Contents of our rucksacks

Rucksack -

Contents of our rucksacks

Over the years a few people have asked us what we carry in our rucksacks, when heading out into the hills. We get together around the table and unpacked our three rucksacks. What have we missed, please leave your suggestions in the comments box below.

In our January GPS Training newsletter we asked our customers 'what unusual things they have in their rucksacks'.

Here are some of the suggestions they gave.

B.W. suggested -

1. Hothands Footwarmers (full- length) which will provide about ten hours of gentle heat. When cycling, they've never made my feet warm, but neither have they been cold.
2. 2 plastic bags packed with over trousers - prior to donning o/trousers, put feet/boots in plastic bags; stops mud migrating everywhere!
3. Loo paper in waterproof bag.
4. Another essential for the winter months; a half-litre wide-necked vacuum flask containing 250 ml of hearty soup, with croutons carried in another container & tipped in at the last minute. DON'T FORGET A SPOON!

J.H. suggested -

My Drone DJI Mavic, fits in my rucksack along with my Garmin GPS OF COURSE.

M.A. suggested -

My wife and I carry a couple of pairs of plastic shoe/boot covers each which we put on if we stop for a pint midday on our walk or at the end. Some pubs are not keen on walkers wearing dirty boots even in the bar area which is fair enough if you have been through fields full of sheep or cows.

C.S. suggested -

Three different size sacks. Ultra lightweight 11 litre for when I’m out solo for speed, a 22 litre for my wife and I for a day walk, and a 36 litre for leading.

Depending on what I’m doing I’ll have a selection of this, or all of it in the 36 litre.

Handy bag:
Length of paracord. Lighter to seal the ends. Lightweight multi tool. Two sets of spare laces. Whistle.

First aid kit (of course). In fact I have two; one for things I can do to myself, and one for things I’m allowed to do to others.

Bag with stuff mainly for Summer use. Factor 30, insect repellent, Vaseline and Canesten for chafing bits.

Emergency shelter. I have three Vango sizes. 2, 4 and 8 person. The 8 person gets strapped on the outside using the sleeping roll straps. 4 and 2 go inside.

Blizzard bag, foil blanket, and orange lightweight sack.

Map. I actually carry two. A full size waterproof OS, and ones that I print out from OS maps. I have umpteen routes stored, which I can print in colour on A4 at 25k and then laminate. Folded up in a trouser pocket these are dead easy to unfold and look at. Darned sight easier than wrestling a full size map on a windy, rainy fell.

Compass, but all mine are on a paracord lanyards that I have fitted with pacing beads. The lanyard has a loop that goes over the chest strap, so you can’t lose it. I’ve even got creative and used Celtic button knot beads, and Turk’s head stoppers. I only ever fit five, because I can count to five (!), and then pull them back up and count six onwards. And if it is much over a kilometre I use timing anyway. There are those that go over the top with pacing beads, and can count up to 10km. Who would do that with any pretence of accuracy?

Satmap 20 (there is the story about this of course!). In fact I need to get in the habit of putting gpx files of my OS maps routes on the thing.

Waterproof note pad and various pens/pencils.

Latrine shovel and paper.

Hand sanitizer, because life is like that now. Likewise face masks etc in the pack top and first aid kits.

Usual bag of waterproofs, thermals, hat/gloves etc. Additional clobber for walking guests.

Everything in dry bags.

Freeman 48 suggested -

Great podcast. I also have a

1. Few long-ish cable ties -for all sorts of repairs.
2. A knife that can be opened one handed
3. Pre cut lengths of KT tape (better and more robust than plasters for feet).
4. If with a group a bag of jelly babies for morale (there's always a jelly baby moment).

S.W. suggested -

I carry vet wrap and Velcro’s straps of various sizes. The former has now repaired 3 boots where the sole peeled off and allowed the walkers (not me) to finish the walks without any inconvenience. A distance of over 6 miles on varied countryside. The latter has been used to fasten sticks and clothing onto rucksacks.

P.B. suggested -

Gaffer Tape & Cable Ties. More use than ten toolboxes.

G.M. suggested -

Odd things I carry in my rucksack

1. Nail clippers with file - handy for sorting out a broken finger nail.
2. Ibrufrofen gell - more effective than the tablets and no side effects. (Because of current medication I cannot take the tablets)
3. Itch relief cream for nettle stings
All carried due to past and painful, experiences!

R.D. suggested -

I carry a pair of crocs, 2 long slim plastic bags and a plastic supermarket bag if I suspect a walk might have a flood or stream to cross, take boots off and put into carrier bag, slip long bags over legs, put on crocs, once water traversed leave crocs on and roll bags over, pull off and put back in rucksack dry.


  • Gerald Williams

    I carry a cape cooler in hot wet weather, keeps rucksack dry and quick to put on and off in showery weather

  • NG

    Secateurs – for brambles on rights of way!

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