At GO Outdoors we try to get everyone involved in the outdoors, from the most experienced outdoorsman to a novice looking for a new hobby. Many outdoor news websites often tell a tail of lost hikers, or unprepared hikers having to be rescued by the likes of Mountain Rescue or other rescue units. Not everyone has a background in the Scouts or Guides, so we have compiled a list of essentials for any hiker/walker’s rucksack.
Many of the items featured on the list will be as a ‘just in case’ measure, but when you’re dealing with the elements it’s always better to be prepared. So you’ve picked the perfect rucksack for your hike, it’s comfortable, it fits properly and it’s time to fill it with those walking essentials for your trip. You don’t need to be Ray Mears to survive, and often time you don’t need to go to the extremes of Bear Grylls, pick up these simple bits of kit:
Waterproof Jacket – Even on the hottest day, always pack a waterproof just in case. It’s better to stay dry than to try and dry out in wet weather. Save your health with something that will keep the water away from your skin.
Extra Clothing – With Winter just around the corner, be sure to pack gloves and a hat as the air gets much colder if you are heading up a mountain.
Map and Compass – Even if you are an avid user of GPS, make sure you pack a map of the area you will be walking in. Look after your map with a waterproof case, it could save your life!
Torch – The light can drop very quickly in Autumn and Winter months, a torch with charged batteries is a must in case you get lost, head torches are great too for that ‘hands free’ effect.
Whistle – A whistle is a cheap survival tool. Six blows on a whistle is a signal for help, while three whistles signals that you have heard somebody else’s cry for help. You can’t always get phone signal in the hills, so this is a great way to alert people.
Survival Bag – Ask any seasoned walker and most will tell you the different uses they have had for their survival bag. You can go for years without ever needing it, but it is an essential for the rucksack. It doubles up as a sit mat, a picnic blanket, a waterproof cover for your roll mat. A real life saver.
First Aid Kit – Seems obvious, doesn’t it? Make sure your kit is adapted to your choice of activity. Also why not keep some personal details in here including name, contact numbers, and any allergies you have just in case a rescuer needs them. Make sure your in medical supplies are in check too, replace the old with some fresh items every so often.
Survival Kit – At GO Outdoors we stock a military survival kit which comes in a handy little tin but contains items such as: compass, wiresaw, matches, whistle, sewing kit, Folding knife, flints and more. It’s an ideal all round survival kit that contains a lot of what we mention in this post.
Multi-tool – You’ve heard how useful a swiss army knife is, even if it’s just part of some cliché it couldn’t be more true. A fold up knife or multitool can help you out in survival situations.
Nourishment – As well as that pack lunch you had planned for the summit, make sure you carry some high energy foods like Kendal mint cake, or flap jack just in case you need that extra boost later in your hike. Carry enough fluid to get you through the day, a flask of tea is always a winner when you reach the hill top.
Boot Laces – Many laces boast durability, but sometimes through age can break when tightening. Always carry some spare laces, if not for you boots there may be other uses.
Mobile Phone – While mobile phone reception in the hills can be flakey at best, it’s always good to carry a fully charged mobile phone with you as well. If your phone is your GPS, or you have a great walking app running – try take a spare charge, or a wind up charger with you as well. Think about the lifespan of your battery and think about the duration of your activity.
Walking Poles – Many rucksacks come with straps on the side for walking poles when not in use. A pair of poles takes a lot of the strain off of your knees (especially ideal if you are an older hiker).
Sun Cream/Bug Repellent – Depending on where your walk is, it may be helpful to bring along some insect repellent so you can hike in comfort. Sun cream is an essential for any outdoor activity in the heat, the last thing you need in altitude is to already feel dizzy from sun stroke.
Binoculars – Not only is this gadget great for the view along the way, but a pair of binoculars can also help you look for routes and people to signal for help.
Notebook and Pencil -With all that time to think, you never know what may come to mind. Also an ideal place to jot down any sights to look up more information on later.
Camera – You can wax lyrical about that fantastic view, or the rare nature you saw but photographic evidence would be even better. Make sure your camera is durable and keep it in a waterproof case.
So there is a beginners list for survival, many of these items we hope you would never have to use, but it’s always good to carry them.
We would love to hear from you if you have any other essentials that have been missed off of this list. Feel free to comment below.
Stay safe out there!