Spring is here and time to get out and make the most of the beautiful days and longer evenings. Flowers are blooming and we’re all so happy to have the opportunity to get outside and get active again that we’re already planning where to go and what to take with us.
We asked FINDRA ambassador, mountain bike guide and first aid trainer, Lucy Husband to give us some advice on what to pack when we’re heading out for a full day in the hills whether you’re cycling, hiking or running.
Experiencing 4 seasons in one day is pretty common in the UK, especially when you get into more remote or higher places. It is so easy to just go out dressed for the weather as it is right now or for the weather that you want it to be!
Try layering your clothes so you can remove or add items easily. Merino is a perfect layer as it wicks moisture away from your skin keeping you dry and comfortable.
Unless it’s the height of summer with a good forecast I always carry
- Waterproof jacket and trousers
- Hat and gloves
- An additional layer to keep me warm for when I stop or need to stop. Often a lightweight merino will do the trick.
If you venture away from waymarked trails you’ll need a map. Lots of people use smartphones and devices for navigation but having a backup map when technology fails you may save the day and you’ll also look like a pro to your friends. Obviously knowing how to use it is very important too and it’s worth learning before you need to use the knowledge in the field.
Here are a few other things to bear in mind:
- Plan your route in advance and consider any risks that may be associated with it eg river crossings
- Check the forecast – high winds, cold temps and heavy rain can present significant safety issues – download a reliable weather app so you can keep up to date with changing forecasts.
- We have access to sophisticated navigation devices but remember to carry a back-up should this fail. There’s no substitute for a good old-fashioned OS map and a compass and the knowledge of how to use it.
- It’s a good idea to mark the route you’re taking on the map so it’s easily visible – if it’s blowing a hoolie and the rains going horizontally across your face – a well-marked map is easier to see and use – carry it in a waterproof map holder.
- Download one of the grid-reference apps available eg. GridPoint GB – these provide 10 figure grid references to give an accurate position of your location. This is so important if rescue teams need to locate you and will save precious time.
3/. Food and Drink
One of the great delights of exercise is the guilt-free enjoyment of treats, a chocolate bar or two are completely essential and we’ve deserved it too. We burn a lot of energy when we’re in the outdoors, dehydration and low-energy levels can be dangerous so it’s worth being generous.
- Carry enough food and water to last the day and then pack some more – a day in the outdoors will make you really hungry and if you end up being out longer than expected, you’ll be pleased you did.
- Pack plenty of snacks you can eat on the go like muesli bars (look for high-calorie content with plenty of protein) trail-mix – the simple sugars in the raisins, chocolate and dried fruits can be a quick mood booster and a source of short-term energy, chocolate bars and even dried meats like Beef Jerky.
- Carry plenty of water: a minimum of 2 litres for a day out, and remember to drink it!
- Consider a flask full of a hot drink, it’s a treat to look forward to especially if it’s a bit nippy out there.
4/. First Aid kit
A first aid kit is so often neglected, we all think that it won’t ever happen to us and we risk heading out without one. Most of the time we’re right, it won’t happen to us but we might come across someone else who needs help along the way. What you need in your kit might vary depending on what activity you’re up to on that day and how far you’re heading from home.
For a full list of recommended items for a full first aid kit – Click here
5/. Mobile phone
Most of us don’t need to be told twice to bring our phones, a whole day without one might seem like a challenge in itself anyway. While we’re snapping pictures and using it to navigate, it’s also worth remembering that we might need it to communicate with the outside world if anything goes awry.
- If you are going to be out for a long day consider carrying a portable power backup battery charger.
- Register your phone with emergencySMS – this is an add-on to the existing 999 services available in the UK and is useful if you find yourself in an area with limited or no phone signal. To register text ‘register’ to 999. You will get a reply – then follow the instructions you are sent. The service works throughout the UK on all mobile networks. For more info: emergencysms.org.uk
- If you require emergency assistance whilst in the outdoors remember that to call mountain rescue you need to dial 999 and ask for police first.
- Carry a whistle and a head torch – a distress signal is 6 blasts of a whistle or 6 flashes of a torch repeated every minute until help arrives.
Most of all, pack a sense of adventure and get out and feel the wind in your hair and the fresh air in your lungs. We’ll see you up there.