Whether its your first time out or you are a seasoned hill walker, there are a range of items that should be the essentials in any Rucksack before we charge off into the countryside.
What level of spend that you invest on these items can depend on any number of factors, including, how frequently you might go out, how much you are prepared to spend, what kind of weather you are likely to encounter are just a few things you might consider before we start.
Having said that, if you are adequately prepared before you start, you can always upgrade as your ‘love’ for the great outdoors will surely grow!
A map of your area – the OS Explorer maps are great, providing rich details which will help build your navigational confidence.
A compass – Really important to both have one in your possession, but equally as important is understanding how to use it! Both Suunto and Silva are great quality.
A watch – Always helpful to keep an accurate track of time.
A pencil and notebook – Helpful for making notes and marking routes.
A mobile phone – Always ensure it’s fully charged; it will be your lifeline to the outside world if you need it, but also you can capture fabulous images of your day out too! There are also Apps that can be useful, one of my personal favourites is OS locate which is ideal for confirming a grid reference if you should have a ‘moment’!
First aid kit – even on the cloudy days the suns harmful rays can catch you out, so have a small bottle of sun bloc in there along with blister plasters.
Whistle and torch – these are important for making contact if you should encounter any difficulties both during the day and at night. If you are planning to navigate at night invest in a good quality head torch.
Food & drink – Have enough water (and a flask of hot drink for cold days) to last throughout the duration of your trip. Pack plenty of snacks, you will burn a lot of calories whilst out in the mountains. (personal favourite is Jelly babies!).
A quality Rucksack – if you are just planning day trips you will probably not need anything larger than 30l, these are a personal taste, Lowe alpine, Deuter and Mountain equipment are all good quality.
Footwear – Depending where you are traveling either a good quality pair of walking boots or approach shoes. There are some great insoles that you can also buy that assist in dampening the impact of your foot strike when you walk.
Clothing – This can be very weather dependant, but we would always suggest that waterproof jacket and trousers has a place in your rucksack, along with a spare warm layer of clothing (maybe a lightweight fleece or gilet) for those moments when you stop to admire the view or have your well-earned lunch!
Walking poles – These are great for uneven territory; they can also help protect the impact on your knees particularly when walking downhill. They can also help support your posture whilst walking too.
Hats & Gloves – Hats are great on those cold chilly days out, and whether you carry a lightweight liner gloves or a full pair is entirely a personal preference subject to the weather you are planning to venture out into.
Sunglasses – Having these in your rucksack are a great addition, both protecting your eyes from harmful UV/Solar rays and if you can afford a polarizing pair, these are great for filtering out glare.
As a final piece of guidance if you are venturing out on a big mountain day, it always makes good sense to have a route card detailing your route, timing and potential escape routes in the case of any untoward events. As wise guidance if you can leave a copy with a reliable friend/partner/contact detailing your anticipated deadline time and contact details, this could be the initiative that saves your life. (www.shavenraspberry.com)
Chris & Martin