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What's in your rucksack?

So, there I am talking about some pebbles. What's that you say? How big is your bag?!? I come from an outdoor education background, and have been taking groups into the hills for around 14 years now.  I have to say that those years have been free of major incidents.  However, the everyday geography fieldtrip has often caused a few issues! Although I tailor the contents of my bag according to the trip, there is a fairly standard setting.  Here I'm going to list and explain the items I've been taking with me during the last few days.  I should add, that I am one of three staff.

Another caveat is that we ensure that the pupils who go are well prepared - indeed, I won;t let them on the bus if they aren't. Many of these items are for comfort, enjoyment and, most importantly, safety.


  • The Rucksack is a Mountain Equipment Diamond 50+ - I love this sack and have had it for 8 years.  It's been everywhere with me.  However, I use it on trips as it can easily take 55 litres of gear and stuff.
  • 3 sets of waterproofs.  One is the set I'd wear, the other two are PackLite Gore-Tex.  Just in case anyone gets a right soaking!
  • 3 or 4 fleeces.
  • Some fleece trousers.
  • 3-4 spare sets of gloves and the same number of hats.

  • First Aid Kit. Although everything can be used as first aid equipment, from magazines to laces.  The most important feature is to be first aid trained. Often, the only first aid that is needed are some kind words and some encouragement. It's also great for sitting on, and has a few duct tape patches where campons or an ice axe have damaged it.
  • 1 litre of water.
  • 1 litre flask full of hot Ribena.  You can still drink it if it's cold and kids, in general, universally like it.  I make it nuclear strength. Great for handing around during the wash up (debreif) section for raising the spirits.
  • 0.5 litre flask of coffee - rocket fuel for teachers.  Has top be freshly brewed that morning...
  • Netbook.
  • Power Monkey
  • Camera
  • Dry Wipe Board Pen - in the right conditions they are great for annotating signs and using the minibus as a whiteboard.
  • Mini whiteboard.
  • Chocolate biscuits
  • A comfort pack - this contains toilet roll, feminine hygiene products and a wide range of other stuff that I've found useful to have over the years.  
  • About 200 million pencils and sharpeners. To combat the 'Sir, my pencil has run out' comments.
  • Spare mobile phone
  • Cash for pay phone
  • Credit Card
  • Cash for staff munchies 
  • A Garmin Gecko GPS - with around 200 hours of battery life, this still is far better than the iPhone for recording waypoints. Upload these into Google Earth later to revisit the trip. Or, at lunch time, get the bored boys to 'draw' funny symbols which are then added to the world's famous landmarks later.....
There, I think that's about it! You should see what I put in the bus......


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