You show me yours, I'll show you mine
So what do you pack in your rucksack for a day out? Well, a lot will depend on where you're going, how long you expect to be, and how far from civilisation you expect to be. Which is why I alway pack everything. That way, I don't have to worry about whether I should pack this or that, or whether I need this or that, I know I've got everything I need. So what is "Everything I need".
This is it. This is all I take, and it fits into a 32 litre rucksack. So, to go through them then:
1. First Aid Kit - Can't do without this. Sometimes I lead, sometimes I don't, but rather than digging to the bottom and taking everything out to replace it with a small personal one, I just take the big one with me all the time.
2. Group Shelter (Hi-Vis Yellow with a drawstring in the centre of photo).
Now, many people might think this is overkill to keep in your bag all year round. Well, it has other uses, not just for emergencies. If it's raining, you can sit in it to have a dry tea or lunch break. If it's dry and glorious, the ground might still be wet, so you can spread it out to sit on. You can see that I also carry an orange survival bag. Doesn't take up much room, but very useful to have.
3. Map, Compass, GPS. The compass stays in a little pocket in my waist belt, the big map stays inside the rucksack. I print out an A4 size sheet of my route, with notes, and seal it in a clear filing pocket, which is kept in my trouser or coat pocket. The GPS will go in one of the rucksack's outside pockets.
4. Sit mat. Worth its weight in gold (which is not very much, as it's light as a feather), but I wouldn't like to be without it. If you do find yourself without it, a waterproof map, or the orange survival bag, can double up as a sit map.
5. Waterproof coat and trousers. In Wales, these are essential whatever the time of year. These are my lightweight ones, and don't take up a lot of room, but they do the job. I have a pair of gloves here - one in each pocket, and a small woolly hat in a pocket too. I usually use the hood if I need to cover my head though.
6. Spare clothes - the grey dry bag has my spare clothes - yes, including knickers - and my "lady" things. Items include knickers, socks, base layer, fleece, hat, gloves.
7. Bladder. I hate that word in this context. I always use a hydration pack - it takes up less room than a bottle, it is always on tap, you don't have to keep stopping in order to have a sip of water, therefore you are more likely to keep yourself well hydrated. Having said that, some people do prefer bottles.
8. Flask and sandwich box. Very important not to forget these. I like to make my coffee out on the hill so have a little jar for milk (an old ginger spice bottle, make sure it's leakproof), a little container of coffee granules, and my mug. I usually wrap these in a lightweight plastic bag in case they leak. It is also very important to take more food than you think you will eat, in case of emergencies. As someone once said when taking a group of youngsters out "If you finish all your food you didn't take enough".
9. Head Torch. It will depend upon the time of year as to where in my rucksack this lives. In winter time it will be in the brain (or lid), in the summer, it will be down the bottom. It is very important to make sure it has fully charged batteries, even if it is in the bottom of the sack.
10. Navigation bag. This little dry bag carries things I might need for navigation - spare compass, time/distance ready reckoner, counting beads, waterproof pen, magnifying glass, etc.
11. Occasionals. As the name suggests, I keep things that I will only need occasionally in here, if at all - spare laces, spare gaitor strap, spare batteries, tissues, pen, spare whistle, 20p coins for a loo, sachets of suncream, compeeds, covers for walking boots (they look like blue shower caps)small hand torch (batteries checked regularly), spare asthma pump, Sudocrem (don't ask), bars of chocolate (I don't like Kendal Mint Cake, but I'm sure I'd eat it if my life depended upon it).
12. And in the middle you can see a roll of duct tape, with a multi-tool. Yes, the roll is a bit big, but when I've tried to take bits off and wrap them round my poles, or other item, by the time I need it, it has all gone sticky, won't unwrap properly and is useless. I've needed this tape several times whilst out leading.
All of these go either in to the black dry bag inside my rucksack or in a separate dry bag in the lid. The rucksack dries really quickly so it doesn't have a cover.
If you find yourself asking "Do I need to take this with me?", then the answer is yes.
"It's better to be looking at it, than looking for it." Wise Old Man
What do you keep in yours?