If you are heading outdoors for a long walk this winter, it’s essential to pack safely for your trip. Walking in winter is very different to the long balmy days of summer, so it’s best to be well prepared.
A comfortable backpack
It’s essential to have a comfortable and well-fitting backpack to hold all your extra kit. It should be made from a sturdy waterproof material, and be easy to access when your fingers might be less nimble than usual due to the cold. Even if you don’t normally take a bag, in winter time it’s necessary to carry spare dry clothing, torches, and so on.
First Aid kit
Wet and icy conditions in winter make slips and falls much more of a hazard, so a simple first aid kit is essential.
Map and compass
It’s important not to rely on your electronic devices for navigation. While they are useful tools, they could be wrongly programmed, run out of battery power, be lost, dropped, broken…in short, you need a back up!
An Ordnance Survey map is a great tool because it gives you an idea of the kind of terrain to expect, as well as landmarks that are useful for wayfinding and adding general points of interest to your walk. Learning how to read a compass is also a good idea.
Winter days are short, and even small hold ups or miscalculations can result in being out as darkness falls. A headtorch is much more effective than a handheld torch on winter walks because you can keep your hands free for extra balance and the path in front of you will always be lit. Remember to always pack spare batteries too.
Cold weather and exercise means you’ll be burning off those calories, so keep an emergency stash of high energy foods and fluids in your bag.
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