When planning any backpacking or hiking trip there are certain items that you really should include as part of your Backpacking Gear List. O.k. so there are a load of new gadgets on the market that are supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread, but you should not forget the traditional, tried and tested essential items. The things that you really should not go without.

A GOOD MAP. One that covers the area that you will be travelling over, and detailed enough to show all the minor tracks, trails, rivers and streams as well as the main roads.

A COMPASS. Using a map alone is not going to work very well without a decent compass. Knowing what direction you are travelling in is vital. Try to buy one that is accurate but rugged enough to stand up to some rough handling in the wilds.

FLASHLIGHT. Not only useful for seeing where you are going, but a must when you are trying to find something in the middle of the night in a pitch black tent. And very handy for signalling in the event of an emergency.

FIRST AID KIT. Possibly one of the most important items in your backpack. Accidents can happen at any time anywhere, from minor cuts and scratches to sprains and more serious injuries. You should always carry a first aid kit that is well stocked with a variety of supplies, plus any personal medication. And ALWAYS replace anything that has been used as soon as possible.

WATER. Always carry as much water as you possibly can, hiking is thirsty work. Also if you can include a water purification kit ( one that will filter and than sterilise the water,) this means that you are able to re-stock along the way.

EXTRA FOOD AND CLOTHES. Try to pack some spare clothing as well as some extra food. You never know what is going to happen on the trail, so always be prepared to expect the unexpected and carry enough for an extra day or two, in case of emergencies.

KNIFE. It doesn’t have to be a huge hunting knife, but a good pocket knife or multi-tool can be invaluable for many uses and should be included in your kit no matter how short your trip may be.

FIRE. You should carry a spare lighter or waterproof matches, and keep them in a waterproof container. (Imagine not being able to cook your food or have a brew up, just because you cannot light your stove).

These are just a few ideas of what to include in your Backpacking Gear List, you can of course add to them, but always think through what you are going to take. There is no need to pack your backpack full of items that you will never use, so try to stick to the essentials.

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