year, 13 issues) print £41 (offer of £31 by direct debit for first year, £36.00 by card, £34 with BMC membership), digital £34.99

The Great Outdoors

Described by Doug Scott as the “thinking person’s outdoor magazine”, The Great Outdoors (formerly TGO) is traditionally known for its ‘literary’ take on the outdoors, its flag-flying for lightweight backpacking and its coverage of environmental and political topics. Recent years have seen major revamps of both its print and digital offerings, brightening its design while introducing new contributors and a regular spot by comedian Ed Byrne.

Availability: print, Pocketmags multiple devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, Online, Playbook, Windows 8)

Subscription: (1 year, 13 issues) print £44.95 (£35.00 with BMC membership), digital £22.99

Lakeland Walker

The only walking magazine devoted purely to Britain’s most beloved (and busiest) hill walking area, the Lake District. Aims to give you “the best places for a pint, hearty meal or where to find a comfy bed for the night after a big day on the hill” and is written by real Lakes aficionados.

Availability: print

Subscription: offer of 3 issues £5, £9.50 every three issues thereafter

Trek and Mountain

Pitched somewhere in the hazy middle ground between walking and climbing, Trek and Mountain is a relative newcomer to the UK outdoor magazine scene. The emphasis is mostly overseas, with crowd-pleasers like Mont Blanc, Kilimanjaro – and yes, Everest – featuring alongside more unusual offerings and the occasional meaty British challenge.

Availability: print, Pocketmags multiple devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, Online, Playbook, Windows 8)

Subscription: (1 year, 12 issues) print £38, digital £34.99

Backpacker (USA)

Though the emphasis of US-based Backpacker magazine reflects the somewhat different culture and hazards of hiking Stateside (top 10 tips for avoiding bears, anyone?), Backpacker’s gear and technique coverage is still useful for Brits with an interest in long-distance walking. Or, indeed, anyone planning a walk along the USA’s marvellous long-distance trials.  

Availability: print, Zinio multiple devices (PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android)

Subscription: (1 year, 9 issues) print £19.91, digital £7.02 (UK)

 

Climbing

Climb

A high-end glossy that wants to spend its time looking at top-level action but manages to draw itself away to find the love of the lower echelons enough to give it broad appeal. Great photos and high production values will please your eyes no end while the words will give you plenty to stroke your chin about. Great for a bit of depth on latest mega-routes, profiles of the world’s great climbers and the latest, greatest deeds in the high-altitudes in Lindsay Griffin’s Mountain World.

Availability: print, iTunes

Subscription: (1 year, 12 issues) £40 (UK) (£34 with BMC membership), digital £28.99

Climber

A more grass-roots feel characterises this friendly mag’s pages, with its focus on British mountain crags and holiday rock. Great historical articles, high-quality lowdowns on Lakeland classics and in-depth interviews with the rich and famous of climbing, past and present, will pass many a toilet visit.

Availability: print, Pocketmags multiple devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, Online, Playbook, Windows 8)

Subscription: (1 year, 12 issues) print £40.50 (£35.50 with BMC membership), digital £29.49

Alpinist (USA)

Magazine royalty with the highest production standards out there. Just like the way the queen doesn’t carry cash, Alpinist is barely sullied by the nasty whiff of commercialism. Huge sprawling articles written by big guns of the era give it real depth and a feel more like the New Yorker; the word ‘magazine’ sometimes doesn’t feel right. Elite, upwards looking, and deeply serious.

Availability: print, iTunes, Zinio multiple devices (PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android)

Subscription (1 year, 4 issues): print £40.88 (UK), digital £23.39

Rock and Ice (USA)

A great balance of inspirational pictures, quality journalism, destination features, gear and training, advice and humour. Nice big pages show everything off in a fresh, well designed style. Always a few good reads in every issue.

Availability: print, digital back issues

Subscription: (1 year, 8 issues) print £26.28 (UK)

 

Add a magazine subscription to your BMC membership

You can get a magazine subscription through the BMC when you join or as part of your membership renewal. If you don’t want to wait until then, or for those who pay be Direct Debit please contact our Membership Services Team on 0161 445 6111 / members@thebmc.co.uk


JOIN THE BMC: Save 50% on your first year's membership

The BMC works for indoor climbers like you. Benefits include:

  • Retail discounts
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  • £10m worldwide Combined Liability insurance
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Find out more about BMC membership benefits

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1) Anonymous User
17/10/2014
This article made me laugh a lot! ...having read quite a few of these magazines over the years. I think there are some quality features out there these days, such high quality design and photographs. For me, it's important that the words are as good as the photos though. I might be tempted to pick up another mag when I'm next in the shops! Thanks
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