#summitsafely week 17 – what to pack in your rucksack 

It's week 17 of the 20 week #summitsafely campaign. This week’s #summitsafely top tip – make sure you carry the essentials in your rucksack when heading into the mountains.

If you are planning a day out in the fells it’s important you are prepared and have kit packed in your rucksack.

Check out Graham Uney, one of the Lake District National Park’s Fell Top Assessors top tips of what to carry in your rucksack.  

Check out the list below and his video:

1. Waterproofs

Absolutely essential kit. You’ll need a jacket and waterproof trousers. The aim is to keep the water out but they are also a wind stopper. Waterproofs help maintaining your core temperature and will help to keep you nice and warm. Waterproofs are essential in any conditions, not just winter conditions.

2. Insulation layers

These can be an insulation jacket, down jacket, fleece or woolly jumpers. Lots of insulations layers are essential. More layers the better. When you layer up, air is trapped between the layers it helps keep warmer.

3. Hats & Gloves

Always advisable to wear a hat to start with, you lose a lot of heat from your head and it’s always advisable to take a spare hat with you as well. Gloves – thin pair of gloves to start your day and keep the initial chill off. When you reach the snow line it’s advisable to have a sturdier pair which are waterproof and slightly thicker. We recommend you take a spare pair with you in case you lose your gloves or they get wet..

4. Crampons

This is more technical kit. . Essential in winter, especially if you are walking on hard snow and/ or ice. You must know how to use them. We run winter and mountaineering skills which you can check out here.

5. Ice axe

Essential when heading into the winter hills. You can use your ice axe for cutting steps in the snow or if things do go a little bit wrong and you start to slide down a snow slope you can use as a break to stop you sliding any further. As with packing crampons, it’s important to know how to use your ice axe, check out the winter and mountaineering skills courses we run here.

6. Snow shovel

This is for the worst case scenario in winter. For example, if there is an avalanche you’ll are able to help dig someone out of the snow.

7. Group Shelter or bivvy bag

The size you choose to carry will depend on the number of people in your group and/or if you are carrying kit for yourself or a group. The group shelters are ideal for keeping the wind off, great in an emergency to keep you warm or simply keeping your dry whilst enjoy your lunch. It’s a really useful kit to carry.

8. First Aid Kit

A basic first aid kit is always advisable. Check out our blog on the first aid kit essentials here.

9. Food and a hot drink

It’s always advisable to have enough food for your day out but always pack spare food just in case. Don’t forget to have plenty of fluids with you too, in winter a hot drink is a great way to warm you up. Top tip, watch out for your cold drink freezing as well, use a thermos flask for either your hot or cold drinks to stop this happening.

10. Headtorch

In case you are caught out after dark or indeed you might choose to stay out for a night mission. It’s a good idea to have a spare just in case or at the very least a spare battery for the headtorch you are carrying.

11. Map and Compass

One of the most essential pieces of kit. Remember in winter navigating will be harder as the paths you might be following might be covered in snow and will be look different from the summer conditions. It’s imperative you know how to use a map and compass correctly. Again, our winter and mountaineering skills courses can help you with this, check out the courses here.

12. Mobile phone

Should you need to make an emergency call (and you have signal) you can call for help. If you have a smart phone, mountain rescue can use the GPS data to track you and find out where you are.

13. Weather meter

This is just for our Fell Top Assessor job, part of our daily duties to check the weather on the summit of Helvellyn.

14. Rucksack

A big sturdy rucksack and a rucksack liner to stop things getting damp especially if heavy rain or snow.

So, we want to know what you carry in your rucksack. Check out this week’s #summitsafely giveaway for more details here.