Going on a day hike? Heading off camping? Spending your weekend having an adventure? I bet that you’ve spent some time recently thinking about what you will pack, what you will take, what you can carry. You’ll have scoured the internet for kit lists like this one for day hikes or this one for a week-long trek, been through your gear cupboard, read all the reviews on the latest equipment, and written a list – probably two or three lists if you’re anything like me.
But what about the stuff you don’t need but you take anyway? Some of us call them luxury items, maybe they’re your creature comforts, or perhaps your non-essential essentials. They’re the things you can’t leave the house without even though you know you could manage without them. Even in an outdoors based life focused on experiences rather than things, there are those must have bits and bobs that make our adventures a little bit more, well, comfortable.
It’s like when I took my journal on my West Highland Way walk because I couldn’t bear to be unable to make notes about each day. Or the mini hot water bottle that Jenni took with her to keep her toasty at night (which I was very jealous about). Or the full sized pillow that my other half takes when we go motorcycle camping rather than relying on his jumper inside his sleeping bag stuff sack. Or the packet of jelly babies that lives in the bottom of your hiking bag because you might just need the sugar even though you’ve carried it around with you for the last ten day hikes and never needed them.
I asked a few of my fellow Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champions what their non-essentials were, and they agreed they were definitely addicted to taking a few not-entirely-necessary items with them when they go out and about.
Hot drinks seemed to be high on most people’s agenda, with most Champions choosing to take a flask of tea or coffee, and some always carrying a stove on every outdoors adventure.
Some of course may argue that tea is an absolute essential when hiking… but how about this non-essential taking hot drinks to a different level; an amazing coffee pot for a fresh brew wherever you happen to wake up?! (And the most amazing view to go with it.)
A few of us choose extra items of food… not the essential packed lunch, oh no, much more luxury and unnecessary than that… Hobnobs seem a particularly popular choice. Yes, a whole packet (or two). I prefer the chocolate ones myself!
And of course Welsh Cakes, you can’t go anywhere without Welsh Cakes.
And how many of us still carry glucose tablets with us, just in case?! I remember these being on my kit list when I did expeditions as a teenager, but I haven’t seen anyone mention them as being important for years. A few of us still carry them though.
And me? I know I pack way too much. There is always way too much food (mainly sweets… Percy Pigs or Squashies anyone?!), at least two spare Buffs just in case the one I’m wearing gets soaked/grubby/I fancy a different colour, and a second spare USB battery even though I know the first one will give me six full charges.