Exciting times are coming for hikers in England. It looks like from the 4th July, overnight stays will be permitted and campsites will reopen, allowing those that have longed to sleep under the stars the opportunity to do so.
If you’re anything like me, you have spent lockdown reviewing your kit, getting it ready and purchasing anything you were missing or that needed replacing, to be ready when they give the green light.
Here are my tips for those wanting to have their kit primed and ready:
Choosing your kit
I am a stickler for lightweight and simple gear, so when it comes to choosing my kit, I know my priorities! This can sometimes get in the way of my comfort level though so it is important to know what matters most to you! Here are a few things to consider when choosing your own kit:
- The Weather
Checking the weather before you go, and getting the latest update from national forecast services (weather.gov, Met Office or Met Eireann) is a great way to prepare, but it is important to be prepared for all weather conditions, no matter what the time of year! Mountain weather can be quite different.
Having good fitting boots and bags can be the difference between an enjoyable trip and cuts, bruises and blisters. Ensure your kit fits well and ask the shop assistant for help if you’re unsure. Choose good hiking socks that are designed to minimise blisters and always carry a blister pack with you!
Camping gear doesn’t have to cost the world, and there are a lot of great products out there. Consider your own requirements and budget when choosing new gear and do your research for the best available. There are great reviews online and on product listings so you can get an idea if something will be suitable.
After a few days on the trail, you are going to feel every single gram on your back. What you thought was vital equipment, might not feel like it after a while so consider your own essential list and weigh your pack before setting off. Are there areas you can save some weight? Water is essential but maybe there are some home comforts you can do without. Remember, if you’re travelling with friends, shared kit can be split between the group.
The kit list required will depend on the type of trip you will be doing, for instance, length, location, activity (will you be climbing or kayaking at all on route?) but your kit should break down into 6 main categories. It’s important to remember that you may not need all of this stuff, and while the list might seem long, many items are small and can be contained in a toiletries style bag. For example, if you aren’t camping or are near towns every day you can save a lot in the food section.
Here is a suggested kit list for a 2-3 day hike in the UK:
- Camping and Sleeping Equipment
- Lightweight tent, suitable for the number of people using it
- Sleeping Mat
- Sleeping bag, suitable for the temperature
- Pillow, optional (my lightweight pack doesn’t have space for a pillow)
- Food, Water and Cooking
- Stove and fuel, enough for your trip
- Cooking pot
- Cutlery (I use a spoon/fork to save space and weight)
- Sharp knife, I use a multitool for my cooking knife
- Matches and a lighter, waterproof are great but you can also keep some in a zip lock bag to ensure they’re dry
- Food supply for the entire trip, plus emergency supplies
- Water supply 1.5-2 litres, also carry a water filter and purification tablets to get more on the way.
- Good fitting Rucksack, big enough to carry all your stuff (I use a 33l Alpine bag for 2-3 day trips)
- Rucksack liner, survival bag or rubble sacks work great and double up as emergency gear.
- Head torch
- Mobile phone and app with offline routes, with spare battery or power supply
- Map and Compass, and the knowledge of how to use them!
- Ziplock bags, for taking your rubbish home
This section would also include anything else your trip may require, such as rope, harnesses or life jacket.
- Toiletries and Medicines.
- Toothbrush (I cut mine in half to save weight)
- Toothpaste, the travel tubes are usually sufficient
- Bug repellant spray
- Sun Cream, minimum factor 30
- Any medication you take, clearly labeled and well packaged
- Deodorant stick, roll ons take up less space
- Toilet roll, a few strips might come in handy
- Travel trowel, to leave the environment how you found it
- Wet wipes, travel pack size usually comes in handy (always pack these out and take them home)
- Hand sanitiser, to reduce the risk of spread after touching gates and fences
- Hair Bands, you only need them if you need them, I like to use them to wrap around things when not in use (such as my waterproof jacket, to keep things neat)
- Clothing and footwear
- Hiking trousers and shorts, fast drying and lightweight are often best
- Technical base layer, to keep you dry and warm
- Non-cotton t-shirts
- Non-cotton long sleeve shirt
- Waterproof Jacket
- Waterproof Trousers
- Technical hiking socks, to reduce the risk of blisters
- Hat, gloves, cap
- Well-fitting hiking boots with ankle support
- Flip flops or Toms for when you aren’t hiking
- Emergency Kit
- First Aid Kit – This should be suitable for the activity type you plan on carrying out.
- Survival Bag – For keeping you dry, your stuff dry, or carrying water if needed. (Use it as a rucksack liner to keep your things dry in a downpour)
- Spare Batteries – Always a handy thing to carry for emergency use (tip – If your head torch is prone to switching on in your bag, fit the battery the wrong way until you’re ready to use it)
- Paracord or rope
- Emergency snacks
- Spare cash
As you do more and more trips, you get to know the kit you like and what your essential list looks like. Don’t be afraid to get tips off other hikers along the way, they’re usually pretty keen to share tips!
Got your own kit tips and tricks? Add them to the comments below, we would love to hear them!