Confused in the Cheviots

Im looking for some guidance from any other experienced hill walkers out in ARRSE land. I do a lot of walking in the Cheviots, Lakes and Pennines. I consider myself as being confident in the hills with the ability to keep out of trouble or know what to do if it hits me. My problem is that I tend to go for a days trekking in the hills with more kit that the average team of boy scouts would need. I end up talking to people in the hills carrying only a Mars Bar and a bottle of water. Am I taking to much gear? do I need to trim right back or is it always best to err on the side of caution and go prepared. I could do with some advice from any other experienced walkers. Cheers.

Edited because I can.
I used to be a lonely hill walker on the North York Moors and tried to be as responsible as possible while flouting the rule that you shouldn't walk alone.

Regardless of the weather forecast, I'd always have a cagoule and waterproof trousers, a spare thick (and very roomy) pullover and a bright orange survival bag. Add to this, a means of making a brew, a torch, a whistle and a first aid kit. I also had a thin civvy poncho (a bit bigger and much lighter than an Army one - a basha is better for morale than a survival bag or bivvy bag).

Foodwise, I'd have Kendal Mint Cake, raisins and a Vesta meal as emergency rations in addition to the sarnies that I planned to eat.

Certainly with the North York Moors, where with a bit of common sense, you should be able to find habitation or a frequented road within an hour's walk, even in zero visibility, your main concern is if you need to wait it out because you've become immobile. Then you need to attend to your injury and avoid hypothermia while you wait for a search team.

How long you'd have to wait would depend on the arrangements that you've made for somebody to raise the warning that you're missing and on the weather conditions.

I'd leave a map at home, marked with my route, anticipated timings and places where I might deviate. I'd also mark places where I knew I could take shelter. During the walk, I'd keep people updated on my progress as I passed phone boxes (included as part of the route - this was pre-mobile phone days). Even two calls during a 40 mile trek reduces the response time and the search area considerably.

So, with regard to the amount of kit to carry, a Mars bar and water bottle isn't enough. A tent and sleeping bag is overdoing it, unless you intend to overnight somewhere. All your kit should fit into CEFO with room to spare, though you'd probably want to put it in a rucsac to avoid standing out from the crowd.
Thanks for the response. It always riles me a bit when herds of people overtake me carrying zilch whilst I am breathing out of my back eye up some hill with a load of gear.Ive always tried to take more gear than enough as I had a fall in winter on the Cheviot three years ago and broke my shoulder, had a bothy bag and warm food etc so was ok until MR arrived.
how much kit are you carrying?

Weight/sac size?

For a day on the hill, if you're carrying more than a 20L sack then you could lose a lot of kit - the best way of regulating your habit is to buy a smaller bag...

I used to carry far too much, but after moving over to mountain biking I've learned my lessons the hard way - 40 mile plus rides with 8000 feet of climbing, breathing out of my arrse - I still carry a lot more than many others, but if your kit weighs more than about 5kg plus water then there is too much.

Waterproof &/or warm layer (normally, if one isnt being worn then the other will be, so only one of these will be in my bag - if biking then in all but the worst forecast I'll slim this down to just a gore windstopper fleece lined jacket which is enough for anything but heavy rain, in summer then I'll carry just a lightweight waterproof and a Smelly Helly)
torch (mini mag)
bladder (2 litre)
packed lunch (plus two energy bars as backup)
survival bag (foil blizzard bag)
clean dry socks
penknife (& tools & tubes if biking)
map and compass

Is plenty enough for 3 season walking in the UK - You could get all that into a Camelbak Mule, (about 9 litres cargo) -
Do a google search for 'ten essentials' which will produce much online information regarding what is needed for any outdoor trip and which will also give you a different list of ten essentials depending on whose list you read??! :?

The hard bit is deciding what variables you may encounter. Professional guides and those living local to the hills can travel light as they have the advantage of living in the local area. They can monitor weather patterns, know routes, available shelter, water, etc, so there are fewer variables for them and they may be able to take a chance of getting wet, running out of water, etc.

Only you can adequately determine what you need, so assess the requirements for each outing, ditching any un-needed stuff before you set out.

