What's In Our Summer Rucksack
When you step foot on a trail you have become a self-reliant explorer, so you need to make sure that what is in your rucksack will keep you and possibly your hiking group safe whilst on the trails.
So with that in mind, we thought it would be best to write a blog telling you what we pack when we are going on an adventure during the summer. Now, of course, you don’t need to take what we say in this blog literally, use what we say here to help create the perfect summer rucksack for you... After all, what we pack here is based in the UK and you might live in, I dunno… Brazil! So yeah let’s get straight to it!
Ok so let’s talk about rucksacks! The golden standard when it comes to size is really anything from ten litres up to thirty litres. If your pack is bigger than that this means you are carrying way too much stuff! When it comes to the style it really is a personal preference. Some folks here like a traditional pack, others like a dry bag style and others really love a blend of a day to day bag and a hiking bag like the Retreat Backpack from Herschel.
All you need to worry about when it comes to the style of the pack is what feels right and comfortable for you and you’re good to go! If it feels right the next thing you need to check is the pockets and what other features the pack has. Just check over these details and make sure that you’re happy with them. When it comes to brands you really should look into Vango, they are affordable and are good in quality. If you want to keep all your kit dry then Exped is the brand for you and of course, if you’re looking for high end and top quality then you should look at Osprey and Gregory.
Yes this might sound a little weird but even in the summertime you still need to be carrying a waterproof jacket and trousers! But why? we hear you cry! Well it’s all to do with the mountain weather and how unpredictable it can be. I myself have been hiking on a mountain during summertime and within ten minutes I’m fast pacing it down due to the fact a storm has started!
So you don’t really need the jacket that you wear in the autumn and winter. To save space you should consider buying a packable jacket that is fully waterproof. I’m talking about eVent, Neo Shell or Gore-Tex, people! That way if or when the heavens do open you will stay nice and dry. Also, the great thing about packable jackets is that they are also nice and lightweight meaning they won’t weigh you down even if you have a small backpack.
You never know what could happen on the trail; your plan might be to only be out for a couple of hours with your hiking group but if you fall into some trouble then you might be on the trail for a longer time. So carrying a head torch in your summer pack is a great idea. There are literally hundreds of brands with all types and styles of head torches! The best brand we have found is Tikka head torch from Petzl. It’s a classic that will never let you down.
Carrying a spare pair of socks in your pack is just really for creature comfort, but because they are small and lightweight it really doesn’t hurt to carry a spare pair. Just think about it...you have been on the trail all day, your boots are hurting your feet a bit, you stop for lunch it's the perfect time to chill, oh and what’s this...a fresh pair of socks! Yes, please!
Now having a first aid kit goes without saying really. Now if you’re hiking in a group you don’t all need to be carrying one so make sure in your group that at least two people are carrying one. When it comes to buying a first aid kit only one brand really stands out and that is of course Lifesystems. They feature all types of first aid kits so no matter what type of trail you’ll be hitting you can rest assure they will have the right kit for you. Our personal favourite is the Trek kit.
Just like with first aid kits you should always be carrying a map and compass of the area that you are exploring! Even if you know the area like the back of your hand it’s still better to be safe than sorry! This means if you do get into a pickle and have to call mountain rescue then you can give them a grid reference of where you are that way they can find you quicker.
So with all your essential gear laid out, don’t just sling it all into your backpack. Use dry bags to organise your pack. That way things are easier to find in your pack, it’s super organised and if the heavens do open you won’t need to worry about popping the cover over your pack because everything will be kept dry due to the dry bags.
When it comes to drinking on the trail, most if not all of us here at Awesome Outdoors carry two things with us. First is a one-litre water bottle and second is a water filter system. Now the main reason why we carry these two things is that they are both lightweight and don’t take up much room in the pack.
We have a tendency to stay away from having a Camelbak or Platypus system in our packs due to the fact that (depending on the size) they take up a ton of room in your backpack and once filled to the top they can weigh an awful lot. Also if you manage what you drink when on a hike you tend to only need one litre's worth of water anyway.
When it comes to water bottles the hot favourite is the One Litre Wide Mouth from Nalgene. Most of us here at our office has had the same Nalgene bottle for years and it’s still going strong to this day, they are built to last! When it comes to water filter systems only one brand pops into our minds and that is Katadyn! All their filter systems are just amazing and work perfectly. One of, if not the most popular filter systems they have is the Vario, it seems to be a fan favourite for hikers!
Modern-day hikers love their gadgets whether it is GPS systems, apps, tablets or mobile phones. Technology is becoming the norm for a modern-day hiker this is why carrying a power bank is super important. Power banks are the key to keeping you connected to the rest of the world even if you’re in the middle of nowhere.
So if your map system is an app on your phone or is on your watch then it’s important that you keep these items charged so you don’t get stuck in the middle of nowhere. Three of the most popular systems are USB powered battery packs, solar power systems and even heat systems built into stoves such as the Biolite system.
The same reason why you carry a waterproof jacket and trousers is the same reason why you should always carry a hat and gloves. The weather is very unpredictable in the mountains. So carry a lightweight beanie and pair of gloves in your pack for those 'just in case' scenarios.
So what's in your summer backpack? Let us know in the comments!
Author: Shaun Johnson