A quick reminder of the basic principles of preparedness, Food, Water, Shelter, Security, Health and Sanitation. We have covered Shelter in the form of clothing, tents and sleeping equipment. In this post we will look at the other equipment, their use and how they might be categorised into their corresponding principles preparedness category.
The backpack is an essential piece of equipment, it will become an extension of your body, the load will be spread throughout your hips, shoulders and back, the distributed weight you add will ultimately be carried though your legs and joints, make the wrong choice of equipment and this will quickly affect your health. I would recommend going to a professional camping store to buy this equipment, they usually have jigs and gauges to check your back size and can help you adjust the bag correctly to suit you.
I haven’t changed my rucksack for some years, I have tried many other types but keep coming back to my Lowe Alpine Airzone Centro 35+10, at the time of purchase I researched the bag and it had great reviews, the only negatives were the narrowing of the central part of the bag due to the Airzone bow and the netted side pockets.
I liked it because it was shower proof, it was made from ripstop fabric, expanded another 10 litres with the integral plus 10 extension, had a waterproof bag included in the base pocket, It wasn’t too big or too small as a day pack or small overnight bag but is a bit of a struggle for use as a camping backpack.
Waterproof stuff bags or dry sacks are a good thing to have for packing your equipment into along with zip-lock plastic bags. Whilst I have the rain cover, this won’t stop my sleeping bag from getting wet if my camel back water bladder leaks.
Choose wisely and as always buy the best you can for your budget, however just like we suggested for boots, this is one item you may wish to spend a bit more on.
So let’s go over some of the items to include for your trip
Food and Cooking
What food you take is down to your own personal preference, think about your meals and how you can cook them, then take the ingredients, considered spoilage of the food, health is important and the last thing you need in the wilderness is food poisoning. If you are travelling with others try to share the food and cooking equipment load so you don’t double up unnecessarily and decide who is taking what in advance. I would estimate 1.5 to 2lts of water per day per person.
- Stove – I have opted for the Trangia all in one stove and will be testing this on my trip
- Fuel – This will be the meth’s required for the stove, this would also help trying to start a fire in difficult conditions
- Fuel tablets – As a back up for fire starting
- Lighter – I actually pack two just in case one breaks
- Cooking Pot set – This is a part of the Stove set on mine, your system may need a separate set, however Cookware is heavy so chose with this in mind
- Kettle – Again included in my cook set, if you can get away with boiling in a pan then this will save overall weight
- Mug – I use a tin mug, this way it can be used to cook with if needed.
- Cutlery – basic set (make they reach the pan bases and you can use them as cooking utensils. Sporks are light but I like to have them separate.
- Spatula – I have purchased a new foldable spatula which I will test on the next trip
- Cooking oil – Your choice – make sure it’s in a secure bottle as you don’t want it leaking, also consider coconut oil, is more solid than liquid and is healthy.
- Condiments \ herbs – as required.
Mostly covered in the previous blog posts, important for Shelter and therefore your Health and Security.
- Tent three to Four Season mountain tent, lightweight – Covered previously
- Sleeping Bag – Covered Previously
- Sleeping Mat – Covered previously
- Sleeping bag liner – Covered previously
- Pillow Comfy – Covered previously
- Pee Bottle (wide top) – will mean that you don’t have to get up in the night if you need a pee!
Recently a report showed how a camper had died heading off for a pee in the dark and fell off a cliff – its not worth the risk when you’re half asleep
Totally optional and dependant upon you, where you are going, the climate and how long you are going for, however for your health, pack some essential just in case you get wet and need to change, nothing worse than sleeping in wet gear, it can be a long cold night.
- Socks (spare)
- Base layer long arms
- Warm base layer
- Waterproof Jacket
- Waterproof Trousers
Again depends upon you, the weather on the day and the season, however for health reasons stay warm and dry by adding and removing layers as necessary.
