'What do you carry inside your backpack' is a question I am asked more often than not when out for a ramble. This blog is your opportunity to take a sneaky peak through the window (come on, we all look don't we?) and get a little insight into what this Cornish Rambler carries on each of her rambles.
What Rucksacks I Use
Firstly, it all depends on how far I walk which can determine the size bag I take. I have three that I choose from and all suit my needs perfectly.
If I’m walking further than 8 miles and the route is more arduous than a gentle stroll along the beach then I will either take my Deuter Futura 20L backpack, or my Osprey Hikelite 18L daysack. The Deuter is designed specifically for women, the mesh back system is comfortable, flexible and has great ventilation to keep at bay those sweaty backs. With a shorter design and a lovely padded hip belt, it sits nicely on my back and hips, without hitting me in the neck and head as I walk. If the sea tempts you, there is a handy stretch pocket inside which will hold your wet clothes nicely. When the Cornish sunshine suddenly turns to a Cornish downpour, the pocket at the bottom of the backpack reveals a handy waterproof cover that stretches over the entire backpack – this has been a lifesaver on more than a few wet walks in the past!
The Osprey daysack has been built around an Airspeed suspended mesh backpanel and has a removable web hipbelt which lets you carry your load comfortably with the weight distributed evenly across your back. It also keeps your back nice and cool because of it's effective ventilation system. This daysack also comes with a waterproof cover and to keep me suitably hydrated, I have the Osprey Hydraulics LT 1.5L Reservoir which sits beautifully inside the backpack and keeps me watered as I walk.
If I decide on a shorter walk where the weather is dry, or there’s only a little Cornish mizzle on the horizon then I’ll take my Osprey Daylite backpack. This lightweight rucksack really does live up to its name and has the ventilated spacer mesh back panel that I love and appreciate when getting my stomp on. This small daypack still holds all of my essentials, but is a perfect size for nipping out for a few miles around the coast.
It’s a proven fact, according to all Cornish folk alike, that the Cornish weather is very unpredictable. One minute you could be sweating in shorts and t-shirts, the next diving for the closest tree to duck under until the surprise monsoon subsides. To ensure I am never left with soggy knees and a wet arse, regardless of the weather when I walk out my front door, there will be a pair of waterproof trousers rolled up at the bottom of my bag.
I found a great pair in Mountain Warehouse - extreme downpour overtrousers - which are fairly easy to slip into, especially when trying to be quick. They are fully waterproof, made of rip-stop fabric with taped seams and have a mesh lining for improved breathability. Perfect!
To keep me hydrated, I personally will always use my very special *merch plug alert* Cornish Ramblings stainless steel ICE° Bottle. My reusable bottle is vacuum insulated and, on the off chance we have a heatwave in Cornwall, keeps my water cold for 24 hours.
Fancy your own Cornish Ramblings bottle which not only helps support a small business but also, will help the environment? Then click here for all the details on how you can get yours today!
As most of my Cornish Ramblers know, wherever I go so does the family Cocker Spaniel, Purdy. Regardless of the weather or time of day I can always rely on Purdy to be ready, and raring to go explore our beloved Cornwall so, inside my rucksack will always be a collapsible dog bowl and extra water.
There will be a bag full of treats and snacks to keep Purdy sustained as she no doubts walk twice as far as I do on a ramble, and you will also find a wedge of (biodegradable) poo bags too of course.
I also keep with me a nifty little gizmo called the Tick Twister, which is a tool used to remove those pesky buggers, ticks. If you'd like to find out more about the Tick Twister and how to remove a tick effectively and safely, check out my latest blog here; Are You Feeling TICKityboo?
You can guarantee rustling around my backpack somewhere is usually chocolate. I tend to take a protein bar, blueberries or some almonds if I need an extra boost of energy, but more often than not, a square or two of dark chocolate will be my choice of energy snack.
If you're in need of some snack ideas to keep you fuelled and energised whilst on the go, check out my blog Nutrition On The Go which I co-wrote with one of my walkers, Elizabeth Campling. Elizabeth is a Registered Dietitian and offers nutrition consultations in Cornwall to help you adjust your diet, eat healthier and feel better.
Compeed blister packs
These babies have saved my feet many times and I will panic if I get low. No matter how comfy your boots are or how thick your socks might be, a blister can happen at any given moment and when it does, you may as well throw your walking poles down and give up. There is nothing worse than the sting and dull ache of a blister when you have 10 more miles to go. When you feel one coming on, or already have a blister from the previous weekend’s hike, whack a Compeed on and off you trot.
