The humble rucksack or backpack has long since been the avid adventurer’s best friend. From camping and climbing to hiking and bike riding, you can’t leave the house without a reliable and durable backpack filled with all your favourite goodies and essentials. Before you head out to explore nature and chase the horizon, we have put together a list of the top 10 things every outdoor explorer needs, to be prepared for their journey. From safety equipment to food, read on to discover what to pack in your backpack and what you can’t do without.
- First aid kit. As we all know, accidents can happen to even the most experienced hiker or climber. When you are heading out make sure you pack a small first aid kit into your backpack, for emergency situations. You can buy pre-made first aid packs from your local pharmacy or even an outdoors store, or you can put your own kit together. The most important item to keep stocked in your first aid kit, is plasters. Top up your kit with different sizes and shapes of plasters, as well as blister plasters. You will thank us for this tip once you’ve walked 5 miles and your boots have started to rub.
- Energy food. Fill your backpack with high energy food and drinks to make sure that you can keep going for longer. This is especially important on long walks and hikes, as you will be exerting a lot of energy and will need to top it up quickly. One of the best high energy foods that hikers swear by is peanut butter – make peanut butter sandwiches or fill celery with it for a quick and nutritious snack. We have lots of ideas for camping food here, which will also be great for packing into your backpack for hiking.
- Quick dry towel. We live in Britain. And it will rain, no matter what the forecast says. If you pack a small quick drying towel into your backpack you will be able to dry off your hands, face and hair if (read: when) you get soaked in a downpour.
- Spare socks. A good pair of spare hiking socks are a must-have for your backpack. If it rains and your boots start to leak, you can quickly change into a dry and comfortable pair of socks instead of walking about with soggy feet all day. Plus if you are camping overnight, you can warm up your extra pairs of socks in your sleeping bag for toasty feet in the morning.
- Map and compass. We know that handheld GPS devices and iPhones are the go-to navigation tool for most these days, but they both have one big flaw – they can run out of battery. A good, old-fashioned map and compass will never run out of battery. We can’t guarantee that you won’t get lost, but at least you will be properly equipped for every eventuality.
- Spare layers. It is always wise to pack a spare layer or two into your bag. Much like the spare socks, this will help you to avoid spending the day in rain soaked clothes. We would recommend packing an extra lightweight microfleece, which has a small pack size and will be great for warmth.
- Packaway jacket. Even during the summer months, you will need a waterproof jacket when you are out and about. A packable waterproof jacket is the perfect option, as you won’t have to carry about a big, heavy jacket if the weather stays nice. Plus you can also add your packable jacket on top of another lightweight jacket to boost the waterproof power.
- Torch. Great for finding the car keys last thing at night. Perfect for keeping you visible on the mountain. And also important for camping trips. No backpack should be without a handy little torch.
- Water bottle. Keep your water bottle or flask topped up throughout the day, to ensure that you stay hydrated and fresh. If you are worried about your water bottle leaking into your backpack, you can attach it to the outside of the bag with a carabineer. You can also buy rucksacks and backpacks with nice external mesh pockets for your bottle.
- Rain cover. If you are planning on a long backpacking trip then a rain cover is a good investment. With all your worldly possessions in one place, you will want to keep your backpack as protected as possible from the unpredictable weather. You can store a rain cover in a pocket when it’s not needed.
Hopefully we have given you a few new ideas and tips, for packing your backpack, and you are all set for your next adventure. And just one more thing (said in the voice of Columbo) to help you pack; make sure you pack heavier items against your spine so that the weight is evenly distributed and make sure to put anything you will need ready-to-hand, at the top of that pack.