It will also help to think of function rather than items of kit: ie are you wearing adequate clothing, can you maintain hydration, can you navigate, provide first aid, etc.
It's a tough job trying to trim down your daysack. An easy way of doing it is to see what you didn't use when you were out last time, and get rid of it.

Keep it simple and maybe adjust your comfort level. For example, I don't mind getting wet legs so there is no point me taking waterproof trousers as I find them too much of a ball ache to get on and off all the time.

Taking multiples of all manner of bivvy bags, shelters, poncho's etc is crazy. Pick the lightest one that can do the job you expect of it and trust it. Yes accidents can happen, but in reality you're probably less than a few miles away from help. And as long as you've left a good route/info sheet with someone responsible then risk of being out on a hillside all night is minmised. Buuuuuuuuuuuuut saying all that you should never be totally uncomfortable, and if you need more kit to feel comfortable then so be it.

Here's what I take:

Hydration bladder - 2 lt
Home made 1st aid kit - you don't need/won't use all the gumpf in the pre-made packs
Normal headtorch and e-lite as back up
Waterproof jacket
Uber lightweight shelter - type depends on time of year
Map + compass
Munchies - either cold food i.e sarnies and cereal bars or if it's bad weather then the pocket rocket comes with me for hot food
Hat + gloves - again type depends on the time of year
Extra layer - normally a gilet instead of a full fleece, as I run hot
Compact pole with a length of gaffa tap wound round it - useful for all manner of emergencies!

You'll have to experiment with your kit to find whats best for you. Trust the kit you have to do the job it's meant to. Or you could go all Victorian and walk with just your top hat and tails :-D
There was an excellant article in this months TRAIL magazine all about cutting down the weight of your rucksack. I'd recommend buying it or taking a look at their website

One of my old favourites:

It's a short one but the dogs and I enjoy it.

Like most others on here I generally carry the following in my day sack:

1. Waterproof Jacket, fleece, (if required) hat.
2. A 2 ltr bottle of water for me and the dogs to share.
3. Plastic food tray from a chinese takeaway for a temp dog water bowl.
4. Survival Bag.
5. Camera.
6. Packed lunch, assorted dog biscuits etc in pockets.
7. Map and Compass.
8. Fully charged mobile phone.
9. Gerber multitool.

You can get the dog to carry his own clobber now with one of those funky dog webbing to follow wait out
TheBigUn said:
That website is excellent for new walks without having to memorize them from books in Waterstones if you're too tight/skint to buy it! :D

Concur with most of the kit list replies here, although an absolute essential for me, that I'd happily swap my Grandmother for, is Compeed. Reducing daysack weight whilst desirable is the kind of thing Emperor Mong urges us to do, whatever you leave out is precisely what you'll need so I would rather carry the weight than endure an unnecessary wretched walk for the sake of a few bits of kit.

As I'm an atrocious weather magnet I always keep the contents of my daysack inside a couple of drysacks - not alot of point in carrying spare clothes if they're as soaked as you (plus they're heavier) - as I'm not keen on the bergan covers as you lose the use of the elastic netting/side pockets/karibinas on the outside of the daysack.

Carrying water for the hound is one of the worst offenders of excess weight, so unless you're absolutely sure of rivers/lakes/field troughs enroute it's just too bad, you've got to carry it. I looked into the proper snazzy dog webbing for my God-dog and whilst not cheap it's well made with padding on the pressure points etc., however, with his energy and propensity to streak everywhere like a greyhound, jump into every puddle/lake and roll in 'interesting' substances I don't think it'd suit us.

So, hammy, it looks like you're lumbered with lots of kit, maybe a new daysack that'll better distribute the weight is on the cards? Either that or take mates/kids/dogs and decant all the kit onto them, declaring yourself chief navigator and as such need only carry a map and compass :D
I followed the advice to drag out everything you think you need and then start taking stuff out on second thoughts. All I would add to what I have read here is a small strobe torch. I was involved in a search party for a guy who had one of these and it was amazing just how far the flashes were visible.
Alternatively, you could buy the wife a mountain bike with panniers and load ALL your kit into the "support vehicle." :)
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