Backpacks

I’m in the market for a new backpack to use in the spring/summer when the days are longer and lighter and I’m walking further.  I want something that is going to be hard wearing, hold a lunch box, water, map, first aid kit, waterproof jacket, spare socks, bowl for Roxy’s water/food, food and water for Roxy and my camera – sounds like a lot but if the bag has external pockets then I think everything will fit.  I used to have a 20 liter rucksack that held most of this (minus camera and dog bowl) and it didn’t have external pockets, so I think aiming for a 30 liter rucksack will be ample.  I want something with comfortable, padded straps and a padded back piece, something that is not too heavy when empty or too chunky when full.

So, these are a few that have made it onto my final “Best” backpack list…

osprey

I like the compact design of this rucksack, the design of the pockets and that it has a compartment specifically for sunglasses/phone/camera.  It has side mesh pockets which would be perfect for holding my water bottle and other bits and bobs that may be needed more than other items.  I also really like the fact taht the designer has thought about personal safety and included a light attachment which you can clip a blinker light to, not only is this good for people who cycle but it would prove handy when walking in foggy or wet grey conditions as it will improve how visible you are to others.  I also really like the color, it’s bright and bold and will make you/your bag easy to spot in all conditions.

montane yaraWhile this rucksack was designed with climbing and skiing in mind I am really drawn to this rucksack for several reasons – it was designed specifically for women, so the straps and back panel have been shaped with the woman’s body in mind which will make for a comfortable wear.  I like that it has hip straps which mean that the bag will sit right and not move around so much and that these have pockets built in for small items (I could see myself using them for lip balm, a few plasters and my phone).  I also like that the bag has an “ultra tough Raptor UTL on the base” which means that the bag will last for a while -most of the wear from my other bags has been from the base first.  And, lastly, it is water bladder compatible which would save internal space from not needing to carry extra water bottles around.

  • Gröden 30 SL £58.50 (or £65.00 with Go Outdoors discount card)

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The first thing that drew me to this rucksack is the look of it, or to be more specific, the pockets and their placement, its not like any other ruksack that I have been looking at.  I love the pocket placement and they look really big too, big enough that I could put my waterproof jacket into which would free up space on the inside of the bag for all my other things!  The bag has a lid pocket which would be perfect for things like my fist aid kit or other “quick grab” items.  It also has a detachable rain cover that covers the whole bag and protects it, and your items from getting wet which is a brilliant idea.  And I really like the honeycomb fabric that is used for padding the straps and back which should stop too much rubbing when you get hot or sweaty.

berghaus arrowI really like the simplicity of the design on this rucksack, it is plain but that doesn’t mean that it is boring.  This rucksack has a lid pocket (which a few others have too and I am really liking this design feature), I like that the side pockets seem to come out from the main bag, rather than being an add on afterthought its like they were designed as part of the whole bag.  I like the toggle clips and the loops at the bottom of the bag, while these were designed for walking poles I could see them being used to attach lights to or other items that may be needed (I could see my dog poop holder being clipped onto one of the loops).  It has a Flow Back system of vented foam which helps to regulate your temperature and helps prevent you getting hot and sweaty.  It is also hydration pack compatible which would reduce the need for me to carry additional, bulky water bottles.

 

 

 

 

Mini First Aid Kits

I spoke before about First Aid Kits and what sort of things you could carry with you in your walking bag (the post is here )but today’s “Best” post looks at kits that you can purchase, ready made up, and carry with you…

The first one that I really like is this one that can be purchased in Boots.  It is designed for travel (holidays) but is perfectly equipped with things that can be of assistance to an injured walker.  The kit contains things to treat cuts, insect bites, blisters and a range of other things too and has the St John seal of approval.

boots-fa-1

My second favorite is this one from Lifesystems which has been recommended by the Duke Of Edinborough’s Award (a youth awards programme where walking is part of the award).  It contains items to treat cuts, grazes and all manner of other wounds that can be sustained when out walking.

lifesystems

The third choice would be this one from Eurekadirect.  While it is aimed at cyclists it  contains the basics that you would need on a walk should you need to treat cuts, grazes or blisters.

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I like all three of these kits and they would comfortably fit into a rucksack, not taking up too much space or adding much weight to your pack but offering reassurance.

Do you have a first aid kit?  Did you buy it or make it up yourself?  What is the most useful item you have in yours?

 

Tech and Apps

This is a new addition to the blog, the series being called “BEST…” and will be a collection of the best things for walkers, whether it be new apps, clothing, tech or anything else that may be interesting to walkers.  This will be a monthly feature where I will be giving my opinion and reviews of these items.

Today’s post looks at tech and apps that are available for you to wear and use via your phone or computer.

Fitness Tracker

There are many different styles of tracker, some look like watches, some smart watches, some look like jewellery, and as much as the style varies so can the types of things the tracker monitors and records.  This can be a bit baffling as some of these trackers record everything from sleep and movement to heart rate and track your food and mood.  My favorite tracker available to buy at the moment, and the one I’m really coveting is the Fitbit Charge 2. I like that it has a buckle closure, it monitors your heart rate (meaning you can see where you have exerted yourself), it recognizes when you are taking part in different sports (via the app) and includes swimming where other trackers don’t and is user friendly and fairly simple to set up and start using.  You can buy the tracker in a few different colours as well, which I like as it means you can choose the color to suit you. Its not too expensive either, coming in at around £130.00 (Price from Argos 03/01/2017)

App

Apps can vary from device to device, but my all time favorite app is Map My Run, and is one I keep coming back to time and time again.  I use it in conjunction with my Jawbone app when out walking.  My Jawbone predominantly tracks my steps but links with Map My Run to become a bit more accurate and record my effort levels a bit better.  The app may be called Map My Run but it has the functionality to record several different types of run and walk which I find useful as I tend to walk more than run!  I like that the app will save your walking route and you can see where you walked quicker or slower, the gradient of your walk, where you have struggled and what you found easiest.  The great thing about saving your walk is that you can compare data from one walk to the next (if you stick to the same route) so you can see where you have improved and what you need to work on.  The only thing I dislike about this app (as with a lot of other apps) there are functions available only if you pay for them, however, the free functions have been enough for me up until now.  map My Run is available to download to your mobile device via the App Store, Google Play or via internet browsers.

Website

The best website I have found to use when mapping out possible walking routes is mapometer.com.  This site lets you plan a “sports” route, whether it be walking, running, cycling or even skiing.  The site is fairly simple to use, you just find your start point and click on the “start” button then find your finish point, the map will calculate the distance of the route and average energy burned.  It is a really interesting site to look at whether you are walking the same trusted route day in, day out or you are going somewhere and want to take in all the sights!  You can find the website here.