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What to take
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What to take

For all but the shortest and simplest of strolls you should take a small rucksack when heading out into the hills. What you have in it will depend very much on the type of route you plan to undertake, the likely weather, the likely duration and the specific needs of your party.

You do not need to have a large or complicated rucksack for a day's outing, but it should be comfortable. Most people can carry everything they need in a 20 litre to 45 litre rucksack.

The items in your rucksack are for the following important purposes:

  • Fuel and liquid for your body
  • Essentials for navigation
  • Clothing options for all possible weather conditions
  • Specialist equipment (like crampons) if required
  • Equipment for dealing with emergencies
  • Extras (like a camera or binoculars)

Navigation tools are dealt with in the next section and we have already covered clothing in 'What to wear'. Explore the options on the left for suggestions on what to carry in your rucksack.

Keeping it all dry
One thing worth pointing out is the importance of keeping the items in your rucksack dry. Very few rucksacks are fully waterproof even if they have a protective rain cover. It is best to use a waterproof rucksack liner - essentially a tough plastic bag - or individual 'dry-bags' for different groups of items in your sack, or both.

drybagswithalpkit.jpgDry-bags, whether used with a waterproof liner or not, are made of waterproof fabric with a reinforced lip that you fold over three or more times to make a waterproof seal. They often come in a variety of colours, which can be very useful in helping identify the items you want while you root around in your rucksack.

Some manufacturers (like AlpKit, see left) also make larger, reinforced, dry-bags with carrying straps to make a fully waterproof rucksack - these can be quite effective if you are not carrying too much.

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