Packing a Daysack
A few simple, small and lightweight additions to your day pack could make your time in the mountains more pleasant, enjoyable and safe
Here are some of the things I always carry in my pack and which have proved extremely useful to me when walking in my spare time and when leading a group in the mountains.
First Aid Kit
This is an item that you should consider carrying at all times. In most kits, the majority of items are for an emergency. So it is vital that the contents are kept dry. To effectively achieve this use an Ortleib Map case or a BDH.
If you lead groups in the mountains, treating blisters or hotspots can be a regular occurrence. Carrying a separate kit to treat blisters saves you having to delve into your first aid kit. This kit can be put into a small Ortlieb case in the lid of your rucksack for quick and easy access.
Ask yourself what could break on the hill and what you need to actually repair those items?
Gaffer tape is extremely useful and versatile. It can be wrapped around a small pencil, flask/water bottle or walking poles, so you don't have to carry a bulky roll. Carefully used, gaffer tape can patch up many items of gear of clothing and even come in handy as a first aid accessory.
Zip ties or cable ties are equally versatile and handy. They can be used to fix rucksack straps and hold soles on boots along with many other uses
A pair of spare bootlaces take up very little room but are worth their weight in gold when one of yours or your parties snaps. Again they come in handy for fixing many other items too.
Spare Warm Layer
It is important to carry spare layers when the forecast is wet/cold/windy. Synthetic duvet jackets are the perfect choice. They take up little room when packed down and weigh very little too.
They are also are quite windproof and are very effective when they are wet. Buying one which is slightly oversized means you can save the hassle of taking your waterproof /windproof off, which is ideal if you simply need to stay warm when having a break.
Bothy Tents or Group Shelters
It's always worth carrying at least one of these, and one (or more) that is big enough to accommodate your entire group. Group Shelters provide a vital means of protection from the elements and an opportunity to get warm. They come in particularly handy if you are dealing with an accident or injury. However, Group shelters are also a great way to escape bad weather when having a rest or stopping to eat on the hill.
Sizes available range from 2 - 12 persons.
Keeping Things Dry
Firstly ask yourself what is it you actually need to keep dry inside your daysack? In the main it will be clothes. The common method of using a bin/sac liner is not always the best decision. Lightweight dry bags offer the best solution to keep clothes totally dry. I use one for clothes and a smaller one for gloves and hats to make access quick and easy.