Whatever you decide to pack, the first step is to have a rucksack that is big enough to hold all you want to take without having to jam everything inside and have difficulty getting to it. Happily, there are plenty of options to suit all plans and pockets. Make up your own list based on these ideas.
- Plastic survival bag - you might pack one for years and never use it - that's the nature of insurance.
- First aid kit - adapt the contents to suit yourself not somebody else. It's useful to bear in mind that you may come across other people needing help when you decide what to leave out. It's a good place to keep contact details in case you have an accident.
- Navigation - GPS unit, map and compass should not really be kept in your rucksack but easily accessible As well as knowing how to use them, you'll need to keep them dry in a waterproof case if it's not proofed or laminated.
- Food and drink - as well as lunch or whatever, pack a little extra in case you're delayed. Pack enough water to see you comfortably through the day and drink from it regularly.
- Whistle - useful to summon help (six short blasts in a minute) and letting others needing help that you've heard them (three toots back).
- Torch - a head torch leaves your hands free; signal for help as per the whistle.
- Waterproofs - if not worn, keep them at the top of your rucksack and pack a warm hat and gloves as well. As fleece tops are so light, it does no harm to pack a spare; in winter, packing more warm clothing is important.
- Mobile phone - useful for summoning help but only in a true emergency.
- Camera - whatever you take, keep it handy in a hip belt pouch and protect it from knocks.
- Notebook and pencil - you never know when a stunning insight should be recorded!
Pic credit: Haglöfs