Whether you are out for the day on a long hike, or you are joining your local walking club for a short 3-mile saunter across the local fields, there are ten key essentials that should be with you at all times.
The motivation for this blog came about as I got caught out a few weeks ago during a freak weather storm with no rain gear to hand. I decided that from that moment on that I would always keep my pack-away rain jacket in my rucksack.
In the list below, I have not mentioned the obvious things such as proper walking shoes, good hiking socks, poles etc. The following items are all essentials that you can keep in your daypack.
If you have these essentials in your pack then you can guarantee that you will always walk in comfort and prevent injury.
“There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”
#1 – Waterproof jacket
There are many jackets out there, but having a pack-a-mac handy in your daypack is something that you will never regret carrying. As I already mentioned, a few weeks ago we set off in glorious sunshine from Farthingstone. The forecast was hot weather with only a 20% chance of rain towards the end of the walk. Halfway through the walk, the heavens opened and I was caught out. There is nothing more miserable than knowing you still have 3 miles left to walk in soaking wet clothes. As you can see from the video, I was not the only one who got a bit wet!
#2 – Cap
I usually wear my Adventure Geek cap, but even on the odd occasion that I am not in the mood for wearing a cap I will always keep it in my rucksack. A cap is a fantastic bit of kit to keep the sun from your head, or to keep your bonnet warm in colder climates. If you wear a baseball cap style, this also acts as a form of beak which directs water away from your body in the wet weather. (Handy last week during the freak rainstorm)
#3 – Water
I suppose this is another obvious one, but often I have thought to myself “it's only 3 miles, I won't bother taking anything to drink”. Walking is an aerobic activity and you will be losing water as you walk. I usually drink a glass of something before I leave for any walk as it is important to keep your body hydrated. I also keep a sneaky “Robinsons Squashed” in my pack to give my water a bit of flavour.
#4 – First Aid Kit
You really don't need to have a full medical kit with you, but it is always worth keeping a few essentials in your first aid kit. In my kit, I have Compeed (blister plasters), alcohol, ibuprofen tablets, scissors and antiseptic cream.
#5 – Suncream and chapstick
In the summer months, I always carry travel-sized suncream. You just never know if you are going to need it. In both the summer and the winter I have a chapstick for my lips.
#6 – Snackbar of some kind
If you have ever walked with Adventure Geek then you will smile when you see this title. I ALWAYS carry sweets, chocolate or some kind of food that offers an instant injection of sugar or carbs. It is amazing how many calories you will burn just by going for a short 3-mile walk.
#7 – Some type of lighting
I know we all have torches on our iPhones, but it is not ideal. A headtorch or a hand torch is a much better solution. If you mis-time your walk (which I have on a few occasions) and you end up walking after the sun has gone to bed, then additional lighting can certainly help you find your way.
#8 – Emergency contact details
I am often out walking on my own. Have you ever seen the film “24 hours”, where the guy gets his arm caught in a bolder but he has not told anyone where he is going and ends up cutting his own arm off to survive? Yep, don't be that person! Always tell someone where you are going! Additionally, always keep your ICE (In case of Emergency) details in your rucksack so that is accessible to any person who may need to call your partner/spouse/next of kin in an emergency. If you attend parkrun then you can purchase a wristband that has your barcode as well as your ICE details. I usually wear my parkrun wrist band when out on any walk. You never know when it will come in handy.
#9 – Powerpack
My main form of navigation is my phone. If I am on a remote footpath and lose power in my phone then things could get a bit awkward. I use the Belkin powerpack that charges my iPhone eight times, or my Apple watch 12 times. It is lightweight and really handy to just pop in my pack for emergencies.
#10 – Spare socks
Not only do I have a spare pair of socks in my pack, but I also carry my lightweight camping shoes. At the end of a walk, it is nice to have a quick drink with friends in the pub. Changing into dry socks and shoes is not only nice for your feet but the pub landlord will also appreciate it!
Prevention is always better than cure. Being sensible is a bit boring, but I would rather be boring and safe than spontaneous with a risk of harm or danger.