In My Bag: Midsummer Day Dawdles

Published by Si on

One of a short series of pieces, looking at what I carry/use on solo, self-supported jaunts.  Though I hope folk find something helpful here, it’s just geekery really. The links are to help you find things you might like; I’d always encourage you to try local independent shops first

This is a bare basics bag.  For those perfect short summer days on familiar ground.  The sort of thing I’d carry on a circuit of Kinder Scout; or on any easyish lope with good water supplies.  This would, for example, get me round the classic lakes four passes route, which has the possibility of two or three café calls en route. 

So, in the bag …

1 – Inov8 All Terrain waist pack:  yes, everything goes in here. I’ve attached a decent whistle, one that actually makes a noise.  Remembering too, like most fell running bags, this is as waterproof as a dress shirt.  Probably the new Race Elite Waist would be a better, less crammed fit.  But I’ve not got one of those so … 

2 – First aid kit: safe in a dry bag, basic but effective, details here.

3 – Lifesystems bivi bag: bit heavier than a space blanket, but so, so much better.

4 – Sun cream: despite my ancestry, I still need sun protection; especially my ears.  This is a top-up for the stuff I apply before leaving home.

5 – Smidge: I loathe biting midges almost as much as they love me.  This repellant works, and is safe.  As it also works against ticks I routinely apply it to my lower legs. 

6 – Map: the Harvey Dark Peak Central UltraMap; 1:40k, waterproof and compact with enough detail and area coverage.  It may well stay unused all day as I’m very familiar with the area and paths are, let’s say, obvious.  If I was in a less familiar territory, or the navigation was more complex, I’d have one of their 1:25k maps.  It’s the trade off between bulk and detail.  

Why Harvey not OS?  Several reasons. Harvey maps are waterproof, and I’ve yet to tear one.  The detail, it’s detail relevant to navigation on the hill, no viewpoints or tourist traps or long forgotten battlefields; instead clear and unobstructed terrain info.  Coverage, they cover the areas I play, with a sensible cut off and overlap between sheets.  And finally, bulk or lack of.  They fold consistently small, whether in the original folding or a refold; and those Ultramaps are tiny but superbly functional. 

And why not a digital map? Let’s just say I think they’re great for planning. At home, with plenty of power, no rain and good wi-fi.

7 – Compass: a basic Silva, the elastic wrist loop saves dropping it.  On a less familiar route with higher demands on navigation, a rather less basic Expedition 4 would be in the bag. 

8 – Waterproof notepad & pen: just to scribble in.  They go in a small pouch, soI don’t have to play hide and seek with the pen.   

9 – Reading glasses: yeah, I’m getting old; these are titanium framed and silly light.

10 – Sunglasses: photochromic, bit tired but they work. Yes, I know, like me …

11 – Purse: debit card, train ticket, cash(there’s a café – so cake on the way back), house key. 

12 – A hankie:  I have hay fever … snuffle …

13 – Inov8 500ml Ultraflask fitted with a Katadyn BeFree filter: the flask crushes to near nothing and the filter helps with sometimes questionable water sources.  I refill from streams as needed, water is heavy.  I use the Inov8 flask simply because I find it easier to hold than the Katadyn.  If the route was a dry one I’d use my Inov8 Race Ultra Pro, in it’s stripped down form, with two flasks in the front pockets. 

14 – Food: a high calorie chewy bar, a bag of gorp(chocolate & peanut M&Ms, jelly tots), a mini malt loaf with a bit of marzipan in it(with care you can open and reseal the malt loaf wrapper).  Depending how I feel(a legacy of teenage bulimia), I might chop the chewy bar into nibbles and drop it in with the gorp.   And there may well be ripe, sunwarmed bilberries to be found on the moor; a genuine delight. 

15 – Inov8 Cap, and a scarf: nope, no gloves or warm hat, this is glorious summer day kit.  I use a traditional cotton scarf, cooler and more versatile than the tube type in hot weather.  The scarf can also double as a backup mask for public transport. 

16 – Inov8 Base elite long sleeve top: more than enough warmth.  I’ll run in the singlet they no longer make(sends hard stare toward Inov8 …), or the short sleeved tee.   I may travel in this top worn as a sweater; waiting on an early station can be chilly.  As the waist pack is not waterproof, this lives in a well used ziplock bag. 

17 – Inov8 Stormshell waterproof or Windshell windproof: depends if thunderstorms are forecast.  I’d treat myself to an Ultrashell, but I’m skint thanks to Covid-19.  In a genuinely super stable warm/dry spell, I might well leave both at home. 

18 – iPhone6 in a Sea To Summit pouch: again, a bit tired but it works; the wi-fi and bluetooth are off to save power.  As reception in the hills can be patchy, it’s registered with the emergency sms system.  Decent camera on it, but then …

19 – Olympus TG-5: superb glass, waterproof, shockproof, set to record ORF(raw) + jpg.  The jpg files go wirelessly to my iPad and after processing in Snapseed and Olympus OI Palette, get used on IG or Twitter; the ORF versions go to my Mac, and after processing in Capture 1, to my image library.  No spare card or power needed, the battery and SD card are good for around 400 frames(about ten rolls of HP5).  Splendid piece of kit.  It’s been superseded now by the TG-6, but it still works well enough for double paged spreads.

And wearing?

A – Polar Grit-X watch: I use this simply to record my route, and tell me how late the train is this time.  I don’t have any of the notifications or HRM functions active; they irritate my ADHD.

B – Inov8 X-Talon G235 shoes with Race Elite Pro socks: for short runs, up to around 25 kilometres, my favourite shoe, I reviewed them here.  Low profile, grippy and comfortable.  The socks are synthetic and padded where they need to be. 

C – An old pair of Nike shorts: I like short shorts in hot weather, these are cheap, simple and well cut.  

D – Inov8 Base Elite short sleeve: and that aforementioned singlet it’s light, stops my waist bag chafing and covers bits I don’t want to show.  If the temps aren’t quite so high, or I’m running in a vest pack, I’d wear the tee.

E – Face mask and hand sanitiser: essentials in these troubling times; I’ve decanted a small amount of sanitiser into an old, clearly marked, eye drops bottle. 

So that’s my kit for a day of that very midsummer, or Indian Summer, madness.  However you choose to play, have fun.

ps; Oh, yeah, the map, if I was off on that lakes four passes route I’d probably switch the map for Harvey Lake District West

pps; apologies for posting this as the weather has flipped over into full autumn