The best multiple purpose gear for backpacking

The Best Multi-Purpose Gear for Backpacking

The key point is lightness. There were once some backpackers on a long distance walk called the Offa’s Dyke path, that runs the length of the English/Welsh border. They were in a place called Kington, Herefordshire. One fellow lifted his pack onto his back, and then fell over.

If considering a backpacking trip, do trial runs, over a couple of weekends. Plan for summer so that a tent is unnecessary, take a space blanket to keep warm and a lightweight tarpaulin for shelter. The tarp can also keep your rucksack dry

A minimal amount of clothes, do you need any at all? It saves weight, and clothes would not get wet in a warm climate. One fellow who walked from Land’s End in the southwest of the UK to John O’Groats in northeast Scotland naked, despite a couple of spells in jail. Good quality socks and well worn in boots, with thin layers and a fleece. Good waterproofs are essential, Goretex jackets breathe and let out perspiration, as are a hat and gloves. Thinsulate is a good make that has the qualities of lightness, thinness and warmth. A lot of heat is lost from the head, consider the wind chill factor.

A multi-purpose knife for cooking and sawing logs. Try cooking on a campfire, to save the weight of a stove, but consider cost/benefit analysis of the time taken to collect wood, if there is any.

There is nothing worse than being on top of a cold mountain, and stopping for a long lunch break. You will get cold very quickly, and take a long time to warm up.

The trekking pole brigade can be amusing. They are fashion accessories that get in the way, and add weight. A light stick is useful. It can fend off unwanted animals, be they dogs or cattle. It acts as a machete on stinging nettles and other foliage, particularly brambles, and is at its best when testing boggy ground. It is possible to sink the length of a leg in some areas if not careful. The stick gives support going uphill and down, and can also be a clothes rail for drying.

Food: Try planning your route so that you pass through a town towards the end of the day. Sunflower seeds are nutritious, can be eaten continuously, save cooking time and breaks. Are edible sunflower seeds fertile? Try planting leftovers, giving a new crop next year. The mature plants could be painted, a lasting reminder of the backpacking journey. Can you paint sunflowers as well as Vincent Van Gogh?

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