never pack a bag without these essential items

Dialling in your kit is an ever evolving venture, the specifics of which lie largely in the hands of personal preference. That said, for us these items are an essential component to every expedition. So when life hands you lemons, forget the lemonade. You’ll be whipping up lemon drop cocktails with these simple, dynamic and ultimately indispensable bits of outdoor kit.

1. Reinforced Wide Mouth Water Bottle

Reinforced plastic Nalgene water bottles have a number of uses from obvious hydration to bona fide luxury. Reinforced BPA free plastic can handle hot liquids, meaning you can fill it, wrap it in a jumper and enjoy the luxury of a hot water bottle in your sleeping bag.

The watertight seal also makes them perfect for protecting repair kits, important documents and medication. For an added bonus, take duct tape off a roll and wrap it around your Nalgene. Adding warm water will let you remove the tape – stickiness intact – for on-the-go, lightweight repairs.

2. Spare Laces

Not only will you be scuppered if you snap one or they’re gnawed through in your sleep, carrying a spare set of boot laces immediately provides you with about three metres of cording for repairs, lashing together firewood or a temporary washing line.

3. Vaseline

Your chapped or split lips will thank you no end for remembering to pack a little vaseline. It’s also a pretty good blister-deterrent. Layer it on as soon as you feel a hot-spot developing and it’ll help stop that foot hole (a.k.a the expedition-ruiner) from developing. Some people even advise smearing it over a tick or bot fly as an effective way to rid the bugger.

4. Pocket Knife

Anything from an all-singing all-dancing multi-tool to a simple hunting knife or even a machete. Leave it behind and it won’t be long until you’re caught short. A high carbon steel blade can also be used as a fire striker. Just remember to pack it in your hold luggage, you don’t want to lose it on the flight.

5. Antibacterial Hand Gel

Not only is personal hygiene key to fending off sickness in remote locations, alcohol-based hand gel can also be used as an emergency fire starter. The last thing you need after a long day in the mountains is to be faffing over some soggy leaves.