One of the things I am most looking forward to when lockdown starts to ease again, is to get back out on some decent length day hikes. As you know (from such posts as Seven Days of One Hour Outside in Lockdown), I’ve been keeping local, keeping it low level, and keeping it on my own or with my husband since Christmas, as has been the request of the guidance. I honestly cannot wait for longer trails, bigger hills, and wider views when the time is right.
To get myself ready, I’ve been organising my outdoor gear, cleaning, repairing, and generally having a sort out. Which has left some room in my collection for a handful of new bits and bobs.
Enter this bright orange coloured range of outdoors kit from Ordnance Survey. Manufactured by some great outdoorsy brands, including Lifesystems and Lifeventure, this is good quality kit with map designs all over it – and I’m definitely here for that.
OS were kind enough to send this proud GetOutside Champion some of the new gear to try out for myself. And I am very happy to say it’s all gone straight into my day hike pack – each of these five bits of gear are excellent additions to my hiking set up. Let me tell you about them…
Okay so I admit that when I saw the new OS dry bag on the website, I may not have read the description properly, and was expecting a little orange dry bag that could become my new ditty bag for hiking. You know, the small dry bag in which you keep all those little bits and bobs that would otherwise find their way to the bottom of your pack, out of sight and buried forever. I thought it would be perfect – a bright orange ditty bag will never get lost whatever sized pack I use.
However, this is not a ditty bag sized dry bag. Oh no. This is a large 25 litre dry bag that will very easily line my day hike pack. It measures 58 x 31 x 24cm. Oops!
Still, despite my inability to read things properly, this is a very good quality, lightweight, brightly coloured, useful addition to my day hike gear. I now have a liner for my day hike pack that will make sure once and for all that my kit stays dry whatever weather I’m out in.
And when I’m backpacking it’ll be absolutely perfect for keeping my sleeping bag and pillow together and dry even if I don’t quite manage to separate them from my tent.
Hey OS, can you make me a small one?!
Tritan Water Bottle
Everyone needs a water bottle when hiking, it’s an absolute must-have basic piece of kit. I’ve been using SIGG and Klean Kanteen bottles for a while, but this Tritan one from OS takes me back into the realms of the plastic bottle, albeit BPA free.
Holding 650ml water, there are two key features of this OS branded bottle that I like very much indeed. The first is that it’s rubberised, meaning it’s easy to old – even in gloves – and that large strap helps with that, too. The tactile finish is absolutely lovely. The second is the nice wide flip top spout to drink from, just the right size between the really wide bottles that make me spill water everywhere, and the narrow openings that are impossible to get enough drink from.
I’m told that Titan co-polyester, which this is made from, is very good ad being odour neutral, so if you prefer to hike with squash or electrolytes than with ordinary tap water that should be good for you.
You all know how much I enjoy a cup of tea, I’m definitely a true Brit in that sense, and I like nothing more than taking a hot cuppa out with me on a walk. There really is something nice about getting to the top of a hill, or a clearing in the woods, finding a nice spot to sit (on my mappy picnic blanket, of course), and sipping on a hot drink.
I will almost always carry my own hot drink from home rather than buy one when out, both thinking about the pennies and the environment, especially at the moment when most cafes won’t refill our reusable cups. So my new orange thermal mug will be very useful indeed.
Made by Lifeventure, so you know you’re getting good quality, the mug has a 300ml capacity (which a standard mug of tea), and will keep hot drinks hot for 6 hours. It’s a flask – it has vacuum insulated walls and strengthened seals to ensure it won’t leak. I wouldn’t say I’ve put this through too much strain and stress yet, but it does look promising so far, and I know people who swear by the Lifeventure design. And, of course, it is covered in the new orange contour design.
If you’re not a fan of the orange (er, why?!), OS also do a red one.
First Aid Kit
I always carry a small first aid kit when I’m hiking. You know, just in case. I am more than a teeny bit clumsy, and there is honestly nothing worse than a little niggle that could have easily been dealt with taking over all other thoughts when out and about.
This new small first aid kit for walkers seems pretty well stocked for day hikes, and could easily be beefed up to be useful for longer trips. Inside you’ll find microporous tape, safety pins, gloves, tweezers, a crepe bandage and a woven bandage, blister plasters, antiseptic wipes, gauze swabs, low adherent dressing, and assorted plasters.
It’s pretty comprehensive by basic standards. I’ve added my tick pullers, some antihistamine, some paracetamol, and some fabric tape. I’m all set.
It all comes in a handy light and compact case (which has space to add the extra bits I want), so I can easily grab it when needed. Now I can give the case I borrowed on permanent loan back and have this one on hand in my hiking pack at all times. Clearly, I hope I never need to use it, but we all know I will!
The first aid kit is made by Lifesystems, so you know it’s decent quality and can be trusted.
I should add that it is very important to remember that any first aid kit, however orange, and however basic-looking, is only as useful as the person who has it. When you get yours, take the contents out, see what they’re good for, read up, take a course, practice, and then the little orange bag will be truly useful when you are out walking and need some help.
I always carry a towel when I hike, and not just because my favourite book of all time is Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Until this month, I’ve normally packed my very old but very well trusted Lifeventure travel towel. I’ve never considered it to be too bulky; I mean, it’s one of those small and very compact travel microfibre towels, it works a treat.
Enter the new micro towel from Ordnance Survey – the cutest little branded towel available. And that’s it, my old blue travel towel is confined to the “spares” box. It’s teeny! But easily big enough for a hike that doesn’t involve a wild swim or any need for a shower. Also made by Lifeventure, it’s exactly what I didn’t realise I needed.
At just 37cm square and tucking nearly into it’s own little pouch with a clip to attach it to the outside of your pack if you wish, this towel is made from super absorbent material and has a really cool print of Scafell Pike on it (Ben Nevis and Snowdon also available). Apparently, it’ll soak up 9x its own weight in water… it’s therefore perfect for drying my feet after a paddle, my hands and gear after heavy rain, or my sweaty face after climbing a big hill!
I think of all the new bits from Ordnance Survey this is my favourite, and will no doubt be my most used. If you’re looking for a gift for the outdoorsy person in your life at the moment (even if that’s you), then this is the one I’d buy.
The full range of Ordnance Survey branded gear also includes the mappy picnic blankets by Pacmat (I bought the Dartmoor one a while ago and it’s used very regularly for both hiking and camping trips), along with much larger towels, waterproof map case, and even full on GPS units.
Of course, I’m a little biased being a GetOutside Champion, but the bits I’ve got here are great quality, look fantastic, and are a decent price. They come recommended from me.
Ordnance Survey were kind enough to send me a selection of the new range to try out and share with you here on Splodz Blogz. I am a GetOutside Champion, working with Ordnance Survey to encourage you to spend more time outdoors, and as such this piece is not wholly objective. Although I always tell you what I think, whoever I’m featuring.
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