Today will be a quick and tasty post to get you out – 8 things that you must have in your bag to be comfortable and maximize enjoyment on your next wet day hike. In your pack you should have:
1. Waterproof jacket and trousers – keep them light and breathable. You can skimp on the trousers a little, but make sure the jacket is properly breathable so you can keep it on all the time.
2. Synthetic insulating jacket that can be put over the waterproof jacket, like a belay jacket. These are life savers when you want to have a break but not undress to add layers and then strip again when you go back on the move. They are perfect for a 20-30 minutes break, trapping all that heat you generated while walking. Done eating? Stick it back in your bag, and you will be ready to go with you waterproof still on.
3. Food – dense, sweet and comforting. When outside you want calories, and mixing simple sugars with fats and and proteins is a good way to get them. Pick up a couple of protein bars you like, a small box of decadent brownies with lots of butter or just good old trail mix with nuts, chocolate treats and some dried berries.
4. Emergency carry – headlamp and a space blanket. These two items should always be in your bag on winter (and summer) hikes. They can, and probably will, save your life one way or another. Just make sure the headlamp has fresh batteries.
5. A seating pad – this might seem like a spoil, but it will make all the difference when having a break and can really make a difference on a day outside. A cold bum on a short break will only hasten you to get back to walking, and sometimes it is too soon. Having a few more minutes of rest can be amazing and is only achieved with a comfortable bum. It can be a simple closed cell foam, self inflating or air mat – just make sure to enjoy the view!
6. Hat, neck gaiter and gloves in a dry bag – this is another one of those small magics to make you feel really comfortable in a second. Make sure to keep these in dry bag and clipped outside for easy access.
7. Plastic bags – really simple ones, from any store. Use them as extra protection for cold feet (in or out of you shoes/boots), your hands or to save your nice meal from becoming soggy.
8. Flask with a hot beverage of choice – no matter what you prefer, a hot beverage on a windy ridge always feels like a spoil. In our family we always take a small flask with coffee (0.5 litre) and a big flask of decaffeinated tea (1 litre), which keeps you from being over caffeinated but still fully warm.
That is all you need to actually go out, so no more excuses. This coming weekend, when the forecast looks bleak, get these 8 things, throw them in a pack – and go out.
Do you have any other must-haves on a wet day hike? Let me know in comments below.