Posted on June 10th 2016 by Jason Rawles
On the 24th July a team of #GetOutside Champions from Ordnance Survey are visiting North Wales to look at summiting Snowdon. It’s the highest mountain in England and Wales and some of the major paths starts in or around a village called Llanberis. This blog series details the process of planning by me, Jason Rawles, the Adventure Guide for this trip.
Previous blogs can be accessed HERE on subjects like using OS Maps, map strategies and safety, liaising with the national parks and things to do during your stay.
So, this week we are looking at kit on an adventure. This will be looked at in a few parts. What should be considered as part of your personal kit and an extra kit that may be carried as a group leader.
I’m delighted to have some fellow #GetOutside Champions contributing to this blog. So, how things may differ if you have children with you and my friends the Meek family are helping with this. Also, anything specific that may be needed if you’re a female adventurer care of Fiona and Lucy from Two Blondes Walking.
With any kit considerations it comes down to the weather, the season and your level of experience. In winter the days are shorter and colder, in Summer while they’re longer you may get caught out with localised weather changes.
It’s hard to suggest how warm/cold you are as a person so this needs to be personal decisions. With adventure, personal accountability is key because you don’t just become a danger to yourself but also the rest of your group and any emergency services that have to rescue you.
You also need to consider personal medication as an individual requirement. That may include things like hayfever which could link to breathing issues.
The below are considerations. What you chose to take is up to you based on how fast you want to move and your perceptions of risk. I can’t force things in your rucksack but what I can say is, if things change on your day out, or the weather changes, you’ll be thankfully of having the right stuff with you.
Image: kit from Sherpa Adventure Gear, Lowe Alpine, KEEN Footwear, Nalgene and Petzyl.
A basic personal kit list –
Personal medication/first aid (first aid kit recommendations via The BMC click HERE)
Waterproof jacket and trousers and I use kit by Sherpa Adventure Gear
Warm layers (fleece, insulated jacket)
Hat and gloves (depending on season)
Enough food and water for the time of your adventure with emergency rations
Whistle/emergency blanket/survival bag/notebook and pen
Rucksack big enough for your kit with waterproof lining and I’m currently using Lowe Alpine rucksacks
Suitable footwear that’s broken in before the day with appropriate socks and I use KEEN Footwear
Trousers or shorts depending on weather and ideally quick drying
Base layer top that’s ideally not cotton (long/short sleeve pending preference and weather)
Hat if required to shield the sun plus sunglasses (personal preference)
Sun cream if necessary and midge repellent
Head torch in case you’re stuck out in the dark
Map, compass, OS Maps on phone
Route card filled out and given to someone trusted is recommended
Small amount of cash for coffee/cake or communication
Mobile phone (waterproofed)
Hot drink in flask is personal preference but very much welcomed in the cold, or in an emergency
Group leader extra kit –
Bigger first aid kit
Group shelter either one for the group or a couple
Small rope if the route requires it
Spare kit and food
List of group names, medical issues and next of kin details
Considerations for families (from the Meek family) –
When planning kit for a family, the adults often have to do the thinking and carrying for the children (depending on their age); adults / parents will need to take a larger rucksack in order to accommodate kit for the youngsters as well as their own. Saying that, it is good to encourage children to take some responsibility and a small, light rucksack in which they can add and remove layers is a good idea. Sharing the load between adults is also advisable. If adults become separated (e.g. one walking with a slower, younger child while the other is ahead with an older child) then each needs water, snacks and clothing.
As with the main kit, children need layers that can be removed, as and when, to regulate body temperature. Hats and gloves, even in summer months, should be packed for when the weather changes or when walking at higher altitudes. Some children can feel the cold more quickly and easily; even if two children wear the same amount of layers, one can sometimes feel colder therefore consider this when packing clothing.
Energy levels can drop quickly when out on an adventure therefore snacks are a necessity. As well as picnic food, chocolate and sweets provide a welcome motivational treat and much needed sugar after exercise. You can even use them as prizes when playing games!
Considerations for females (from Two Blondes Walking) –
Of course, all of the kit that Jason has recommended above is as necessary for girls as it is for guys. We Blondes however do have a few extra bits and bobs that we always carry in our rucksacks (chaps, you are welcome to steal our ideas):
- Lip salve. Sun, cold, wind, all of these leave your lips dry and sore. Stick one in your rucksack pocket and you will find that the guys want to borrow it. A lip salve with a sun protection factor can also be used elsewhere and can save you carrying a tube of sunscreen.
- Hair management. Hair blowing in your face isn’t just annoying; it can be dangerous as well. We Blondes carry ‘emergency hair elastics’ and often wear a headband to fasten down loose ends.
- Feminine hygiene. Just occasionally travel and expeditions can send your monthly cycle out, so always be prepared. Don’t forget that in the hills, you will need to carry everything you use out with you.
- The chaps will probably forget but ironically they will be the grumpiest without sugar. We love Jelly Babies; carry them in your pocket so that they are easily accessible for whoever needs them first and keep some for emergencies.
- Generally women feel the cold sooner than men, consider carrying a down jacket for lightweight warmth (remember to keep it dry as down is useless when wet).
- Walking poles. Not necessarily just for the ladies but it can be useful for someone in the party to carry a set of poles. Very useful for downhill confidence and in cases of minor injury.
A note about rucksack weight; it is important to understand your own strength. If you think that your necessary kit is going to slow you down too much, or make your expedition a misery, ask for help rather than leave things behind; a good team will distribute the weight.
Ultimately you want to have the best experience possible. The right kit ensure you can have fun, stay safe, be protected by the elements and help look out for each other. Adventures are meant to be fun and if you’re hungry, cold, wet and miserable you’ll be less likely to #GetOutside again!
*** Please don’t forget the COMPETITION! ***
Why not organise your own group #GetOutside adventure on July 24th and take lots of pics. Tag them with #GetOutside on social media and you’ll be entered in to a competition to win an adventure bundle of kit. This includes 12 months of Ordnance Survey online mapping, a pair of amazing KEEN Footwear boots or shoes, a Jetboil, a Sherpa Gear jacket and more to come!!! Tag yourself with a Champion on Snowdon and receive 2 entries per picture!!! WOW!!!!
Once again, thank you to the Meeks and Two Blondes Walking. Next week we’ll look at the environmental impact on your #GetOutside and responsibilities in the outdoors. We’ll have another guest helping with that…
Have fun, and take care
Chief Adventure Officer