Some guidance on what to pack, how to pack it, and how to wear your rucksack.
What to wear & pack for a camp – Winter/Spring
Layering your clothing helps you manage your temperature on your journey and keeps you comfortable in all weathers. You can experience sun, wind and rain, all in one expedition, so a multi-purpose scarf/hat can be a useful addition to your kit.
Underneath your waterproofs you’ll want a lightweight middle layer – warm and insulating, such as a fleece.
Under that, you’ll need a base layer – breathable and tight-fitting to absorb moisture away from your body.
Avoid cotton & denim
Cotton absorbs and holds moisture, lets heat escape, gets heavy when wet (whether that’s through rain, or sweat), and dries slowly. So, no jeans or joggers.
If you’re in wet clothing, you get cold very quickly once you stop moving.
Pack light, but pack well.
- Packed lunch for Saturday:
- The best foods for hiking are nutrient-dense and provide lasting energy. Rather than sugars that only offer a quick boost of energy, choose complex carbohydrates (brown bread, pasta pots or apples) that are digested more slowly and release a steady supply of energy.
- No fizzy/energy drinks and sweets thanks, we’ll provide everything they will need, but a good breakfast on Saturday is essential! I recommend porridge or eggs.
- 2 litres water
- Spare activity clothes
- Walking boots:
- Leather walking boots will cost you more than fabric boots and are usually more sturdy and longer-lasting.
- Fabric boots are lighter, cheaper, and a good option if your feet are still growing.
- Full waterproofs
- Sleeping bag, camp pillow, roll mat, extra camp blankets in case of cold weather (no airbeds)
- Most sleeping bags are rated by season, and you can find temperature and season ratings on the inside of the zip on most sleeping bags.
- I’d recommend 3 for use in early spring to late autumn.
- Pyjamas, woolly socks & woolly hat
- Toothbrush & paste, flannel, soap, towel
- Knife, fork, spoon, mug, plate, bowl & tea-towel
- 5 black bin bags for the kit to go in.
Packing a rucksack
Here’s an example of how to pack a rucksack for an expedition.
- Your pack should not be more than 25% of your body weight.
- Ensure that you have easy access to the items you’ll need during the day and in an emergency.
- Pack things in separate bin bags to keep them dry.
How To Pack Your Kit
Packing your bag correctly is all about weight distribution (too much heavy equipment towards the front makes going up hills more difficult, and if you have too much weight on the left or right, you’ll be pulled to one side):
- Make sure the centre of gravity is as close to the lower back as possible. Your heaviest/biggest item should go into your pack first – in this example, your tent. Put your tent in your bag vertically, against the part of the bag that will be against your back. This will keep the weight of the tent close to your body, making it easier to carry.
- Put your sleeping bag beside your tent to balance the weight. Your sleeping bag should always be inside another waterproof bag to keep it dry.
- Bulkier items should go in the middle of the rucksack, such as cooking equipment.
- If your bag has a bottom access point, keep a dry change of clothes at the bottom. The rest of your clothes can be used to pack out the spaces that haven’t yet been filled.
- Balance the weight of the side pockets with water bottles: keeping them upright will help prevent them from leaking and keeping them outside prevents any leaks from getting other equipment wet.
- Put your food at the top of the rucksack, with what you’re going to eat next at the very top. This prevents you having to search through your bag for food and stops the food getting squashed.
- Put your waterproofs in last, so that you can get to them quickly if it starts to rain.
- Finally, fill the space in the lid of your bag with all the things you might need during the day – your first aid kit, snacks, sun-cream and head torch. Once you’ve packed your bag, give it a shake to make sure there are no loose spaces that you haven’t filled.
- Check that you’ve balanced your bag properly by putting it down on the floor.
Wearing a rucksack
Having a correctly-fitted rucksack is essential to keep you comfortable on long treks and avoid injuring yourself or using more energy than necessary
- Locate your hip bone and prepare your rucksack. With your fingers, locate the uppermost part of your hip bone. Your hips will form the foundations of how your rucksack sits on your body and support the majority of the pack’s weight.
- Now, fill your rucksack. Take care to weigh the pack evenly and pad it out if necessary, then put on the weighted rucksack and allow it to hang freely from your shoulders.
- Attach the hip straps. Many people find it most comfortable to have the top of the hip strap in line with the top of the hip bone; however, some people may find it more comfortable to have the strap slightly higher. To get the hip straps at the correct height, you may need to either lengthen or shorten the main shoulder straps, so that the main body of the bag is moved up or down the length of your back. The hip strap should feel tight and secure once adjustments are made.
- Assess the shoulder straps. Once the rucksack has been adjusted to achieve the correct hip strap position, you should assess how well the shoulder straps fit. The tops of the shoulder straps should be just tucked in behind your shoulders, with the rest of the strap following the natural contours of your back.
- Adjust the back length. If the shoulder straps don’t fit correctly, you will need to remove the bag and adjust the back length. This process will vary depending on the manufacturer of the bag. Some use large Velcro panels that separate, whilst others may use webbing and pull cords that lengthen and shorten. It may take a couple of attempts and readjustments to get the perfect fit, but achieving the correct back length will allow the shoulder straps to follow the curvature of your shoulders.
- Use the compression straps: These are so often over-looked, but if you tighten the pack’s compression straps once it’s loaded it will hold everything in place and improve stability while you’re on the move.