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How and what to pack in your spring/summer rucksack

Packing a rucksack correctly can be an art. How should a day pack be packed and what should you take? Our handy expert advice will guide you through what kit you should need and how to pack a day pack efficiently. Also it is important to remember to tell someone where you are planning to go and an estimated time of your return!

Firstly, here is a list of things that you should consider taking with you on a day hike:

  • Weather-appropriate clothing:(think moisture-wicking and layers) spare clothing including waterproofs, base layers and a down jacket (a warm insulated jacket).

  • Hiking boots or shoe: a spare pair of socks.

  • A backpack/rucksack.

  • Plenty of food: Snacks such as jelly babies are useful to pack for an extra energy boost.

  • Plenty of water.

  • Navigation tools: such as a map and compass, personal locator beakon (PLB)

  • knife or multi-tool.

  • Headlamp: plus extra spare batteries.

  • Shelter: carried at all times (can be a light emergency bivy)

  • Fire: matches, lighter, cotton wool (to be kept in a water proof container/small box)

  • First-aid kit: Antiseptic wipes , plasters,antibacterial ointment ,bandage adhesive,butterfly bandages / adhesive wound-closure strips ,gauze pads (various sizes) nonstick sterile pads, medical adhesive tape , blister plasters,Ibuprofen / other pain-relief medication,antihistamine to treat allergic reactions, tweezers and Safety pins.

  • A whistle.

  • Gaiters: for protection in the rain, snow or mud.

  • Crampons: for snow and icy conditions.

  • Walking poles.

  • Sun glasses and sun screen cream.

Packing for a day hike is considerably easier than packing for an overnight stay. You can get away with packing very little compared to what you might need for a few days away.

The key to packing for comfort is considering weight distribution. To ensure weight is distributed evenly pack heavier items in the bottom half of the bag whilst sitting them as close to the back of the pack as possible (the part that sits closest to your back). The remaining items should be packed around this.

Packing a Day Pack

Step 1- To begin with, take your rucksack and put a heavy duty plastic bag inside to give it a waterproof lining. A washed out compost bag or a purpose made rucksack liner are ideal, avoid black bin bags as they are too flimsy. This lining will give your bag valuable protection from the rain and will protect your belongings should you fall into water.

Step 2- Next up, pack your spare set of clothes in the bottom of the bag (this should include underwear, socks, trousers/shorts, t-shirt and a fleece). Hopefully you shouldn’t need these items but they are invaluable if you are out for longer than intended or the weather turns. These should also be sealed in a water tight bag such as a dry bag/ liner.

Step 3– Consider how you will be taking your water supply. Are you taking it in a bottle or are you going to be using a hydration pack? If you are going to use a hydration pack then you will need to be careful not to pack anything sharp next to it. It may be worth packing it outside of the waterproof liner just in case it bursts. If you are using a hydration pack, then taking a separate bottle is advisable. Most bags have outer side pockets that will fit a water bottle in for easier access.

Step 4– Next you should pack a kit that will not be immediately required or things you may not require at a moment’s notice. This may include cameras and packed lunches, first aid kits and items such as additional spare socks (important as wet feet are not pleasant!).

Step 5– Once all of these items are packed then it’s time to pack kit which you may need access to quickly, this could include waterproofs and a warm insulated jacket. These should be packed at the very top of the bag, if you have a top pocket this would be an ideal place for these.

Step 6– Lastly; pack items which will sit on the outside of the bag until required. Bottled water and flasks can be packed inside or mesh pockets that your bag may have. Walking poles should fit onto the outside of you pack by the way of some loops and straps.

So now you can prepare your pack for your next day hike knowing that everything you need will be in the most convenient place. TOP TIP - good quality carabiner clips are ideal to hang on the outside of your bag for eg, to hang your gloves on when not in use,and a water bottle which is compatible with a lid and hook that will loop onto the carabiner.

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