Gear Guide

Bags & packing

Rucksack for hiking & day trips

For hiking you need a rucksack.  A rucksack is also the best option for day trips where we're going to be out and moving around for a long period of time.  Gym bags, tote bags, record bags or single strapped cross-body bags are not suitable; they don't spread the weight across your body properly and will be uncomfortable to carry around all day. 

When buying a rucksack - try it on to make sure that it feels comfortable for you.  Make sure that it's got two padded shoulder straps - more padding will mean greater comfort.  

Exactly how big a rucksack you need will depend on how much you're bringing and how small things like your waterproofs fold up.  Generally, rucksacks in the 25-35 litre range will probably be about right.  Once you've bought it, have a go at packing for a pretend hike/day-out to make sure you can fit everything in and you have time to change it if it's too small.

Other nice to have features to look out for are: 

  • waist strap - this will allow your hips to take some of the weight, meaning that your shoulders won't get so achy (padded hip belts will feel more comfortable than just a webbing strap).
  • chest strap - this stops your shoulder straps from sliding around and will make your rucksack more comfortable to wear.
  • back padding - having padding on the back of your rucksack will make it more comfortable to wear as things your lunch box and water bottle won't dig in quite so much if they shift or weren't packed quite right! 
  • back ventilation - some rucksacks shape the padding to allow air to circulate over your back to help keep you cooler; some turn out to be more effective than others!
  • rain covers - this is a thin cover that normally lives in a custom pocket which secures over your bag with a draw cord to help keep things dry if it rains.  You can also buy them as stand alone accessories.  They're often fluorescent or retro-reflective to help make you visible in poor weather.  They're good at keeping the worst of the rain off, but they won't keep your bag 100% dry. 


Holdall or rucksack for camps

Your kit needs to be packed in a large holdall or rucksack (we’d suggest a capacity of 90 – 120 litres). We recommend holdalls as they're easier to rummage in without having to empty everything on the floor. 

If you're buying one, we'd recommend a holdall that can also be worn as rucksacks to make it easier to carry them on camp (e.g. the Eurohike Transit Cargo bag, Rab Kit Bag, or Mountain Equipment Wet and Dry bag).

Suitcases are not suitable as they take up a lot of space in the tents, can make holes in the groundsheets and the wheels don’t work well on muddy campsites!

Bin bags are not suitable as they're easily torn (and then whatever was inside will get wet and muddy). 

Shopping/tote bags are not suitable as they can't be closed so typically whatever's inside ends up falling out and getting wet and muddy.  


Dry bags

Not essential, but very useful!  These will help you organise your kit inside your main kit bag (e.g. put each set of clothing in a separate bag), and will help keep it dry if your bag gets put in a puddle or gets pushed up against the wall of the tent. 

We strongly recommend that your sleeping bag is packed in a dry bag. 

A range of different sizes is useful; we’ve found the Karrimor and Exped ranges to be good value for money.


Plastic bags for clean/dirty kit

Carrier bags or peddle bin liners are useful to keep wet/dirty kit separate from clean kit inside your main kit bag.  They shouldn't be used to transport kit on their own!

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