Looking at taking a trip out for the day then you probably need a bag. Let’s call it a day bag, for obvious reasons. But what should you look to take with you? This is a short list of personal preferences I would look to pack on any trip.
This is the second part of the "what to carry" list, so if you are late to the party, head back and catch up on the first half of the list.
The whistle is a tiny little item that can genuinely save your life if things go south. It may not have a multitude of handy tips and tricks allocated to it, but if you need to be rescued, then this little sucker is going to get the job done.
There are a host of ways to signal you are in distress; three fires in a triangle sounds cosy but bloody hard work. Launching of red flares; handy if you have them. The release of orange smoke; again not an ideal item of kit to lug about all the time. Raising and lowering slowly and repeatedly both arms outstretched to each side; still not suitable if you are injured or stuck on the ground. No, when it comes to efficient signalling for help, your whistle is king.
Three solid blasts followed by a 60-second pause, then another three solid blasts. Repeat this pattern until you are rescued, or you pass out. Like the blanket before, it's better to have it and not need it than to die.
Your head torch is an essential bit of kit, and they have come on leaps and bounds in the last few years. A head torch that would have cost 60 or 70 quid just a couple of years ago can now be picked up brand new for less around 30. I have a battery pack one I use for running and events but my day one uses batteries I can replace easily. The two main things to look for when picking a head torch are battery life and lumens. How long it's going to last and how bright is it when its dark.
Let's cut to it here; 7 hours is more than enough and Lithium batteries are always better than alkaline. Xenon and Krypton bulbs may give better light, but LEDs are far more reliable. You're just walking, not piloting a speeder bike the forest moon of Endor. As long as you can see where you're putting your feet in the dark, you are good to go. My day torch cost me less than 20 quid, and I've had it for years.
Let's get tooled up! Wait that sounds irresponsible, but you know what I mean. Picking a knife can be exciting, and if you're anything like me, you'll be distracted by shiny, full tang blades, with single bevel edges and hickory carved handles. All very nice but it is essential to get the right one. A knife is a necessary item of kit because of its difficulty to replicate. Let me explain. Your triangle bandage in your first aid kit is super useful, but if you have lost it, you can achieve many of the same uses with a buff or a space blanket.
Trying to cut something without a knife will have you looking for sharp rocks or trying to bite your way around the problem like a savage dog. Unless you have the time and inclination to mine copper and tin, build a forge and craft a bronze blade, trying to replicate a good knife if tricky to say the very least. Items of kit that are nigh on impossible to reproduce are quite literally worth there weight in gold.
Now the law states that to carry a blade for no specific purpose; then it must be non-locking and no longer than 3 inches. If you're off for several days, then something a bit larger will become more versatile, but honestly, a well made decent legal carry is all you need to open cheese and make lunch.
So you're all packed and ready to go, but where are you off? I could go into great depth here about the importance of navigation and how being lost is a sure fire way to ruin your day and the days of a rescue team sent to help you out. If this happens, then I'm quite sure they will assist you no matter your situation, but if they arrive and see you are ill prepared and have attempted something without any form of navigation they are going to be calling you every name under the sun behind your back. And rightly so.
Smartphones these days come with a variety of navigation apps and I my self use the OS app on a regular basis. I use it to plan and prepare routes and familiarise my self with the general lay of the land before heading out, but the phone is on the list so you can call for help if something or someone has gone belly up. Let's not be lazy. Every trip out is an opportunity for you to improve not only your general fitness but also your skill set and map reading should be the one skill you are always practising.
It's great that we have a phone as a plan B to confirm our location and dismiss and doubt about decisions to prevent you from getting in to bother in the first place. We are lucky to have that safety net, but a phone is definitely for calling and taking pictures. Always check your battery is full and remember all batteries will dissipate a lot faster when they are cold so look to keep your phone on your person for both heat and easy access should you take a tumble. Pop it in flight mode and enjoy the environment around you. Most smartphones still track GPS information when in flight mode so your location will always be assessable providing you have already downloaded the necessary maps. The accuracy will be lacking, and I stress, it is no substitute for a map and compass.
And that my friends is it. Again this is just the bare naked basics for an average day out. There is scope to carry cordage, stoves, shelters, layers and all manner of other location and seasonal items of kit depending on your objectives; these are just the bits I wouldn't leave the house without. If you're looking for some support on any adventure here in the UK, then head over to ROOTS, and we can put you in contact with a professional to help you succeed.
Think ahead, collect information, make a plan and see it through.
Patience - Logic - Strength
Link to first article https://okhane.com/what-to-wear-on-the-hills-this-winter/