posted in: Outdoors | 10

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.

Splodz Blogz | Non Essentials | Debs Butler

Debs from Brakes and Cakes

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.

Splodz Blogz | Non Essentials | Manse Ahmad

Manse from Wilderness Pioneers

Splodz Blogz | Non Essentials | Manse Ahmad

David from Experience Northumberland

Splodz Blogz | Non Essentials | Kate Jamieson

Kate from Adventures of Kate

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.)

Splodz Blogz | Non Essentials | Cat Webster

Cat Webster

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!

Splodz Blogz | Non Essentials | Lisa Wells

Lisa from Discovering Snowdonia

And of course Welsh Cakes, you can’t go anywhere without Welsh Cakes.

Splodz Blogz | Non Essentials | Tracy Purnell

Splodz Blogz | Non Essentials | Tracy Purnell

Tracy – Asher and Marley

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.

Splodz Blogz | Non Essentials | Scott


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.

So go on then… what are the non-essential items you can’t live without when you’re on a GetOutside adventure? Tell me in the comments below.

10 Responses

  1. Sarah Irving | The Urban Wanderer

    I love the essentials that people take, it is interesting to see. I think I tend to take about three Buffs with me, as they are practical and useful and I am sure that I have had the same piece of Kendal Mint Cake in my bag since about 2010. One of the things that I have taken to adding to my pack is a flask of Miso though, as it is warm, hearty and delicious when I get back to the car after a very cold walk.

    • Splodz

      I love Kendal Mint Cake… a slab bought is a slab eaten!!! Miso is a great call, more than just tea.

  2. Arthur Levi

    I always had crackers on my backpack, whenever i am traveling or have some outdoor activities. Aside of that it last quite long, its convenient as its been wrap in plastic. And ohh, don’t forget the mint 😉

  3. Jonathan

    I do like a non-essential essential. Mine are mostly sleep related. It depends what we’re doing, but if I can take my proper contoured foam pillow with me when car camping, I love it. If backpacking, I take my Exped XL Air Pillow (and a standard polycotton pillowcase). I just love cosying up for a good sleep and actually being comfortable!

    • Splodz

      I love a pillow when camping. I have a simple blow up one but I always take a pillow case because that ups the comfort value ten fold. A good sleep is vital when out adventuring for sure.

  4. Kids of the Wild

    Blast from the past, no idea Dextrosol was still around!! I take my tenacious tape, a tube of Arnica cream for my old bones and pretty much always my daughter’s teddy (or a mini version on the rare occasion she’s not with me!)

  5. Sarah | WildDunk Camping

    I love the photographs of random hobnobs and welsh cakes in adventurous places. I also like the discussion of one persons non-essential is another persons essential. For me it would have to be a cheeky bag of jelly beans 😉

    • Splodz

      I love that people I asked already had photos of their favourite things in adventurous places!!! Mmmm jelly beans…

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