All The Gear
“Theres no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing” Norwegian quote.
This is the third post in our series on mountain safety and planning a day in the mountains. If you’ve missed the first two then take the time to go back and view the previous articles. In this post we discuss having the right gear to make your day out a safe and enjoyable one.
This list will help you to make decisions when planning your trip and should be considered in accodrance with the weather forecast. Some items are classed as Needed, you shouldn’t venture out without these. Some are Suggested, and can make you more comfortable. Others are Extras, nice to have but its your choice on the weight versus benefits.
Its by no means comprehensive, and everyone is different, but generally this is what we would have in our rucksack.
Walking boots: The varied rough terrain of mountain walking require strong, supportive walking boots with a good grip. Boots that fit snugly around the foot and ankle will reduce the risk of injury. Try not to wear brand new boots on your big day. Try them walking around the house or some short walks near where you live in case you develop problems such as blisters.
Rucksack: We would suggest a 30 litre bag that can be adjusted to fit comfortably and support the weight well. Small additional pockets are useful for storing important items. When trying one out make sure it fits your frame and the belt sits on your hips.
Waterproof jacket & trousers: Important at any time of year but in the mountains, where getting wet can happen easily and have serious consequences, they are vital. A good waterproof jacket can also provide another layer against cold wind. Try and get one that is water resistant and breathable.
Warm & weatherproof clothing: We use a system of thin layers rather than bulky items as they can be easily adjusted as needed. Use a wicking and quick drying fabric next to the skin, insulating layers and waterproof outers for poor weather. 100% cotton is a really poor choice for walking as it holds moisture making you uncomfortable and potentially cold. Synthetics are great as are modern wool fibres.
Spare clothing: Consider packing an insulating layer to put on when you stop for a break or lunch. Also it could be worth packing some spare dry socks on a wet day.
Warm hat & gloves: Hats help you retain heat and gloves protect your hands from the cold and wind.
Sun cream and cap or wide brimmed hat: As with a warm hat and gloves, it provides protection from the sun.
Rucksack liner/dry bags: Used to keep everything in your bag dry and organised. Use one large liner bag or several small bags to organise everything.
Solo survival bag or group bothy shelther: The survival (or bivvy) bag can be used to keep you or someone else warm against the elements in an emergency while the shelter can also be a good thing to use as it provides shelter out the elements for lunch.
Drinks bottle or reservoir: We prefer a bottle as it allows us to see how much we’ve drunk throughout the day. It’s important to stay hydrated even on a short walk in mild conditions. Carry 1-2 litres of water and top up when available.
Personal First Aid Kit: You don’t need a full mountain kit. Carry a selection of plasters, blister plasters, a crepe bandage and any medications you may personally need.
Head torch: Useful for planned or unplanned walking at night! Carry spare batteries and consider a spare torch.
Map & compass: Essential. Know how to use them and find your way. A spare compass in your first aid kit is a good idea while if there is a group then consider giving a spare map to someone else.
Snack bag: Carry your lunch for a full day out and snacks to keep going. Carry an Emergency snack selection in case you end up out longer than anticipated. Also pack some glucose tablets in your first aid tablet as they can provide some extra energy when needed and give you a pick up.
Mobile phone: Most people have and carry a mobile phone but not everyone. A phone could be vital in an emergency so make sure it is fully charged before you leave and maintain battery power by limiting use. Don’t use it to navigate all day but maybe take photos and, if you use an app like OS Maps, then it can be checked throughout the day to pinpoint your location. If you’re out in wet weather then make sure its in a dry bag.
Emergency whistle: Most rucksacks have these on the chest strap so if not then look at buying one and keeping it handy.
Flask: A hot drink on a cold day can boost morale and energy.
GPS: We would always make sure you carry and know how to use a map and compass first but GPS units can be useful as an additional aid.
Walking poles: Really useful when carrying heavy loads or doing long descents. Poles will save your joints by spreading the load.
Camera: A good camera will capture the highlights of your trip.
Binoculars: reat for a closer look at the wildlife you’ll encounter and useful for plotting a route.
If you think we’ve missed something then let us know in the comments section. Next time we’ll look at what to consider while you’re out on your day.