These lifesaving blister packs come in a handy (reusable) case with a mixture of sizes so, no matter where the blister appears, you can be sure to provide relief and protection for the remainder of your walk.
Hi, my name is Jody and I am a lip balm addict.
Whilst walking your heart rate increases, your breathing gets faster, the moisture in your mouth seems to disappear so, you apply (and then reapply) lip balm to stop your lips from cracking like a mosaic. Yes, there are people out there who say lip balm doesn't work and it in fact makes your lips more prone to drying and cracking BUT, nothing beats the feeling of slathering on the lip balm when you've just gasped, wheezed, and puffed your way uphill.
Mobile phone and extra battery
Before you sigh in exasperation at another millennial addicted to her phone, let me explain the two main reasons I won’t leave the house without my mobile phone and back up battery.
Reason one: safety. Especially when out walking by myself, I will always ensure to have my phone on me. I also rely heavily on an app called iWalk Cornwall for the majority of my rambles as it uses GPS, which means even when there is no signal, which happens a lot in Cornwall, I can always find my way.
Reason two: taking photographs. It’s not always easy to take my proper camera on a walk, especially if it’s raining. My iPhone takes some pretty decent snaps so, to document my/our adventures and have something to upload onto social media, I will take it along with me.
Gloves, socks, hat, jumper, coat. These are all the items you’ll find rolled up in my rucksack, regardless of the weather. I like to be prepared for all eventualities and through previous experiences, it’s always handy to have these extra pieces of clothing if out for a long walk.
For me, it’s all about the layers. If it’s cold then I will start with a base layer, and gradually build the rest up to suit whatever the temperature is outside. However, the Cornish coast can be very deceiving; the sun may be shining, but if there’s a coastal breeze and the wind catches you, you can guarantee you’ll feel it to the bones.
A woolly hat has not only saved the dreaded windblown matted hair, but also headaches and ear aches, so I don’t go far without one…and I have several to choose from! A pair of gloves and an extra set of socks has also saved my fingers and toes from dropping off when I’ve been caught out thinking it’s warmer than it actually is. I love my Montane Tornado gloves which are waterproof, windproof and breathable and I swear by Bridgedale Merino Hiker Socks which provide resilient padding, moisture wicking, odour control and outstanding durability.
Finally, I will always carry a lightweight waterproof jacket that can be easily stored at the bottom of my rucksack, just in case I need an extra bit of protection and if it gets chilly, I bring out a jumper.
Even when the weather looks cloudy, I always keep an spf lotion and lip balm (of course) in my backpack alongside a pair of sunnies to protect my skin and eyes from the Cornish UV rays.
First aid kit & insect repellent
It's a fact that bugs love me. I only have to have an ankle on show and they are there, ready to attack at any given moment. If I don’t come home from a walk without a bite or a stinging nettle rash, then something is seriously wrong. So without fail, I will always carry a mini first aid kit that includes antihistamines, asthma inhaler, insect repellent, my beloved Compeeds, a few plasters and the usual first aid kit contents.
I’m first aid trained (and now mental health first aid trained!) so when I’m out and about with my group, I like to make sure I have the necessities, should someone cut themselves or fall over.
Microfibre travel towel and tissues
Sometimes, the thought of dipping your weary feet in the bitter sea after a long clamber along the coast is the perfect remedy to muster up the energy to carry on the rest of your ramble - or a great way to finish your walk. Either way, there is nothing worse than putting sandy damp feet back into your socks and boots. A travel towel is a great asset to any backpack and most fold up quite small so will snuggle into a corner of your backpack nicely.
It is also very customary for me to need a wild wee at some point on a walk, which is where a pack of tissues comes in very handy (and so does a dog poo bag to take my litter home might I add!). That, and to blow my nose which always seems to drip extra hard when out rambling.
So there you have it. My favourite rucksack contents in a nutshell. What do you carry in yours?
“Pack your bag with curiosity. The curiosity to explore. To explore the depths of the truths.
The truths of the history, the history of the superstitions. Pack your bag with the desire to change yourself, the desire to change the world. So pack your bag now.” Pratiksha
Be sure to follow Cornish Ramblings on Instagram where I will be sharing more information on what I carry in my rucksack, the kit I wear and use and much more.
If you've yet to sign up to the Cornish Ramblings mailing list, be sure to do so today to receive blogs like these, newsletters and much more straight to your inbox.