What to Take with You on a Walk
The specifics of what to take with you on a walk will be very much determined by the kind of trip you’re intending to make. The weather seasonal climate, location, length of trip, the amount of weight you wish to carry, whether you’re camping or not and your own individual needs will all have a bearing on what you take but this article will give you some indication as to the kind of things you need to consider if you’re out walking on a day trip. Obviously, you will need to modify this if you are intending to camp at the end of the day.
ClothingYou might need to pack a sweater or some kind of fleece jacket if your walk takes you into exposed hilly regions as, whilst the temperature in sheltered areas at ground level may be warm, it can get cold quickly if you’re walking at altitude. You should also take some protective, waterproof clothing in the event of a sudden shower or downpour. An extra pair of socks is also useful, even when the weather’s set fair in case you need to cross any stretches of water and your feet end up getting wet accidentally. A protective hat is also useful, especially if it’s a sunny, hot day.
First Aid/Emergency KitMishaps and accidents can occur on even the most sedate of day trips. An arm cut by brambles or an ankle sprain are just two of the more common injuries that can occur unexpectedly at any time so you should ensure that at least one member of your walking group is carrying a first-aid kit and, more importantly, knows how to use it. If you’re walking in more difficult or dangerous terrain, particularly at altitude, it’s also important that you carry an emergency survival kit with you. Things to include in an emergency kit are discussed within another article on this website and, in some cases, can make the difference to your survival.
Food and DrinkCarrying a sufficient amount of water to keep you hydrated throughout the entire duration of your walk is even more important than food. An insufficient water supply can not only make your trip a miserable one but can also lead to dehydration which can be extremely dangerous when out walking. Keeping your backpack as light as possible will be one of your major concerns when out on a day trip so, although you’ll want your food to be nourishing, you’ll not want it to take up too much space or to be too heavy. A couple of sandwiches, energy bars, some ‘trail mix’ which is a small, light bag full of energy rich foods like nuts, seeds and dried fruit is ideal or perhaps you can take some raw vegetables that you can nibble on such as carrot or celery sticks and maybe an apple and banana if you prefer this to dried foods. Ultimately, you’ll be relying on carbohydrate and protein enriched foods to give you energy.
Maps and Navigational EquipmentYou should not be without a detailed map of the region you intend to walk and you should also carry either a compass or some other kind of navigational aid such as a GPS device and know how to use them.
Miscellaneous ItemsCertain additional items you may want to carry may be down to your personal preference but there are some items which, though not essential for a simple day trip, can come in extremely useful. They include a watch, mobile phone, camera, lip balm, toilet paper, torch, spare batteries, a pen and notepad, a whistle, a guidebook to the area, insect repellent, sun protection cream and a spare waterproof bin bag to keep any wet clothing away from other essential items although, depending on what you feel comfortable carrying, you may have to cut down this list. Conversely, you can even add to it if you want to take a few additional ‘luxury’ items.
Ultimately, what you take with you on a walk should sustain you for the duration of the walk and should include items which will assist you greatly, if you run into difficulties or encounter an emergency situation.