Some time ago I posted information about the items that I carry with me when I go out for a hike. Over the past 12 months, I have upgraded the equipment and I thought it was time to post an update. You can see the original post here.
A word of explanation: When I started hiking again two years ago, most of my hikes were done solo. It was therefore important that I was equipped to handle any possible events that might occur. This was particularly so with the issue of drinking water.
So, please take a look at the upgraded gear.
The Kit Bag
I now use an Osprey Hikelite 26. It is more comfortable to carry than the Camelbak Mule as it features the suspended-mesh Airspeed Hikelite back panel. The only downside is the external pockets which are not as convenient as the Camelbak.
Water is absolutely necessary for any environment and more so when the temperatures are high. When I know I’m doing a serious route I use the 2 litre bladder that fits nicely in the Osprey backpack.
From left to right: the 2 Litre bladder that fits inside the Osprey Hikelite 26, a Lifestraw Go 2-stage filtration bottle that I use for shorter walks. It has an activated carbon capsule that reduces organic chemical matter (pesticides, herbicides, VOCs). I also have a Sawyer Mini filtration device for emergencies.
I recommend making up your own first aid kit. The reason for this is, in my experience, when you buy a ready-made kit many of the contents are out of date. This is particularly so with the sticking plaster bandages which have dried up over months or even years of storage. I found this out when I managed to cut my finger badly and opened up my kit for a plaster. None of them stuck to my finger for more than an hour before falling off.
It is up to the individual to consider what they might need in the way of medication etc. The following is a potential list to start you off:
- Elastic bandage for sprains.
- Sticking plasters for cuts (include several sizes to include some large enough for blisters). From my rock climbing days I also carry a Moisture Vapour Spray Dressing – for small scratches, it is quick and easy to use.
- Alcohol wipes, they can also be used as fire lighters in an emergency.
- Medicines – antihistamines, pain/fever meds, and anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs).
- Analgesic cream (heating rub for sore muscles, particularly important at the end of a long hike).
- Personal medications as required.
A pleasant outing is even more pleasant when you can stop for a cup of tea of coffee, or even a quick meal. A lightweight convenient to use cooking system is a great thing to have.
I carry a Trangia Mess Tin containing everything I need to warm up some water or baked beans.
Inside the mess tin is a Trangia Pocket Stove, so-called because it will literally fit in your pocket. As you will see in the following photos, there is also a pot holder, a fire steel, fuel cubes, and cotton wool, and vaseline which can be used as a fire lighter.
I carry a poncho for unexpected rain. It is equipped with guy lines so that I can set it up as a shelter with the use of my trekking poles if necessary. You can see more on the use of trekking poles here.
I DO NOT recommend the use of umbrellas while hiking. Although, having said that, if you can find one which is the right size for you it can double as a walking aid in place of a trekking pole.
I remember many years ago climbing Lion Rock. The summit ridge is narrow and hazardous and care must be taken when traversing it. I saw a lady walking along, chatting away merrily with her friends and sheltering from the sun under a large, open umbrella. A sudden gust of wind would have seen this lady carried off the summit and descending in the direction of Kowloon at a great rate before she knew what was happening.
Like the first aid kit, munchies are very much a matter of choice. I like to take some boiled sweets and biscuits as a staple. If I think I’m going to stop for a snack then it is easy to include coffee, tea bags, and instant noodles. You can get as complicated as you wish here. It’s up to the individual.
What I carry, and what you carry is entirely a matter of choice. The main consideration must be weight. It’s all very well being able to survive a potential disaster but if you are struggling with the weight of your kitbag then it’s going to ruin your day. First and foremost, the most important item is water and the ability to filter water from any source you can find. If anyone has different ideas on the subject of what to bring I would very much like to hear from you.
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