- Base Layer short sleeved
- Walking trousers
- Windproof Jacket / fleece
- Hat Warm
- Rucksack Lightweight
- Water bladder – Optional
- Walking Poles Light – optional, but remember these have many other uses from making shelters to providing a pole for spear fishing. Also some lightweight Tent systems use the walking pole as the tent pole
- Neck & Face Wear – optional but I always take a bandanna as it can be used as a light hat, or neck \ head cover, good as a make shift filter for use when breathing or as a water filter. Also for health can be used as a part of your first aid kit as a tourniquet, bandage, etc
- Sun Glasses – optional
- Gaiters Waterproof
- Money, wallet, cards, keys – not always essential but you never know when your going to need them – there could be a great pub on route!
- Pocket knives – I always have on me a legal carry pocket knife and use it a few times everyday for something
- Hankies – as well as the obvious these can also be used in emergency’s for sanitary, toilet or stop bleeding if required.
- Carabiner – so useful for all sorts of things including hammock strapping, hanging items off your rucksack, climbing (ensure correct rated products for this!!) temporary shelter construction. I have two climbing Carabiners just in case I need to use them to hold mine or someone’s weights.
- Pace counter beads – See previous post on this subject here.
- Map & Compass – certainly for your health and security you need to know roughly where you are at all times and have some idea of what is around you. Ideally you will of plotted a route or will have a set destination. Know how to use these even if its just theory for now. Other navigation equipment like pace count beads, pace cards, incline calculator are interesting tasks to try on route, Two is One and One is None, have a back up, you may find you have several as a by-product of something else, Mobile phones have GPS, see what maps are available for the area and have these preloaded where possible, I have a Compass, Altimeter, barometer plus many other functions on my wristwatch.
Also don’t forget there is always the survival methods of navigation using the sun and stars.
- Map Case Strong = optional
- Chinagraph pencil – Chinagraph pencils can be used to write on the waterproof maps, or to mark routes, leave messages etc.
- Head Torch & Spare Batteries – head torches are great for hands free operation – reading, fire starting, first aid.
- Hand torch and battery
- Mobile with spare battery \ charger \ USB lead Waterproof Case
- Survival Kit Knife
- Multi tool
- Paracord – these can be in gadgets such as the wrist band featured in this previous post, I also recommend taking 50 metres minimum hanked ready for use.
- Lighter & Tea Light – a good back up with a simple way of maintaining a flame for lighting, starting fires,etc.
- 9v battery – optional back up for fire starting with wire-wool
- Duct Tape Velcro strap – these are very handy for attaching things to your backpack, lashing things together, first aid, etc,
- Emergency Shelter Visible – these pocket sized items can be a life saver and simply added to your fist aid kit
- Tent lantern – I have will be trying out the one mentioned in this earlier post.
- Light sticks X4 – these are great for hanging on your tent at night to find it in the dark, but also for waving in an emergency or marking a route at night.
- Ham radio charged battery – great fun but also extremely functional in emergencies where the mobile phone fails to work.
- Monocular – for just scenic views or pinpointing landmarks for orienteering.
- Water filter, life-straw sawyer mini – its not advisable to drink water that you come across when you are out and about, however if you were absolutely desperate, then the Sawyer Mini is one of the best to use.
- Water purification tablets – for your health, always boil water that you use that isn’t what you brought with you, water purification tablets will help to purify the water.
- notepad & pen – for leaving messages, taking notes / instructions from the radio or mobile. detailing your thoughts for a blog post!
- Mozi head net – optional depending upon season and area.
Packed Toiletries / Health and Sanitation
- Toilet paper
- Pocket Tissues
- Wet Wipes Toilet
- Hand Sanitation
- Roll on Deodorant
- Travel toothbrush and toothpaste
- Ear Plugs – to help you sleep especially if one of your group snores.
- Towel Small, packable, absorbent, quick drying
- Toilet Trowel
FAK – Health
- Anti inflammatory.
- Burn gel
- Cold & Flu..Lemsip
- Anadin Extra
- Wound Care Bandage, Crepe Bandage Plaster Strip, Fabric Plaster Strip, Antiseptic wipes
- Blister Care – plaster and needle,
- Joint straps for known issues
By the next post we will have been on the trip and tested out the gear.