Judges of the The Great Outdoors Gear Awards 2020

The judges of the Great Outdoors Gear of the Year Awards are some of the most experienced and renowned people in the industry. 

Our panel for 2020 consists of Chris Townsend, Judy Armstrong, Alex Roddie and James Forrest. They will be assessing the best new clothing and equipment launched this year, looking for the most innovative products.


Chris Townsend

Chris has written 20 books on the outdoors, including the award-winning classic The Backpacker’s Handbook. Among his walking achievements, he was the first person to complete a continuous round of all the Munros and Tops and the first to walk the 1600-mile length of the Canadian Rockies. Chris has been reviewing gear for The Great Outdoors since 1991.

Judy Armstrong

Judy has been testing gear for The Great Outdoors since 2005 but has been hillwalking and mountaineering for 30 years. Originally from New Zealand, Judy lives in the North York Moors National Park and also has a base in the French Alps.

Alex Roddie

Alex Roddie is a regular feature writer and gear reviewer for TGO. A reformed climber with a background in Scottish winter and alpinism, he loves nothing better than long-distance lightweight backpacking in wild mountain landscapes, particularly the Scottish Highlands and Swiss Alps. He is a professional writer and editor, and author of Wanderlust Europe (gestalten books, September 2020).

James Forrest

James Forrest is a former newspaper reporter turned outdoor writer. He is best known for completing a three-year mission to climb 1,001 mountains across the UK and Ireland. In 2017 he hiked up all 446 ‘Nuttalls’ in England and Wales; in 2018 he bagged the 273 Irish ‘Vandeleur-Lynams’; and in 2019 he finished with all 282 ‘Munros’ in Scotland. James is the author of Mountain Man: 446 Mountains. Six Months. One record-breaking adventure, published by Conway, an imprint of Bloomsbury.