What to pack for hiking

Hiking: My Rucksack Essentials

I love hiking but you already know that right? I’ve been learning lots when it comes to packing my rucksack full of the essentials. I’m not at the stage where I’ve been off for a few days hike (next year I’m planning to hike a few  days with my tent, I’m not sure if it’ll be a solo adventure but the thought does appeal to me) so obviously that will effect what and how much you’ll need to pack.  In this post I’m going to give you some of my essentials for a day’s hike on a well known route as opposed to making up your own.

In no particular order my rucksack essentials are:

1. Water and then some

Extra water if you’re a guzzle guts is essential.  I found this out recently when I got half way up Snowdon’s Llanberis path with an empty bottle water and then expected the half way cafe to give me more water for free. How wrong I was – they only did bottled water and charged, quite a bit too! Therefore always carry extra water. My new rucksack has got a bladder pack in it which allows me to carry 2L.   They’re much better than bottles because you can constantly sip (to keep you hydrated) and you don’t have to stop to reach for the bottle.

2. Energy Food

Make sure you’ve had a good breakfast (Porridge is fantastic for a slow release of energy)  but also bring lunch with you which includes bananas, nuts and seeds. I’ve found in the sports / outdoors industry there is big emphasis on manufactured high energy foods such as shot blocks and beans. In my opinion they’re packed full of refined sugars and I’m not too sure how good they are for you?  I prefer natural sugars and like I mentioned, slow releasing foods that don’t make you bounce off the cliff and slump when you’re at the top!

3. Whistle

I haven’t got one yet and I’m ashamed to tell you that I’ve been hiking without one.  It only occurred to me the other day when I was among a fog patch, what would I do if I got separated from my friends – shout? The winds if ferocious, like they were that day, would drown out any kind of voice sound so a whistle is the better alternative.

4. Torch

I use my iPhone’s torch but if I was to go hiking in the winter months, I’d have a torch. It’s pretty steep up the likes of Snowdon and fog, mist, cloud and the darkness can get you into trouble if you can’t see where you’re going (always carry extra batteries too). A head torch is also a great idea as it leaves you with free hands.

5. Something reflective

I wear biking gear that’s reflective especially when you’re on back lanes in the evening but didn’t think about wearing something reflective when hiking. However since being caught among cloud and fog, visibility can be an issue and if you’re wearing something reflective it means you’ll be easily spotted should you need to be (if you get my gist!) 

6. First Aid Kit

Luckily I’ve never had to use one but whilst on a ride last year, my riding companion got into trouble with a tree branch. It only needed minor stitches but anti -septic wipes and a bandage would have come in handy! First Aid Kits are handy wherever you go.

7. Hiking Sticks

These are one of my favourites so far. I love them because they help you to grip and keep up right. I’m not very sturdy in my ankles and at times coming down is really hard. Hiking sticks do help and are ideal in slippery conditions. Although I’ve been told I look like I’m skiing with them…

8.  Neck Gaiter

These are really useful in the colder winter if you’re like me and don’t like breathing in cold air because it hurts your lungs. Recently my trip up Cadair Idris was a bit uncomfortable because I didn’t have one. Luckily my hiking companion did and wearing it helped a lot.

9. Waterproofs

I won’t need waterproofs I said to myself, it’s summer! Urm yes and I also live in GB and not taking waterproofs was the most stupidest thing I’ve ever done. Being soaked right through to my skin is not a nice feeling especially when you’re at the bottom and have 2,900ft to go but it taught me a lesson… have waterproof EVERYTHING because you just don’t know.

My rucksack ingredients are ever growing and to be honest I don’t think every hiker thinks yes I’ve it all! You’ll find yourself in situations like me and think yup should have brought that.   I guess the most obvious ones are a map and compass, I’ve not had the need to bring these yet as my hikes have been with experienced hikers on well known routes but I should advocate that you do pack these also on a just in case basis.

I’d love to hear what you pack in your rucksack when you hike?

C L Haden



3 thoughts on “Hiking: My Rucksack Essentials

  1. Map and compass is a must and arguably more important is to know how to use them, particularly when the cloud drops. A waterproof map is also useful in the bad weather. I carry a GPS with extra batteries as well, and in wind a GPS can be easier than a map. Being diabetic I carry glucose, lucozade, my testing kits, insulin and enough food to feed an army but as a result I’ve not had really low blood sugars on a long mountain trek so i must be doing something right (touch wood!!!). Sometimes I pack spare socks incase mine get wet. Another useful tip is to have a change of clothes back in the car. Nothing worse than getting back soaked and having to sit in the car all wet. If its cold a flask of hot chocolate or something of that ilk is brilliant.

    1. I’d agree and if I’m honest I’m still learning to use a map and compass but I agree they are very important. I’ve seen a few hikers with a water proof map but yes I think GPS systems are a lot better. A friend of mine introduced me to an app version called View Finder – have you heard of it? I’ve not used it much yet but it looks super handy although I’m not too sure how it compares with an actual GPS.

      Low bloody sugar – I hear you! I’ve to eat every hour or so when I’m hiking so well done for not being put in negative situation. You’re obviously forward planning which is important and I think I’ll take a bit of. 😉

      Ah there’s nothing like dry clothes aye or hot baths at the end of the day.

      1. I’ve seen Viewranger before if that’s what you mean. You can get it on App store and Google play depending on your phone type. Its pretty good, you can create routes at home and put them on your phone to follow. Or download ones already in Viewranger and follow those. Only thing to remember is it will use phone battery which may be best for other uses unless you get one of those special battery chargers for your phone. That’s why I’ve gone down the GPS route to separate the two functions out. Its whatever you feel comfortable with that is important

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