Essential Items

What you need to take with you as essential items when walking and hiking depends a bit on where it is your are planning to go - you are unlikely to require a torch and survival bag when strolling around the shores of Buttermere.

However, if you are planning to go further afield, you need to consider what might happen if you or a member of your party sprains or breaks an ankle - or the weather suddenly changes when you are high on an exposed ridge.

Good weather and warm temperatures in the valleys can offer a false sense of security - the temperature and wind levels are often very different after only a few hundred metres of ascent.

Here is a list of what is commonly considered the absolute minimum when hiking in the mountain and fells.

Food & Water for the day - see Hill Skills > What to Take - Nutrition

A little Extra High Energy Food for emergencies.

Suitable Clothing for the environment - fleece, hat, gloves, waterproofs, sunglasses - see Hill Skills > What to Wear - Clothing

Some Spare Dry Clothes (eg extra fleece) for emergencies.

Suitable Footwear - see Hill Skills > What to Wear - Footwear

Suitable Map - see Hill Skills > Navigation > Maps - and knowledge of how to read the map - see Hill Skills > Navigation

Detailed Route Plan - either one you have devised yourself in advance by studying the map or by purchasing one from a professional and reputable source like go4awalk.com.

Compass & Knowledge of how to use it - see Hill Skills > Navigation.

Basic First Aid Kit - see Hill Skills > Emergencies > First Aid.

Pen/Pencil and Paper

Watch (or means of telling the time)

String (surprisingly useful for all sorts of things)

Swiss Army Knife (just as useful)

A Survival Bag

A Whistle

A Torch

These last two items may be your only means of summoning help so make sure you always have them with you. See Hill Skills > Emergencies > Contacting the Emergency Service.

Ice Axe & knowledge of how to use it (essential in snow and ice) if walking in Winter

Crampons - just as essential in snow and ice if walking in Winter

A suitable Rucksack or Day Sack to carry it all in.

A Rucksack or Day Sack Liner will keep all your items dry should the weather turn. (There are commercial rucksack liners available but a bin liner is perfectly adequate - just don't forget to check it every couple of weeks for holes/deterioration).

Even together, the items above weigh very little.

But if this all seems a bit excessive, remember:

Better to have and not want - than to want and not have.


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